SURFERS PARADISE, Australia, (Oct. 15, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy won the provisional pole in qualifying today for the Honda Indy 300. Tracy powered his way around the 2.795-mile street circuit in 1:32.700 seconds for an average speed...
SURFERS PARADISE, Australia, (Oct. 15, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy won the provisional pole in qualifying today for the Honda Indy 300. Tracy powered his way around the 2.795-mile street circuit in 1:32.700 seconds for an average speed of 108.544 mph. Dario Franchitti, meanwhile, was fifth fastest in the #27 KOOL Honda-Reynard with a lap of 1:33.851 seconds (107.212 mph).
Rain hampered drivers in the morning practice, but the skies cleared for qualifying in the afternoon. Tracy was 0.435 seconds faster than his fierce rival Michael Andretti, who was second fastest ahead of Juan Montoya in third. Andretti clocked a lap of 1:33.135 seconds (108.037 mph), while Montoya was another three-tenths slower with a time of 1:33.479 seconds (107.639 mph). Bryan Herta was fourth quickest, completing the circuit in 1:33.645 seconds (107.448 mph).
The 27-car field is back on track for practice tomorrow, beginning at 9:00 a.m. local time with final qualifying at 12:45 p.m. (14 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time). The 65-lap race will be broadcast live on ESPN very early Sunday morning at 12 a.m. EDT.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (1st with a lap-time of 1:32.700 seconds / 108.544 mph)
"When I got the fast time the team told me that I was fourth when I crossed the line, so I went for another lap. I messed up a chicane on the back straight and caught a tire, peeling the front wing off. We got pretty lucky that we didn't damage the front end of the car more than we did. There's some water seeping out from under the curbs in the chicane, so if you get in there too deep it washes the front end out. "I'm pretty happy for today. If we can keep the KOOL car running this way, hopefully we will get the pole tomorrow. The curbs are flatter than last year, so it quickens up the line a little bit. When the track comes in tomorrow, it will be real quick."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (5th with a lap-time of 1:33.851 seconds / 107.212 mph)
"It wasn't a good session. I didn't get a clear lap on the second set of tires and then I touched the wall. I went into the corner (Turn 7) and I felt some understeer. I hit the curb, which was a bit different. The car understeered some more and flicked the back end out. That's when I hit the wall. We have a bit of work to do on the KOOL car and I have to do a bit of work as well. We don't need any big changes, but we need some. I'll huddle up with the Team KOOL Green engineers and come back stronger tomorrow."
BARRY GREEN, OWNER OF TEAM KOOL GREEN:
"It's great to be home, especially when we have both KOOL cars up front. I put a lot of pressure on our team to do well here. It would be great to win this one. Last year was fantastic with Dario finishing second, but I need a win here in front of my family. It's exciting for me because all of my other colleagues, the owners and the drivers love to be here. They love the country and that makes me feel good. We're all wound up, but probably not any more than a normal race weekend. This is an important race for us because we need to do well here with one more race left and Dario still in the hunt for the championship.
"Thank goodness we're up there for the first qualifying session. It was a little confusing this morning in practice with the mixture of wet and dry portions of the track. It makes us all very bumpy. I think both cars look pretty good. Paul did a tremendous lap there to put it on pole. I think that Dario is okay. I don't think he quite had the car and I don't think he was quite as smooth as he needed to be. But he is right there in fifth. The main thing is that we're in the fast session with both cars tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a whole lot faster if the good weather stays with us. I'm very pleased with the first day."