By Jack Durbin - Motorsport.com
Kenny Brack (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) had the fastest practice speed in practice today at the Texas Motor Speedway. He turned a lap in 22.821 seconds at a speed of 233.785 MPH. This is the fastest lap ever turned at the speedway. Fourteen drivers topped the 230 mph per in the CART FedEx Championship Series first visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Scott Dixon, and Bryan Herta rounded out the top five speeds for the day.
Mauricio Gugelmin was the only car of the day to make contact with the wall of this high banked track. His car hit the turn three wall at the end of the afternoon practice session. Gugelmin was removed from is car awake and alert. After an exam at the CART medical center, he was transported to a local area hospital for x-rays. It is reported he was complaining of some neck pain. He has been cleared drive the rest of the weekend unless further injury is discovered.
Pre-practice concern about the high banks at Texas and the unevenness of the track were apparently unfounded, as all the drivers practice qualifying and race setup during the day. Many drivers were seen running two abreast in an attempt to determine how the cars handled in close quarters. Most also practiced their drafting technique.
"It's no secret that I love the superspeedways," commented Kanaan." I got my first win at Michigan and this is just that same type of track, with a lot more banking. It actually feels safer than Michigan because the banking really holds the car in place, even though it's pretty bumpy.
Kenny Brack said that the track was much smoother than when he raced here in the IRL. "I think we're running very competitively and it's better to be first than 25th obviously. I think the times you saw today are the result of a lot of drafting going on, so (my time) was a combination of having a good set up and catching the draft at the right moment. We tried to do some long runs in the afternoon but unfortunately the car broke down so we didn't get to do that, but everything else feels good and now it's time to focus on tomorrow and then on Sunday."
Paul Tracy (#26 Team Kool Green Honda Reynard) "We got off to a slow start this morning, but we made some adjustments and got the KOOL car working pretty good this afternoon. We've really been concentrating on the race setup, so it's good to put in some fairly quick laps today. But now we've got to get geared up for qualifying tomorrow. There's no doubt about it -- this is a fast track. It's going to take a 232 or 233 (mph, average speed) to get the pole. But we've got a fast car and we seem to be able to run pretty good in traffic, and that's what's going to be most important on Sunday."
For Bryan Herta was happy with his car. "It is unbelievable going into those corners, they are like a big bowl and you are looking straight at it..it's fast and it's fun."
Rookies Bruno Junqueira and Micolas Minassian were awe struck by the track and the speeds. 'I have never driven this fast before in my life," said Junqueira. "The speeds her are amazing! We learned a lot about this track today. That should help us in qualifying tomorrow."
Micassian was equally impressed. "All I can say is: "Wow! This is an experience that is brand new to me. It is almost like being on a roller coaster." He continued," I have never turned a lap of over 230 mph before and it is an incredible felling."
Practice continues tomorrow morning at 9:30 am., with qualifying at 1:30 in the afternoon. The Firestone Firehawk 600 presented by Pioneer will take the green lap at 2pm on Sunday.