TRACY 9TH AND FRANCHITTI 11TH IN THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE
Round 20 of 20 - California Speedway CART FedEx Championship Series
FONTANA, Calif., (Oct. 29, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti were ninth and 11th respectively after two practice sessions at California Speedway where the 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series will run its final race of the season on Sunday. Franchitti leads the championship by nine points (209-200) over Juan Montoya heading into Sunday's 500-mile race.
Mark Blundell had the quickest lap of any other driver in practice, lapping the 2.5-mile superspeedway oval in 31.044 seconds for an average speed of 235.292 mph. Max Papis was nearly as quick, posting the second-fastest time of 31.116 seconds (234.747 mph). Montoya was only 0.233 seconds behind Blundell, turning the third fastest lap of 31.277 seconds (233.539 mph).
All of the quick times were set in this morning's practice, as high winds hampered drivers in the afternoon. Tracy's best lap was in the morning as he powered around the oval in 31.343 seconds (233.047 mph), while Franchitti's best lap occurred just before a gearbox malfunction. His time from this morning was 31.448 seconds (232.269 mph).
Cars return on track for practice tomorrow, beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time with single-car qualifying at 10:30 a.m. The 250-lap race will be broadcast live on ESPN this Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (9th with a lap-time of 31.343 seconds / 233.047 mph)
"It was a pretty good day. The KOOL car was handling just fine this morning and we were able to scrub some tires this afternoon. But obviously we were a little more productive this morning before the wind picked up. I was trying to run on my own and keep clear of any traffic, so we could figure out what speed we could do for qualifying. We have a little too much push in the car right now. We'll just keep dialing it out tomorrow morning. This afternoon you really had to be on your toes in the high winds. The wind could easily blow you off your line."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (11th with a lap-time of 31.448 seconds / 232.269 mph)
"This morning we went out and right away we did a lap of 232 mph, which at the time was the quickest. We broke a gearbox soon after and didn't go any quicker [in the spare car]. I'm pretty encouraged though, but the wind this afternoon didn't help. It just caused us to scrub some tires and we didn't do any serious running. We are reasonably happy with the balance of the KOOL car. We would have liked to get a few more laps."
JONNY KANE WINS THE POLE PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship - QUALIFYING
Team KOOL Green's Jonny Kane earned his second pole position of the season (and brief Indy Lights career) with a blistering lap of 39.198 seconds (186.346 mph) at California Speedway. Kane seems to have a knack for the superspeedways, as his first pole was won on the 2.5-mile oval at Michigan Speedway.
Points leader Oriol Servia will start alongside Kane by virtue of his lap of 39.259 seconds (186.057 mph), which was second-fastest. Philipp Peter, meanwhile, was third quickest with a time of 39.518 seconds (185.669 mph).
The 50-lap season-finale for the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be run this Sunday before the Champ Car race at 9:50 a.m. Pacific Time.
JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (1st with a lap-time of 39.198 seconds / 186.346 mph)
"It was a little more windy than this morning, obviously, and the sun was pretty low going into Turn 3. That was interesting on the first lap, but after that it wasn't a problem. The KOOL car has been quite good all weekend and hopefully we'll have a good race. I didn't have a very good start at Michigan. So, I'm going to try and go a little bit sooner and hopefully people will have to pull in behind me rather than someone drafting past me."