VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 4, 1999) - Rookie Juan Montoya of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing moved closer to the CART rookie record for pole positions while adding to his FedEx Championship Series points lead Saturday when he ...
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 4, 1999) - Rookie Juan Montoya of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing moved closer to the CART rookie record for pole positions while adding to his FedEx Championship Series points lead Saturday when he captured the pole for the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, live, ABC-TV). Montoya's lap of 105.730 miles per hour (1 minute, .641 seconds) in the Target Honda Reynard brought him his sixth pole of the season, leaving him one shy of Nigel Mansell's 1993 CART rookie record of seven. In addition, the PPG Cup point he earned for the feat extended his FedEx Championship Series points lead to 173-168 over Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green. Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), the defending Molson Indy Vancouver champion, was bumped from his provisional pole of Friday and ended up fourth on the grid at 105.191 miles per hour (1:00.952). PJ Jones (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), filling in for the injured Adrian Fernandez for the third consecutive race, earned the outside pole with a lap of 105.321 mph (1:00.877). It marks a career-best start for the four-year veteran, eclipsing his best of eighth established at Nazareth in Round 4. Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard), disqualified from his provisional outside pole position when his car failed post-qualifying inspection, rebounded in impressive fashion by qualifying third at 105.258 mph (1:00.913). It marks his career-best starting position in eight appearances at Vancouver. He will line up next to his Team KOOL Green teammate Franchitti, who starts fourth. Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) qualified fifth at 105.182 mph (1:00.957) for his best road/street qualifying effort of the season. The top 13 qualifiers were separated by less than one second on the reconfigured 1.781-mile temporary street circuit.
JUAN MONTOYA, Target Honda Reynard: "I think the day was good. The car felt much better. We had some problems this weekend, which cost a lot of time. [During qualifying] Just like Paul [Tracy] said, there was too much traffic. I did a good time on the first set of tires, then we went with a different set and I couldn't get a good lap in. I felt like we could do a low one [minute lap time] or something, but I'm a bit surprised at how quick we went."
PJ JONES, Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard: "The weekend has been good. We started improving at Chicago with a seventh-place finish and this weekend we just kept carrying on. We've kept refining and fine tuning and it's kept getting better and better. I wanted to go out and put a good lap in and we got it. I'm happy for Tecate, Quaker State and Adrian [Fernandez]. He deserves a lot of credit. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have had this opportunity."
PAUL TRACY, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The biggest problem for me was traffic. It took a long time to get a lap time, and when we went red late in the session, we had just put another set of tires on, so we weren't able to take advantage of that. I'm pretty happy with how the day ended up. I didn't expect to run in the top five with how the guys were going, but I guess I owe PJ [Jones] dinner for causing that red [flag] at the end of the session and saving my bacon."
* Saturday's pole position moved FedEx Championship Series points leader Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) a step closer to completion of the CART rookie "triple crown." With six poles this season, he stands one behind the rookie record of seven established by Nigel Mansell in 1993. Montoya already owns CART rookie standards for victories (6) and laps led (856).
* Montoya's pole gave Honda its 11th of the season and fifth in the last six events as well as the 14th in 16 events for Firestone.
* PJ Jones' (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) outside-pole qualifying effort represents a career-best in his 57th start, improving on eighth at Nazareth.
* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) qualified third for his third top-three start in the past four events. The run includes qualifying performances of second at Detroit and third at Mid-Ohio.
* Defending Molson Indy Vancouver champion Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) qualified fourth to earn his ninth top-four start of the season. Included is his lone pole position in Round 14 at Mid-Ohio.
Qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver will air 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. "CART 2Day" airs 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ABC-TV's live race broadcast scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.