PHOENIX (February 29, 2000)--- After a successful test day yesterday, Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi arrived at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval this morning ready to get back behind the wheel of his Ford-Cosworth ...
PHOENIX (February 29, 2000)--- After a successful test day yesterday, Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi arrived at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval this morning ready to get back behind the wheel of his Ford-Cosworth powered Lola chassis for the final day of testing.
After unloading the racecar from the transporter and beginning the routine morning process, the Newman/Haas Racing team discovered a problem and decided to forego the day of testing.
"The team found a problem with the car while warming it up," said John Tzouanakis, Team Manager. "Because it would take a few hours to fix, we elected to pack it up and go home rather than use one of our test days for a partial day of running. Christian was very happy with the car on Monday so everyone was relatively happy with the progress anyway."
On Monday, Fittipaldi completed approximately 160 trouble-free miles in his No. 11 Big Kmart/Route 66 car and had a best lap of 19.98 seconds. During the test day, the team concentrated on getting the car comfortable on a long run while maintaining the consistency.
"It is unfortunate that we could not run today but overall, I am pretty happy with how the car felt," said Fittipaidi. "I have one more oval test prior to the season-opener and I think we are making progress and learning more about our new chassis and engine every day. Michael will do some road course testing at Homestead tomorrow so the engineers will have plenty of data to keep them busy the next few days and then some."
The next scheduled test begins tomorrow with Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti taking over testing duties at the Miami-Homestead road course. The team will test on the Homestead oval the following week with both drivers splitting the workload.
The CART FedEx Championship Series season begins on March 26 with the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Andretti won back-to-back events in 1997 and 1998 and finished second to Greg Moore in 1999. Fittipaldi finished in the top-six in two of the three events held at the track and suffered a mechanical problem in the other.