LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Team KOOL Green teammates Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy stand 11th and 15th, respectively, following today's first round qualifying for the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. Both drivers struggled a bit today, as Franchitti slid into the tires during morning practice, and Tracy spun coming onto the front stretch during qualifying. Franchitti's crew was able to repair the #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone in time for qualifying, and he posted a time of 1:07.958 / 119.615 mph. Tracy continued after his spin, but the incident brought out a red flag and his fastest lap was disallowed. Consequently, his qualifying position reverted to his second-best lap of 1:08.784 / 118.179 mph.
Patrick Carpentier guaranteed himself a front-row starting spot by taking the provisional pole (1:07.040 / 121.253 mph), with points leader Cristiano da Matta second (1:07.095 / 121.154 mph) and Christian Fittipaldi third (1:07.436 / 120.541 mph). TKG technical partner Michael Andretti was seventh (1:07.714 / 120.046).
Tomorrow's schedule begins with practice from 10:00 - 11:15 a.m., followed by a 60-minute qualifying session at 1:45 p.m. airing live on Speed Channel beginning at 1:30 pm. Sunday's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio starts at 12:30 p.m. with live coverage on CBS. (All times EDT.)
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"Qualifying just didn't go our way today. I just got wide and got in the dirt and lost it on my first stint. It caused a red flag and they took away our fastest time. The KOOL car was pulling to the right after that, so the second run wasn't very good and then we ran out of time. Luckily it was today and not tomorrow, so we have a chance to improve. We didn't run a lot in practice this morning because the tires are so critical now. When you have to go as hard as you can go for a stint, you've got to have the tires to do it. If you have used tires, you're not going to be as quick as if you have new tires. So everybody is trying to save tires and running as little as they can so they have tires for the race. The (race) pace is so much faster now than before that you need to have the tires to stay up front."
John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant
"Not too handy today. We went out late and the object of that is to get the best of the track, because the more rubber down the quicker we can go. The down side is, once the guaranteed 45-minutes of time is gone, you run the risk of losing time to red flags, which we did. Unfortunately we also caused a red flag so we lost our fastest lap. We can project that if Paul kept up the pace he was on for that particular lap, it would have put him closer to the front. It's all ifs and buts, but we know it would have been a good one."
Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"This morning we didn't get many laps in after I got into the tires and that really hurt us. The car had no mechanical grip in the first run during qualifying, it was really bad. Allen (McDonald, Race Engineer) and the Team KOOL Green crew made some changes and the car was a lot better. Unfortunately I caught up with (Shinji) Nakano who was kind of running a walking pace and he held me up. I think we were at least a top-five car if we hadn't caught Nakano on that lap, and that combined with the last red flag, is frustrating. It happens but that doesn't make it easier. Hopefully the weather will hold like this tomorrow and we'll stick it on the front row."
Allen McDonald - Chief Engineer
"Obviously we lost some time this morning and we had to make some changes this afternoon so today was more like a test session for us. It looks like we made some positive changes for our second set of tires during qualifying, which gives us some confidence for tomorrow. Our test in May was good for us to come up with a baseline setup. Quite a few things have changed since then and obviously the track conditions have changed so we have to make sure we change the car with them."