CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Saturday Track Notes

Molson Indy Vancouver - SATURDAY PRACTICE PIT NOTES · Good Morning from cloudy Vancouver B.C. for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver! Gone are the blue skies and warm sun. Thick overcast and a cool, threatening...

Molson Indy Vancouver - SATURDAY PRACTICE PIT NOTES

· Good Morning from cloudy Vancouver B.C. for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver! Gone are the blue skies and warm sun. Thick overcast and a cool, threatening wind has greeted the early arrivals. Engine and tire engineers will be working through the breakfast hour, calculating the differences the weather will present today compared to yesterday's Chamber of Commerce weather. This morning's schedule has the Champ cars on track for 75 minutes, taking the Green Flag at 9 a.m. The final round of qualifying will follow at 12:45 p.m. DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the provisional pole with his speed of 104.520 mph (1:01.343) from yesterday's sessions.

· JUAN MONTOYA will serve an eight-minute penalty at the end of this morning's practice session due to causing two delays in yesterday's practice session.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the morning practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 72 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F. at the start of the session.

· At 9:01 a.m., #15 HATTORI spins at Turn 8 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car.

· At 9:09 a.m., #44 KANAAN slides into the run-off at Turn 9 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car. At the same time, #22 GORDON slides into the run-off at Turn 12, but continues on course to his Pit Area as well.

· At 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 101.689 mph (1:03.051), followed by #26 TRACY (100.968 mph; 1:03.501) and #27 FRANCHITTI (100.956 mph; 1:03.509).

· Also at 9:10 a.m., #8 HERTA slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 9:12 a.m., #4X MONTOYA pits with a large amount of smoke billowing from the rear of the car. The driver quickly exits the car as the crew pulls off the engine covers. MONTOYA had entered the session late, and had only completed three laps in the session before the apparent engine problem sidelined his practice effort.

· At 9:17 a.m., #9X CASTRO-NEVES pits with smoke showing at the rear of the car. CART Pit workers report a possible header problem on the car.

· At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 103.465 mph (1:01.969), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (103.293 mph; 1:02.072) and #18 BLUNDELL (103.195 mph; 1:02.131).

· At 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #17 GUGELMIN with his earlier lap of 103.465 mph (1:01.969), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (103.446 mph; 1:01.980) and #26 TRACY (103.386 mph; 1:02.106).

· At 9:34 a.m., #15 HATTORI spins at Turn 10 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· RED FLAG waves at 9:36 a.m. after #26 TRACY stalls at Turn 4B with a large amount of smoke billowing from the rear of the car. TRACY exits the car in a hurry, sprints to a corner worker and grabs a fire extinguisher, returns to the car and almost sprays the wrong type extinguisher into the engine compartment. CART safety workers arrive at the car and replace TRACY's fire-fighting efforts with the proper chemical. The car is then hooked up and towed to the Pit Area. At the same time, #99 MOORE stalls at Turn 9 with an apparent mechanical problem. MOORE's crew quickly readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

· At 9:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:30 a.m. report.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 9:44 a.m. to resume the practice session.

· BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:47 a.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation. FRANCHITTI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

· At 9:48 a.m., #5 de FERRAN slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #4 MONTOYA with a lap of 103.600 mph (1:01.888), followed by #17 GUGLEMIN with his earlier lap of 103.465 mph (1:01.969) and #27 FRANCHITTI (103.293 mph; 1:02.072).

· At 9:54 a.m., #11 MORENO slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. He is immediately followed by #33X CARPENTIER as he also slides into the run-off at Turn 6. CARPENTIER also continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 9:57 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 104.144 mph (1:01.565).

· At 10 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is #11 MORENO with a lap of 104.279 mph (1:01.485), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (104.144 mph; 1:01.565) and #27 FRANCHITTI (104.137 mph; 1:01.569).

· RED FLAG waves at 10:04 a.m. after #26 TRACY slides into the inside wall at Turn 12 and makes contact against the concrete with the left rear wheel. Debris flies in the air behind the car and TRACY's car slides to a halt near the Start/Finish line. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains a minimum of some serious suspension damage. CART safety workers quickly clean up the front straight and tow the car to the Pit Area. TRACY receives an eight-minute penalty for causing the second delay in a single practice session and therefore, TRACY is done for the session. MONTOYA also retires from the session to begin serving his eight-minute penalty as well.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 11:08 a.m. to resume the session.

· RED FLAG waves at 11:11 a.m. after #71 GIDLEY stalls at Turn 5 against the outside wall. CART safety workers attend to the car but there will not be enough time to get the car clear of the track before the scheduled end of the practice session GIDLEY will receive an eight-minute penalty at the end of the first practice session at the next venue, Laguna Seca, for causing a delay in the final eight minutes of the session.

· CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:12 a.m. to end the session with the fastest driver #11 MORENO with his speed of 104.279 mph (1:01.485), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (104.144 mph; 1:01.565) and #27 FRANCHITTI (104.137 mph; 1:01.569). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 30 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #9X CASTRO-NEVES, #26X TRACY. #33X CARPENTIER, #4X MONTOYA, and #99X MOORE. CART drivers logged a total of 560 laps during the session. Qualifying Notes

· The countdown continues for the richest motorsports event in history, the first Hawaiian Super Prix, set for November 11-13 in Honolulu. And the $10 million event - which will award a record $5 million to the winner - brings a taste of the islands to Vancouver this weekend when it does a special presentation during Sunday's post-race ceremonies for the Molson Indy Vancouver. · A Hula dancer will present each of the top three finishers tomorrow with a special Hawaiian tropical floral bouquet as well as a basket of Hawaiian items, including Kona coffee, macadamia nuts and Chocolate macadamia nut candies as part of the post-race activities.

· The top 12 finishing entrants in the final FedEx Championship Series standings automatically qualify for the HSP. Additionally, four entries - as selected by the event promoter - will be added to the field. The regular FedEx Championship Series season concludes October 31 at California Speedway.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 12:45 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session.

· BLACK FLAG is shown at 12:47 p.m. to #9X CASTRO-NEVES. The 9X car of Helio Castro-Neves was black-flagged and brought into the pits because it violated CART rules. Hogan Racing initially qualified the #9X car during Friday provisional qualifying, but the car became disabled during the session and the team switched to the 9 car. Upon qualifying the 9 car, the 9X car automatically becomes a withdrawn entry per CART rules. Rule 5.4.2 states in part, "Upon successful qualification of such race car, an entrant may not attempt to qualify a second race car unless the entrant obtains the permission of the Chief Steward to withdraw the race car from qualifying and forfeit all timed laps credited to that race car. After such race car has been withdrawn, such race car may make no further qualifying attempts during the event but may be considered by the Stewards as a substitute race car." Should Hogan Racing have a valid reason to switch from the car that qualified and opt for the non-primary (9X) for the race, the Stewards can grant permission and the car will retain the starting position of the qualified car.

· RED FLAG waves at 12:48 p.m. after #36 MONTERMINI spins in the middle of Turn 12 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car re-fired and MONTERMINI returns to his Pit Area. MONTERMINI is assessed an eight-minute penalty for delay of the qualifying session to be served at the end of the session.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 12:50 p.m. to resume the session.

· At 12:50 p.m., five minutes into the session, the fastest Group One driver is #22 GORDON with a lap of 94.508 mph (1:07.842), followed by #25 da MATTA (93.023 mph; 1:08.925) and #26 TRACY (91.159 mph; 1:10.334).

· At 12:55 p.m., #22 GORDON brushes the wall at Turn 9 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 12:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, #26 TRACY logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a lap of 104.679 mph (1:01.250) on his seventh lap of the session, followed by #24 PRUETT (103.774 mph; 1:01.784) and #19 JOURDAIN Jr. (103.132 mph; 1:02.169).

· At 12:57 p.m., #26 TRACY slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 12:58 p.m., #33X CARPENTIER brushes the wall at Turn 12 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1 p.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26 TRACY with a lap of 104.679 mph (1:01.250), followed by #24 PRUETT (103.774 mph; 1:01.784) and #33X CARPENTIER (103.355 mph; 1:02.355).

· BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:01 p.m. to #2 UNSER Jr. for a Pit Road speed violation. UNSER Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

· At 1:02 p.m., #71 GIIDLEY brushes the wall at Turn 12 with the left rear of the car but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1:04 p.m., #26 TRACY ups his potential Pole-winning speed with a lap of 105.258 mph (1:00.913)

· RED FLAG waves at 1:05 p.m. after #36 MONTERMINI spins into the tire barrier at Turn 3 and makes contact against the barrier with the right side of the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains suspension damage to the right side of the car. MONTERMINI receives another eight-minute penalty and effectively ends any more qualifying attempts for MONTERMINI. CART safety workers clean up the debris in a rush to get some more Green time for the Group One drivers.

· GREEN FLAG waves at 1:11 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

· At 1:14 p.m., #21 GARCIA slides into the run-off at Turn 1 and stops to await the end of the qualifying session.

· CHECKERED FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. to end the Group One qualifying session with #26 TRACY the fastest driver of the Group and the weekend with a lap of 105.258 mph (1:00.913; first overall), followed by #33X CARPENTIER (104.282 mph; 1:01.483; third-fastest overall) and #24 PRUETT (103.774 mph; 1:01.784; fifth-fastest overall).

· GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.

· At 1:33 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI brushes the wall at Turn 12 with the left rear of the car. FRANCHITTI continues on course but the left rear tire is not tracking properly. As FRANCHITTI ramps the speed back down the front straight and through Turns 1 and 2, the left rear suspension gives way and the car snaps around at Turn 3 and comes to rest at the edge of the track. FRANCHITTI keeps the car running, rights the car, and slowly continues to his Pit Area. His crew immediately gets ready to repair a broken toe link on the left rear suspension.

· At 1:35 p.m., five minutes into the group Two session, the fastest Group Two driver is #44 KANAAN with a lap of 103.145 mph (1:02.161), followed by #11 MORENO (103.014 mph; 1:02.240) and #12 VASSER (102.973 mph; 1:02.265).

· At 1:37 p.m., #11 MORENO logs the second-fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 104.857 mph (1:01.146).

· At 1:38 p.m., #5 de FERRAN brushes the wall at Turn 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1:40 p.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is now #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 105.251 mph (1:00.917; second overall), followed by #11 MORENO (105.150 mph; 1:00.976; third-fastest overall) and #5 de FERRAN (105.110 mph; 1:00.999; fourth-fastest overall).

· At 1:44 p.m., #18 BLUNDELL slides into the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. Also at 1:44 p.m., #17X GUGLEMIN parks his primary car and starts the secondary car to finish the Group Two session. GUGELMIN therefore forfeits his times earned in the primary car as he pulls on track.

· Again, at 1:44 p.m., #7 PAPIS brushes the wall at Turn 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1:45 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 105.730 mph (1:00.641; first overall), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (105.191 mph; 1:00.952; third-fastest overall) and #11 MORENO (105.150 mph; 1:00.976; fourth-fastest overall).

· At 1:50 p.m., 25 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 1:45 p.m. report.

· BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:52 p.m. to #5 de FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit Out. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

· At 1:54 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1:55 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI again slides into the run-off at Turn 6 and again continues without apparent damage to the car.

· At 1:55 p.m., #40 JONES logs the second-fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 105.321 mph (1:00.877) on his 12th lap of the session.

· Also, at 1:55 p.m., 25 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 105.730 mph (1:00.641), followed by #40 JONES (105.321 mph; 1:00.877) and #27 FRANCHITTI (105.191 mph; 1:00.952; fourth-fastest overall).

· RED FLAG waves at 1:57 p.m. after #40 JONES runs off-course at Turn 2, unbalances his car on the curbing and makes impact against the tire barrier at the inside wall at Turn 3 with the left side of the car. #27 FRANCHITTI slightly clips the rear of JONES car as he passes the incident. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains damage to the left suspension.

· CHECKERED FLAG waves at 1:58 p.m. to end the Group Two qualifying session as there will not be enough time to clean up the track from the JONES incident at Turn 3. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 27 cars to the track in this afternoon's final qualifying session with secondary cars utilized by #17X GUGELMIN, #33 CARPENTIER, and #20X MAGNUSSEN. CART drivers logged a total of 245 laps in today's final round of qualifying.

· JUAN MONTOYA wins the pole for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver with his speed of 105.730 mph (1:00.641). This is MONTOYA's sixth pole of the season, one shy of the rookie pole record of seven set by Nigel Mansell in 1993.

· PJ JONES starts second tomorrow by virtue of his 105.321 mph (1:00.877). This is JONES' career-best start. His previous best start was an eighth at Nazareth earlier this year.

· PAUL TRACY will start third tomorrow by virtue of his 105.258 mph (1:00.913)-lap. This is Tracy's third top-three start in the last four races. This is TRACY's best start here at Vancouver since his fourth-place start in 1993.

· Quotes from today's top three qualifiers follow:

· JUAN MONTOYA, Target Honda Reynard: "I think the day was good. The car felt much better. We had some problems this weekend which cost a lot of time. [During qualifying] Just like Paul [Tracy] said, there was too much traffic. I did a good time on the first set of tires, then we went with a different set and I couldn't get a good lap in. I felt like we could do a low one [minute lap time] or something, but I'm a bit surprised at how quick we went."

· PJ JONES, Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard: "The weekend has been good. We started improving at Chicago with a seventh-place finish, and this weekend, we just kept carrying on. We've kept refining and fine tuning and it's kept getting better and better. I wanted to go out and put a good lap in, and we got it. I'm happy for Tecate, Quaker State and Adrian [Fernandez]. He deserves a lot of credit. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have had this opportunity."

· PAUL TRACY, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The biggest problem for me was traffic. It took a long time to get a lap time, and when we went red late in the session, we had just put another set of tires on, so we weren't able to take advantage of that. I'm pretty happy with how the day ended up. I didn't expect to run in the top five with how the guys were going, but I guess I owe PJ [Jones] dinner for causing that red [flag] at the end of the session and saving my bacon."

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Nigel Mansell