CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Friday practice track notes

Good Morning from the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round Nine of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar! Friday's weather has greeted...

Good Morning from the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round Nine of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar! Friday's weather has greeted the early arrivals to the 2.106-mile temporary race course with partly cloudy skies, expected to change to a chance of showers here this afternoon. Temperatures are expected to peak in the low-80s by the Green Flag for today's Provisional Qualifying sessions. The remainder of the weekend's weather has partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures for Saturday and Sunday's forecast.

The CART on-track schedule features the weekend's first practice session taking the Green Flag at 11:15 a.m. This full-field session will last 90 minutes. At 3:15 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the split-group provisional qualifying session with the fastest drivers from the previous road course (last week's Portland Grand Prix) comprising Group Two. Each split-session provisional qualifying Group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two groups' efforts. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars again on track for practice from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. with the final round of CART qualifying scheduled from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. This final qualifying session will again be in the split-group format with the fastest drivers from Friday's provisional qualifying comprising Group Two. Again, each group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two Groups. Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 100-lap Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar at 1 p.m. (All times are local.)

BRYAN HERTA will again fill in this week for the recuperating TONY KANAAN in the #55 Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:15 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 95 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 73 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 11:19 a.m., #34 MARQUES slides off course at Turn 4 and makes light contact against the tire barrier with the right rear corner of the car, breaking the wing. CART safety workers quickly move the car to safety to await a chance to tow the car back to the Pit Area.

At 11:25 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #2X DE FERRAN with a lap of 120.536 mph (1:02.899), followed by #12X VASSER (120.164 mph; 1:03.094) and #17 GUGELMIN (119.843 mph; 1:03.262).

At 11:33 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES spins at Turn 4 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:35 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #40X FERNANDEZ with a lap of 125.264 mph (1:00.525), followed by #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 125.101 mph (1:00.604) and #32 CARPENTIER (125.872 mph; 1:00.618).

At 11:36 a.m., #16 JOURDAIN JR. slows on course at Turn 6 and subsequently pits the car.

At 11:39 a.m., #1 MONTOYA spins at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:41 a.m. to #20 MORENO for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 11:38 a.m. at Pit In. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-through penalty.

At 11:45 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 127.718 mph (59.362 seconds), followed by #11X FITTIPALDI (126.959 mph; 59.717 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (126.234 mph; 1:00.060).

RED FLAG waves at 11:45 a.m. after #16 JOURDAIN JR. stalls at the entrance to Turn 5 with a mechanical problem. CART safety workers tow the car back to the Pit Area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:51 a.m. to resume the session. At 11:54 a.m., CART course observers report wheel-to-wheel contact between the cars of #18 BLUNDELL and #8 BRACK at Turn 3. Both drivers continue on course without apparent damage to either car.

At 11:55 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:45 a.m. report.

RED FLAG waves at 11:56 a.m. after #16 JOURDAIN JR. stalls at Turn 1 at the outside of the course. CART safety workers tow the car back in to the Pit Area. JOURDAIN JR. will receive an eight-minute penalty to start immediately for causing a second Red Flag in the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:59 a.m. to resume the session.

RED FLAG waves at 12:03 p.m. after #34X MARQUES slides into the tires, making light contact with the left front wheel. MARQUES backs the car out of the barrier but stalls as he pulls on course. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and MARQUES drives back to his Pit Area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:05 p.m. to resume the session.

At 12:05 p.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #97 DA MATTA with his earlier lap of 127.718 mph (59.362 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (127.217 mph; 59.596) and #11X FITTIPALDI (127.206 mph; 59.601 seconds).

At 12:09 p.m., the penalty for JOURDAIN JR. expires and JOURDAIN JR. pulls on course in the #16X car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 12:06 p.m. to #5 NAKANO for a Pit Road speed violation. NAKANO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-through penalty.

At 12:09 p.m., #3 CASTRONEVES spins at Turn 4 but continues on course. The car sustains damage to the front wings, leaving a few pieces in the grass. CASTRONEVES continues on course to his Pit Area.

RED FLAG waves at 12:10 a.m. after #20 MORENO spins off course at Turn 4 and stalls the car. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and MORENO returns to his Pit Area. MORENO's crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:14 p.m. to resume the session.

At 12:15 p.m., the fastest driver is still #97 DA MATTA with his earlier lap of 127.718 mph (59.362 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (127.555 mph; 59.438 seconds) and #2 DE FERRAN (126.974 mph; 59.710 seconds).

At 12:16 p.m., #11X FITTIPALDI clocks the then-fastest lap of the session with a speed of 128.256 mph (59.113 seconds) on his 22nd lap.

RED FLAG waves at 12:17 p.m. after #32 CARPENTIER stalls at the exit of Turn 4.

CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and CARPENTIER continues to his Pit Area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:19 p.m. to resume the session.

RED FLAG waves at 12:23 p.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ slides into the tire barrier at Turn 8. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains slight damage to the front wing. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to the Pit Area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:25 p.m. to resume the session.

At 12:25 p.m., the fastest driver is now #6 ANDRETTI with a speed of 128.757 mph (58.883 seconds), followed by #11X FITTIPALDI (128.256 mph; 59.113 seconds) and #97 DA MATTA (127.718 mph; 59.362 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 12:25 p.m. to #11X FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 12:17 p.m. FITTTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-through penalty.

At 12:33 p.m., #20X MORENO slides off course between Turns 7 and 8 and breaks the front wing before regaining control and driving back to his Pit Area.

At 12:35 p.m., the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 128.757 mph (58.883 seconds), followed by #11X FITTIPALDI (126.742 mph; 58.890 seconds) and #97 DA MATTA (128.626 mph; 58.943 seconds).

At 12:38 p.m., #5 NAKANO spins between Turn 7 and 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 12:38 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN makes contact with the rear of #10 FONTANA at Turn 10, but both cars continue on course without apparent damage.

At 12:42 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN spins a complete loop exiting Turn 4 but continues on course without stalling. The car however, sustains damage to the left front wing.

At 12:43 p.m., #5 NAKANO spins entering Turn 1 and #32 CARPENTIER spins his car to avoid NAKANO.

At 12:44 p.m., #19 KUROSAWA stalls at Turn 7 and pulls off course. Also, #25 GARCIA JR. stalls at Turn 2 and #55 HERTA stalls at Turn 1.

Also at 12:44 p.m., #12 VASSER spins at Turn 3 and stalls the car at the outside edge of the track.

RED/CHECKERED FLAG waves to end the session with #6 ANDRETTI holding onto the top spot with a lap of 128.757 mph (58.883 seconds), followed by #11X FITTIPALDI (128.742 mph; 58.890 seconds) and #97 DA MATTA (128.626 mph; 58.943 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 36 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI, #2X DE FERRAN, #55X HERTA, #96X SERVIA, #20X MORENO, #12X VASSER, #40X FERNANDEZ, #16X JOURDAIN JR., #34X MARQUES, #19X KUROSAWA, #5X NAKANO, and #10X FONTANA. Defending polesitter JUAN MONTOYA wound up seventh with a best lap of 127.403 mph (59.509 seconds).

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mo Nunn