CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy; it was a struggle

HOMESTEAD, Fla., (March 24, 1999) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy struggled in the first day of practice for the CART FedEx Championship Series season-opening Grand Prix of Miami. Franchitti's best lap around the 1.5-mile...

HOMESTEAD, Fla., (March 24, 1999) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy struggled in the first day of practice for the CART FedEx Championship Series season-opening Grand Prix of Miami. Franchitti's best lap around the 1.5-mile oval was good enough for 19th with a time of 27.399 seconds (197.350 mph). Tracy, meanwhile, managed a lap of 27.448 seconds (196.998 mph).

Tony Kanaan cut through windy conditions to set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 26.437 seconds (204.532 mph). Christian Fittipaldi's lap of 26.538 seconds (203.753 mph) placed him second fastest, while Patrick Carpentier was third with a lap of 26.590 seconds (203.355 mph).

All 27 drivers will try to improve on their times tomorrow in a final practice session in the morning prior to the afternoon's qualifying session to set the grid. Sunday's 150-lap race is set to take the green flag at 2:00 p.m. Eastern with a tape-delay broadcast at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (19th with a lap-time of 27.399 seconds / 197.350 mph)

"We have a lot of work to do to get on pace with the fastest cars. We're struggling and I'll have to sit down with the Team KOOL Green engineers and see how we can improve the car. The way the car is handling right now, I'm just not sure what to do. There's just no grip at all. Good thing today wasn't qualifying and we have another day to get the balance right.

"After five weeks of physical therapy, my injuries from Spring Training are the least of my worries. My upper body is stronger than ever and I felt fine physically in the car. It's just time to get on with the work at hand."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (20th with a lap-time of 27.448 seconds / 196.998 mph)

"I was excited about the new season this morning, but now I'm a little frustrated. Thankfully, we have another day to make improvements and move up in the qualifying order. We're struggling right now and I don't know why. We tested here a couple of weeks ago and the KOOL car was great. Today, the car is not very good. We'll go look at our data closely to see if we're missing something on the setup. Hopefully, we'll figure out what's wrong.

"I don't think the new Handford wing has anything to do with our problem because it's the same for everybody. Some guys are going fast and we're not. The new wing feels as though it has more drag. Judging by the way our day went today, I hope the new wing will allow for more passing in the race because we may be starting near the back."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan