Long Beach Friday Notes

1998 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH, APRIL 3 - 4 * Unlike recent season openers, however, two new technical elements will be unveiled here. Swift Engineering has developed its new Swift 008.a chassis, which will be the "spec" car for...

1998 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH, APRIL 3 - 4 * Unlike recent season openers, however, two new technical elements will be unveiled here. Swift Engineering has developed its new Swift 008.a chassis, which will be the "spec" car for the KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship two seasons from now. Yokohama Tire Company, which has provided the series "spec" tire in recent years, developed a new 15-inch radial that will debut this weekend. Nearly half of the 34 Atlantic competitors expected this weekend will be running the new Swift 008.a chassis. The new 15-inch Yokohama tires will be adorned by all competitors. * Last year's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Long Beach was the second event of the season, with Alexandre Tagliani of Lachenaie, Que., earning the victory after holding off Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., in a three-lap shootout following a late-race restart. Tagliani covered the race-shortened 30 laps in 1:07:00.254 and nipped Lazzaro by 1.453 seconds. Tagliani led the most laps and the '97 Long Beach victory put him in second place on the points board, trailing Lazzaro, 36-29. Newcomer Bill Auberlen qualified 11th and finished third in his second career Atlantic start. * Long Beach is a 1.574-mile, eight-turn temporary street circuit; race length is 38 laps/60.42 miles/97.28-km * Records: Qual.: Richie Hearn 1:00.157-sec/95.15 mph Ralt RT-41 4/95 Race lap: Jacques Villeneuve 1:00.249-sec/95.01 mph Ralt RT-40 4/93 * Television: ESPN2 - Saturday, April 11, 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) * Prize Money (U.S.): Total race purse $85,000 Winner's earnings $20,000 FRIDAY MORNING PRACTICE SESSION 8:00 a.m. Session starts under cool conditions and cloudy skies with 34 cars taking their first practice-session laps of the 1998 season. 8:04 a.m. #7 Binder reportedly smoking ... #32 Montgomery pits with transmission problems. 8:05 a.m. #8 Sollenskog hits tire wall at turn six, stops on course, bringing out a BLACK FLAG. #8 vehicle lift-towed back to paddock, driver out and okay ... oil reported on track ... clean-up crews on track. 8:26 a.m. Practice session ends, with just four laps timed. #66 Tagliani recorded the fastest time of the brief session at 1:10.184. DRIVER QUOTES FOLLOWING THE BRIEF PRACTICE SESSION #14 Mike Conte (World Speed Motorsports-Microsoft/White-Black Design Ralt RT-41): "Well, life's a beach! We were hoping to get a full session in this morning, but at least everyone else is in the same situation. After just three laps, a couple of cars spun in the front of me going through Turn 3. I swerved to avoid them, nosed into the tire barrier and pulled into the pits. There was another car in the turn 6 barrier that brought out the black flag. We'll put a new front wing on and we'll be ready for this afternoon. The track is very slick and dusty. If it stays dry, the conditions will be much better this afternoon with more rubber laid down. The track actually has pretty good visibility. Some natural road courses have a lot more blind corners. This race is going to be especially tough. It's the first race with new cars, new drivers and new tires." #10 Mark Tague (World Sport Motorsports - Altec/Liaison Ralt RT-41): "I still haven't had a lap here at speed. As soon as we went out, the car developed a terrible mis-fire. I immediately came into the pits and we found an electronic problem with the throttle-trace sensor for the computer. We pulled the sensor off and the car ran fine. It wouldn't have given us any computer information but track time is much more important here. Unfortunately, just as we were ready to go, the black flag came out, and the session was over." #3 Michael David (PDR-Water Joe Ralt RT-41): "I passed somebody on the straightaway and cleanly cleared through turns 1 and 2. I had a couple of car-length's gap in turn 3 when the car in front of me went loose. I slowed in time to avoid contact and slipped past him with a coat of paint's difference. As I crawled around in first gear, somebody nailed me from behind. He bent our rear suspension and clipped our right-rear wing. I made it back to the pits. We thought we'd have time to get back out and scrub the tires more, but the session ending early probably went in our favor. We probably couldn't have found more speed with the damage the car suffered." #Case Montgomery (Condor Motorsports-Swift 008.a): "Well, that wasn't too productive. I asked to drive the track sweepers to get in a little more track time, but they wouldn't let me. But we got a minor shifter problem fixed and almost wore the stickers off a new set of tires." #35 David Pook (Hylton Motorsports-Budweiser/U.S. Print Swift 008.a): "This is the third day in a row the car has run flawlessly."

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Richie Hearn , Bill Auberlen , Anthony Lazzaro