CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Saturday qualifying notes

PIT NOTES FROM FINAL QUALIFYING -- GROUP ONE Qualifying for the 1995 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach began at 12:17pm today and, unfortunately, I was a little late to my reporting position and missed the green flag for the First Group; the slow...

PIT NOTES FROM FINAL QUALIFYING -- GROUP ONE

Qualifying for the 1995 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach began at 12:17pm today and, unfortunately, I was a little late to my reporting position and missed the green flag for the First Group; the slow half of yesterday's qualifying session. I am located in a special pit lane suite for the media, above the Ganassi team, at the top of the pit lane, which is a little less than halfway between the hairpin Turn 8 and the start/finish line. These notes were taken in chronological order and we pick up the action after three minutes of the session...

12:20pm Christian Fittipaldi has jumped up to 5th place...

12:25 Dean Hall has stopped on course and will not continue in the session. He did one, maybe two timed laps. Yesterday the car didn't turn a wheel; Al Unser Jr, one of the fast guys stuck in the slow group, has just pulled back into pit lane after just a few laps...

The order after just 12 minutes into the session: Andretti, Rahal, Tracy, Gugelmin, Emmo, Christian, Fabi, Pruett, Gordon, Boesel, de Ferran, Fernandez, and Unser Jr., in 13th. Of these, only Christian Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr., are in this First Group.

12:28 Unser returns to the track...

12:29 Marco Greco arrives on pit lane...

12:30 Unser moves up to 10th place...

Runners on course at the moment: Franck Freon, Christian, Unser Jr., Greco, Hiro Matsushita; there is about 17 minutes remaining in the session; On his next lap,

12:30:30 Unser moves into 9th.

12:31 Unser, C. Fittipaldi and Hiro hit the pits; Zampedri moves up to 21st; We now have 15 minutes left in the session; Eddie Cheever is on the track and trying to better his 19th place...

12:33 Carlos Guerrero is on track, as is Marco Greco - trying to better 24th...

12:24 Unser exits pit with new sticker tires;

WEATHER UPDATE: It is very bright here, but the slight ocean breeze and occasional cloud cover are holding the ambient temperature between 68-74 degrees fahrenheit.

12:35 Cheever moves up to 17th; Closed circuit television is following Unser Jr around - he's on his second out lap, so maybe we'll see a respectable time on his next pass..

12:36 Unser comes across the line but no change in the time; Franck Freon and Matsushita are still out on the track but they remain in the 26th and 27th spots; the fastest time of the session so far has been out in by Christian Fittipaldi at 53.412 seconds...

12:38 Franck Freon arrives on pit lane...

12:39 Unser Jr., just cracked fourth quick time, on his third out-lap since taking on the new tires.

SPONSOR UPDATE: Danny Sullivan's car had no sponsorship on it Friday (besides his team name, PacWest), but today, in big letters, we have "Visa."

12:40 Unser post second quick time to Andretti, who is no doubt here somewhere watching this, waiting for his turn later in the Second Group. 52.774 is Unser time, and he brings the car into the Penske pit at the end of the next lap.

There is only five minutes left and the Penske crew is adding a few drops of fuel and making a final adjustment to the rear wing with a battery powered screw gun on Unser's car. The stop lasts only two minutes; Unser's backup car is now being wheel back to the paddock. He will not need it, it appears, with only a few minutes left in this session...

12:42 Christian Fittipaldi pulls into pit lane - I guess he's done; Sullivan, Zampedri, Guerrero and Johansson are still on the track; Unser comes by on his out lap, flying past the start finish line. I think he'll only have enough time for two laps...

12:43 Unser is on his first hot lap but Johansson is in the way. They come flying past the start/finish on the way to Turn 1 where Unser slips pitlane. inside; Closed circuit television is staying right with Al. Unser is easily the favorite of the locals, who will cheer upon request of track announcer Bruce Flanders, (who's shoulders I must peer over in order to read the scoring monitor).

Bachelart and Sullivan are still on course with Unser and Johansson, but I haven't seen anyone else; Now I see Christian is back out.

12:45 Christian Fittipaldi leaps into sixth place; Give credit to Danny Sullivan who is staying out lap after lap, trying to improve his time. Unfortunately he is still in 17th pace.

12:47 Checkered flag, and Unser pulls into the pit. He improved 25 places.

/END

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Christian Fittipaldi , Franck Freon , Danny Sullivan , Al Unser