IRL: Phoenix: Qualifying report

Kanaan stays perfect in qualifying with MBNA Pole at Phoenix. AVONDALE, Ariz., Saturday, March 22, 2003 -- Two races, two poles this season for Tony Kanaan. Kanaan earned his second MBNA Pole in as many IRL IndyCarTM Series races this season,...

Kanaan stays perfect in qualifying with MBNA Pole at Phoenix.

AVONDALE, Ariz., Saturday, March 22, 2003 -- Two races, two poles this season for Tony Kanaan.

Kanaan earned his second MBNA Pole in as many IRL IndyCarTM Series races this season, claiming the top spot for the Purex Dial Indy 200 on March 22 at Phoenix International Raceway. His top lap was 20.1667 seconds, 178.512 mph in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

The Purex Dial Indy 200 will start at 3:30 p.m. (EST) Sunday on the 1-mile desert oval. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network.

It will be the third career IndyCar Series start for Kanaan, who raced the Indianapolis 500 last year while competing in CART for Mo Nunn Racing before moving to the IndyCar Series full time for 2003 with Andretti Green Racing. Kanaan became just the fifth driver in series history to win consecutive poles.

"It feels great," Kanaan said. "It confirms more and more the decision I made to come to this team. It has been great to work with Michael (Andretti) and Dario (Franchitti). It is such a good atmosphere. Obviously the results are helping us a lot, and I'm extremely happy.

"It has been working more for me lately than the other guys, but I need to thank Michael for believing in me. After the rough year I had last year, he gave me the credit to hire me. Believing in myself is the best I can do. My guys are doing really well. It is great to have two poles in a row, but I want to win. Tomorrow they will forget who was on the pole."

2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone will share the front row with Kanaan, qualifying second at 20.2513, 177.766 in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Giaffone held the pole for a few moments, as he was four spots ahead of fellow Brazilian and boyhood friend Kanaan in the qualifying order.

"I think it was a good run," Giaffone said. "We had a few problems this morning. The second set of tires, I couldn't really get a read on. I knew the car was good, but I didn't know how good.

"We made a couple of changes, and I wasn't sure how hard I could push for qualifying. The second lap was just about perfect. I couldn't go faster than Tony. Maybe I could have gone a little bit quicker, but it wouldn't have been faster than Tony."

Series points leader Scott Dixon qualified third at 20.2633, 177.661 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, while defending event champion Helio Castroneves was fourth at 20.3359, 177.027 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.

Kanaan's teammate and boss, Michael Andretti, qualified fifth for his final start at PIR at 20.3572, 176.842 in the No. 7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Andretti Green Racing co-owner Andretti is retiring as a driver after the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

1998 series champion Kenny Brack led the morning practice at 20.1865, 178.337 in the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone. But 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Brack slipped to sixth in qualifying at 20.3781, 176.660.

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who won this event in 2001, struggled in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. He qualified 17th at 20.8756, 172.450.

2000 Phoenix winner and series champion Buddy Lazier will make his first start of the season from the 15th spot after qualifying at 20.8052, 173.034 in the No. 91 Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

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Tickets: Tickets for the Purex Dial Indy 200 are available by calling (602) 252-2227 or logging on to www.phoenixraceway.com.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Buddy Lazier , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing