TEAM KOOL GREEN HELPS CHRISTEN NEW CHICAGO MOTOR SPEEDWAY
CART FedEx Championship Series - PRACTICE Round 15 of 20 - Target Grand Prix
CHICAGO, Ill., (Aug. 19, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti enjoyed their first opportunity to run on the new 1-mile oval at Chicago Motor Speedway in preparation for this weekend's Target Grand Prix, Aug. 19-22.
Scattered showers hampered all teams testing, never having had a chance to run on the oval before. Tracy was running laps in the 23-second range, while Franchitti's times were around 24.4 seconds. Tracy's quickest lap was 23.964 seconds (154.582 mph), whereas his teammate's best run was 24.461 seconds (151.441 mph).
Patrick Carpentier had the quickest car, turining a lap of 23.635 seconds (156.734 mph). His teammate Greg Moore was within one-tenth of second with a time of 23.738 seconds (156.045 mph), while Roberto Moreno was third quick around the oval in 23.781 seconds (155.771 mph).
Cars are back on track for practice tomorrow, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Central Time. Sunday's race will be broadcast on ABC at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, one-hour tape delay.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (23.964 seconds / 154.582 mph)
"I like the track. The corners at both ends are pretty similar to each other. It seems that Turns 3 & 4 are a little quicker than 1 & 2. The straightaways are long enough that you can get up to speed, draft someone and pass them going into the turns. But the personality of the track is going to change over the next couple of days as more and more cars run on it and the grip level gets better. By Saturday, we're going to see some really good speeds. I'm happy with the balance of the KOOL car. I was a little surprised we didn't go faster when we put new tires on there at the end of the session.
"I think it's fantastic to be racing here in Chicago. The job Chip [Ganassi] has done is just great. There is a lot of hype about the race in town and it looks like there isn't a bad seat in the house. I think we'll have a full house on Sunday."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (24.461 seconds / 151.441 mph)
"The track is very slippery. The KOOL car is sliding around so much, it almost feels like we're driving in the wet. Hopefully, the track will get more grip. Right now, we're struggling with excessive understeer; we'll fix it for tomorrow. But we haven't run that many laps. I was trying to do more and more laps, rather than coming in to fix the car. I was trying to see if I could find other ways to get around the track faster. We need more track time before we can start adjusting the car. We now have a balance that we can work from, whereas before, we were just hanging on and driving around in circles. At least now we know we've got understeer. We'll fix it Regarding the race: I think once we get more grip in the track, it should be good for passing and racing. Right now, it's almost like there is a dry line where the rubber has been laid down. If you get off of the line, it's as slick as ice."
PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship - PRACTICE
Today's first practice session this morning was cancelled because of rain. When skies cleared, Team KOOL Green's Jonny Kane was ninth in the afternoon session. He clocked a lap of 27.275 seconds (135.817 mph) on the 1-mile oval, 0.26 seconds behind the best lap of the day. Felipe Giaffone was quickest with a time of 27.015 seconds (137.124 mph).
JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (9th with a lap-time of 27.275 seconds / 135.817 mph)
"I think the day went well. We ended the session ninth, but we'd been running in the top-5 up until the final minutes. I think for the this being our first time here, we've done quite well at getting the car setup. There's just a little too much understeer in the car, but we can fix that and go quicker tomorrow. The track needs more rubber down on it before we'll know how good it is for racing. The corners are tight and when you get up close to anyone, you lose all downforce off the front wings of the KOOL car."
KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship - PRACTICE
Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney had his first day of practice at the new Chicago Motor Speedway cut short after he hit the wall in turn 2 during the first practice session for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. Gurney was eighth fastest before he hit the wall on the last lap of the 45-minute session. The Team KOOL Green crew spent the rest of the day repairing the #27 machine and Gurney will try again tomorrow.
ALEX GURNEY, #27 Team KOOL Green Toyota/Swift: 28.8 seconds
"Obviously it was a tough day for the Team KOOL Green Atlantic team. I caught the wall there on that last lap of the first session. The problem was understeer in the middle of the corners. I pitted three or four times to make corrections to the car and we were getting there. But it still wasn't enough. I basically just understeered up into the gray (off line) and went up into the wall. But we'll fix the car and go back after it tomorrow."