LONG BEACH, CA., (April 12, 2000) - Four drivers from Team KOOL Green will compete on the streets of Long Beach, Apr. 14-16. Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti are joined for the first time this season by Indy Lights teammates...
LONG BEACH, CA., (April 12, 2000) - Four drivers from Team KOOL Green will compete on the streets of Long Beach, Apr. 14-16. Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti are joined for the first time this season by Indy Lights teammates Jeff Simmons and Jonny Kane. Each driver offers their own thoughts about this race weekend:
PAUL TRACY, #26 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone: (Started 10th / Finished 21st at Long Beach in 1999 ; 3rd in the standings with 14 points; Winner in 1993)
"We're off to a decent start and it's important for us to continue that trend this weekend at Long Beach. Everyone on this team is performing well and we're going there expecting to score some big points.
"It's a tough race to win because you don't get to test at Long Beach and it's the first non-oval race of the year. Fortunately, Team KOOL Green has been strong on streets the past couple years and we're going to Long Beach with what we think is a good setup. Passing opportunities on track are at a premium here. We're going to have to win the battle in the pits again. (Tracy's crew won the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge in '99 and lead so far in 2000)."
DARIO FRANCHITTI , #27 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone: (Started 2nd / Finished 2nd at Long Beach in 1999 ; 11th in the standings with 2 points)
"Long Beach is one of those races that I look forward to each year. It's a nice little racing circuit, but what makes it so special is the fans -- they're just incredible. It seems like all of Southern California comes out to the race and the whole atmosphere of the place is really something.
But like any other race, there's a job to do. And that's to get the car sorted out in practice, qualify up front and then run a fast, error-free race. If you do that, then maybe you put yourself into contention for victory. We've come close the past two years here, but fell just a little short (runner-up in '98 & '99). Team KOOL Green has shown we're the team to beat on the streets, and Long Beach is the only street race in the series I haven't won, so I'd like to fix that this weekend."
Dayton Indy Lights Championship
JEFF SIMMONS, #26 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (Indy Lights debut after winning back-to-back championships in the Barber Dodge Pro Series)
"Barry and Kim Green, the main guys at Team KOOL Green, have placed a lot of confidence in my abilities and I have a lot of faith in the people around me. That's what I like most about my situation at the moment... the team atmosphere can't be beat. It's also very comforting to have my brother Chris with me in all this as my engineer. He's a former TKG Indy Lights driver himself, so I'm sure he'll get me around the streets of Long Beach as quick as I can. It's going to be fun."
JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (Second season with the team after taking Rookie of the Year title last year)
"We finished strong last season, winning the season-finale at California Speedway and taking the rookie title. Our goals are a little higher this season with the focus squarely on winning the championship for Team KOOL Green. Having the added benefit of teammate Jeff Simmons will no doubt help us because we'll have twice as much data at every race. It's time to get it done, score points and chase the championship."