CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Friday Track Notes

U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota - Pit Notes Good Morning from the Irish Hills of Central Michigan for the first day of practice for Sunday's U.S. 500, Round 12 of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season. This morning's first practice...

U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota - Pit Notes

Good Morning from the Irish Hills of Central Michigan for the first day of practice for Sunday's U.S. 500, Round 12 of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season. This morning's first practice session will be for this weekend's rookies; an orientation session scheduled for the Green Flag at 10 a.m. and lasting 30 minutes. The Champ Cars will follow the CART rookies onto the track at 10:30 a.m. The full-field session will last 90 minutes. At 3 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the afternoon one-hour practice session. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars again on-track for practice from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. with qualifying scheduled at 10:30 a.m., lasting until 12:30 p.m. Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the U.S. 500 at 1:30 p.m. (All times are local.) A few changes will be in effect for this week's entry list. The Marlboro-sponsored Mercedes Penske chassis will be back in action this week. The team has campaigned Lola chassis since St. Louis. Another change from the Penske camp will have the #3 car piloted by ALEX BARRON. The #18 Hollywood-sponsored Mercedes Reynard will again be piloted by ROBERTO MORENO, filling in again for the injured MARK BLUNDELL. DENNIS VITOLO will be back in the Payton-Coyne Nicoderm-sponsored Ford Reynard #34 after piloting the #71 Tang-sponsored car last week at Toronto. The #71, normally piloted by rookie LUIZ GARCIA Jr. will not be in attendance this week The FedEx Championship Series drivers can reach quite a few statistical milestones in this weeks' U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. MICHAEL ANDRETTI has 5992 laps led in CART competition. He needs 8 more to hit the unprecedented 6000-lap led level. JUAN MONTOYA has 610 laps led in the 1999 season. Once MONTOYA leads one more lap, he breaks the rookie laps-led record for a single season. GIL de FERRAN has 8926 career laps; 74 laps into the race will give him 9000 laps. BRYAN HERTA has 8892 career laps and needs 108 to hit 9000 career laps. MAURICIO GUGELMIN makes his 100TH CART-career start at Michigan. There were a few statistical milestones reached at Toronto last week as well. CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI has made a major jump in the chase for the PPG Cup over the last three races. FITTIPALDI has moved from seventh to third in the last three races. JIMMY VASSER completed 12000 career laps as he took Checkered Flag at Toronto on the lead lap. ROBERTO MORENO has also made a big jump in the points chase, moving from 16th to 11th in the last four races. SCOTT PRUETT had his season-best start and finish with an 11th -place start and a seventh place finish at Toronto. Finally, Toronto's twisting course knocked out seven cars from the race due to contact, which is the most cars out due to contact in the 1999 season. And yet, of the races run so far this year, 13% of the laps run have been under the Yellow Flag, compared to 21% of the laps run in all of the races from last season. At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #7X PAPIS with a lap of 225.663 mph (31.906 seconds), followed by #17 GUGLEMIN (225.176 mph; 31.975) and #26X TRACY (224.292 mph; 32.101 seconds). At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #17 GUGLEMIN with a lap of 228.760 mph (31.474 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (227.920 mph; 31.590 seconds) and #9 CASTRO-NEVES (227.144 mph; 31.698 seconds). At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #17 GUGLEMIN with a lap of 228.760 mph (31.474 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (227.920 mph; 31.590 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (227.675 mph; 31.624 seconds). BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:02 a.m. to #36 SALLES for a Pit Road speed violation. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:04 a.m. to #36 SALLES again for another Pit Road speed violation. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. At 11:30 a.m., #7 PAPIS is now the fastest driver with a lap of 230.518 mph (31.234 seconds), followed by #17 GUGLEMIN (229.541 mph; 31.367 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (228.368 mph; 31.528 seconds). BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:04 a.m. to #36 SALLES again for another Pit Road speed violation. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. At 11:30 a.m., #7 PAPIS is now the fastest driver with a lap of 230.518 mph (31.234 seconds), followed by #17 GUGLEMIN (229.541 mph; 31.367 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (228.368 mph; 31.528 seconds). The BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:38 a.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 11:36 a.m. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. The BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:39 a.m. to #36 SALLES again for another Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 11:37 a.m. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 11:30 a.m. report. The BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:44 a.m. to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 11:36 a.m. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty. At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 230.518 mph (31.234 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (229.541 mph; 31.367 seconds) and #2 UNSER Jr. (229.424 mph; 31.383 seconds). CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. to end the first session of the weekend with the fastest driver still # 7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 230.518 mph (31.234 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (230.260 mph; 31.269 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (230.231 mph; 31.273 seconds). There are 28 different cars within one second in lap times of the fast lap by PAPIS. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 41 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI, #6X ANDRETTI, #24X PRUETT, #12X VASSER, #26X TRACY, #7X PAPIS, #20X JONES, #4X MONTOYA, #5X de FERRAN, #40X FERNANDEZ, #99X MOORE, #36X SALLES, #19X JOURDAIN Jr., #8X HERTA, and #25X da MATTA. CART drivers logged a total of 1139 incident-free laps in the session. Last year's fastest driver after the Friday morning warm-up (#40 FERNANDEZ 232.004 mph) is 24th after today's session with a speed of 225.366 mph (31.948 seconds). Following this morning's FedEx Championship Series practice, CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach on the combination of the truck and Champ Car tire rubber laid down on the track: "I was pleasantly surprised following the session. I did not see any problems caused by the truck rubber," Dallenbach said. "Actually, I spoke with my son Wally Jr. [a Winston Cup driver] about the situation and asked him if there would be any problems with the different compound being down on the track. He told me he did not think so because of the banking of this track, which would make the loads different. I usually don't ask for advice from my children, but he was right. We'll wait and see the rest of the weekend, but I do not foresee any problems." Team Rahal has announced that they will be honoring Hall of Fame inductee Robin Yount this weekend. Yount, the two-time American League Most Valuable Player award winner, will be inducted this Sunday into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Ohio this Sunday. Yount is an avid race fan as well as a co-owner in the P-1 racing Toyota Atlantic team. Yount is a close friend of Team Rahal owner, Bobby Rahal and Rahal will honor his friend and golf partner with a special Robin Yount Commemorative decal on the side of the Miller Lite Ford Reynard in this Sunday's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. At 2:55 p.m., the scheduled 3 p.m. start of the afternoon session is delayed as a thunderstorm has approached from the southeast over the Turn 2 wall. The storm has not come any closer over the last few minutes and CART race Control announces that the session will start at 3:04 p.m. GREEN FLAG waves at 3:04 p.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 111 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 90 degrees F. at the start of the session. The BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:05 p.m. to #10 HEARN for a Pit Road speed violation. HEARN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty. YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:08 p.m. after #22 GORDON spins off of Turn 4. The car completes a 360 spin and comes to rest at the bottom of the backstretch with all four tires flat. CART safety workers tow the car back to the Pit Area. At 3:10 p.m., 10 minutes into the session and under a Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #17 GUGLEMIN with a lap of 224.712 mph (32.041 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (222.298 mph; 32.389 seconds) and #12 VASSER (221.661 mph; 32.482 seconds). GREEN FLAG waves at 3:14 p.m. to resume the session. At 3:20 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #99 MOORE with a lap of 228.528 mph (31.506 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (226.865 mph; 31.737 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (226.380 mph; 31.805 seconds). The BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:23 p.m. to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 3:17 p.m. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty. The BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:23 p.m. to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 3:17 p.m. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty. At 3:24 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #99 MOORE with a lap of 228.528 mph (31.506 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (226.865 mph; 31.737 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (226.380 mph; 31.805 seconds). YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:34 p.m. after CART course observers report a light drizzle in Turn 2. The fastest drivers at this stage of the session, 30 minutes deep into the one hour session, are #12 VASSER with a lap of 228.695 mph (31.483 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (228.528 mph; 31.506 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (226.865 mph; 31.737 seconds). GREEN FLAG waves at 3:56 p.m. to resume the practice session. At 4 p.m., roughly 55 minutes into the session, the fastest driver of the session and the weekend is now #4 MONTOYA with a lap of 231.258 mph (31.134 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (228.971 mph; 31.445 seconds) and #12 VASSER (228.695 mph; 31.483 seconds). YELLOW FLAG waves at 4:04 p.m. after #44 KANAAN slides into the wall at Turn 4. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains major damage to the right side suspension. CART safety workers tow the car back to the Pit Area. CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4:05 p.m. to end the final session of the weekend with #4 MONTOYA the fastest driver of the session and the weekend with his 231.258 mph lap (31.134 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (230.740 mph; 31.204 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (229.672 mph; 31.349 seconds). There are 17 cars within one second of the fast lap of the session set by PAPIS. FedEx Championship Series drivers logged a total of 661 laps in the weather-abbreviated session. JUAN MONTOYA is the fastest driver of the day with his afternoon lap of 231.258 mph (31.134 seconds). If MONTOYA can remain the fastest after tomorrow's qualifying, he will win his season-best fifth pole of the season and his fourth consecutive front-row start. MAURICIO GUGLEMIN is second in lap speeds at the close of the day with his afternoon speed of 230.740 mph (31.240 seconds). GUGELMIN is looking to equal or better his season-best start. GUGELMIN started second on the grid in Japan. MAX PAPIS is the third-fastest driver at the end of the day by virtue of his morning lap of 230.518 mph (31.234 seconds). PAPIS is hoping to equal or better his season and career best start. PAPIS was third on the grid at Japan. After the day's sessions have ended, there are 26 cars within one second of the fast lap set by Montoya of the 42 cars that saw action today. Quotes from today's three fastest drivers follow: JUAN MONTOYA, Target Honda Reynard: "In the morning we were just trying different things because the setup wasn't where we wanted it. We came back in the afternoon, and the weather didn't look too good, so we concentrated on bedding some tires. We ran a good lap on old tires and a good lap on new tires and the car was fantastic. I'm really looking forward to the race. You've really got to be smooth here. On other ovals, if something goes wrong, you can still catch it. Here, I wouldn't even try that." MAURICIO GUGELMIN, Hollywood PacWest Mercedes: "We had a pretty good session this morning. We came here and tested and the weather was bad. This morning we did some long runs to see how the balance was and right away the car was pretty good. We trimmed the car a little bit and this afternoon, we got a pretty good idea of what the car is going to do. Everybody is out there looking for a clear lap, and I didn't get as many as I would have liked, but I was able to put up one good lap late in the session." MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "We came here testing and I knew we had a pretty good car. Ford has a very fast engine for this track. This morning, we worked on getting the car more trimmed out. [Lap speeds of] 227, 228 [miles per hour] ... those are real speeds and that makes me very confident for the race. Coming out of Toronto and into this place, by the fifth or sixth lap, it really seems like you're flying. You really feel the speed, especially when you're going into the corners." This concludes the Pit Notes for Friday from Michigan Speedway. Have a safe Friday night and we'll see you Saturday morning at 8 a.m. for the first practice session of the weekend.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Bobby Rahal