CHAMPCAR/CART: Target Team Ganassi takes Gateway front row

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Madison, IL (September 16, 2000) - Target Team Ganassi teammates Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser will start from the front row in Sunday's Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway. Montoya captured his 13th ...

CHAMPCAR/CART: Target Team Ganassi takes Gateway front row

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Madison, IL (September 16, 2000) - Target Team Ganassi teammates Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser will start from the front row in Sunday's Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway. Montoya captured his 13th pole position after edging his teammate by 15 one-thousandths of a second.

Montoya and Vasser, the only two drivers to average 180 mph around the 1.27-mile oval, were both a tenth of second faster than Paul Tracy who will start third. This is the first time the Target cars have swept the front row since Vasser and Alex Zanardi at Mid-Ohio in 1996.

Third fastest in the morning session, Montoya trimmed .027 seconds from his practice time, earning the pole at an average speed of 180.334 mph.

"We did a couple of changes after this morning and it was better. The car is a bit better, there's not a lot of understeer, so I think we're looking pretty good for the race," said Montoya, who has scored six poles this season, five of which have come on ovals.

This is the first time that Toyota powered cars have scored the top two starting positions in CART FedEx history.

Montoya has won from the pole position four times in his CART career, a feat that has yet to be accomplished in CART's four-year history at Gateway.

While red cars will be starting side by side on the front row, the second row will be all green, Team Kool Green. Tracy will start third with his teammate, Dario Franchitti starting alongside. Tracy stopped the clocks at 25.5 seconds (179.294 mph), with Franchitti .014 seconds slower at 179.196 mph.

"I'm not surprised with our good qualifying run. The Kool car has had good balance all weekend, we just caught a lot of traffic and didn't get a chance to get a clean lap in practice," said Tracy, who was 15th on this morning's speed chart. "We've been loose all weekend, but that's the way I like it."

"Qualifying was a good showing for both me and Dario. The key is to have a good race car and good results the rest of the year. If you can win, that's great, but the most important thing is to have a solid result and keep gaining championship points," said Tracy, currently third in championship points

Out of the top-five drivers in the CART FedEx Championship standings, Adrian Fernandez was the only other driver to earn a top-ten qualifying position for Sunday's race. Fernandez, fourth in the championship, qualified seventh.

Franchitti, who will start fourth, was initially disappointed with his qualifying effort. Poor practice times meant he would be near the front of the qualifying order. Although he picked up nearly four mph from the morning session, he didn't think his qualifying lap of 179.196 mph, would keep him near the front of the grid.

"We were happy at the end of the day yesterday, but then we really struggled this morning" said Franchitti. I sat down with the Team Kool Green engineers after practice and we had a think about it. We weren't sure what to expect for qualifying; we kind of took a gamble on the setup."

"Normally we take a controlled approach to changes to the car, but we said, 'Hey, we're 19th this morning, we have to make some pretty big changes.' So we did and it worked."

"But now we have to sit down and figure out the best setup for the race, because what works in qualifying doesn't work so well in the race. But we should be in good shape. We spent yesterday's afternoon practice, when all the cars were out together, working on a race setup."

Franchitti was seventh fastest yesterday afternoon with a lap at 173.774 mph.

Starting fifth in the Player's Ford-powered is Patrick Carpentier after turning in a qualifying speed of 179.182 mph. "We had a little bit of push in the car and to be really fast here you need the car to be a little bit loose, but not too much. But hey, us drivers always complain and think we've never got the perfect car. It was good run and the team did a great job."

Tony Kanaan will start sixth in the fastest Mercedes Benz-powered car. "We weren't incredibly happy with our time when we set it, but it beat most of the (seven) people who came after us, so it turned out to be all right. Actually, we had probably a better car than the time shows. But I got a little too greedy. I tried just a little too hard on the second lap and that cost us. We picked up just enough understeer that we didn't improve on our first lap."

Rounding out the top ten are Adrian Fernandez, Alex Tagliani, Helio Castroneves and Cristiano da Matta.

CART FedEx Championship points leader Gil de Ferran will start 14th. "We didn't make any changes to the Marlboro car after the morning session so we were surprised that the car was so loose in qualifying," said de Ferran, who was fifth fastest this morning. "We'll have to go back and look at the data and come up with some solutions for tomorrow."

Notes: Buddy Rice captured the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Championship after finishing second in today's Atlantic race. Cory Witherill was unhurt in an accident in his Indy Lights car. Indy Regency Racing has withdrawn their entry after the car sustained heavy damage in the incident.

shares
comments
CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Gateway preview
Previous article

CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Gateway preview

Next article

IRL: Indy500: 2001 schedule update

IRL: Indy500: 2001 schedule update
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021