CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Rocketsports Racing Friday report

DENVER, Col. (August 13, 2004) -- The learning curve is steep on the streets of Denver for Rocketsports drivers, Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith. Tagliani and Smith studied the set up needed for their Champ Cars on the slick surfaces as they qualified...

DENVER, Col. (August 13, 2004) -- The learning curve is steep on the streets of Denver for Rocketsports drivers, Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith. Tagliani and Smith studied the set up needed for their Champ Cars on the slick surfaces as they qualified for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. Tagliani in the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola qualified tenth in the first qualifying session, while Smith qualified 13th in the No.17 Rocketsports Lola.

Alex Tagliani posted a time of 1:01.757 (96.591 mph, 155.449 km/h) on the 1.657 mile street course, putting the No. 8 Johnson Controls Lola in tenth position on the provisional grid. Hoping for better in the second qualifying session on Saturday, Tagliani admitted, "The Denver streets are a challenge. They're slick and I need the grip of the Bridgestone Potenza tires to work with the setup of the car. The car is fast, capable of a top-five qualifying position. The team, my engineer Brian Ma, and I are working to get more consistent steering while braking at different areas in the track. I want to get the most power and speed out of the car, but we need to work on the balance. We'll take what we learned today and get back at it tomorrow."

Guy Smith, in the No.17 Rocketsports Lola, posted a time of 1:02.113 (96.038 mph, 154.558 km/h) securing 13th position on the provisional grid in his second Champ Car start -- his first on a street course. Smith is confident of continued progress and better results for the No. 17 car. "We had a good session and have made progress with the car since morning Practice," announced Smith. "The Champ Car learning curve continues and this is quite a place to learn.

"The Denver course is a tricky circuit to hustle a Champ Car around. The No.17 car had good balance and performance. We'll continue to tweak and make is better. I have significant gains to make and plan to move forward from a driver's standpoint. My aim is for a top-ten qualifying position. I'll do the best job I can, hope to qualify well and run a clean race. The team is growing and coming together noticeably well, and we're in good shape for the Denver weekend," determined Smith.

The final qualifying session for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver is set for 2:00 PM (MDT) Catch the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver on Spike TV at 4:00 PM (ET), Sunday August 15, 2004.

-rsr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Guy Smith , Alex Tagliani