Today's Firestone Firehawk 600, Presented by Pioneer, has been postponed indefinitely. CART FedEx Championship Series officials, in announcing the decision today, said it would not be safe to race on the high-banked 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway tri-oval due to the physiological effects of unusually high and unexpected G-forces experienced by the drivers here this weekend. A new date for the race has not been announced.
On Saturday, Alex Zanardi in the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard qualified sixth for this event, while teammate Tony Kanaan in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard qualified 14th.
Next up on the CART schedule is Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, Round 4 of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series schedule, next Sunday (May 6) at Nazareth Speedway. It will be broadcast live by ABC-TV at 1 p.m. EDT.
"I agree with the decision . CART has come forward and really stood up for the drivers. Everybody in the CART community, the manufacturers and the sponsors alike, are behind us on this one. But I especially want to give credit to (CART CEO) Joe Heitzler for doing the right thing. I was concerned about the G-forces I was feeling on Friday. I ran a 236.7 mph lap yesterday where my crew tells me the data showed me pulling 6.3 G's in Turn 2. On Friday, I had to stop in the middle of a long run because I was feeling dizzy. That's not right. I was really concerned about the race. I got only 3-1/2 hours of sleep last night. I guess we go home safe and sound, but I really feel bad for the fans and for the sponsors, all of the people who wanted to see us race here. Hopefully it will all work out."
"Coming here, all the concern was about the cars, about the tires, about the engines all holding up. As it turns out, they were all perfectly suited to this fantastic racetrack. As it turns out, it's the drivers, as human beings, who could not sustain the forces of going around the turns. I'm proud of the fact that CART did not compromise our safety and chose not to race. I felt the effects once ... when we went right on and did a long run early in practice on Friday. I was probably one of the first to feel the effects, but I thought it was just me because I had not been on an oval since 1998. But by the time we got to our driver's meeting yesterday afternoon, I saw that almost all of the drivers were feeling what I was feeling out there. In a way, I saw the forces as something of a challenge, but it's just not safe, as the doctors say. It's unfortunate."
"It's very unfortunate that this kind of a decision had to be made today, at such a late stage. But every effort was made to slow the cars down, and there simply was no way we could do that as much as we have to to be safe. I fully support Joe Heitzler's decision to call off the race. It's very unfortunate for our sponsors, but it's very important that everybody realize in the future that when we go to a new event, we have to make sure the venues are suitable for our cars."