CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Saturday morning practice notes

By - David C. Schilke - Motorsport.com Belle Isle - Detroit, Michigan - Today is the official start of the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix. Friday is treated as only a test day due to no in-season testing and Detroit is a temporary street...

By - David C. Schilke - Motorsport.com

Belle Isle - Detroit, Michigan - Today is the official start of the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix. Friday is treated as only a test day due to no in-season testing and Detroit is a temporary street circuit that was not race ready until Friday morning.

The weather is much more temperate today with no great chance of rain for the rest of the weekend. It did rain last night and the circuit has been swept clean of the rubber laid down by yesterday's activities. By qualifying there should be a fresh layer of rubber and the speeds should be much faster.

Today promises to be very exciting with the top three drivers of the morning practice running fastest laps on their last lap of practice. The speeds today are much faster than yesterday, the top five drivers are faster than Dario Franchitti, who was the quickest driver on Friday.

The best time from today's morning practice was ran by Gil de Ferran. His time was 1:14.043 seconds or 114.063mph. De Ferran edged out his teammate for the honors on the last few seconds remaining in the practice session. Helio Castroneves had the fastest time for most of the practice, and the end he was second quickest overall going 113.762mph on his last lap. Team Penske has the potential for both cars to carry the momentum into qualifying and have control over the front roll of the grid. Coming in a close third was Dario Franchitti at 113.338mph.

The top ten cars are separated then less than a full second! And today's qualifying should be on heck of a show with the pole up for any one to grab until the checkered flag ends the session.

On another note, Honda's protest over the sudden mandate of a spacer plate put between the pop-off valve and plenum was denied. Honda has three business days to file an appeal with CART regarding Friday's decision. The spacer does not effect the performance of the engine. CART issued the new plate to level the playing field of the three competing engine manufactures in the CART FedEx Championship series. The spacer plates reportedly prevents the manufactures from using the plenum to trick the pop-off valve into thinking that there is less boost being ran than there actually is. There was concern that there was a possible design that did just that.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti