Rain puts Franchitti at the back

Dario Franchitti was particularly upset by CART's decision to base the starting grid for Sunday's Champ Car race on Saturday morning practice times instead of championship position after rain washed out the qualifying session on the two-mile oval. The Scot lost an engine and wound up last in the session on 220.453 mph

Rain puts Franchitti at the back

At Milwaukee (the other venue where qualifying was rained out in 2001), the grid was based on Friday times because the Saturday morning practice session was cancelled. A change in the CART rules for this year made Friday a "test" day with no bearing on the rest of the weekend.

"That's a farce," Franchitti said. "The whole point of going on championship position for qualifying order was so we didn't have what we had this morning, which was people running around with no wing on the thing just hanging everything out for a tow just to be at the top of the order. What we're going to see now, and it's going to be the same at Fontana, is everybody screaming around on Saturday morning getting these tows. I thought we were trying to make it a bit safer. It's very inconsistent on CART's behalf that they've chosen to do it this way. It makes no sense at all.

"If we'd have known beforehand, I'm sure we'd have run that morning session very differently," he added. "I was purposely trying to stay out of tows trying to get a reading on what sort of speed we could run. So I'm disappointed, obviously."

Dario admitted that starting from the back for a 500-mile race at Michigan is less of a handicap than it could be at other tracks.

"I've won a race from last position (Cleveland) in the last couple of weeks, and Michael (Andretti) has won one," Franchitti said. "It's a long race, and we'll give it our best shot. It's going to be difficult coming through there. You have some very inexperienced guys who are starting at the front who maybe shouldn't be there and it will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow. But it's a long race and this is as good a place as any to be starting last."

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