CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago Thursday Track Notes

Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell - THURSDAY PIT NOTES - Good Morning from the Chip Ganassi's spanking new Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois for the opening day of practice for Round 15 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Target...

Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell - THURSDAY PIT NOTES

- Good Morning from the Chip Ganassi's spanking new Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois for the opening day of practice for Round 15 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell! The new 1.029-mile course features a wide Milwaukee-style oval with slightly more banking (6 degrees) but a tighter-turn radius than Milwaukee. The corners are 80 feet wide with the 2-degree straightaways 70 feet wide. Not one FedEx Championship Series driver has tested or practiced on the green asphalt laid down last month, and it will be a guessing game as to what chassis set-ups to use. The Milwaukee set-up is favored as a starting point by a few of the teams willing to speculate publicly. Added to that, the surface got a thorough washing last night by thunderstorms moving through the area, and occasional drizzle this morning is a reminder that the weather might not quite be over. But the forecast gets better as the weekend goes on, with perfect temperatures and blue skies forecast for Race Day!

The Champ Cars will be on-track at 10 a.m., each Group having a 45-minutes practice session. The teams again return at 2:15 p.m., again in the split-group format on track for 45 minutes in each Group. The Group One session in the morning will be comprised of the fastest 13 qualifiers from Michigan, with Group Two containing 14 entrants. The afternoon splits will be based on the morning practice speeds. Friday scheduling has a 90-minute combined practice starting at 10:30 a.m., with a split group 45-minute session taking to the track at 2:30 p.m. A 15-minute interval will separate the two groups. Saturday morning features a combined 75-minute practice session taking the Green Flag at 9 a.m., followed by Champ Car qualifying at 1:15 p.m. Sunday's traditional practice session is on-track at 10 a.m. followed by the start of the 225-lap (235.641-mile) Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell at 2 p.m. * GREEN FLAG waves at 10:45 a.m. to start the Group One practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 83 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 72 degrees F. at the start of the session. #27 FRANCHITTI logs the first official time-recorded laps in Chicago Motor Speedway history with a speed of 112.599 mph (32.899 seconds).

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:52 a.m. after CART course observers report a light drizzle starting in Turn 4.

Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell No. 2 FedEx Championship Series Press Notes- Thursday, August 19, 1999

- At 10:55 a.m., 10 minutes into the session and under a Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #7 PAPIS with a lap of 136.352 mph (27.168 seconds), followed by #17X GUGELMIN (134.047 mph; 27.168 seconds) and #8 HERTA (132.253 mph; 28.010 seconds).

- GREEN FLAG waves at 11:04 a.m. to resume the practice session after the drizzle stops and CART safety workers get the track dried out.

- At 11:05 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #17X GUGELMIN with a lap of 139.331 mph (26.587 seconds), followed by #8 HERTA (138.617 mph; 26.724 seconds) and #24 PRUETT (137.114 mph; 27.017 seconds).

- BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:06 a.m. to #4 MONTOYA after course observers report smoke at the rear of the car at speed. MONTOYA subsequently pits the car.

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:07 a.m. after CART course observers again report a light drizzle in Turn 4 and along the main straight. CART safety workers fire the jet drier as well as all available safety vehicles and begin circling the track to dry the surface.

- GREEN FLAG waves at 11:35 a.m. to resume the practice session.

- At 11:40 a.m., 27 Green-Flag minutes into the session, the fastest Group One driver is still #17X GUGELMIN with a speed of 145.957 mph (25.380 seconds), followed by #4X MONTOYA (144.224 mph; 25.685 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (144.163 mph; 25.696 seconds).

- The BLACK FLAG is shown to #27 FRANCHITTI at 11:41 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In logged at 11:38 a.m. FRANCHITTI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

- CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:44 a.m. to end the Group One session with the fastest driver #33 CARPENTIER with a speed of 146.825 mph (25.230 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (146.413 mph; 25.301 seconds) and #8 HERTA (146.407 mph; 25.302 seconds). The Group One drivers only logged 19 minutes, 34 seconds of Green-flag time during their session. #6 ANDRETTI had the fastest trap speed at the Start/Finish line of Group One with a speed of 179.757 mph.

- GREEN FLAG waves at 11:45 a.m. to start the Group Two practice session.

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:52 a.m. after #10 HEARN spins off of Turn 4 and stalls in the middle of the track. CART safety workers get the car restarted and HEARN continues to his Pit Area.

- At 11:55 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is #9 CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 140.655 mph (26.335 seconds; 11th-fastest overall), followed by #10 HEARN (140.403 mph; 26.384 seconds; 12th-fastest overall) and #99 MOORE (137.823 mph; 26.878 seconds; 16th-fastest overall.)

- GREEN FLAG waves at 11:56 a.m. to resume the Group two session.

- BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:57 a.m. to #20 MAGNUSSEN for a Pit Road speed violation. MAGNUSSEN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

- At 12:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a speed of 147.158 mph (25.173 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #11 MORENO (147.047 mph; 25.192; second-fastest overall) and #40 JONES (144.896 mph; 25.566 seconds; ninth-fastest overall).

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 12:06 p.m. after CART course observers report debris on the track.

- GREEN FLAG waves at 12:08 p.m. to resume the Group Two session.

- At 12:13 p.m., #11 MORENO logs the first sub 25-second lap of the day with a speed of 148.413 mph (24.960 seconds).

- At 12:15 p.m., 30 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #11 MORENO with his earlier lap of 148.413 mph (24.960; first-fastest overall), followed by #9X CASTRO-NEVES (148.111; 25.011; second-fastest overall) and #99 MOORE (147.927 mph; 25.042 seconds; third-fastest overall).

- BLACK FLAG is shown to #19 JOURDAIN Jr. at 12:17 p.m. for a Pit Road speed violation logged at Pit In at 12:13 p.m. JOURDAIN Jr. subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag driver thru penalty.

- Also at 12:17 p.m., #9X CASTRO-NEVES clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 151.577 mph (24.439 seconds), logging a Start/Finish trap speed of 178.790 mph.

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 12:20 p.m. after #19 JOURDIAN Jr. spins exiting Turn 4 and slides sideways down the frontstretch. JOURDAIN Jr. keeps the car off the inside wall and comes to a halt about 100 feet before the Start/Finish line. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and JOURDAIN Jr. continues to his Pit Area.

- GREEN FLAG waves at 12:23 p.m. to resume the Group Two practice session.

- At 12:25 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 151.577 mph (24.439 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #11 MORENO (148.825 mph; 24.891 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #18 BLUNDELL (148.485 mph; 24.948 seconds; third-fastest overall).

- CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12:30 p.m. to end the Group Two session with #9X CASTRO-NEVES still the morning's fastest with a lap of 151.577 mph (24.439 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #99 MOORE (149.794 mph; 24.730 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #11 MORENO (149.395 mph; 24.796 seconds; third-fastest overall). The practice effect definitely helped on the new track as the Group Two drivers (i.e. the slowest half of the qualifying field at the last oval race; Michigan) got 40 minutes of Green Flag practice and put seven drivers in the top ten speeds in the morning's sessions. FedEx championship Series drivers introduced 32 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary car utilized by #9X CASTRO-NEVES, #17X GUGELMIN, #4X MONTOYA, #24X PRUETT, #2X UNSER Jr., #25X da MATTA, #5X de FERRAN, and #12X VASSER. CART drivers logged a total of 611 laps in the morning's sessions.

- GREEN FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to start the Group One afternoon session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 98 degrees F. at the start of the session and an ambient temperature of 77 degrees F.

- YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:04 p.m. after CART course observers report a light drizzle beginning in Turn 3.

- At 3:10 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #24 PRUETT with a lap of 150.763 mph (24.571 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (147.386 mph; 25.134 seconds) and #5 de FERRAN (145.465 mph; 25.466 seconds).

* YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:16 p.m. after CART course observers again report a light rain in Turn 3 and on the back straight. CART safety workers again fire the jet drier and take to the track in an attempt to dry the asphalt.

* At 3:20 p.m., 20 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag for moisture, the fastest driver is now #7 PAPIS with a lap of 153.933 mph (24.065 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (153.780 mph; 24.089 seconds) and #24 PRUETT (151.509 mph; 24.450 seconds).

* GREEN FLAG waves at 3:27 p.m. to resume the Group One session.

* At 3:30 p.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest Group One drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:20 p.m. report.

* At 3:40 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with an even faster lap of 154.209 mph (24.022 seconds), followed by #20 MAGNUSSEN (154.202 mph; 24.023 seconds) and #26 TRACY (153.780 mph; 24.089 seconds).

* CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to end the Group One session with the fastest driver #7 PAPIS tied with #26 TRACY with identical speeds of 154.582 mph (23.964 seconds), and #20 MAGNUSSEN third with a 154.202 mph (24.023 seconds).

* GREEN FLAG waves at 4 p.m. to start the Group Two practice session.

* At 4:10 p.m. 10 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 155.425 mph (23.834 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #11 MORENO (155.132 mph; 23.879 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #18 BLUNDELL (153.576 mph; 24.121 seconds; sixth-fastest overall).

* The BLACK FLAG is shown at 4:19 p.m. to #8 HERTA for a Pit Road speed violation. HERTA subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black flag drive thru penalty.

* At 4:20 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is now #11 MORENO (155.771 mph; 23.781 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #8 HERTA (155.425 mph; 23.834 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #22 GORDON (154.983 mph; 23.902 seconds; fourth-fastest overall).

* At 4:30 p.m., 30 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is now #33 CARPENTIER with a speed of 156.192 mph (23.717 seconds; first-fastest overall), followed by #11 MORENO (155.771 mph; 23.781 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #17 GUGELMIN (155.497 mph; 23.823 seconds; third-fastest overall).

* The BLACK FLAG is shown at 4:31 p.m. to both #21 GARCIA Jr. and #22 GORDON for Pit Road speed violations incurred at Pit In at 4:23 p.m. and 4:28 p.m. respectively. Both drivers subsequently pit their cars to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalties.

* At 4:40 p.m., #33 CARPENTIER is again the fastest driver of the day with a speed of 156.734 mph (23.635 mph; first-fastest overall), followed by #11 MORENO (155.771 mph; 23.781 seconds) tied with third-fastest #17 GUGELMIN (155.771 mph; 23.781 seconds).

* The BLACK FLAG is shown at 4:44 p.m. to #11 MORENO for a Pit Road speed violation. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

* CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4:45 p.m. to end the Group Two practice session with the fastest driver still #33 CARPENTIER with his earlier lap of 156.734 mph (23.635 seconds; fastest overall on the day), followed by teammate #99 MOORE (156.054 mph; 23.738 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #11 MORENO (155.771 mph; 23.781 seconds; third-fastest overall.) FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced a total of 30 different cars to the track in this afternoon's sessions with secondary cars utilized by #9X CASTRO-NEVES, #18X BLUNDELL, #25X da MATTA, #4X MONTOYA, #17X GUGELMIN, and #8X HERTA. CART drivers logged a total of 971 laps in this afternoon's sessions.

* A quote from today's fastest driver; PATRICK CARPENTIER, follows:

* PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ltd. Mercedes Reynard: "We put the car on the track this morning and it [the speed] was just there. We stayed very fast all day and all the improvements we made went in the right direction. I think we're in good shape for the race. It's gonna be hard, but if we can stay in the top five or top 10, I think we'll be all right. This is the smoothest track I've ever ridden on. I'm pretty happy that nobody tested here. The track is going to change throughout the weekend from session to session. [On his recovery from a mild compression of the third thoracic vertebra sustained at Detroit two weeks ago] If we were running on a road course this weekend, for sure I would be here. I've been struggling to put the car in the pit box. But when I'm on the track, I don't even think about it."

* The FedEx Championship Series drivers are definitely getting accustomed to new Chicago track as the trap speeds have jumped nearly 6 mph over this morning's times. The fastest part of the track is at the end of the back straight where morning trap speeds by the fastest driver, HELIO CASTRO-NEVES were in the 183.409 mph range, but upped to MAX PAPIS's speed of 189.836 mph by the end of the afternoon sessions. Corner trap speeds coming off of Turn 2 jumped even more, with PAPIS logging afternoon trap speed of 131.870 mph, over 7 mph faster than ROBERTO MORENO's morning Turn 2 trap speed of 124.791 mph. On the average, this afternoon's fastest driver, PATRICK CARPENTIER is traveling 5.157 mph faster than his counterpart in the morning session; HELIO CASTRO-NEVES. And after the engineer skull-sessions tonight, one can expect the speeds to jump again tomorrow.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi