CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Fontana qualifying report

Saturday was overcast and cool for the second day of the Marlboro 500. The morning practice was disrupted for Max Papis and his crew when the blue and white number seven car spun in the first turn and came into hard contact with the wall. Papis...

Saturday was overcast and cool for the second day of the Marlboro 500. The morning practice was disrupted for Max Papis and his crew when the blue and white number seven car spun in the first turn and came into hard contact with the wall. Papis was evaluated and released from the medical center but the primary car was totaled in the incident. Brack posted the sixth fastest time of the morning session and (238.091 mph) and Casey Mears posted the 14th fastest time (234.642 mph).

CART qualifying was in reverse order of the season point total meaning Casey Mears was the first car on track having never driven a CART event before. Mears posted a fast lap of 233.382 mph in qualifying for his first Champ Car event. That speed would eventually put him 15th on the opening grid. Max Papis returned to the track and posted a fast lap of 234.521 mph which eventually put him 13th on the grid.

Kenny Brack posted the fastest time of any Rahal driver with a lap of 236.297 mph. That lap put him eighth on the opening grid.

The pole went to series' points leader Gil de Ferran who set a CART record with a fast lap of 241.428 mph, the fastest lap ever recorded in Champ Car qualifying.

With de Ferran winning the pole Brack must now win the race and lead the most laps in order to win the CART championship. Brack trails de Ferran 154-134 in points.

Max Papis - Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Reynard "I am alright although my left ankle and knee are pretty sore. I was actually pretty comfortable in the car and I really don't use my left leg that much anyway except for the clutch. I'll put some ice on it tonight and rest it for tomorrow. We lost the strong motor that Ford gave us for qualifying when we wrecked the primary car this morning. We got the best we could out of the car today. I was flat out all around the track. We worked all day on Friday on our race setup and I feel good about the car for the race. It is a long race on Sunday and we will have a chance to improve the car through the pit stops."

Kenny Brack - Shell Ford-Cosworth/Reynard "I was on the limit in qualifying. We tried to trim out the car a little bit but it wasn't enough. We came here to race and to win and we are in a position where we can do that. We have to win the race to win the championship and now since Gil won the pole we have to lead the most laps. I guess the best we can do is just go win the race and let the points and the championship fall into place."

Casey Mears - WorldCom Ford-Cosworth/Reynard "It is unbelievable to drive these cars. I feel really comfortable in the car and that is a big credit to Team Rahal and the crew. I have a veteran bunch of guys like Jim Prescott, John Miller and Ray Leto and they have been awesome to work with. I was flat out all the way around and that was the fastest I have ever gone. We had a little push in the car and we probably could have trimmed it out some more but the team is being conservative with me. I am learning as I go."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Casey Mears , Gil de Ferran , Max Papis , Kenny Brack