WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2000) - Six days after his dominant victory in the Indianapolis 500, Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing moved into the top 10 in CART career pole positions Saturday by claiming the pole for the Miller Lite 225 at...
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2000) - Six days after his dominant victory in the Indianapolis 500, Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing moved into the top 10 in CART career pole positions Saturday by claiming the pole for the Miller Lite 225 at The Milwaukee Mile (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).
Montoya averaged 177.769 miles per hour (20.899 seconds) for his second of two qualifying laps on the 1.032-mile oval in suburban Milwaukee. The pole, the 10th of Montoya's two-year CART career, tied him with Teo Fabi, Nigel Mansell and Alex Zanardi for ninth place on the FedEx Championship Series career list.
Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) also registered his third pole of the season, following similar efforts at Nazareth and Japan. He earned a championship point, giving him 23 for the season, good for 10th place in the drivers' standings. Montoya will be chasing his first victory of the season and the eighth of his career when the green flag flies Sunday afternoon.
Starting on the outside pole will be Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, who qualified at 177.303 miles per hour (20.954 seconds). He makes a season-best start, exceeding eighth at Rio de Janeiro. Franchitti and Montoya ended last season in a tie for the points lead with 212 each, but Montoya claimed the championship based on his seven victories to Franchitti's three.
Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing qualified third at 177.218 miles per hour (20.964 seconds). Like Franchitti, he makes a season-best start and continues a run of success at Milwaukee that has seen him qualify among the top four drivers in three of his four career appearances at the venue.
Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, who qualified fourth at 177.125 mph (20.975 seconds). De Ferran, who brought Penske Racing its 100th career victory at Nazareth Speedway last week, makes his fifth top-five start in six events this season.
Fifth on the grid went to Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) at 176.872 mph (21.005 seconds). The effort marks his fourth consecutive top-six qualifying performance of the season.
FedEx Championship Series points leader and defending race champion Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) qualified sixth at 176.184 mph (21.087 seconds). He owns a 59-48 lead over Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola) entering Sunday's sixth round of the championship. Vasser qualified 14th Saturday at 174.603 mph (21.278 seconds).
Twenty-two of the 23 qualifiers were separated by less than a second.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
JUAN MONTOYA, Target Toyota Lola: "I came out this morning and the car was much better than yesterday. We made some changes before qualifying and put some wing in it and the car was really loose. The wind was really hurting us, it really picked up from this morning. I'm surprised I got the pole. [On his race day problems thus far] How many times have we been so close? The engine isn't failing now, but it's just little things. We had a puncture, we've been very unlucky. Look at Japan. That race was mine and 20 laps from the end, we did a pit stop, and had the problem there. We just haven't been lucky."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The car was pretty loose on the first lap, so I waited for the tire pressures to come up and then I stood on it. The second lap was much better than the first. It's nice to be up front again after such a dreadful beginning to the season."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard: "It was pretty good, the [injured] wrist is okay. Yesterday we did long runs and there was no pain. It's a lot different than Nazareth, there was a lot of pain. The first lap was very good, but I had a big push on the second lap in Turns One and Two and again and Three and Four. Both ends are very different, this end [Turns One and Two] is a lot different than this one [Turns Three and Four], but it did it again. If we can keep up with these guys [Montoya and Franchitti] it'll be very good. I want to keep up with those guys."
* Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) earned Toyota's fourth pole in the past seven events, dating to Scott Pruett's pole at Fontana last year and including Montoya's poles at Nazareth and Japan this season.
* Montoya has qualified among the top three drivers in nine of the last 11 FedEx Championship Series events, dating to last year's pole at Vancouver.
* Dario Franchitti's (KOOL Honda Reynard) outside-pole winning effort matches his second-best FedEx Championship Series career qualifying performance on an oval. Both his previous bests occurred at Rio de Janeiro, a pole in 1998 and an outside pole last year.
* Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) has qualified among the top four drivers in three of his four career appearances at The Milwaukee Mile. The run consists of a pole in 1998, fourth in 1997 and third this year.
* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) qualified sixth to extend a run which has seen him start among the top seven drivers at Milwaukee seven times in eight career appearances, including poles in 1996 and '97.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Qualifying for the Miller Lite 225 will air 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. "CART 2Day" airs 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ABC-TV's live race broadcast scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on the CART Radio Network and on the official CART web site, at www.cart.com .