CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira captures Indy 500 pole

Rising CART star Junqueira captures pole position for 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. INDIANAPOLIS (May 11, 2002) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Bruno Junqueira recorded the fastest qualifying lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in ...

CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira captures Indy 500 pole

Rising CART star Junqueira captures pole position for 86th running of the Indianapolis 500.

INDIANAPOLIS (May 11, 2002) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Bruno Junqueira recorded the fastest qualifying lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in six years today as he captured the pole position for the 86th Indianapolis 500, scheduled to be run on Sunday, May 26.

Junqueira, a 25-year-old Brazilian who is in his second year of competition in the CART FedEx Championship Series, was the first driver to qualify Saturday and he showed his speed quickly, turning a four-lap average speed of 231.342 mph. Junqueira then had to sit and wait to see if his quick time would remain at the top of the scoring chart as rain interrupted qualifying during the course of the afternoon.

Twenty three drivers qualified after Junqueira's effort and none could post a faster speed. In winning the pole, Junqueira became the first driver since his countryman and fellow Champ Car driver Emerson Fittipaldi to capture the top starting position as the first driver to qualify on Pole Day at Indianapolis. Fittipaldi accomplished the feat in 1990.

Junqueira also became the fastest polesitter at Indy since the late Scott Brayton in 1996. Brayton was the last driver to win the pole with an average speed in excess of 230 mph (233.718 mph). Arie Luyendyk set the record for the fastest qualifying average that same year (236.986 mph) but did not earn the pole because it came on the second day of qualifying.

"The car had pretty good handling," Junqueira said. "I did good laps, good average speed. Today the wind is blowing and turn 4 is really difficult. One thing with ovals is you must be patient. I have to be patient. The car was really good and everything worked really fine for me."

A former road racing champion, Junqueira, who captured the FIA International F3000 Championship in 2000 and the South American F3000 title in 1997, has adapted quickly to oval racing. He earned his first pole position in the CART FedEx Championship Series last season at the one-mile Nazareth Speedway oval. Junqueira also recorded fourth-place finishes in two other oval events in 2001 - at Milwaukee and in the season finale at California Speedway - and he earned his first CART victory on a road circuit at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

In his first superspeedway effort, Junqueira performed well in last season's Indy 500 finishing fifth for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

After finishing 16th in the final FedEx Championship Series standings in his rookie season in 2001, Junqueira has gotten off to a fast start this year. He earned his second career pole two weeks ago in qualifying for the Bridgestone Potenza 500 in Motegi, Japan and he went on to claim his second career Champ Car win in CART's most recent event on the 1.548-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi. Junqueira is currently fifth in the CART FedEx Championship Series point standings with 23 points through three rounds of competition.

Several other current CART FedEx Championship Series pilots also qualified for the Indy 500 Saturday. Tony Kanaan (fifth), Max Papis (18th), Jimmy Vasser (19th), Kenny Brack (21st) and Michael Andretti (23rd) all earned spots among the 24 drivers who qualified this afternoon.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as American Honda, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport, and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS, FOX, and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.CART.com.

-cart-

shares
comments
IRL: Indy 500: Schwitzer Award candidates announced

Previous article

IRL: Indy 500: Schwitzer Award candidates announced

Next article

IRL: Indy 500 pole day qualifying results

IRL: Indy 500 pole day qualifying results
Load comments
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021