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Juan-derful Juan bags another pole
by Mark Cipolloni 

June 3, 2000


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Top-3 qualifiers meet the press
(Click on any photo to see enlargement)

WEST ALLIS, WI - Hot off his dominating win last week at the Indy 500, Juan continued his dominating ways, winning the pole position for the Miller Lite 225 at The Milwaukee Mile with a top time of 20.899 sec.  Montoya's best lap of 177.769 mph (20.899 seconds) edged Dario Franchitti for the top spot. Franchitti wound with a best speed of 177.303 mph (20.954 seconds), with Patrick Carpentier third at 177.218 mph (29.964 seconds). 

The pole, the 10th of Montoya's two-year CART career, tied him with Teo Fabi, Nigel Mansell and Alex Zanardi for ninth place on the FedEx Championship Series career list.

Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) also registered his third pole of the season, following similar efforts at Nazareth and Japan. He earned a championship point, giving him 23 for the season, good for 10th place in the drivers' standings. Montoya will be chasing his first victory of the season and the eighth of his career when the green flag flies Sunday afternoon.


Dario Franchitti and crew wait to qualify

Starting on the outside pole will be Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, who qualified at 177.303 miles per hour (20.954 seconds). He makes a season-best start, exceeding eighth at Rio de Janeiro. Franchitti and Montoya ended last season in a tie for the points lead with 212 each, but Montoya claimed the championship based on his seven victories to Franchitti's three.

Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing qualified third at 177.218 miles per hour (20.964 seconds). Like Franchitti, he makes a season-best start and continues a run of success at Milwaukee that has seen him qualify among the top four drivers in three of his four career appearances at the venue.

"I knew my first run wasn't quick enough for the pole," admitted Carpentier. "I thought I had a good shot at it until corner 2 on my last run. In fact, if I had been an inch closer to the wall in corner 2, I don't think I would have been able to bring the Player's car back in the pits. I tried to put in a better time by getting on the throttle before reaching the apex, but I went over some bumps and the car went loose. I decided to keep going but it didn't get any better." Carpentier, the last driver to qualify by virtue of his fastest time in the morning run, put in a fast lap of 20.964 seconds with his first qualifying lap, only .065 seconds behind Montoya. Despite a determined effort to lower that time on his second run, Carpentier had to settle for third.

Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, who qualified fourth at 177.125 mph (20.975 seconds). De Ferran, who brought Penske Racing its 100th career victory at Nazareth Speedway last week, makes his fifth top-five start in six events this season.


They still keep qualifying times the old way at The Milwaukee Mile, a 'tradition' on the CART schedule the week after the Indy 500

Fifth on the grid went to Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) at 176.872 mph (21.005 seconds). The effort marks his fourth consecutive top-six qualifying performance of the season.

FedEx Championship Series points leader and defending race champion Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) qualified sixth at 176.184 mph (21.087 seconds). He owns a 59-48 lead over Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola) entering Sunday's sixth round of the championship. Vasser qualified 14th Saturday at 174.603 mph (21.278 seconds).

Twenty-two of the 23 qualifiers were separated by less than a second.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Juan Montoya - Ganassi Racing Toyota/Lola/Firestone: "It was loose but I managed to keep it where we wanted to go and everything worked well. I really want to win here and give that win to Target and Toyota. To do that, I need to get to the end without problems. The Firestone tires have been behaving really well. You look at every oval and our car has just been fantastic." "I came out this morning and the car was much better than yesterday. We made some changes before qualifying and put some wing in it and the car was really loose. The wind was really hurting us, it really picked up from this morning. I'm surprised I got the pole. [On his race day problems thus far] How many times have we been so close? The engine isn't failing now, but it's just little things. We had a puncture, we've been very unlucky. Look at Japan. That race was mine and 20 laps from the end, we did a pit stop, and had the problem there. We just haven't been lucky."


Sylvester Stallone (L) and CHAMPS director Renny Harlin (C) talk to 'Crusher' of the PacWest team about the movie.

Dario Franchitti - Team Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone: "It's nice to be back up there. We're starting from the front and that should help us. We struggled yesterday afternoon with a loose car. This morning we got it fixed and it's great qualifying second. The first lap, the car was a little bit nervous, the tires weren't up to temperature and pressure. The second lap was good and it was the one that counted. I think we'll have a reasonable car for tomorrow and I'm looking at scoring some serious points. The Firestone tires are consistent. We were running really good times yesterday on tires with race distance on them.  "The car was pretty loose on the first lap, so I waited for the tire pressures to come up and then I stood on it. The second lap was much better than the first. It's nice to be up front again after such a dreadful beginning to the season."

Patrick Carpentier - Forsythe Racing Ford/Reynard/Firestone: "I thought the car was good enough for first. I knew my first lap wasn't fast enough. On the second lap I went a little too early on the power in (turn) two and the back end just swapped ends on me. I was pretty lucky to catch it. The tires stay pretty balanced. They don't go away so I'm very happy with the Firestone tires. The bad thing is everybody has Firestone now so there's no advantage."
"It was pretty good, the [injured] wrist is okay. Yesterday we did long runs and there was no pain. It's a lot different than Nazareth, there was a lot of pain. The first lap was very good, but I had a big push on the second lap in Turns One and Two and again and Three and Four. Both ends are very different, this end [Turns One and Two] is a lot different than this one [Turns Three and Four], but it did it again. If we can keep up with these guys [Montoya and Franchitti] it'll be very good. I want to keep up with those guys."  "It's pretty satisfying for the Player's team to get into the top three in qualifying, particularly since I've been out of competition for almost two months - except for the one-day race at Nazareth last weekend," remarked Carpentier, who began the day by recording the quickest lap in the morning practice session. "The car has a real good set-up, and I'm looking for a good race tomorrow."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth Lola
NOTES: Fittipaldi has scored top-seven finishes in all three events he has raced here. Fittipaldi's qualifying was all the more impressive since it was his fastest lap so far during the weekend. They team struggled to find a good set-up on the first day as well as during the morning practice session before qualifying. He set his fastest lap of the weekend during qualifying.

"The car was a lot better. In terms of the setup, we changed the entire world from how the car was yesterday! We made a huge change overnight. The Big Kmart/Route 66 team really worked hard to improve the car for qualifying. The car improved just in the nick of time. Qualifying fifth was a huge improvement from where we were on Friday. It seemed impossible. Qualifying isn't everything but it's always important to qualify well. That is half of the battle these days. I fell better about the race now but I wish we hadn't wasted so much time on Friday and had run on full tanks. The car was so bad that we had to keep working on that instead of preparing the car for the race. We have had a lot of problems in the pits the last couple of races. We have all worked hard to improve in that area. We need to have a trouble free race on the track and in the pits and we can collect a good chunk of points. We've picked up a few points here and there but not the amount we need to be a contender. "

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola


Andretti's crew surveys the damage

NOTES: Andretti crashed between turns two and three in the morning practice session. He got out of the car on his own and was not hurt. He returned to the pits and got into his backup car for the remainder of the practice session. The car sustained enough damage that it would not be ready for qualifying therefore Andretti qualified his backup car.

Andretti has won a total of five events here which is a personal record number of victories at one track for him. He has also won five races at the Toronto street race. A win here would break the tie and make Milwaukee the site of his highest number of victories. It would also break a tie with Al Unser for sole position of third place in the All Time Records for race wins with his 40th. 

"This morning everything went wrong. The tire pressure was too low and I stood on it too hard and crashed. It's disappointing. I came into the day thinking I was going for the pole and to end up 10th is a big disappointment. It (the crash) was more of a setback for me than for the car. I didn't get the most out of the car in (turns) one and two and had a big push in three and four. I looked down for the time on my second lap and couldn't believe I was that slow. I probably left one tenth of a second on the table. Now we made more work for ourselves for the race. It's possible to win from 10th place but its definitely harder than from first. A win for the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline team would be great. Most of the guys from the shop will be here and it's a Kmart race. It would be great to win for a lot of reasons."

Alex Tagliani - "I'm not worried about the starting position," added Tagliani, who has demonstrated so far this season that he is very capable of moving up the field during a race. "Sure, I would have liked to be starting up closer to the front, but with the way things went today, I know we're going to have a good car for the race. It's going to come down to strategy and taking advantage of every opportunity that you're given. We were able to make some big advances with our pit stops in Nazareth last weekend. I'm confident that with the fine work of the Player's crew during pits stops we can do the same thing tomorrow." 


Luiz Garcia buckled in and ready to qualify

LUIZ GARCIA JR. - I really felt good during qualifying. You know its still a bit tough when we lose time on the track with small problems to the car. We cant afford to have those problems. I do think there has been a lot of improvement with each oval. From Motegi, Nazareth, and now here, Ive felt a lot more confident and good about the car. We have a lot more data on the car and now we can work on a better set up and have a good race.

ANDREAS LEBERLE - Luiz did a good job today and will do a good one for us tomorrow during the race. We are confident of a good run and are looking forward to this race.

WHAT'S NOTEWORTHY

  • Juan Montoya won his third pole position of the season and Toyota's fourth in the last seven races. The pole position gives Montoya his fifth front row starting position in six races. He has started in the top three in every 
    race this season. 

  • With Montoya taking the pole today, it marks the seventh straight race that a Toyota has qualified on the front row - the longest current streak for any CART engine manufacturer. During those seven races, Toyota has earned four pole positions and three second-fast qualifier spots. 

  • 20000 Manufacturer Front Row Spots 
    Toyota 6 
    Ford 3 
    Honda 3 

  • A Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry has qualified on the front row in each of the six races with Toyota power. That's the longest current streak in Champ Car racing. The team has as many front row qualifying positions this season as the rest of the FedEx Championship Series combined. 

  • 2000 Front Row Spots 
    Target Chip Ganassi Racing 6 
    Marlboro Team Penske 2 
    Player's Forsythe Racing 1 
    Newman-Haas 1 
    Team Rahal 1 
    Team KOOL Green 1 

  • Montoya Reaches Double Digits in Pole Positions with Firestone - Still riding high off his first Indianapolis 500 victory and the 51st win at the Brickyard for Firestone, Juan Montoya raced to the pole position today for Sunday's race. It is the 10th pole position for the second-year CART driver, all with Firestone Firehawk racing radials assisting him. 


    Bobby Rahal coaches Max Papis before qualifying

    "The track conditions really changed from Friday to today," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director. "While Friday's surface was abrasive, creating some marbles that Michael Andretti mentioned in the post-practice press conference, with more use today the track stayed quite clean. Right now, we're quite pleased with the Firestone tire performance at Milwaukee, and look forward to a very competitive race tomorrow. Looking further ahead, we agree with Michael and others that a reduction of marbles is a very worthwhile goal. Internally, we are discussing with our engineers ways to improve wear on our tires and at the same time we're working with CART on the issue. Our goal is to be the best tire supplier CART has ever had and we're constantly redesigning our tires to meet that objective." 

  • Temperatures during qualifying ranged from 103 to 107 degrees track and from 
    67 to 70 degrees ambient. 

WHAT'S ON TAP

Sunday's Miller Lite 225 will be broadcast live on ABC at 4 p.m.  The race will also be broadcast live on the CART Radio Network and on the official CART web site 

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TOP QUALIFIERS

Pos No. Driver Last Completed Fastest Behind Speed (MPH) Speed (KPH)
Lap Time Lap Time Leader Prior Last Fastest Last Fastest
1 1   Juan Montoya 2 0:20.899 2 0:20.899 0.000 0.000 177.769 177.769 286.208 286.208
2 27   Dario Franchitti 2 0:20.954 2 0:20.954 0.055 0.055 177.303 177.303 285.458 285.458
3 32   Patrick Carpentier 2 0:21.617 1 0:20.964 0.065 0.010 171.865 177.218 276.703 285.321
4 2   Gil de Ferran 2 0:20.975 2 0:20.975 0.076 0.011 177.125 177.125 285.171 285.171
5 11   Christian Fittipaldi 2 0:21.005 2 0:21.005 0.106 0.030 176.872 176.872 284.764 284.764
6 26   Paul Tracy 2 0:21.113 1 0:21.087 0.188 0.082 175.967 176.184 283.307 283.656
7 20 X Roberto Moreno 2 0:21.203 1 0:21.096 0.197 0.009 175.220 176.109 282.104 283.535
8 17   Mauricio Gugelmin 2 0:21.116 2 0:21.116 0.217 0.020 175.942 175.942 283.267 283.267
9 7   Max Papis 2 0:21.120 2 0:21.120 0.221 0.004 175.909 175.909 283.213 283.213
10 6 X Michael Andretti 2 0:21.146 1 0:21.140 0.241 0.020 175.693 175.743 282.866 282.946
11 55   Tony Kanaan 2 0:21.231 1 0:21.168 0.269 0.028 174.989 175.510 281.732 282.571
12 3   Helio Castroneves 2 0:21.169 2 0:21.169 0.270 0.001 175.502 175.502 282.558 282.558
13 33   Alexandre Tagliani 2 0:21.183 2 0:21.183 0.284 0.014 175.386 175.386 282.371 282.371
14 12   Jimmy Vasser 1 0:21.278 1 0:21.278 0.379 0.095 174.603 174.603 281.111 281.111
15 96   Oriol Servia 2 0:21.282 2 0:21.282 0.383 0.004 174.570 174.570 281.058 281.058
16 8   Kenny Brack 2 0:21.329 2 0:21.329 0.430 0.047 174.185 174.185 280.438 280.438
17 18 X Mark Blundell 2 0:21.467 1 0:21.379 0.480 0.050 173.066 173.778 278.636 279.783
18 34   Tarso Marques 2 0:21.383 2 0:21.383 0.484 0.004 173.745 173.745 279.729 279.729
19 40   Adrian Fernandez 2 0:21.399 2 0:21.399 0.500 0.016 173.616 173.616 279.522 279.522
20 5   Shinji Nakano 2 0:21.434 2 0:21.434 0.535 0.035 173.332 173.332 279.065 279.065
21 97 X Cristiano da Matta 2 0:21.742 2 0:21.742 0.843 0.308 170.877 170.877 275.112 275.112
22 16   Michel Jourdain, Jr. 2 0:21.878 2 0:21.878 0.979 0.136 169.814 169.814 273.401 273.401
23 25   Luiz Garcia Jr. 2 0:22.610 2 0:22.610 1.711 0.732 164.317 164.317 264.550 264.550

 

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