CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Saturday Track Report

Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank FedEx Championship Series Track Notes- Saturday Cleveland, OH (July 11, 1998) - Today's CART on track activities begin with a 75-minute practice session taking the Green Flag at 9:30 a.m.

Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank FedEx Championship Series Track Notes- Saturday

Cleveland, OH (July 11, 1998) - Today's CART on track activities begin with a 75-minute practice session taking the Green Flag at 9:30 a.m. The final round of qualifying will start at 1:30 and once again will be conducted in a split-group format with the faster drivers from yesterday's provisional qualifying taking to the track in Group Two.

Marlboro Team Penske has announced that Al Unser Jr. will be participating in a guitar-helmet exchange with John Fogerty Saturday night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before John's Saturday night performance.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to start the morning session.

At 9:36 a.m., #3 RIBEIRO spins at Turn 3 but continues on course.

At 9:37 a.m., #19 JOURDAIN JR. spins at Turn 10 but continues on course.

At 9:40 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 130.192 mph (58.234 seconds), followed by #20X PRUETT (129.328 mph; 58.623 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (128.796 mph; 58.865 seconds).

RED FLAG waves at 9:48 a.m. after #16X CASTRO-NEVES spins off Turn 8 and impacts the tire barrier. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains some damage to the rear wing. CART safety workers tow the car back to the pit area.

At 9:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 130.864 mph (57.935 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (130.192 mph; 58.234 seconds), and #8 HERTA (130.009 mph; 58.316 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:53 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:56 a.m., #24 GORDON spins off course at Turn 7 and stalls the car. CART safety workers return the car to the pit area.

At 10 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 130.864 mph (57.935 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (130.313 mph; 58.180 seconds), and #1 ZANARDI (130.192 mph; 58.234 seconds).

At 10:03 a.m., #3 RIBEIRO slides off course at Turn 6. RIBEIRO returns to the track and continues to his pit area.

At 10:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #5 DE FERRAN with a lap of 131.092 mph (57.834 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (130.864 mph; 57.935 seconds), and #6 ANDRETTI (130.445 mph; 58.121 seconds).

At 10:15 a.m., #33 CARPENTIER runs off-course at Turn 9 but continues on track to his pit area.

At 10:18 a.m., #25 PAPIS pulls off-course at Turn 6 and parks the car.

At 10:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #5 DE FERRAN with a lap of 131.151 mph (57.808 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (131.102 mph; 57.830 seconds), and #27 FRANCHITTI (130.864 mph; 57.935 seconds).

At 10:30 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 132.314 mph (57.300 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (131.365 mph; 57.714 seconds) and #5 DE FERRAN (131.151 mph; 57.808 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:45 a.m. with the fastest driver #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 132.344 mph (57.287 seconds), followed by #8 HERTA (132.314 mph; 57.300 seconds), and #6 ANDRETTI (131.497 mph; 57.656 seconds). FedEx Championship drivers introduced a total of 29 cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #20X PRUETT, #16X CASTRO-NEVES, #26X TRACY, and #19X JOURDAIN JR. CART drivers logged a total of 550 laps during this morning session. There are 25 drivers within two seconds in lap times of the top speed set by ZANARDI.

It has been announced that CART's own Elizabeth (Lizzy) Fornal will sing the National Anthem before the start of the Trans-Am race today at 5:30 p.m. Ms. Fornal is well known in the Troy area for her singing talents and the CART community congratulates Liz on her accomplishment!

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the final Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 111 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 78 degrees F. #21 KANAAN is the first driver of Group One to log a lap, clocking a speed of 121.278 mph (1:02.514).

RED FLAG waves at 1:34 after #34 VITOLO spins exiting Turn 7 and stalls on course. CART safety workers get the car re-started and VITOLO continues to his pit area.

At 1:35 p.m. and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 130.290 mph (58.190 seconds), followed by #2 UNSER JR. (129.542 mph; 58.526 seconds) and #21 KANAAN (129.476 mph; 58.556 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:37 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

RED FLAG waves at 1:40 p.m. after #98 JONES spins off Turn 8 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car re-started and JONES continues on course to his pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:42 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:44 p.m. to #21 KANAAN for a pit road speed violation.

At 1:45 p.m., halfway through the Group One qualifying session, the fastest driver is #20X PRUETT with a lap of 131.235 mph (57.771 seconds), followed by #2 UNSER JR (131.224 mph; 57.776 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (130.290 mph; 58.190 seconds).

At 1:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest Group One driver is still #20X PRUETT with his earlier lap of 131.235 mph (57.771 seconds), followed by #2 UNSER JR (131.224 mph; 57.776 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (130.634 mph; 58.037 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:52 p.m. to #16 CASTRO-NEVES for a pit road speed violation.

At 1:55 p.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest Group One driver is still #20X PRUETT with his earlier lap of 131.235 mph (57.771 seconds), followed by #2 UNSER JR (131.224 mph; 57.776 seconds) and #21 KANAAN (130.710 mph; 58.003 seconds).

At 1:57 p.m., #2 UNSER JR. clocks the fastest lap of the Group One session with a lap of 132.300 mph (57.306 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2 p.m. with #2 UNSER JR. the fastest driver with a lap of 132.404 mph (57.261 seconds), followed by #20X PRUETT (131.787 mph; 57.529 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (131.149 mph; 57.809 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 119 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 78 degrees F.

At 2:20 p.m., five minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 132.390 mph (57.267 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (131.751 mph; 57.545 seconds) and #5 DE FERRAN (130.975 mph; 57.809 seconds).

At 2:25 p.m., ten minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 132.390 mph (57.267 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (132.162 mph; 57.366 seconds) and #7 RAHAL (also 132.162 mph; 57.366 seconds).

At 2:27 p.m., #5 DE FERRAN loses power coming out of Turn 1 and pulls to the inside of the track with smoke exiting from the rear of the car.

At 2:30 p.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver of the Group Two session is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 132.390 mph (57.267 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (132.162 mph; 57.366 seconds) and #7 RAHAL (also 132.162 mph; 57.366 seconds).

At 2:33 p.m., #18 BLUNDELL spins off-course at Turn 7 and parks the car.

At 2:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 132.578 mph (57.186 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (132.367 mph; 57.277 seconds) and #1 ZANARDI (132.162 mph; 57.366 seconds).

At 2:40 p.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver of the Group Two session is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 133.111 mph (56.957 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (132.578 mph; 57.186 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (132.367 mph; 57.277 seconds).

At 2:44 p.m., #8 HERTA moves to the second-fastest of the Group Two drivers with a lap of 133.556 mph (56.767 seconds). Moments later, #27 FRANCHITTI logs the fastest Group Two speed with a lap of 133.868 mph (56.635 seconds) followed by #1 ZANARDI into second-fastest with a lap of 133.658 mph (56.724 seconds) and #26X TRACY moving into third with a lap of 133.354 mph (56.853 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2:45 p.m. with #27 FRANCHITTI still the fastest Group Two driver with his earlier lap of 133.868 mph (56.635 seconds, second-fastest overall), followed by #1 ZANARDI (133.658 mph; 56.724 seconds, third-fastest overall), and #8 HERTA (133.556 mph; 56.767 seconds, fourth-fastest overall).

JIMMY VASSER wins the pole for Sunday's Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank with his provisional qualifying Friday lap of 134.385 mph (56.417 seconds). This is VASSER's seventh career pole and his first on a street/road course since here at Cleveland in 1996 and also his seventh top-five start of the season.

DARIO FRANCHITTI will start second in Sunday's race with his Saturday qualifying effort of 133.868 mph (56.635 seconds). This is FRANCHITTI's third front-row start of the season. FRANCHITTI started on the pole at Rio and second at Portland. This also represents FRANCHITTI's eighth top-eight starts in ten events this year.

ALEX ZANARDI will start third Sunday after his Saturday qualifying lap of 133.658 mph (56.724 seconds). This will represent ZANARDI's fifth start among the top five positions this season.

Driver quotes from today's fastest three drivers from final round of qualifying follow.

JIMMY VASSER, Target Reynard Honda: "I'm pretty happy. We sat in the pit lane until we could see how Alex [Zanardi], Dario [Franchitti] and Bryan [Herta] would run. It didn't appear that people were improving, so we sat until there were about seven minutes remaining, when we heard that Alex had run in the 56s. I actually pushed for a couple of laps. The good thing is that we didn't put too much on the tires and we're in good shape for tomorrow. It's gonna be difficult to win the race, no doubt about it. It should be easier to win from the pole than to win from last, but if you saw last year's race here [when Alex Zanardi drove back from 22nd place to victory], it looked pretty easy to win from last. I'm gonna give everything I've got to win this race, not for the [Marlboro Pole Award] money, but for the points."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "This morning, we didn't actually run that many laps, we were concerned about the tires, so we worked on balance and setting the car up for long runs. During qualifying, you've got to go for it over the bumps, and you have to carry as much speed as you can. I was out there on my tires to do two or three quick laps. We've improved the car over the bumps, which is good. Hopefully, that will be a good sign for tomorrow."

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "Hats off to Jimmy. Tomorrow is another day. I'll probably get him in Turn One [laughing] and we'll go from there. I gave everything I had and I'm happy we made the car better. [Regarding rumors of his plans for next year] I think if you let that be a distraction, I wouldn't be able to win any race. To answer the question which I'm sure is going to come, I don't have a job yet for next year. I don't have a done deal with anybody right now. It may well be that one day I will drive for Williams, but I haven't decided anything yet."

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Alex Zanardi
Teams Williams , Team Penske