CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Saturday track notes

• Good Morning from Nazareth, PA. for Qualifying Day in the Lehigh Valley! The perfect summer-like weather of yesterday is slowly becoming a memory here at Nazareth Speedway as a stiff wind is blowing in from the north, over the Turn 1 wall, ...

• Good Morning from Nazareth, PA. for Qualifying Day in the Lehigh Valley! The perfect summer-like weather of yesterday is slowly becoming a memory here at Nazareth Speedway as a stiff wind is blowing in from the north, over the Turn 1 wall, heralding the arrival of a massive cold front to the west making its way into the area. Though early morning temperatures are in the high sixties, it's not expected to climb much higher, throwing the teams' setups learned on a hot track yesterday into the trash. But a cooler track means more grip, and there will definitely be faster laps logged this morning than in yesterday's practice. Today's CART qualifying takes the Green Flag at 1:30 p.m. First up on the schedule however, is the split-group practice session with a scheduled start at 9:30 a.m. Both groups will be on-track for 45 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two sessions.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to start the Group One session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 85 degrees F. (29 C.) and an ambient temperature of 70 degrees F. (21 C.) at the start of the session. The track temperature measurement is 12 degrees F. cooler than the start of yesterday's morning practice session and a whopping 48 degrees F less than the Friday afternoon session temp; an engineers' nightmare.

• At 9:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #16 JOURDAIN Jr. with a lap of 166.892 mph (20.406 seconds; 20th lap), followed by #18 DIXON (163.409 mph; 20.841 seconds; 20th lap) and #11 FITTIPALDI (163.174 mph; 20.871 seconds; 12th lap). JOURDAIN Jr.'s lap is the fastest of all the drivers this weekend so far.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:49 a.m. after #66 ZANARDI pulls low on the frontstretch and shuts off the engine. A trail of fluid and smoke follows the car around the bottom of the track and ZANARDI pulls into his Pit with a small fire showing at the rear of the car. CART Pit Officials quickly extinguish the fire and ZANARDI exits the car and heads for his secondary car as CART safety crews start the clean-up of the track and Pit Lane.

• At 9:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #16 JOURDAIN Jr. with a faster lap of 167.212 mph (20.367 seconds; 17th lap), followed by #22 SERVIA (166.835 mph; 20.413 seconds; 16th lap) and #18 DIXON (166.200; 20.491 seconds; 28th lap).

• GREEN FLAG waves at 9:57 a.m. to resume the Group One session.

• At 10 a.m., the top three drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:50 a.m. report.

• Also at 10 a.m., Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 90 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 72 degrees F.

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:04 a.m. to #66 ZANARDI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out. ZANARDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• At 10:05 a.m., #7 PAPIS logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 168.511 mph (20.210 seconds; 28th lap) and moves to the top of the Group One speedboard.

• At 10:10 a.m., the fastest driver of Group One and of the weekend is now #22 SERVIA with a lap of 169.004 mph (20.151 seconds; 40th lap), followed by #7 PAPIS (168.511 mph; 20.210 seconds; 28th lap) and #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (167.212; 20.367 seconds; 17th lap).

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:11 a.m. after #7 PAPIS spins off of Turn 4. PAPIS slides nose-first into the frontstretch grass before the driver regains control, drives onto Pit Road and continues through the Pit Out exit. The driver continues on course to his Pit and the car appears to have no damage. The Champ Car drivers had logged 4,745 laps of Green Flag practice before this first incident-caused Yellow Flag flew.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 10:13 a.m. to resume the Group One session.

• CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:15 a.m. to end the Group One session with #22 SERVIA remaining at the top with a speed of 169.004 mph (20.151 seconds; 40th lap), followed by #7 PAPIS (168.511 mph; 20.210 seconds; 28th lap) and #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (167.212 mph; 20.367 seconds; 17th lap).

• GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the Group Two session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 91 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 72 degrees F. at the start of the session.

• At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest Group Two driver is #26 TRACY with a lap of 165.957 mph (20.521 seconds; sixth lap; seventh overall), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (165.747 mph; 20.547 seconds; seventh lap; eighth-overall) and #20 MORENO (165.353 mph; 20.396 seconds; 38th lap; ninth-overall).

• At 10:43 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 170.459 mph (19.979 seconds) on his 14th lap and goes to the top of the speedboard. This is also the sub-20 second lap of the weekend.

• At 10:45 a.m., an airborne drizzle is reported by CART course observers, but the moisture is not making it to the ground.

• At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #8 BRACK with a lap of 170.912 mph (19.926 seconds; 21st lap), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (170.549 mph; 19.979 seconds; 14th lap) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (169.517 mph; 20.090 seconds; 29th lap).

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:54 a.m. after CART course observers report that the drizzle has picked up and the pavement of the track is starting to show patches of dampness. CART safety crews bring all available vehicles on course to attempt to preserve as much of the dry asphalt as possible.

• At 11 a.m., the drizzle has worsened and the weather radar shows a large plume of moisture minutes away from the Nazareth area sweeping from the southwest to northeast.

• CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:11 a.m. after CART Race Control determines that there will not be enough time to dry the course before the scheduled end of the Group Two session. #8 BRACK remains the fastest with a lap of 170.912 mph (19.926 seconds; 21st lap), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (170.549 mph; 19.979 seconds; 14th lap) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (169.517 mph; 20.090 seconds; 29th lap).

• As the lap speeds increase, so do the traps. The Start/Finish line is owned by two guys: #8 BRACK and #3 CASTRONEVES logged identical 182.292 mph clockings, a quick 1.371 mph faster than the third-best speed of 180.921 mph, logged by #22 SERVIA. Oddly enough, #77 HERTA was the fastest at this point of the track in yesterday's morning session with a 181.604 mph trip, and he ran the same speed this morning. But HERTA's identical speed is now tied for second with #33 TAGLIANI. Team Rahal has done their homework on the slow part of the track as BRACK is the fastest off Turn 2 with a 153.388 mph trap, a full 5.251 mph better than his seventh-best 148.137 mph effort in yesterday morning's run. Second-fastest here is a tie between #3 CASTRONEVES and #22 SERVIA (153.102 mph). The end-of-the-backstraight trap at Turn 3 features another tie: BRACK and SERVIA both clocking in at 192.226 mph, with #7 PAPIS second-fastest at 191.332 mph. BRACK and SERVIA's speeds are 6.089 mph faster than the top speed from yesterday's run; BRACK at 186.137 mph. No wonder lap times are dropping!

QUALIFYING

• As the time for the Qualifying Session Green Flag approaches, the drizzle that earlier closed down the morning practice session has ended and restarted at least five times during the lunch hour. The track has remained generally dry, but the weather radar promises a more sustained effort by Mother Nature before the set sets on Nazareth Speedway. The CART Pace Cars and safety trucks are still circling the track in attempt to keep the track dry but at 1:15 p.m. the drizzle has increased. The track qualifying record is held by PATRICK CARPENTIER from his 1998 run of 184.896 mph (18.419 seconds). As the Champ Cars are running a slower aero package this weekend than was used by CARPENTIER, the track record is probably safe.

• At 1:30 p.m., the scheduled start of qualifying is delayed to allow safety workers to tend to the last few patches of asphalt that still show of dampness.

• At 1:33 P.M., CART Race Control announces that the Green Flag for qualifying will fly at 1:38 p.m.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 1:38 p.m. to start qualifying. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 82 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 69 degrees F. at the start of the session. The drivers will have to the fourth time by the Flagstand before starting their official timed laps.

• #66X ZANARDI's top speed: 166.086 mph (20.505 seconds), second lap.

• #32 CARPENTIER's top speed: 165.731 mph (20.549 seconds), first lap.

• #25 WILSON's top speed: 161.273 mph (21.117 seconds, first lap. WILSON pulls to Pit Road after completing his first qualifying lap and parks the car.

• #11 FITTIPALDI's top speed: 166.892 mph (20.406 seconds), second lap. FITTIPALDI takes the Pole from ZANARDI.

• #33 TAGLIANI's top speed: 166.460 mph (20.459 seconds), second lap. TAGLIANI takes second on the grid.

• #51X FERNANDEZ's top speed: 169.779 mph (20.059 seconds), first lap. FERNANDEZ takes the Pole from FITTIPALDI. FERNANDEZ pulls off course after his first lap and drives to Pit Road.

• #22 SERVIA's top speed: 170.314 mph (19.996 seconds), second lap. SERVIA takes the Pole from FERNANDEZ.

• #18 DIXON's top speed: 164.673 mph (20.681 seconds), second lap. DIXON is currently seventh on the grid.

• #16 JOURDAIN Jr.'s top speed: 170.707 mph (19.950 seconds), second lap. JOURDAIN Jr. takes the Pole from SERVIA.

• #52 NAKANO's top speed: 166.492 mph (20.455 seconds), second lap. NAKANO is currently fifth on the grid.

• #7 PAPIS' top speed: No Time. YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:06 p.m. after PAPIS heads off Turn 4 and the rear of the car snaps loose. PAPIS spins into the frontstretch grass at almost the same spot as his morning excursion and stalls the car. CART safety workers quickly get the car refired and PAPIS drives to his Pit. PAPIS will get another attempt if time permits with only one lap at the end of the qualifying line.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 2:09 p.m. to resume the qualifying session.

• #20 MORENO's top speed: 167.327 mph (20.353 seconds), first lap. MORENO takes fourth on the grid.

• #5 TAKAGI's top speed: 166.827 mph (20.414 seconds), second lap. TAKAGI is currently sixth on the grid.

• #77 HERTA's top speed: 169.737 mph (20.064 seconds), second lap. HERTA is currently fourth on the grid.

• #4 JUNQUEIRA's top speed: 172.873 mph (19.700 seconds), second lap. JUNQUEIRA takes the Pole from JOURDAIN Jr.

• #12 MINASSIAN's top speed: No time. YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:24 p.m. after MINASSIAN spins in the middle of Turn 2, crosses the track and makes hard contact against the outside wall with the rear of the car at the exit of the corner. The car becomes briefly airborne as flames erupt at the rear of the car from a broken oil line The car then snaps around and slides to a halt against the inside wall halfway down the back straight. MINASSIAN immediately exits the car under his own power and is tended to by the arriving CART Safety Team. The car has sustained major damage on the back half and will be unusable for the remainder of the session. MINASSIAN will have the chance to re-qualify at the end of the qualifying line time permitting and the driver will only receive one timed lap.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 2:41 p.m. to resume the qualifying session. Firestone engineers now report a track temperature of 95 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 76 degrees F.

• #55 KANAAN's top speed: 168.703 mph (20.187 seconds), second lap. KANAAN is currently sixth on the grid.

• #27 FRANCHITTI's top speed: 168.586 mph (20.201 seconds), first lap.

• #8 BRACK's top speed: 172.540 mph (19.738 seconds), first lap. BRACK is currently second on the grid.

• #39 ANDRETTI's top speed: 168.552 mph (20.205 seconds), second lap. ANDRETTI is currently ninth on the grid.

• #40 VASSER's top speed: 168.669 mph (20.191 seconds), first lap. VASSER is currently eighth on the grid.

• #26 TRACY's top speed: 169.029 mph (20.148 seconds), first lap. TRACY's currently seventh on the grid.

• #3 CASTRONEVES' top speed: 170.220 mph (20.007 seconds), second lap. CASTRONEVES is currently fifth on the grid.

• #1 de FERRAN's top speed: 167.607 mph (20.319 seconds), second lap. De FERRAN is currently 14th on the grid.

• #6 da MATTA's top speed: 168.912 mph (20.162 seconds), second lap. Da MATTA is currently ninth on the grid.

• #7 PAPIS' top speed: 167.788 mph (20.297 seconds), first and only lap. PAPIS locks down the 14th on the grid.

• BRUNO JUNQUEIRA wins the Pole for Sunday's Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota in his Target/Chip Ganassi Toyota/Lola. JUNQUEIRA turned the track at 172.873 mph (278.205 kph; 19.70 seconds) to win his first CART career Pole. This is also the first Pole for a rookie since ALEX TAGLIANI won the Pole at Rio de Janeiro in 2000. This is also the third consecutive Pole at Nazareth for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Juan Montoya won the Pole here in 1999 and 2000. This is also the first Pole of the 2001 season for engine manufacturer Toyota.

• KENNY BRACK sits second on the grid after his 172.540 mph (277.668 kph; 19.738 second)-effort. This is BRACK's fourth consecutive front-row start of the season as the Swedish star won the Pole at Mexico and Texas, as well as a second at Long Beach.

• MICHEL JOURDAIN Jr. logs his career best start in CART competition with his 170.707 mph effort (274.719 kph; 19.950 seconds). JOURDAIN's previous best start was a fifth at California in 1997.

• The top 23 cars in tomorrow's starting grid are separated by less than one second in lap times.

• BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: "I'm very happy that I could do a good qualifying. It's important to do a good start, but I don't know what it's going to be like. It's great to be on the pole for the first oval race in my life. I knew I could do really well here, because Team Target has a good car on ovals. I like driving ovals, my style fits to it. I thought I would do well on the road courses, but I made some mistakes this year, but the biggest change is I'm lucky. I'm feeling very comfortable on the ovals running by myself. Because I have no experience in a race, I'm going to let the Team Target engineers do it. The car can be good in qualifying, but not good in the race, but they know what to do. "

• KENNY BRACK: "We've had a good weekend with Team Rahal and the Lola/Ford package. It was a little difficult to qualify here when the temperature changes. We were a little bit conservative, but we're still on the front row. It's important to qualify well here. I was a little worried about everything when we switched to the Lola. We had a lot of experience with the Reynard, and this is all new. We didn't run good at all in winter testing on the road courses. We ran only two days on ovals in testing, and ran the rest on the road courses. We kind of expected the Lola to be a good oval car because it was last year. From the driver's perspective, it's kind of difficult to start from a clean sheet of paper and develop all new setups. We're working together and the driver has to steer the team in the right direction. It's been interesting and hard, but we've come a long way in a short time."

• MICHEL JOURDAIN JR.: "I think it was a good weekend so far. The whole year Herdez Bettenhausen has shown it is very good. I knew this season we were going to be competitive when we changed to the Ford engine. I knew we had a good car, and we made changes for qualifying. It doesn't take a lot to go faster or slower. Oriol (Servia) went out before me and he was fast, and I knew that if he was fast, I would be fast. We've got to change things for the race. We've always have a good race car on the short ovals, so hopefully I'll have a good car for the race. I feel very, very comfortable. I just have to be smart. I think all the years I've been here, every year I've had some good races. But when we got the Ford-Cosworth engine, and I saw the changes we made in the team, I knew we were going to be good. After so many years with so many problems, I started to have some doubts. Everybody's enjoying it a lot. The guys can see that their work is making a difference."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing