David Reininger - motorsport.com Cicero, IL (August 20, 1999) - Helio Castro-Neves turned the fastest lap of the day in practice for Sunday's Target Grand Prix at the brand new Chicago Motor Speedway. Max Papis, driver of the Team Rahal Miller...
David Reininger - motorsport.com
Cicero, IL (August 20, 1999) - Helio Castro-Neves turned the fastest lap of the day in practice for Sunday's Target Grand Prix at the brand new Chicago Motor Speedway. Max Papis, driver of the Team Rahal Miller Lite car, joined Castro-Neves atop the speed charts this afternoon. They were the only two drivers to break the 161 mph barrier at the one-mile oval.
Castro-Neves, who sat on the pole at Milwaukee this season, tweaked his Milwaukee setup to go 161.285 mph this afternoon. "The setup is similar (to Milwaukee) but the track is not very similar," said Castro-Neves. "Actually, it's very tight (here), it's not narrow, but it's tight. It's make you slow down a lot. We are working not only to be fast, but to be consistent too."
Second fastest today, just eight one-thousandths of a second slower than Castro-Neves, Max Papis said he was working on a race setup too. "The most important thing is coming here with the right setup. We have the right setup on the car and we know what we're looking for in the race," said Papis. "We've been working for a couple of days (on a setup) for the race pace. Going fast is important, but having a consistent car in the race is the goal."
Roberto Moreno, driving the Newman-Haas K-Mart car, set the third fastest lap today, just missing the 161 mph barrier with a lap at 160.977 mph. "Firestone has brought a very consistent tire to this race," Moreno said. "They're the same on the 90th lap as they are on the first lap. We think tomorrow, as the track gets more rubber on it, we'll go faster."
Moreno also talked about the tight corners at the new facility. "You have to go from 180 mph to 130 mph in the corners. The track will be much better when we get more rubber down and more racing lines."
"It's the nature of the new rules with the small wing," said Papis. "You can go so fast down the straight. You can't carry as much speed as you could with the big wing. I think it's pretty good because you're going to see a lot of overtaking".
Mark Blundell, fourth today with a lap at 160.156 mph, also found the tight corners a bit tricky. "This is a difficult track in some respects because it's so heavy on braking into the corners, and you can't use much of an arc through the turns." said Blundell. "In some ways it's more of a road course approach, but that could be troublesome during the race. Still, once the rubber is laid down, it should produce some good racing. That's what it's all about."