CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago Mercedes Friday Notes

FedEx Championship Series Report Race: Target Grand Prix, Chicago Motor Speedway, Cicero, Illinois Date/Session: Fri., Aug. 20, 1999 Second Practice Mercedes-Benz continued to top the time charts at the newly...

FedEx Championship Series Report

Race:           Target Grand Prix, Chicago Motor Speedway, Cicero, Illinois
Date/Session:   Fri., Aug. 20, 1999             Second Practice

Mercedes-Benz continued to top the time charts at the newly built Chicago Motor Speedway, powering five teams and eight drivers through the second day of practice for Sunday's inaugural Target Grand Prix, round 15 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Highlighted by CART "All Star" Helio Castro-Neves' pace-setting performance, the Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine powered five of the 10 quickest Champ Cars on the track.

The Brazilian sophomore piloted his Hogan Racing Mercedes around the tight-turned, 1.029-mile oval in 22.968 seconds (161.285 mph) * quickest of the four practice sessions. PacWest Motorola Mercedes driver Mark Blundell posted a fourth-best time of 23.130 seconds (160.156 mph) in the afternoon session.

Player's/Forsythe pilot Patrick Carpentier, fastest in yesterday's sessions, turned in a lap of 23.173 seconds (159.858 mph) to claim sixth place overall. Teammate Greg Moore, sixth in the driver's championship points standings, is seventh quickest after clocking a fast lap of 23.252 seconds (159.315 mph). Mauricio Gugelmin posted a quick lap of 23.314 seconds (158.892 mph) in his PacWest Hollywood Mercedes * good enough for 10th place.

In his second appearance in the cockpit of the Hogan Tang Mercedes, Castro-Neves' teammate Luis Garcia Jr. lapped the speedway in 23.500 seconds (157.634 mph). Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes pilot Al Unser Jr. turned in a lap of 23.946 seconds (154.698 mph), and Epson Bettenhausen Motorsports rookie Shigeaki Hattori improved his time with a run of 24.185 seconds (153.169 mph).

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (First/22.968 seconds) "There is still only one line, and it's very difficult because the track keeps changing. But, I'm very comfortable in the car, and we're improving each time we come to the track. We still have some testing to do, and we'll keep doing it right up until Sunday."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (Fourth/23.130 seconds) "Hopefully, the track will develop another line because we need it for good racing. The balance in my car is good, and the engine is giving us good performance. We'd like to get a little quicker and move up to the front. "The track surface is good * it just needs to be used. We need to put down some more rubber."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Sixth/23.173 seconds) "We only did a few laps today on new tires. Tomorrow we'll go for our qualifying trim. I'm confident we'll have a good car. We'll also be looking at our pit strategy, and hopefully we'll get some luck as well."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Seventh/23.252 seconds) "We've changed the car a lot, because we came here thinking we'd have a lot of grip. Now we're chasing the race track a little bit. But I think we can make some improvements and be quicker tomorrow. "It's a beautiful facility, but the turns are quite tight and it's a one-groove track. We'll need to qualify well, and have good pit stops on race day."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (10th/23.314 seconds) "We tried to run with full tanks to see how it would do in a race. We got some good readings, but we need to improve the balance. We're still fighting a push, but other than that, it went well today."

Luiz Garcia Jr., No. 21, Hogan Racing/Tang Mercedes/Firestone (15th/23.500 seconds) "We're improving out there, and with a little more time, we'll get even better. The last two laps, I felt very comfortable in the car. I started to feel like I could push myself. We are solving one problem at a time until we get them all cleared up."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Patrick Carpentier , Luis Garcia , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore , Luiz Garcia
Teams Team Penske