CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago Friday's summary

CICERO, Ill. (July 28, 2000) - Rookie Kenny Brack helped continue Team Rahal's success at the Chicago Motor Speedway on Friday when he recorded the top practice time for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ...

CICERO, Ill. (July 28, 2000) - Rookie Kenny Brack helped continue Team Rahal's success at the Chicago Motor Speedway on Friday when he recorded the top practice time for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).

Brack (Shell Ford Reynard), who earlier Friday had his Team Rahal contract extended through the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season, recorded a lap of 164.224 miles per hour (22.557 seconds) on the 1.029-mile oval located in suburban Chicago. He will seek the first pole position of his FedEx Championship Series career when qualifying begins 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Brack will be attempting to bring Team Rahal its second consecutive pole at Chicago Motor Speedway after Max Papis recorded his first career pole position here last year. Papis was 21st fastest Friday at 158.044 mph (23.439 seconds).

Brack will be seeking his ninth top-seven start in 12 events, and will look to improve on his season and career-best start of second at Japan.

Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard) recorded the Friday's second-fastest lap speed, at 163.355 mph (22.677 seconds). Like Brack, da Matta is seeking his first career pole, and looks to improve on a season-best start of second at Toronto.

Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske was third-fastest at 163.254 mph (22.691 seconds). Castroneves is a two-time pole winner in the past four FedEx Championship Series events, at Portland and Toronto.

Rounding out the top five drivers were Tony Kanaan (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard), fourth at 163.031 mph (22.722 seconds) and Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Mercedes), fifth at 162.495 mph (22.797 seconds).

Twenty-three of 29 cars introduced to the track during the faster afternoon practice session recorded times that were covered by one second.

KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Reynard: "I think we had a successful test here a few weeks ago, and the track hasn't changed that much for us. The car felt pretty much like we left the test, we've just got to fine tune a bit here and there.

[On his contract extension with Team Rahal, announced Friday] It felt very good, now we have stability for another year, working with the same group of people, the mechanics, engineers. It's gonna benefit us in a big way."

CRISTIANO da MATTA, Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard: "The car was obviously feeling good, but we had a couple of problems with vibration in the first two sets of tires. It got so bad I had to try another set. This one worked fine and then I was ready to go. If everything is working the way it was working today, I think we can make it a very tough race. If you are pointing to five cars that you think have a chance to win the race, I think we have to be one of them."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "I want to be comfortable in the car, and make sure everything is OK. Since the test here a couple of weeks ago, the track is definitely different. Everybody was having problems with wiggle. We're still trying to find a good setup. It's good that we ran with this lap time, but it's important to come back and do better tomorrow."

Newman/Haas driver Christian Fittipaldi, who made contact with the Turn 2 wall during the morning practice session, underwent a CAT scan at Loyola University Medical Center Friday afternoon. According to Dr. Kimberly A. Davis, M.D., attending physician at Loyola University Medical Center, the CAT scan was negative and Fittipaldi was being released Friday afternoon. Fittipaldi, who was rendered briefly unconscious following the incident, will not compete for the remainder of the weekend. Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, reported that Fittipaldi sustained a minor concussion. Newman/Haas Racing announced that it has withdrawn the No. 11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola from competition for the weekend.

Each of the four FedEx Championship Series engine manufacturers was represented among the top four drivers from Friday afternoon's practice. Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard), Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard), Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) and Tony Kanaan (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard), respectively, made up the contingent.

Ground-breaking took place Thursday afternoon for the Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, on land originally settled by the Bettenhausen family in 1854. The Center is named in honor of CART team owner Tony Bettenhausen, who, along with his wife, Shirley, died in a plane crash in February. The Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center, scheduled to open in the fall of next year, will include a 65,000 square-foot building with gymnasium that includes three basketball courts, a 1/8-mile running track, several community and social rooms and a museum dedicated to the racing Bettenhausen family. "We have been to Halls of Fame in Alabama and Michigan, and to many places in between," said Merle Bettenhausen, Tony's brother, speaking for the family. "But it's really special to know that the land our dad was born on - and land that we spent so much time on - will become a place that brings happiness to the people of Tinley Park." More than 100 people, in addition to 30 members of the Bettenhausen family, attended the groundbreaking.

Qualifying for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer will air 5 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Tony Bettenhausen , Cristiano da Matta , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske