CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Saturday Track Notes

Molson Indy FedEx Championship Series Track Notes - Saturday July 18, 1998 Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 75-minute practice session beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the split-group qualifying at 12:45 p.m. for Group One. Group...

Molson Indy FedEx Championship Series Track Notes - Saturday July 18, 1998

Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 75-minute practice session beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the split-group qualifying at 12:45 p.m. for Group One. Group Two qualifying will take to the track at 1:30 p.m. Both groups will be on-track for 30 minutes with the faster qualifiers from yesterday comprising Group Two.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the morning session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 75 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 71 degrees F. at the start of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 9:06 a.m. after #19 JOURDAIN JR. spins at Turn 1 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car re-started and JOURDAIN JR. continues to his pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:08 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 102.147 mph (1:00.654), followed by #10 HEARN (101.469; 1:01.059) and #12 VASSER (101.399 mph; 1:01.101).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 103.303 mph (59.975 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (103.181; 1:00.046) and #27 FRANCHITTI (102.900 mph; 1:00.210).

At 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 104.033 mph (59.554 seconds), followed by #8 HERTA (103.439 mph; 59.896 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (103.303 mph; 59.896 seconds).

At 9:40 a.m., the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:30 a.m. report.

At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #11 FITTPALDI with his earlier lap of 104.033 mph (59.554 seconds), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (103.642 mph; 59.779 seconds) and #8 HERTA (103.439 mph; 59.896 seconds).

RED FLAG waves at 9:55 a.m. after #3 RIBEIRO stalls exiting Turn 2. CART safety workers tow the car to the pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:58 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10 a.m., one hour into the practice session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:50 a.m. report.

At 10:03 a.m., #16 CASTRO-NEVES enter the run-off at Turn 1 and continues on course without damage to the car.

At 10:05 a.m., #11 FITTIPALDI is the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 104.033 mph (59.554 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (103.760 mph; 59.711 seconds) and #5 DE FERRAN (103.642 mph; 59.779 seconds).

At 10:08 a.m., #21 KANAAN enters the run-off at Turn 1 and continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 104.445 mph (59.319 seconds), followed by #7 RAHAL (104.243 mph; 59.434 seconds) and #99 MOORE (103.760 mph; 59.711 seconds).

At 10:11 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 104.479 mph (59.300 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:15 a.m. with #27 FRANCHITTI still the fastest with a lap of 104.479 mph (59.300 seconds) ,followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (104.445 mph; 59.319 seconds) and #7 RAHAL (104.243 mph; 59.434 seconds). Fourth-fastest is #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 103.895 mph; (59.633 seconds) and #8 HERTA (103.765 mph; 59.708 seconds). The top 25 cars are within two seconds of the fast lap set by FRANCHITTI. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 33 different cars to the track in this morning's practice with the drivers logging a total of 581 laps.

Quite a few drivers rose and fell in practice times compared to the Friday a.m. practice, with seven of yesterday's fastest ten drivers falling in the rankings. Yesterday's fastest in practice, ALEX ZANARDI fell from first to tenth this morning. AL UNSER JR. fell from 10th to 23rd, and MARK BLUNDELL, from fourth to 13th. Among the big gainers; DARIO FRANCHITTI from seventh to first; CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI from eighth to second; and BOBBY RAHAL, 15th to third.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:45 p.m. to start the final Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 107 degrees F. (42 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 81 degrees F. (27 degrees C.).

RED FLAG waves at 12:49 p.m. after #34 SALLES impacts the inside wall at Turn 11. Though the driver is uninjured in the incident, the car sustains major damage to the right side. SALLES exits the car under his own power and CART safety workers tow the car back to the garage area.

At 12:50 p.m., five minutes into the Group One session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #26X TRACY with a lap of 100.170 mph (1:01.851), followed by #16 CASTRO-NEVES (96.500 mph; 1:04.203) and #36 BARRON (96.028 mph; 1:04.519).

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:53 p.m. to resume the qualifying session.

At 12:55 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is #20 PRUETT with a lap of 104.287 mph (59.409 seconds), followed by #26X TRACY (103.533 mph; 59.842 seconds), and #24 GORDON (102.349 mph; 1:00.534).

At 1 p.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #20 PRUETT with a lap of 104.456 (59.313 seconds), followed by #26X TRACY (104.372 mph; 59.361 seconds) and #3 RIBEIRO (104.275; 59.416 seconds).

At 1:04 p.m., #3 RIBEIRO enters the run-off at Turn 8 and continues on course without damage.

At 1:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1 p.m. report.

RED FLAG waves at 1:07 p.m. after #24 GORDON stalls on-course on the straightaway past Turn 2. CART safety workers tow the car back to the pit area.

At 1:10 p.m., the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:05 p.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:11 p.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:12 p.m. to #16 CASTRO-NEVES for a pit-road speed violation. CASTRO-NEVES pits on the next lap.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. to end the Group One qualifying session with the fastest driver #12 VASSER with a lap of 104.705 mph (59.172 seconds and fourth on the provisional grid), followed by #20 PRUETT (104.456 mph; 59.313 seconds and sixth on the provisional grid) and #26X TRACY (104.372 mph; 59.361 seconds and seventh on the provisional grid).

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the final Group Two qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 110 degrees F. (43 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 82 degrees F. (28 degrees C.) at the start of the session.

At 1:35 p.m., five minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 104.891 mph (59.067 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (104.785 mph; 59.127 seconds).

At 1:36 p.m., #99 MOORE makes light contact on inside wall with the right side of the car coming out of Turn 11. The left rear tire deflates and MOORE slows and pits on the next lap.

At 1:38 p.m., #21 KANAAN enters the run-off at Turn 1 and continues on course without damage to the car.

At 1:40 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 105.206 mph (58.890 seconds), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (105.001 mph; 59.005 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (104.891 mph; 59.067 seconds).

At 1:45 p.m., the fastest driver and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:40 p.m. report.

At 1:49 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a lap of 105.558 mph (58.694 seconds).

At 1:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 105.558 mph (58.694 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (105.206 mph; 58.890 seconds), and #5 DE FERRAN (105.001 mph; 59.005 seconds).

At 1:55 p.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 105.558 mph (58.694 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (105.461 mph; 58.748 seconds) and #1 ZANARDI (105.206 mph; 58.890 seconds).

At 1:56 p.m., #18 BLUNDELL enters the run-off at Turn 3 and stalls the car.

At 1:56 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI enters the run-off at Turn 1 and parks the car.

At 1:59 p.m., #33 CARPENTIER enters the run-off at Turn 3 and parks the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2 p.m. with #27 DARIO FRANCHITTI, fastest of the Group Two drivers, winning the Marlboro Pole for Sunday's Molson Indy with a lap of 105.558 mph (58.694 seconds). Second-fastest of the Group Two drivers today is #6 MICHAEL ANDRETTI with a lap of 105.461 mph (58.748 seconds and third-fastest on the grid.). Third-fastest of the Group Two drivers is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 105.206 mph (58.890 seconds). ZANARDI will start second on the grid for Sunday's Molson Indy by virtue of his Friday provisional qualifying lap of 105.480 mph (58.737 seconds).

There are 15 drivers within one second of the fastest Group Two lap set by FRANCHITTI in this afternoon's final round of qualifying. FedEx Championship Series drivers logged 252 laps in the qualifying sessions today with secondary cars utilized by #26X TRACY and #40X FERNANDEZ.

DARIO FRANCHITTI wins $10,000 for his Marlboro Pole-winning effort. FRANCHITTI will also have a shot at the Marlboro Roll-over Bonus of $270,000 if he can go on to win the Molson Indy Sunday afternoon. This is FRANCHITTI's second pole of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series season and the third of his career. FRANCHITTI had previously won the pole here in Toronto in 1997 and at Rio this year. This also represents FRANCHITTI's third consecutive front-row start.

ALEX ZANARDI will start second in Sunday's Molson Indy. This is ZANARDI's third outside-pole of the season.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI will start third on the grid. This matches ANDRETTI's season-best start, tying his position on the grid at Nazareth. This is his best start on a road/street course circuit since Vancouver in 1996.

ALEX BARRON wins the Budweiser Accelerator Award by logging the biggest increase in speed from his fastest practice lap of the weekend to his best lap in qualifying. Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary will be the recipient of $1000 in BARRON's name from Budweiser.

Quotes from the first three starters in tomorrow's race follow.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "It feels good. The track has been really strange all weekend. It seems like yesterday it was more grippy when it was raining. It doesn't make any sense. Today, it almost seems mirror-like out there. The guys told me to go for it and that's what I did. It was a good lap. I've been waiting a year in hopes I would get the pole again so I could make amends for what happened last year. It was very disappointing to win the pole here and then be off in the first corner. I'm glad to have another chance. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "I'm obviously a little disappointed. The pole would have been better than second. I've probably been in some people's way sometimes, and sometimes it can happen to you. It happened to me today. Hats off to Dario. It was a fantastic lap on a day when the track probably wasn't any better than it was yesterday. I'll try to send all the Italians here home with smiles on their faces tomorrow. I think in the race the car will be driveable. The only thing is, it will be really, really slippery, as it was last year during the end of the race. But this year, it seems even more so."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford: "The track was slower today, which I was a little afraid of. The track was slippery, still, we were capable of the pole. I had a good lap going until the last three corners, but I screwed up the second lefthander and lost two-tenths. I'm very frustrated with myself right now. The tires are good for one lap, and that was my best lap. I had the chance and I blew it. I was trying hard, maybe a little too hard. The race tomorrow is going to be a race of fuel mileage and conserving tires. At the moment, Alex can't do a whole lot wrong and he takes advantage of the things that go his way. That's how you win championships. But we're not giving up, by any means. Starts here are always a problem. This place is really tight. If anyone has a problem, he could take out two or three others. We just have to try to take care of each other out there."

PPG Industries, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dan Proudfoot, motorsports writer for the Toronto Sun, has been named as PPG's Colorful Character for the Molson Indy at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Proudfoot, who joined the Toronto Sun in 1994 as it's full time motorsports writer, has spent nearly thirty years in the Toronto journalism scene, from investigative news features to humor columns to covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the one constant in this 54 year old's life has been auto racing. Proudfoot's knowledge of cars has earned him accolades as one of Canada's pre-eminent car critics. Dan currently lives in Toronto's East End with his wife, Linda, and has two boys, Mark and Dak.

"Dan's knowledge, insight and enthusiasm have helped to make Molson Indy fans the best informed in racing," said Mike Sack, PPG's Director of Sports Marketing. "Dan knows PPG Cup competition and he knows his readers," said Sack. "We are delighted to recognize him as our latest PPG Colorful Character."

Created in 1995 by PPG Industries, co-title sponsor of the 1998 CART FedEx Championship, the PPG Colorful Character award recognizes members of the racing community who add color, style, personality and fun to the series.

Nominations for PPG Colorful Characters may be sent by fans, media, teams and sponsors to: PPG Colorful Characters, PPG Industries, Inc., 19699 Progress Drive, Strongsville, OH 44136.

This concludes the Pit Notes for today. We'll see you tomorrow for the running of Round Eleven of the FedEx Championship Series, The Molson Indy! Have a great evening!

Source: CART Online

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