CHAMPCAR/CART: Shinji Nakano Qualifies Solidly in Milwaukee

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2000) - Walker Racing rookie Shinji Nakano continued his learning curve during qualifications for the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile today. Nakano, a Formula One veteran, qualified in 20th position for Sunday's...

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2000) - Walker Racing rookie Shinji Nakano continued his learning curve during qualifications for the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile today. Nakano, a Formula One veteran, qualified in 20th position for Sunday's race which will be aired at 4 p.m. (ET) live on ABC. Nakano, in the #5 Avex car, put together a lap of 173.332 miles per hour (21.434 seconds) on the 1.032-mile oval located outside Milwaukee. The Japanese driver was only .535 of a second behind the time of pole sitter Juan Montoya.

Nakano crashed at the Milwaukee Mile on March 31 during a private test session, and sat out of the next two CART FedEx Championship Series events while he recuperated.

On his return to the track that bit him, Shinji struggled during the Friday practice sessions at the track, with a fast speed of 164.317 mph (22.494 sec). His qualifying speed improved almost 10 mph in the space of a day.

"Yesterday, the car was very nervous on the racetrack," said Nakano, "there is quite a lot of difference between how the car handled yesterday and how it handled today," said Nakano. "They (the Walker Racing team) worked very hard on that, and the car felt much better today than it did before. We changed the car again after the practice, and we found a good set up for the race in practice this morning, but we ran out of time to work on the qualifying setup. The team engineer (Al Bodey) did a really good job of finding a good balance for today and for tomorrow, with not a lot of time to do it."

"When we were here for the test, understeer was the main complaint," said Bodey. "When we came back yesterday morning, unfortunately oversteer was the cause of the day. We had to spend all day yesterday backing out the changes we made during our private test, in order to make the car more comfortable to drive. The changes we made today will definitely help us during the race tomorrow."

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In addition to being the Walker Racing team owner, Walker is the race strategist for the CART and IRL teams. He has spotted for Fisher during her last two IRL races at Las Vegas and the Indy 500.

"Having Sarah at Milwaukee this weekend is a golden opportunity for her to look at open-wheel racing without being in the cockpit," said Walker. "CART and the IRL have the same kind of racing, so she has a great chance this weekend to be around all that and learn from it here. During the race, I'll be doing race strategy and spotting from the top of the grandstand, and Sarah will be up there with me as my junior spotter."

Walker Racing's corporate sponsor partners are avex, Alpine, Mitsuba, SpeedWRX.com, Dell Computers, NGK, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Honda, Reynard and Firestone.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Shinji Nakano