CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Kool Green Saturday report

Tracy to start 5th, Franchitti 8th at Surfers Paradise. SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will start fifth and eighth, respectively, for tomorrow's Honda Indy 300, after a dramatic...

Tracy to start 5th, Franchitti 8th at Surfers Paradise.

SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will start fifth and eighth, respectively, for tomorrow's Honda Indy 300, after a dramatic two days of practice and qualifying. Tracy continued to run strong in the #26 KOOL car, and provided the day's most spectacular sight after missing a chicane and becoming airborne. The short flight brought an early end to Tracy's qualifying session two laps later when damage caused by the rough landing could not be repaired in the last minutes of the session. Franchitti's clutch woes continued through morning practice today, but the TKG crew persevered and solved the problem in time for qualifying. Although Franchitti had less than 10 total laps on track for the weekend, he stepped up in qualifying and put the #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone in the top ten.

CART FedEx champion Cristiano da Matta picked up his seventh pole of the year after posting a lap of 1:30.204 / 111.547 mph. Bruno Junqueira starts second (1:30.214 / 111.535 mph) and Tony Kanaan lines up third (1:30.427 / 111.272 mph). Tracy earned the fifth spot with a best lap of 1:30.731 / 110.899 mph and Franchitti's quick time was 1:31.040 / 110.523 mph. TKG technical partner Michael Andretti had a disappointing day and will start 16th (1:32.439 / 108.850 mph).

CART FedEx Champ Car drivers have a 30-minute warm up Sunday morning at 10:00, with the 70-lap Honda Indy 300 scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. (all times local). SPEED Channel's live television coverage begins at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the race at 12:00 a.m. Sunday (all times EDT).

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I missed the line at the entry to the chicane and flew in the air pretty high and that must have damaged the suspension. I got two more laps in and then I was limping it home to the pits and it broke on the straightaway and I nicked the wall. I'm sorry for the guys because Team KOOL Green put in a good effort, and I really didn't put a whole lap together as best as I could have. We'll just have to try to make up for it tomorrow."

Morning Session
Position: 6th
Speed: 108.732 mph
Time: 1:32.547

Final Qualifying
Position: 5th
Speed: 110.899 mph
Time: 1:30.731

John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant

"We made some changes after practice this morning, and Paul was happy with the car during the first ten-minute practice. The boys made a little change again and he was still happy. He's trying so bloody hard and you can't help but love the guy for that. At first we thought it was just a top wishbone problem, but after we dug a bit deeper under the brake duct we found damage to the left rear upright. And that was it. Fifth isn't too bad, and we know we've got something for them in the race tomorrow."

Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"Qualifying was much better, although this morning was another frustration. We did one timed lap during practice. The Team KOOL Green crew worked very hard to finally get the clutch problem sorted out and it was nice to get some decent track time. Rather than running the perfect lap I was learning the track during the whole qualifying session. The good news is the car is very good. We'll tweak some things in warm up tomorrow and I think we can make some things happen during the race. Maybe take a look at some gambles with strategy, so we'll see what happens."

Morning Session
Position: 18th
Speed: 105.137 mph
Time: 1:35.704

Final Qualifying
Position: 8th
Speed: 110.523 mph
Time: 1:31.040

Allen McDonald - Chief Engineer

"It was a great effort by the boys to get the car back together. In the end we took the complete bell housing off the back up car, what amounts to the complete back end, so it was a lot of work. We were all very relieved when we managed to finish the ten-minute practice with no problems. Dario did a great job during qualifying. We'll take advantage of the warm up tomorrow to look at a few more things with set up, but all in all I think we're looking good for the race."

-TKG-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , John Anderson , Cristiano da Matta