CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Mercedes Qualifying Notes

After posting the fourth-fastest time during yesterday's provisional qualifying and then having it disallowed when his Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes failed post-session scrutineering, Greg Moore rebounded this afternoon, qualifying eighth for...

After posting the fourth-fastest time during yesterday's provisional qualifying and then having it disallowed when his Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes failed post-session scrutineering, Greg Moore rebounded this afternoon, qualifying eighth for tomorrow's Texaco/Havoline 200. Michael Andretti took the pole position, setting a lap record for the 4.048-mile Road America circuit in the process.

Marlboro Penske/Mercedes driver Al Unser Jr., although he was unable to improve upon his time from yesterday, hung on for his third-consecutive top-10 qualifying performance. Teammate Andre Ribeiro, who suffered a broken left fibula in a crash yesterday, was able to drive in today's morning practice session. The team opted to sit out of final qualifying, however, electing instead to keep the time Ribeiro turned in yesterday before the crash. It was good enough for 13th on the starting grid.

PacWest Racing, already experiencing a difficult weekend, continued to struggle. Mark Blundell improved upon his provisional qualifying time, but the Motorola-sponsored car still slipped from 12th to 15th on the final starting grid. Meanwhile, teammate Mauricio Gugelmin, who was on pole here a year ago, experienced another mechanical problem during the morning practice and was felled by a faulty throttle in the afternoon. He will start the Hollywood entry 21st.

Player's/Forsythe Racing pilot Patrick Carpentier improved slightly to qualify 16th, and rookie JJ Lehto qualified the Hogan Racing Reynard/Mercedes 18th. Fellow first-year driver Helio Castro-Neves was unable to improve upon his lap time and will start the Alumax car 22nd.

Sunday's 50-lap, 202.4-mile race will start at 2:30 p.m. local time and will be televised live on ESPN starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: Eighth - 100.757 sec.

"The way this track is, it's so long that you go out and do three or four laps, and the tires are gone. We're sure the Firestones will be good for tomorrow, but if you have any problems during qualifying, this track is so long that you lose your opportunity to get a good time out of the tires. As long as we're in the top 10, we can still win this race."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2 Marlboro Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear: 10th - 100.983 sec.

"We had a good morning practice. We were set to improve on our time this afternoon, but unfortunately I got caught out by traffic and red flags, so we had to stand on Friday's time. The Marlboro Penske/Mercedes feels good, and my team is doing a great job, so we're looking forward to a good race tomorrow."

Andre Ribeiro, No. 3 Marlboro Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear: 13th - 101.454 sec.

"I'm feeling okay. Obviously having a broken leg is not very pleasant. But if we run the backup car in qualifying, we have to throw out our time from yesterday, and this time is not bad. So we can't run. But I was okay in the car this morning. The first couple of laps were strange, but the last two were good. And I have no trouble using the clutch to leave the pits, so we'll be ready for tomorrow."

Mark Blundell, No. 18 Motorola Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 15th - 101.496 sec.

"Obviously we had an incident this morning which was induced by Robby Gordon. The mechanics had to really work to get the car ready for this afternoon, and they did a great job. We managed to improve our time, but it wasn't good enough to get us up to the sharp end of the grid. We'll have to evaluate our situation and do some more work overnight. We'll make some changes and hopefully be ready to race tomorrow."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 16th - 101.785 sec.

"That session was okay, I guess. The first set of tires were good, and the second set would have been even faster, but I hit traffic on two fast laps and spun once under the bridge. To be honest, I'm pretty disappointed. We're still about a second-and-a-half off what we did here in testing. In the slower group, you get a lot more traffic."

JJ Lehto, No. 9 Hogan Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 18th - 101.845 sec.

"Today was much better than yesterday. We had a new engine, and it seemed a bit sharper. The session was trouble-free. We're just still missing that final step, but at least we're in the pack instead of at the back. I think we're going to be pretty competitive tomorrow."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17 Hollywood Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 21st - 101.990 sec.

"It's been a tough weekend. We've been through three engines, two turbos and a throttle linkage, and there's still a day to go. The car was pretty good today, and I was getting ready to really go for a time. But the throttle linkage broke at Canada Corner, and I never got the chance. Hopefully, we've used up all our bad luck for the weekend so we can give it our best tomorrow."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 16 Alumax Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear: 22nd - 102.003 sec.

"I tried it both ways. I tried just to be as easy as I can and smooth, then I tried braking as deep as I can, going to the throttle as hard as I can and turning as hard as I can. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. We just can't get the time. Hopefully it'll be better tomorrow."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Patrick Carpentier , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore , JJ Lehto