CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana Friday Track Notes

Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota - Friday Track Notes Good morning and welcome to the opening day of practice for Sunday's Round 20 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. Today's CART on-track activities begin...

Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota - Friday Track Notes

Good morning and welcome to the opening day of practice for Sunday's Round 20 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 30-minute Rookie Orientation practice session beginning at 10 a.m. The entire field of FedEx Championship Series drivers will take to the track at 10:30 a.m. for a 90-minute practice session. The entire CART field will again be out for the afternoon practice session, taking the Green Flag at 3 p.m. for one hour of on-track time. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars again on track at 8 a.m. for a one-hour practice session. Saturday's action will be capped off with qualifying at 10:30 a.m. The CART lap-speed record for a closed racecourse was set here in qualifying in 1997 by #17 MAURICIO GUGLEMIN with a lap of 240.942 mph (30.316 seconds). Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up at 9 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota.

Early arrivals to the track this morning were greeted with the stunning scene of Mt. Baldy over-looking the sun-soaked San Bernardino valley under what passes for blue skies in southern California. Crisp temperatures mediate the sun at 10 a.m. but a high is expected in the mid-85 degree range by afternoon. The weekend forecast is the same, beautiful racing weather here in Southern California! A SRO crowd will be extremely thankful not to experience 1997's 106-degree ambient readings during the race.

First up today on the CART practice schedule is a rookie orientation practice session taking the Green Flag at 10 a.m., followed by the full-field practice at 10:30 a.m., on-track for 90 minutes. The afternoon session will start at 3 p.m. and be on-track for one hour.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the rookie orientation session. Three cars fire the engines to take part in the session: #4X MONTOYA, #25X da MATTA, and #15 N. HATTORI.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:07 a.m. to #25X da MATTA for a Pit Road speed violation. Da MATTA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 227.601 mph (32.093 seconds), followed by #25X da MATTA (223.451; 32.689) and #15 HATTORI (205.359 mph; 35.569 seconds).

At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest rookie driver is still #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 227.601 mph (32.093 seconds), followed by #25X da MATTA (223.451; 32.689) and #15 HATTORI (217.012 mph; 33.659 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to end the rookie orientation session with #4X MONTOYA the fastest driver for the entire session, with his seventh lap of 227.601 mph (32.093 seconds), followed by #15 HATTORI (227.473 mph; 32.111 seconds) and #25 da MATTA (225.486 mph; 32.394 seconds). The CART rookie drivers introduced four different cars to the track in the session with secondary cars utilized by #4X MONTOYA, and #25X da MATTA. The rookies turned a total of 41 laps at speed in the first session of the weekend.

The CHECKERED FLAG is immediately replaced with the GREEN FLAG at 10:30 a.m. to start the first full-field practice session of the weekend.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:33 a.m. to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the stalled car of #99 MOORE from the bottom of the track at Pit Out. MOORE had just pulled from the pits before the car stalled.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:37 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:38 a.m. to #12 VASSER TO A Pit Road speed violation at Pit Out. VASSER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag penalty.

At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #4X MONTOYA with a faster lap of 230.707 mph (31.661 seconds) and #7X PAPIS (230.038 mph; 31.753 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (228.170 mph; 32.013 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:42 a.m. to #8 HERTA for a Pit Road speed violation. HERTA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #7 PAPIS with a lap of 233.546 mph (31.276 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (232.269 mph; 31.448 seconds) and #4X MONTOYA (231.232 mph; 31.589 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:50 a.m. to #19 JOURDAIN Jr. for a Pit Road speed violation. JOURDAIN Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is again shown at 10:55 a.m. to #12 VASSER for a Pit road speed violation at Pit Out. #17 GUGELMIN is also cited for a Pit Road speed violation. Both drivers subsequently pit their cars to comply with the drive-thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:59 a.m. to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the stalled car of #27 FRANCHITTI.. FRANCHITTI had just lost power coming off Turn 2 and stalled at the bottom of Turn 4.

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with a lap of 233.546 mph (31.276 seconds), followed by #4X MONTOYA (233.539 mph; 31.277 seconds) and #6X ANDRETTI (233.099 mph; 31.336 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:05 a.m. to resume the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:06 a.m. after #22 GORDON stalls on the backstraight. The car has to be picked up by CART safety workers as the car will not roll.

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 11 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:12 a.m. to resume the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:16 a.m. after #10 HEARN stalled at Pit In. CART safety workers quickly get the car towed back to the Pit Area.

At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with a faster lap of 233.838 mph (31.237 seconds), followed by #4X MONTOYA (233.539 mph; 31.277 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (233.271 mph; 31.313 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:28 a.m. to #5 de FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:29 a.m. to #12 VASSER for the third time in this session for a Pit Road speed violation. VASSER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is also shown at 11:29 a.m. to #99 MOORE for a Pit Road speed violation. MOORE subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:20 a.m. report.

At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #18 BLUNDELL with a lap of 235.292 mph (31.044 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (233.838 mph; 31.237 seconds) and #4X MONTOYA (233.539 mph; 31.277 seconds)

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:41 a.m. after #15 HATTORI slides up the banking in Turn 2 and makes hard contact against the wall with the rear of the car. The car comes to rest in the middle of the backstraight and #24 PRUETT makes an extraordinary move at speed to the inside of the track to avoid contact HATTORI's stalled car. CART safety workers quickly attend to HATTORI and clean up a pool of fluid at the rear of the car.

At 11:50 a.m., 70 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest drivers and speed remain unchanged from the 11:40 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:53 a.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:56 a.m. to #34 VITOLO for a Pit Road speed violation. VITOLO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. with #18 BLUNDELL the fastest driver of the session with a speed of 235.292 mph (31.044 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (234.747 mph; 31.116 seconds) and #4X MONTOYA (233.539 mph; 31.277). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 43 cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #4X MONTOYA, #6X ANDRETTI,, #12X VASSER, #10X HEARN, #11X FITTPALDI, #7X PAPIS, #24X PRUETT, #27X FRANCHITTI, #40X FERNANDEZ, #36X BOESEL, #5X de FERRAN, #25X da MATTA, #8X HERTA, #34X VITOLO, #33X CARPENTIER, and #22X GORDON.

According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, NAOKI HATTORI will be airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center for precautionary x-rays following his incident in the practice session. Olvey said that Hattori was awake and alert and had no apparent injuries following his transportation to the CART Medical Facility for initial evaluation. Olvey said Hattori will undergo a CT Scan and cervical spine x-rays to rule out the possibility of a neck injury. Updates will be provided when available.

As the 3 p.m.-Green Flag approaches for the final Champ Car practice of the day, the wind has increased to a sustained 20 mph from the east with harder gusts, entering the track over the Turn One wall. The cloudless skies promise no rain, but the turning the steering wheel into One and Three will be a bit more hairy than in this morning's session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to start the final session of the day. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 108 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 85 degrees F. at the start of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:06 p.m. after #36 BOESEL pulls into his pit with gear oil spilling from the rear of the car. CART safety workers quickly inspect the track and Pit Lane for any other fluid.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:09 p.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #99 MOORE for a Pit Road speed violation at Mid-Pit at 3:03 p.m. MOORE subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 3:10 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #44X KANAAN with a lap of 221.178 mph (33.025 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (216.170 mph; 33.790 seconds) and #36 BOESEL (206.719 mph; 35.335 seconds).

At 3:20 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #6X ANDRETTTI with a lap of 226.437 mph (32.258 seconds), followed by #44X KANAAN (223.965 mph; 32.614 seconds) and #12 VASSER (221.325 mph; 33.003 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:22 p.m. to #8 HERTA for a Pit Road speed violation at Mid-Pit. HERTA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:27 p.m. for a track inspection. CART safety workers quickly circle the track looking for any debris.

At 3:30 p.m., 30 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #6X ANDRETTI with a lap of 226.437 mph (32.258 seconds), followed by #44X KANAAN (223.965 mph; 32.614 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (221.890 mph; 32.919 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:32 p.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:34 p.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI and #33 CARPENTIER for Pit Road speed violations, both incurred at 3:27 p.m. at Mid-Pit radar. Both drivers subsequently pit their cars to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:37 p.m. to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 3:40 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #4X MONTOYA with a speed of 230.707 mph (31.661 seconds), followed by #6X ANDRETTI (230.154 mph; 31.737 seconds) and #44X KANAAN (225.835 mph; 32.344 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:43 p.m. to #20 JONES for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 3:38 p.m. at the Mid-Pit radar. JONES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to allow CART safety workers to retrieve a piece of metal framing and screws in Turn 3. After safety's retrieval, the pieces were determined to have come from #34 VITOLO's car.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:49 p.m. to resume the session.

At 3:50 p.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 230.707 mph (31.661 seconds), followed by #6X ANDRETTI (230.154 mph; 31.737 seconds) and #44X KANAAN (229.107 mph; 31.882 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:52 p.m. to #5 de FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:54 p.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4 p.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with #4X MONTOYA still the fastest driver with his earlier speed of 230.707 mph (31.661 seconds), followed by #44X KANAAN (230.321 mph; 31.714 seconds) and #6X ANDRETTI (230.154 mph; 31.737 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 30 different cars to the track in this afternoon's session with secondary cars utilized by #4X MONTOYA, #44X KANAAN, #6X ANDRETTI, #11X FITTIPALDI, #40X FERNANDEZ, #25X da MATTA, #99X MOORE, #5 de FERRAN, #10X HEARN, #24X PREUTT, and #19X JOURDIAN Jr. CART drivers logged a total of 431 laps during this final practice session of the day.

-CART-

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