Good Morning from sun-drenched Homestead-Miami Speedway for Race Day! Today's Round One of the FedEx Championship Series 2000 season, the 150-lap, 225-mile Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota takes the Green Flag at 2 p.m., with ...
Good Morning from sun-drenched Homestead-Miami Speedway for Race Day! Today's Round One of the FedEx Championship Series 2000 season, the 150-lap, 225-mile Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota takes the Green Flag at 2 p.m., with Pole-sitter GIL de FERRAN leading the field of 25 cars to the stripe by virtue of his 208.434-mph lap from yesterday's qualification run. The weather is perfect, 85-90 degrees by race time and a host of sunburned faces expected in the grandstands. The ever-present seabreeze from the southeast will again manifest itself by race time and present the usual complications for the drivers in Turns 2 and 4, but rain is not mentioned anywhere in the forecast. This morning's CART on-track schedule starts with the traditional 30-minute warm-up taking to the track at 10 a.m.
Historical, statistical information may allow the astute CART fan and media member to benefit at the expense of his less-studied friends. With that in mind, here's the stats. In the four CART races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Pole-sitter has won once, Greg Moore in 1999. JIMMY VASSER came from a third start in 1996, and MICHAEL ANDRETTI came from 14th in 1997 and 8th in 1998. This is an average starting position of 6.5 for the Miami Grand Prix winner. This is also the exact average start for the third place finisher as well. Second place has an average start of 6th. Only one former winner sits in the top six positions on today's grid, and that's ANDRETTI. Other stats are as follows: the margin of victory in four races averages 1.94 seconds. The podium margin averages 4.10 seconds. The first caution is a bit harder to call, twice in four races the Yellow Flag has flown on the first lap. The Yellow came out on Lap 45 in 1997 and Lap 33 in 1998. The number of Yellow Flag laps is amazingly consistent, 50 in 1996, but 36 in 1997 and 38 in both 1998 and 1999, for an average of 40.5. (The 1997 count was affected by rain, a condition that has not been present for any of the following races). Finally, the fastest driver in the combined practice sessions keeps getting better results each year. The fastest practice driver wound up 23rd in 1996, 6th in 1997, 5th in 1998, and 1st in 1999.
GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 98 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 81 degrees F. at the start of the session.
YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:07 a.m. after #10 FONTANA breaks traction in Turn 3 and makes hard contact with the right side of the car against the outside wall. The car slides to a stop at the wall in Turn 4. FONTANA exits the car under his own power and is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains major damage to the right side. FONTANA had just cleared the Turn 3 trap with a speed of 201.834 when the car broke loose and the driver was fourth-fastest of the session at the time of the incident. FONTANA is examined at the CART Mobile Medical facility, released, and is cleared to drive in today's race in his secondary car.
GREEN FLAG waves at 10:16 a.m. to resume the session.
YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:17 a.m. after #1 MONTOYA stalls at the exit of Pit Road as the driver heads out of the Pits. CART safety workers tow the car back to MONTOYA's Pit Box.
GREEN FLAG waves at 10:20 a.m. to resume the session.
At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #7X PAPIS with a lap of 197.617 mph (27.362 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (195.283 mph; 27.689 seconds) and #1 MONTOYA (194.896 mph; 27.744 seconds).
CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to end the session with the fastest driver in the session now #32 CARPENTIER with a lap of 199.808 mph (27.062 seconds), followed by #7X PAPIS (197.617 mph; 27.362 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (195.283 mph; 27.689 seconds). Pole-sitter #2 de FERRAN winds up tenth in the practice with a speed of 194.127 mph (27.854 seconds). FedEx Championship series drivers introduced 26 cars in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #7X PAPIS, #33X TAGLIANI, #11X FITTIPALDI, #97X da MATTA, #96X SERVIA, and #10X FONTANA. The drivers logged a total of 322 laps in the session.
The temperature here in Homestead is steadily inching up. At the end of the session, Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 102 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 86 degrees F.
At 10:30 a.m., the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Team is busy changing engines before the start of the race in second-place starter #1 JUAN MONTOYA's car.
PATRICK RACING NOTES: McGee Sets Record For Most Wins: With Adrian Fernandez' victory in the season finale at Fontana, Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee took over first place on the all-time wins list for a General-Team Manager/Chief Mechanic. McGee, who is the only General-Team Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's), and has at least one victory in each of his last five decades, has a total of 86 victories. Patrick Racing Facts: Patrick Racing, which is entering its 28th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Indy car/CART racing with 41 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships. U. E. "Pat" Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the "father" of t heDayton Indy Lights Championship Series.