The Callahan Report: Vasser Starts Up Front In Japan

27 March 1998

By Terry Callahan
The Auto Channel

Jimmy Vasser
MONTEGI, JAPAN: Rains during the day on Friday kept action to a minimum at the new oval in Montegi today. The CART Fed-Ex Championship teams will line up for Saturday's Budweiser 500 in accordance with their practice times from Thursday.

Jimmy Vasser grabbed the fifth pole of his career with a practice lap of more than 217 mph on the fast oval. Vasser talked about starting up front, saying, "It is advantageous for us, but it's a long race. I think that where the yellows fall will dictate our strategy."

Adrian Fernandez also had a quick practice time. His speed was quick enough to earn the Mexican a spot on the outside of the front row. Fernandez was also well over 217 mph.

Brazilian Gil de Ferran will start third with a speed of 217.116 mph. The defending CART champion, Alex Zanardi will start fourth in the thirty car field.

Budweiser 500 starting order with starting position, (car number), hometown/country, chassis/engine, and qualifying speed:

1. (12) Jimmy Vasser, Las Vegas, Reynard-Honda, 217.964 mph.
2. (40) Adrian Fernandez, Mexico, Reynard-Ford, 217.701.
3. (5) Gil de Ferran, Brazil, Reynard-Honda, 217.116.
4. (1) Alex Zanardi, Italy, Reynard-Honda, 216.812.
5. (99) Greg Moore, Canada, Reynard-Mercedes, 216.526.
6. (27) Dario Franchitti, Scotland, Reynard-Honda, 215.972.
7. (18) Mark Blundell, England, Reynard-Mercedes, 215.930.
8. (3) Andre Ribeiro, Brazil, Penske-Mercedes, 215.513.
9. (8) Bryan Herta, New Albany, Ohio, Reynard-Ford, 215.081.
10. (21) Tony Kanaan, Brazil, Reynard-Honda, 215.064.
11. (17) Mauricio Gugelmin, Brazil, Reynard-Mercedes, 214.890.
12. (20) Scott Pruett, Crystal Bay, Nev., Reynard-Ford, 214.675.
13. (34) Gualter Salles, Brazil, Reynard-Ford, 214.551.
14. (6) Michael Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., Swift-Ford, 214.353.
15. (2) Al Unser Jr., Albuquerque, N.M., Penske-Merrcedes, 214.263.
16. (26) Paul Tracy, Canada, Reynard-Honda, 214.024.
17. (7) Bobby Rahal New Albany, Ohio, Reynard-Ford, 213.926.
18. (9) J.J. Lehto, Finland, Reynard-Mercedes, 213.770.
19. (11) Christian Fittipaldi, Brazil, Swift-Ford, 213.198.
20. (33) Patrick Carpentier, Indianapolis, Reynard-Mercedes, 213.157.
21. (10) Richie Hearn, Henderson, Nev., Swift-Ford, 213.133.
22. (15) Roberto Moreno, Brazil, Reynard-Mercedes, 212.305.
23. (25) Max Papis, Italy, Reynard-Toyota, 210.105.
24. (19) Michel Jourdain Jr., Mexico, Reynard-Ford, 209.600.
25. (43) Hideshi Matsuda, Japan, Swift-Ford, 209.152.
26. (16) Helio Castro-Neves, Brazil, Reynard-Mercedes, 208.479.
27. (77) Arnd Meier, Germany, Lola-Ford, 208.075.
28. (36) Alex Barron, Vista, Calif., Reynard-Toyota, 208.059.
29. (98) P.J. Jones, Scottsdale, Ariz., Reynard-Toyota, 206.335.
30. (24) Hiro Matsushita, Japan, Reynard-Toyota, 204.691.

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in The Racing Image Galleries.

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