CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Mercedes Friday Practice Report

Race: U.S. 500, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. Date/Session: Friday, July 23, 1999 Practice Mercedes Fast at U.S. 500 Practice The Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine powered the Champ Cars of ...

Race: U.S. 500, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. Date/Session: Friday, July 23, 1999 Practice

Mercedes Fast at U.S. 500 Practice

The Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine powered the Champ Cars of Mauricio Gugelmin and Greg Moore to the top of the time sheets during Friday's practice sessions for the U.S. 500, round 12 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. A total of four Mercedes pilots posted top-10 times on Michigan International Speedway's two-mile oval.

Gugelmin and his PacWest Hollywood Mercedes entry posted the second-quickest lap of the day (31.204 seconds/230.740 mph) in the waning moments of the afternoon session -- just 0.070 seconds behind Juan Montoya's lap of 31.134 seconds (231.258 mph). Moore was fourth-quick in his Player's/Forsythe Mercedes after touring the high-banked oval in a hasty 31.269 seconds (230.260 mph).

Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes veteran Al Unser Jr. was seventh, lapping the race track in 31.383 seconds (229.424 mph), while Moore's teammate, Patrick Carpentier, was eighth with a time of 31.397 seconds (229.321 mph).

Alex Barron, making his premier appearance in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes, recorded a lap in 31.647 seconds (227.510 mph) for the 18th spot. Helio Castro-Neves, 19th overall, lapped Michigan's oval in 31.698 seconds (227.144 mph). Roberto Moreno, substituting in his eighth-consecutive race for injured PacWest Motorola driver Mark Blundell, tallied a quick lap of 31.969 seconds (225.218 mph) and heads into Saturday's qualifying in 22nd position.

CART practice continues Saturday morning from 8:00-9:00 a.m., and qualifying will be held from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The green flag for the U.S. 500 will wave Sunday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (ABC-TV, live).

Mercedes Quotes

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (Second/31.204 seconds) "We started with a good race car today and had two productive sessions. The car handles well in traffic, which is always a relief when you know you're going to go 500 miles. This afternoon, we had full tanks early, and I was trying to get into traffic to see how the car handles. At the end, I was able to get a tow for the quick lap."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Fourth/31.269 seconds) "Considering we didn't test here at all, I'm pleased. We always know we'll be fast here, though. We're normally pretty successful here, so I'm not that concerned with qualifying. The race is all that matters to me. I'm confident we're going to be up front." Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Eighth/31.397 seconds) "I'm happy with the engine. We really have the power here. On long runs, though, my car is nervous after only seven laps. In traffic it gets worse. It is important that we fix that."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (19th/31.698 seconds) "The car is pretty good. This is a tough track for us with the Lola, because we've never run here. The drag from the rear wing is really bad. We're working on getting a good race car. Qualifying is not the most important thing here, but we're trying very hard to find something for tomorrow."

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (22nd/31.969 seconds) "The car was very loose today. Towards the end, we began to make some improvements, but we have a lot of work on our hands."

Practice U.S. 500, Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Mich. July 23, 1999 Pos. Driver Engine Time Speed 1 Juan Montoya Honda 31.134 231.258 2 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 31.204 230.740 3 Max Papis Ford Cosworth 31.234 230.518 4 Greg Moore Mercedes-Benz 31.269 230.260 5 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 31.337 229.760 6 Tony Kanaan Honda 31.349 229.672 7 Al Unser Jr. Mercedes-Benz 31.383 229.424 8 Patrick Carpentier Mercedes-Benz 31.397 229.321 9 Paul Tracy Honda 31.445 228.971 10 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 31.446 228.964 18 Alex Barron Mercedes-Benz 31.647 227.510 19 Helio Castro-Neves Mercedes-Benz 31.698 227.144 22 Roberto Moreno Mercedes-Benz 31.969 225.218

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Alex Barron , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske