FORT WORTH, Texas (April 27, 2001) - Kenny Brack of Team Rahal put his experience at Texas Motor Speedway to good use Friday when he topped the speed chart on the opening day of practice for Sunday's Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer (3...
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 27, 2001) - Kenny Brack of Team Rahal put his experience at Texas Motor Speedway to good use Friday when he topped the speed chart on the opening day of practice for Sunday's Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer (3 p.m. ET, live, ESPN).
Brack (Shell Ford Lola), who made five starts at Texas Motor Speedway during his three-year career in the Indy Racing League, put together a lap of 233.785 miles per hour (22.821 seconds) on the 1.5-mile oval to set the pace during practice for the inaugural FedEx Championship Series event at the venue. He will be seeking the second pole position of his two-year career and his first on an oval when qualifying begins 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
Brack was followed on the speed chart by Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing, who was just two-hundredths of a second further back at 233.539mph (22.845 seconds). Unlike Brack, whose top speed of the day came in the afternoon, Kanaan's best effort came during morning practice, when he was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than every other competitor in the field.
Rounding out the day's top three drivers was Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, who was third fastest at 232.612 mph (22.936 seconds). The fast start to the weekend puts Tracy in good position to improve on his season-best start of 12th established at Long Beach three weeks ago.
Rounding out the top five drivers were rookie Scott Dixon (Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota) of the PacWest Racing Group, fourth at 232.521mph (22.945 seconds); and Bryan Herta (Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Ford Reynard) of Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing, fifth at 232.056 mph (22.991 mph).
A third Champ Car practice session is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday, four hours before qualifying. Of the 49 cars, primary and secondary, which took to the track Friday, 35 of them were covered by less than one second on the combined time sheet.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Lola: "I think we've been running very competitively, all of us. It's better to be first than 25th, but there's still a lot of time left. I think the times you saw today were from a lot of drafting. I tried to do some long runs this afternoon, but the car broke down. Before that, the car was good, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. I thought there was going to be a lot more turbulence, but it feels pretty much okay, actually. I don't think that's going to affect us too much here. It's going to be a good race. I think you'll see a race here like Michigan and Fontana, with lots of passing and side-by-side racing."
TONY KANAAN, Hollywood Honda Reynard: "I didn't run for the first hour and fifteen minutes this morning, and we haven't done any oval testing this winter. Actually, this is my first oval since Fontana last year. The car was really good right off the truck, and I'm pretty pleased, but it's just too soon. It's a long race, and it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish. I know that from experience. I went a lap down at Michigan in '99 and came back to win the race."
PAUL TRACY, KOOL Honda Reynard: "I think it went pretty well. I had a few dramas this morning with some engine management things, and had a few more this afternoon. But it was a good day for Team Green, we had all three cars in the Top 10. We're pretty happy, and we have some things to try tomorrow. I think we can go quicker. I feel pretty good. The difference between this track and Michigan or Fontana is everything happens quicker here. Because the track is a half-mile shorter, things happen a lot quicker."
* Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) will be seeking his second pole position of the season and the second of his career when qualifying begins Saturday. He won the pole for the FedEx Championship Series season opener at Monterrey, Mexico last month. His best career start on an oval is second at Japan last year.
* Brack will be seeking Ford's first pole on an oval since Alex Tagliani won the pole at Rio de Janeiro last year.
* Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) will be seeking the first oval pole of his four-year FedEx Championship Series career Saturday. His only other pole position came at Long Beach in 1999. His best career oval start is third at Rio de Janeiro and Gateway in 1998 and Chicago last year.
* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) will be chasing his 14th career pole position Saturday, second among active drivers to Michael Andretti (32). Tracy's last six pole positions have come on ovals, at Miami in 1996, Nazareth in '96 and '97, Milwaukee in '96 and '97 and Michigan last year.
* According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, PacWest Racing Group driver Mauricio Gugelmin was transported to North Richland Hills Hospital in Fort Worth for precautionary x-rays following an one-car accident in Turn 2 late in Friday's afternoon practice. According to Olvey, Gugelmin was awake and alert at the scene of the incident. Olvey said that Gugelmin sustained minor bruising from the seat belts and helmet strap and there were no other apparent injuries. Since Gugelmin was not rendered unconscious from the incident, he remains eligible to compete for the remainder of the weekend. Per CART rules, should a driver be rendered unconscious he is ineligible to compete for the remainder of that race weekend.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Qualifying for the Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer will air 1 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2.