Vasser Has Pole For Cleveland
11 July 1998
Cleveland, OH (July 11, 1998) Target/Honda driver Jimmy Vasser will be leading the pack for tomorrow's FedEx Championship Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank. Using his qualifying time from Friday 134.385 mph (56.417 seconds), Vasser was never forced to improve his time. Starting along side Vasser will be Kool/Honda driver Dario Franchitti who improved his qualifying time by one-half second. Vasser's Target teammate, Alex Zanardi will occupy the third starting spot with a lap of 133.658 mph (56.724 seconds). Zanardi also improved his lap time from Friday's effort. Vasser, commenting in the post-qualifying press conference, said "I'm pretty happy. We sat in the pit lane until we could see how Alex, Dario and Bryan would run. It didn't appear that people were improving, so we sat until there were about seven minutes remaining, when we heard that Alex had run in the 56's. I actually pushed for a couple of laps! The good thing is that we didn't put too much on the tires and we're in good shape for tomorrow." Kool/Mercedes driver Dario Franchitti commented,"This morning, we didn't actually run that many laps, we were concerned about the tires, so we worked on balance and setting the car up for long runs. During qualifying, you've got to go for it over the bumps, and you have to carry as much speed as you can. I was out there on my tires to do two or three quick laps. We've improved the car over the bumps, which is good. Hopefully, that will be a good sign for tomorrow." Vasser's qualifying efforts were over-shadowed by the news running up and down pit-lane that teammate Zanardi would be leaving at the end of the year to drive for Williams. Zanardi commented, "I think if you let that [rumors] be a distraction, I wouldn't be able to win any race. To answer the question which I'm sure is going to come, I don't have a job yet for next year. I don't have a done deal with anybody right now. It may well be that one day I will drive for Williams, but I haven't signed anything"