CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago Friday track Notes

Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell - FRIDAY PIT NOTES * Good Morning from sunny Chicago Motor Speedway for the second day of practice on the new 1.029-mile oval. Speeds will most likely be escalating today again, as was the case late ...

Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell - FRIDAY PIT NOTES

* Good Morning from sunny Chicago Motor Speedway for the second day of practice on the new 1.029-mile oval. Speeds will most likely be escalating today again, as was the case late yesterday when the FedEx Championship Series drivers became more comfortable with the slick asphalt as the sessions went on. Coupled with the cool temperatures and engine-loving low humidity, today ought to produce a good hint of what it will take to win the first pole position for the Target Grand Prix by Shell on Saturday afternoon! Today's CART on-track activities start with a 90-minute full-field practice session taking the Green Flag at 10:30 p.m. followed by the split-group format practice session going out at 2:30 p.m. Each group will be on track for 45 minutes. * Today's Friday Forum will feature the topic "Women in Racing" at the Chicago Motor Speedway Press Conference Room at 1 p.m. Diane Holl, Engineering Manager at McDonald's Championship Racing, will represent Honda. Nadine Haupt, the Trackside Engineer from Bettenhausen Motorsports will represent Mercedes/Ilmor Engineering. Mary Roten from Ford Racing Impact Sensor Engineering Group will represent Ford, and Amy Riley, Public Relations Director for Arciero-Wells Racing will represent Toyota. The above women will be present to discuss a myriad of issues including how they became involved in racing, what they look to get out of their experiences in CART, and the roles they play in a male-dominated series.

* For a welcome change, there are only a couple of changes to this week's Official Entry list for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. RAUL BOSEL, absent from the FedEx Championship Series since subbing for the side-lined PAUL TRACY at the season's opener in Miami, again takes to the track, this time in Dan Gurney's All American Racer's #36 Toyota Eagle sponsored by Denso/Castrol. The car has been previously piloted by roadrace ace GUALTER SALLES. Veteran ROBBIE GORDON will campaign an Eagle chassis acquired from All American Racers at this and the remaining oval race on the 1999 schedule; Fontana. GORDON had previously entered both a Reynard and Swift chassis in the 1999 season.

* GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the day. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 98 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 76 degrees F. at the start of the session.

* YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:39 a.m. after #16 HATTORI spins while exiting Pit Road. HATTORI regains control and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

* At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a speed of 157.728 mph (23.486 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (156.926 mph; 23.606 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (156.681 mph; 23.643 seconds).

* GREEN FLAG waves at 10:42 a.m. to resume the session.

* At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a faster lap of 157.833 mph (23.463 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (157.708 mph; 23.489 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (157.013 mph; 23.593 seconds).

* BLACK FLAG is shown to #21 GARCIA Jr. at 10:51 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation. GARCIA Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

* BLACK FLAG is shown to #33 CARPENTIER at 10:52 a.m. after CART course observers report smoke and the smell of oil as the car circles the track at speed. CARPENTIER subsequently pits the car.

* At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with an even faster lap of 158.776 mph (23.331 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (158.294 mph; 23.402 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (157.574 mph; 23.509 seconds).

* At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with his earlier lap of 158.776 mph (23.331 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (158.742 mph; 23.336 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (157.735 mph; 23.485 seconds).

* BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:19 a.m. to #16 HATTORI for a Pit Road speed violation. HATTORI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

* At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #25 da MATTA with a speed of 159.741 mph (23.190 seconds), followed by #11 MORENO (159.192 mph; 23.270 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (159.151 mph; 23.276 seconds).

* At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is now #7 PAPIS with the first lap over 160 mph at Chicago Motor Speedway. PAPIS clocked at speed of 161.019 mph (23.006 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (159.858 mph; 23.173 seconds) and #25 da MATTA (159.741 mph; 23.190 seconds).

* YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:33 a.m. after CART course observers report a piece of debris in Turn 3. CART safety workers quickly find and remove pieces of a clutch assembly from the track.

* GREEN FLAG waves at 11:36 a.m. to resume the session.

* At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 11:30 a.m. report.

* At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with a lap of 161.019 mph (23.006 seconds), followed by #11 MORENO (160.398 mph; 23.095 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (159.858 mph; 23.173 seconds).

* BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:58 a.m. to #5 de FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

* CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. to end the morning session with the fastest driver still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 161.019 mph (23.006 seconds), followed by #11 MORENO (160.398 mph; 23.095 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (159.858 mph; 23.173 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 32 different cars to the track with secondary cars utilized by #25X da MATTA, #9X CASTRO-NEVES, #99X MOORE, #7X PAPIS, #18X BLUNDELL, #12X VASSER, #4X MONTOYA, #17X GUGLEMIN, #8X HERTA, #20X MAGNUSSEN, #24X PRUETT, #2X UNSER Jr., and #5X de FERRAN. CART drivers logged a total of 2059 laps during this morning's session. Trap speeds at the end of the back straight have soared to 195.312, the best logged by MAX PAPIS, with corner speeds at 136.746 mph clocked by CHRISTIANO da MATTA. More rubber piling up in the groove is helping the Champ Car grip as the straightaway speeds are up by around 5 mph over yesterday's best, while the end-of -Turn 2 speeds have jumped over 12 mph!

* GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 123 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 82 degrees F. at the start of the session. This will be the hottest track temperature that the Champ Car drivers have faced here at the Chicago Motor Speedway since the opening practice. The Group One drivers are the fastest drivers from the morning session.

* At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 159.021 mph (23.295 seconds), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (158.694 mph; 23.343 seconds) and #26 TRACY (158.552 mph; 23.364 seconds).

* BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:48 p.m. to #11 MORENO for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 2:43 p.m. at Pit In. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag driver thru penalty.

* At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a faster lap of 160.176 mph (23.127 seconds), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (160.156 mph; 23.130 seconds) and #11 MORENO (159.590 mph; 23.212 seconds).

* At 3 p.m., 30 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 160.176 mph (23.127 seconds), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (160.156 mph; 23.130 seconds) and #25 da MATTA (159.824 mph; 23.178 seconds).

* At 3:10 p.m., 40 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #9X CASTRO-NEVES with the first sub 23-second lap in Chicago Motor Speedway history with a speed of 161.285 mph (22.968 seconds), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (160.977 mph; 23.012 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (160.156 mph; 23.130 seconds).

* CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to end the Group One session with #9X CASTRO-NEVES the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 161.285 mph (22.968 seconds), followed by #11 MORENO (160.977 mph; 23.012 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (160.156 mph; 23.130 seconds).

* GREEN FLAG waves at 3:30 p.m. to start the Group Two practice session.

* At 3:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest Group Two driver is #40 JONES with a lap of 156.780 mph (23.631 seconds; 14th-overall), followed by #20X MAGNUSSEN (156.906 mph; 23.640 seconds; 15th-overall) and #44 KANAAN (156.126 mph; 23.727 seconds; 16th-fastest overall).

* At 3:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is #20X MAGNUSSEN with a lap of 156.906 mph (23.609 seconds; 14th-fastest overall), followed by #40 JONES (156.767 mph; 23.630 seconds; 15th-fastest overall) and #44 KANAAN (156.126 mph; 23.727 seconds; 16th-fastest overall).

* At 4 p.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is now #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 157.889 mph (23.462 seconds; 11th-fastest overall), followed by #20X MAGNUSSEN (157.093 mph; 23.581 seconds; 14th-fastest overall) and #40 JONES (156.906 mph; 23.609 seconds; 15th-fastest overall).

* BLACK FLAG is shown at 4:02 p.m. to #5 de FERRAN after CART course observers report smoke trailing from the rear of the car at speed. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag penalty.

* YELLOW FLAG waves at 4:06 p.m. after #20X MAGNUSSEN stalls on the front straight and stalls on track between Turns 1 and 2. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it to safety.

* At 4:10 p.m., 40 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest Group Two drivers, speeds and overall positions are unchanged from the 4 p.m. report.

* GREEN FLAG waves at 4:11 p.m. to resume the Group Two practice session.

* CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4:15 p.m. to end the Group Two session with the fastest Group Two driver still #6 ANDRETTI with a faster lap of 157.889 mph (23.462 seconds; 11th-fastest overall), followed by #21 GARCIA Jr. (157.634 mph; 23.500 seconds; 13th-fastest overall) and #20X MAGNUSSEN (157.093 mph; 23.581 seconds; 17th-fastest overall).

* Fastest on the day is #9X CASTRO-NEVES with his lap of 161.285 mph (22.968 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (161.229 mph; 22.976 seconds) and #11 MORENO (160.977 mph; 23.012 seconds). All lap times were set in the afternoon session. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 27 different cars to the track in this afternoon's session with secondary cars utilized by #9X CASTRO-NEVES and #20X MAGNUSSEN. CART drivers logged a total of 1107 laps during the afternoon session.

* Quotes from today's top three fastest drivers follow:

* HELIO CASTRO-NEVES, Hogan Motor Leasing, Inc. Mercedes Lola: "The setup here is similar to Milwaukee [where Castro-Neves won his first career pole earlier this season], but the track is not similar. There are two turns here that make you slow down more than you do at Milwaukee. I'm very happy with the car. I think everyone is going to improve tomorrow. Each track you go to, you expect something different, and tomorrow, I think is going to be much quicker for everyone. I hope to be one of those guys."

* MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "I think that the most important thing is coming here with the right concept, and we have the right concept. We've been working for the past two days on the race pace. Qualifying is for personal goals, the most important thing is to have a good car for the race. I think it's the nature of the championship that we have so many different winners because the cars are pretty close and the competition is pretty close. It takes a combination of things, including a little luck. The competition is very high, the important thing is building the consistency in the team to be able to perform when it counts."

* ROBERTO MORENO, Big Kmart Ford Swift: "It's taking longer than I expected to get rubber in [on the track]. I think that's because it hasn't been too warm here yet. Once we get rubber down, the times will improve. Braking here is going to be more or less the same for everybody. The unfortunate thing is that you have to go from about 180 to 130 miles per hour in the corners. You have to be extremely smooth here. The guys who late-brake are going to have problems. You've got to be extremely delicate with the steering wheel. The biggest handicap when I go home is having missed preseason testing and having to catch up at the racetrack. The guys at Newman/Haas have welcomed me. I've worked with them in the past, so that has helped me."

* This concludes the Pit Notes from Chicago Motor Speedway for today! We'll see you at 9 a.m. sharp for the final round of practice before the start of qualifying for Sunday's Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. Have a great Friday night!

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Gurney