Juan Montoya wins
pole for Target GP
Autocourse CART Yearbook 1999-2000
Our Price: $24.47
You Save:$10.48 (30%)
Go to our forums to discuss this article
CICERO, Ill. (July 29, 2000) - Defending race champion Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing broke the track record on the way to his fifth pole position of the FedEx Championship Series season Saturday at the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).
Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) put together a lap of 167.567 miles per hour (22.107 seconds) on the 1.029-mile oval located in suburban Chicago to earn the right to lead 23 fellow competitors to the green flag for Sunday's 12th of 20 rounds in the championship. His effort crumbled the track record of 162.559 miles per hour (22.788 seconds) established by Max Papis of Team Rahal at last year's inaugural Target Grand Prix.
Montoya went on to win that event en route to the FedEx Championship Series championship. He will be looking for his second victory of this season Sunday, having scored a win from the pole last month at The Milwaukee Mile.
Saturday's pole position brought Montoya a championship point and pulled him into a tie with Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske for fourth place in the championship, with 75 points each. The pole, the 12th of Montoya's career, allowed him to complete a sweep of poles on one-mile ovals this season, after winning earlier poles at Nazareth and Milwaukee.
Starting alongside Montoya on the outside pole is Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, who qualified second at 167.370 mph (22.133 seconds). It is his best oval start of the season, improving on third at Nazareth.
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing was third fastest at 167.340 mph (22.137 seconds). It is a season-best start for Kanaan, and comes in his second event back after missing three races due a broken left forearm and four cracked ribs sustained in a qualifying accident at Detroit.
Rookie Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal was fourth fastest at 166.602 mph (22.235 seconds) followed by Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard) of PPI Motorsports, who starts fifth after a lap of 166.266 mph (22.280 seconds). Twenty-one of the 23 qualifiers were separated by less than one second.
FedEx Championship Series points leader Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing qualified 15th at 163.477 mph (22.660 seconds). He holds a 104-90 lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing entering Sunday's event. Moreno qualified 13th at 164.100 mph (22.574 seconds).
Team Player's rookie Alex Tagliani matched his third-best qualifying performance of the season today when he clocked the 8th-quickest lap on the 1.029-mile oval to garner the outside position on Row 4 for Sunday's Grand Prix of Chicago, the 12th event of the season on the FedEx CART Championship schedule.
Tagliani's teammate Patrick Carpentier, who has three top-5 finishes in the four oval-course events in which he has competed this season, will start from the outside of Row 6. "Team Player's goal was to start in the top 10, so we're happy with the results," said Tagliani, whose best qualifying results so far have been the pole in Brazil, fourth place at Homestead in the season opener and eighth last weekend on the Michigan super-oval. "I think we're very competitive heading into the race. It's going to be a race of strategy, and Team Player's usual quickness in the pits is going to come into play. We also have to make sure we stay clear of trouble."
Tagliani, who ran a quick lap of 22.409 seconds (165.309 mph), attributed his improved lap times in the qualifying session to the fact the Team Player's crew added pressure to the shocks following the morning practice. He encountered some minor problems with oversteer in the first two corners, but he handled that challenge by adjusting the anti-roll bar.
Carpentier's efforts to get closer to the front of the starting grid were a bit hampered by some excessive push with his Player's Reynard. "I went down lower in corners 3 and 4 and it helped a bit, but it wasn't enough," explained Carpentier, who clocked a quick lap of 22.481 seconds (164.779 mph). "Starting from 12th on a short oval isn't ideal but all season long Team Player's has displayed the ability to get toward the front during the race. We're hopeful we can do that again because the car was running real well today with full tanks, but I'll have to be aggressive and pick my spots well."
Carpentier has been able to do just that so far this season. He has maintained or improved on his starting position in seven of the eight races in which he has appeared. The only race that he failed to do so was at Nazareth, his first race back after missing three events because of a broken wrist.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Target Toyota Lola: "We need to get some points to win this championship. We were very unlucky at the beginning of the year with some failures, but we knew it was going to be that way with the new engine and chassis. Now, we've got those sorted out and we know we need to score as many points as possible. We made a lot of changes from yesterday to today because yesterday was a bit of a struggle. We picked up a lot of grip, and that really helps. Traffic is going to be difficult, but I think you're going to see some overtaking here."
TONY KANAAN “We knew we had a good car, but we definitely got the most out of it to get the result that we did. I figured we had a top-five car. When I got a 22.4 on the first lap, I decided I would go for it on the second lap even though Morris (Nunn) told me to be happy with a top-six spot. So when I finished the second lap, I told him that I went for it, but that I’m still here in one piece, and he was very, very happy. This is great for Hollywood, and for Mercedes, and the whole team. Everyone’s been working very hard and days like today really are the payoff. I was really concentrating today on doing a good job because I knew I had a good car. It feels great to go fast. Now we must change into race mode and work on getting the most out of the car for Sunday. I’m going to sleep very well tonight.”
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 4th - YOU SHIFT TWICE ON A LAP HERE. IS THAT DIFFICULT TO GET USED TO SINCE THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME RACING HERE? "Shifting at a tight place like this is never easy because you're busy braking hard, then you have to shift. It's very difficult but you have to do it because of the tight turns." WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SUPERSPEEDWAY LAST WEEKEND (MICHIGAN) AND THE TRACK HERE? "It's a big difference. This is completely different from what Michigan is. I like this, but I also like Michigan a lot." ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT? "Well, that's as fast as we can go, so I thought that was a pretty good lap." THIS TRACK HAS SOME TIGHT TURNS. TAKE US THROUGH A LAP. "You have to downshift a couple of times, brake hard into the corner and then accelerate really hard, so you ask a lot from the car. But it's fun." WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR VICTORY TOMORROW? "I think we have as good a chance as anyone else out there, but obviously we have to wait and see what the car does for us in the race. But I think we have a pretty good package."
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 6th - HOW WAS YOUR (QUALIFYING) RUN? "I was very happy with my qualifying effort. I felt that the car was very good. We left a little bit on the table during the second lap when I could've done a little better, but I feel that the car is strong for the race. We left a lot people behind, maybe not as many as we would've liked, but it was pretty good." YOU DON'T LIKE PEOPLE TALKING ON THE RADIO WHEN YOU'RE QUALIFYING, DO YOU. "No. When you're out there in the two laps of qualifying, concentration is at 100 percent. The last thing you want to here is people talking on the radio." WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR TOMORROW. "I was a bit disappointed with the lack of consistency that we've had up to now. We've had many DNF's that we didn't want, but I think that things are going to turn around because we're a strong team and we really believe in each other."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (7th with a lap-time of 22.394 seconds / 165.419 mph) “I’m pretty pleased with my qualifying run because that’s the fastest the KOOL car has gone all weekend by three-tenths. The car was a little loose coming out of the corners, which is what we have been struggling with this weekend. We made a couple of changes right before qualifying and I’m happy with how the car reacted. It seems to improve when it gets cooler and when a little cloud cover comes over. But it was hotter this afternoon, so I think our improvement was even greater than three-tenths. The car slides around a little more when it’s warmer. “I certainly don’t think it’s going to be easy to pass tomorrow, by any stretch of the imagination. There’s an awful lot of turbulence in the corners, so to get up behind somebody and to get a run on the straightaways will be really tough. One of our best chances for passing is if it’s hot tomorrow and the track gets slippery, some guys will slide around and lose their balance (handling).”
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (11th with a lap-time of 22.468 seconds / 164.874 mph) “We have really struggled with the setup of the car this weekend. That was the best the KOOL car has felt all weekend with that qualifying run, so maybe we have a bit of a direction now. I was surprised that we were that quick. Hopefully we can improve it some more before the race tomorrow. I think I’ve got a better race car than a qualifying car at the moment. It’s a long race and we’ll be doing our best to move forward.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 8th - TELL ME ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN. "It was not bad. The car was not like this morning where we had a bit of oversteer. On our first lap and had to play with the bars on the second lap. I did turn one and two with the bar full stiff and turns three and four with it a little bit softer in the front. It was a pretty good lap, but I think we have another tenth (of a second) left in the car." LAST YEAR YOU RACED HERE IN AN ATLANTIC CAR. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RACING HERE IN THAT CAR AND A CHAMP CAR? "In Atlantic, it's pretty much the same momentum, almost flat out. In a Champ car it's pretty heavy braking and downshifting because we approach the corner at 190 miles per hour, so it's a totally different approach. The car needs to be good under braking compared to an Atlantic, where it was almost flat out all the way around." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT TOMORROW'S RACE? "I think we have a pretty good racecar. Pat (Carpentier) did some testing yesterday with the full tanks and liked his car, so I think we're in pretty good shape for the race. Hopefully we'll stay out of trouble and be there at the end."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 12th - HOW'S THE CAR FEELING? "Too much push. We've got a lot of push in the car and we couldn't make the time. I was trying to go down below the line to get the front end to turn a little bit. It wasn't enough, but we'll fix it for the race. " GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS LOOKING TOWARDS THE RACE TOMORROW. "We need to be very aggressive. We need to be as aggressive as we can with what we've got. We seemed to have a good car on Friday with full tanks, so we'll see what happens tomorrow."
ROBERTO MORENO (#20 Visteon Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 13th - "Unfortunately we had a bit of an understeer halfway through turn two. I had to brake so hard and back off, so we didn't get quite right. The back of the car is really good. We don't have the kind of understeer that you would start the race with, so we'll have a good racecar again. THE LUCK HAS NOT GONE YOUR WAY LATELY. DO YOU HAVE A CAR THAT CAN BRING YOU TO THE FRONT? "Yes. The guys did a good job on the gearbox, and I think we've prevented that problem from happening again. I'll be very careful with the gearbox, and we've found ourselves a good set up again."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 15th - "It wasn't a good day for the home team. I wish we knew what would make the car better. We have struggled since we got here which is in contrast to Michigan where we were fast all weekend. The good news is that my qualifying lap was quicker than I had gone all weekend but the bad new is we will start in 16th place. That's two places higher than last year but at this point, we had a better racecar last year than now. We did find some things to make the car better today so we hope to keep working in that direction and get it sorted out before the race. I think the wing we are running this year will make it harder to get to the front than it was last year. I wasn't in favor of this wing because I thought it would not make the racing as close as the other wing. I guess we will see if I was right tomorrow. The race is going to come down to pit strategy to improve your track position. Good pit stops will be important as will the overall timing of them. My Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline crew gained me a few positions in the pits in Toronto and won the race for me so I am hoping to have another good day tomorrow. We just need to get into the top-five and score some solid points to stay out front in the Championship." IS THERE A PARTICULAR REASON WHY YOU SEEM TO HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING A HOLD OF THIS PLACE? "No, I wish I knew. I guess the only good news is that it's the fastest I've ever gone around this place, but the bad news is that I'll probably end up 16th or 17th (on the grid). I don't know what the problem was, but hopefully we can get it good in the race." HOW TOUGH WILL IT BE TO PASS HERE? "It's not going to be even as good as last year. Last year you could pass, this year it's going to be really difficult because of the wing, so it's going to come down to strategies in the pits and things like that to get us track position." NOTE: Andretti charged from his 18th place start in the inaugural race last year and was in fourth place making a pass for third when he and Paul Tracy collided.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#40 Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 19th - ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE (QUALIFYING) RUN? "Not really. For some reason this morning we did some changes from yesterday, and I wasn't very happy with the set up of the car, especially the handling. We have to make some drastic changes for qualifying and still I wasn't very happy with the car. It was sort of like push, loose, and we just haven't got the right balance." IS THERE ANY OPPORTUNITY TO GET AROUND THE CARS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE TRACK? "No way. I mean unless the other guy is really struggling, I don't see it. As you can see on the track, the white stuff beyond the (race) line is very slippery and is very difficult to make a pass there."
GUALTER SALLES (#19 Sports Today Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 21st - YOUR QUALIFYING LAP WAS MUCH QUICKER THAN YOUR PRACTICE LAPS. WHERE DID YOU FIND THE SPEED TODAY? "Well we worked on the car. Unfortunately yesterday we lost an hour and a half of the (afternoon) session, and being my first time on this track I was learning my way around it. So this morning we picked it (our speed) up a lot and I had some understeer, so we just made some changes with the springs to make the car better, and it worked. I wish I knew the car was going to be that good so I could've gone a little bit faster."
Michel Jourdain Jr., Car #16, Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports: "Oops, I made a mistake choosing to use less front wing, because I thought the wind was going to be stronger and I would have oversteered at Turns 3 and 4, but with this change the car developed a lot of understeer at Turns 1 and 2."
Ward, Team Manager, Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports: "This
22.827-second lap (at 162.282 Mph.) is the quickest we ran all weekend,
while not as quick as we tested here, we can run these laps for the
-Juan Montoya's pole position is his fourth on an oval this season and the fifth overall in 2000 for Juan Montoya. The pole is the 12th in 32 Champ Car starts and his sixth in 16 career CART oval races.
WHAT'S ON TAP
is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with,
sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA, FedEx, Winston,
or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast,
or redistributed without permission.
Copyright 1999 - 2000, AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ