MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 11, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy searched hard to find the optimum setup for their cars in practice today on the 1.549-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi. Franchitti was 14th, while Tracy was 20th...
MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 11, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy searched hard to find the optimum setup for their cars in practice today on the 1.549-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi. Franchitti was 14th, while Tracy was 20th after two practice sessions in preparation for the Firestone Firehawk 500.
While the new Handford MK II rear wing has reduced speeds from last year, it didn't impede first-year driver Kenny Brack too much. He was quickest in turning a lap of 26.072 seconds, averaging 213.885 mph. Juan Montoya was just 0.020 seconds behind Brack with a lap of 26.092 seconds (213.721 mph). Montoya's teammate Jimmy Vasser was third fastest with a time of 26.140 seconds (213.328 mph).
Franchitti's best lap came while running on his own, clocking a time of 26.645 seconds (209.265 mph). Tracy, meanwhile, struggled a little more with the handling of his car. His time of 26.977 seconds (206.709 mph) was 0.905 seconds off the pace of Brack, while Franchitti was 0.573 seconds behind the top time.
The 25-car field returns to the track for a practice session tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. before single-car qualifying at 1:15 p.m. Japan Time. With the time difference (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time), the race will be run at 11:00 p.m. ET on Friday. ABC-TV will broadcast the event via tape-delay on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(22nd with a lap-time of 26.977 seconds / 206.709 mph)
"The basic problem is the car is neutral in turns one and two, but we have an understeer in turns three and four. We're trying fix one area, without hurting the other even more. The new wing definitely changes the way the KOOL car reacts, especially with the changes that we have made to the car. I also don't think that we have the gearing quite right. On a high-speed, high horsepower track like this you need to have the gears right."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(14th with a lap-time of 26.645 seconds / 209.265 mph)
"I'm fairly happy with the KOOL car. We're really close on balance, but we're just a little loose through three and four which we'll fix for tomorrow morning. We're not as fast as we would like, but we did our best time running on our own without a tow. We're trying to conserve our tires and keep the best ones for the race, rather than use them up in practice. We've had a nervous car and an understeering car. We've managed to work our way through it all. We'll make some improvements in other areas for tomorrow."