IRL: St. Louis: Mo Nunn Racing Saturday report

Barron qualifies eighth, Takagi and new Dallara 10th at Gateway MADISON, Ill. (Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Alex Barron and Tora Takagi will start Sunday's Emerson Indy 250 from the outside of the fourth and fifth rows, ...

Barron qualifies eighth, Takagi and new Dallara 10th at Gateway

MADISON, Ill. (Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Alex Barron and Tora Takagi will start Sunday's Emerson Indy 250 from the outside of the fourth and fifth rows, respectively, after the first and only day of practice and qualifying today.

Barron, subbing for the third race in a row for the injured Felipe Giaffone in the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force, circled the 1.25-mile egg-shaped Gateway International Raceway oval in 25.8596 seconds (174.01 mph) to grab the eighth spot on the timesheet during this afternoon's single-car qualifying session. Barron scored his second and the Hollywood/Mo Nunn team's second-ever IRL IndyCar Series victory two weekends ago at the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan Speedway. Giaffone had scored the team's first victory last August at Kentucky Speedway.

Last year here at Gateway, Barron finished third from the 14th starting position while driving for Blair Racing. Sunday will be his sixth career open-wheel start here. Giaffone, meanwhile, is returning to the U.S. next week from his native Brazil , where he has been rehabbing in the wake of the fractured right femur and pelvis he sustained in a racing accident at Kansas Speedway July 6. He will attend the next two events at Kentucky (Aug. 17) and Nazareth (Aug. 24) as a spectator and expects to return the cockpit of the Hollywood car in time for the event at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 7.

Takagi, meanwhile, debuted the all-new #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara chassis here this weekend. He achieved a fast qualifying lap today of 26.0852 seconds (172.51 mph) for the 10th spot on the grid. Like the Hollywood team, Takagi and the Pioneer team had campaigned a Panoz G Force chassis at the first 10 events this season, the Japanese driver's first on the IRL IndyCar circuit. Sunday marks his first career start at Gateway.

Helio Castroneves captured his second pole of the season today in 25.5732 seconds (175.96 mph) and will be joined on the front row by Kenny Brack, who recorded a fast qualifying lap of 25.6006 seconds (175.77 mph). Tony Kanaan qualified third in 25.6157 seconds (175.67 mph).

Sunday's 30-minute final practice session goes green at 10 a.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT). The live "INDYRACING2DAY" pre-race show begins at 12 noon EDT Sunday on ESPN2. Race time Sunday is 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m.EDT) with a live broadcast set for ABC-TV.

ALEX BARRON

"We had such a fantastic weekend at Michigan that we hoped to carry that winning momentum all the way through this weekend here at Gateway and beyond. I think we made some great strides with our race setup today. It's tough when you're so under the gun with only two short practice sessions before you qualify. It's so very critical to have a good race setup here because it's such a quirky track and so many things seem to happen in the race. If your car's working from the get-go, you tend to have an easier time staying out of trouble. The pit lane is so tight, too, that you have to be focused on getting in and out without any trouble if you're going to stay with the lead pack. I think we're going to be in good shape."

TORA TAKAGI

"So far, so good with our new Dallara chassis. I'm liking it more and more. We just haven't spent very much time with it. We ran it for the first time in the open test here last week, and we had a pretty good day, then. We made the Pioneer car even better today, but still it would be nice to have another day to keep getting to know what it likes and what it does not like. It hurt us to draw the second position in the qualifying order because the track was very slippery during my run (due to a support series race just prior to qualifying). But I don't want to make any excuses. That's how it goes, and I am looking forward to my first race with the Dallara chassis."

-mnr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Mo Nunn