CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Rocketsports Racing Friday report

ROCKETSPORTS RACING TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED IN DENVER DENVER, Colorado (August 11, 2006) -- With the anticipation of going into this race weekend with the positive momentum from the last event and street race in San Jose, the Rocketsports...

ROCKETSPORTS RACING TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED IN DENVER

DENVER, Colorado (August 11, 2006) -- With the anticipation of going into this race weekend with the positive momentum from the last event and street race in San Jose, the Rocketsports Racing team and driver Nicky Pastorelli were not quite up to speed today in Denver and will look to improve their results for tomorrow.

Under sunny skies and warm temperatures in the Mile High City, Pastorelli rolled out in the Rocketsports' #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Car this morning for the first practice in preparation for Sunday's Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Bridgestone.

After running six laps and getting acquainted with the 1.657-mile temporary street course, the Italo-Dutch driver sat in the fourth spot with feedback that the car felt alright. He went out for some more on-track time, and on his 15th lap around the nine-turn venue Paul Tracy gets into the back of the rookie driver. The contact caused Pastorelli to spin in Turn 7 making slight contact with the tire wall. Minor damage was done to the rear wing, but that did not end his morning early. However, he was penalized for bringing out a red flag during the session when the Champ Car Safety Team had to go get him re-started after stalling on course. He had to honor the eight-minute penalty in the pits and once his penalty was served he had 13 minutes left in the session.

A bit off the pace, he sat in the 16th spot after posting his best time of the morning at 1:05.917 (90.496 mph) and completing 29 laps in the one-hour and fifteen minute practice session.

This afternoon did not go any better for Pastorelli and the team during provisional qualifying. After seven laps during the 15-minute practice segment, Pastorelli sat in the 14th spot on the Champ Car timing and scoring sheet and claimed that the car was a little better in terms of braking and turning issues that he was experiencing in the morning.

When the green flag dropped to start the 35-minute provisional qualifying segment of the afternoon session, Pastorelli and about five other drivers headed out early to get some clear track time. Two red flags later and still struggling to find speed to move up in the charts, Pastorelli finished the day holding his best time of 1:04.251 (92.842 mph), which he posted on his fourth lap of an allotted 15-laps of qualifying. He sits P15 on the provisional grid.

"This was our worst qualifying session this year," said Pastorelli about his afternoon run. "We have to sit down and try to work on improving the #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone tonight with the hopes of finding more speed tomorrow. We have made some small improvements, so we are going in the right direction, but it is not good enough yet. We will see how things go tomorrow and hopefully improve our overall qualifying position."

-credit: rocketsports

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy