Tony Kanaan ...
#55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard
In one of the more unusual opening days of practice in recent CART FedEx Championship Series memory, Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard wound up 20th on the timesheets after this afternoon's 90-minute practice session for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Kanaan, teammate Alex Zanardi, and the other seven Honda competitors sat out the entire 1-hour, 45-minute practice session this morning while disputing a surprise engine specifications change introduced at the beginning of this weekend's activities by CART officials. Ford teams also took part in the dispute and sat out all but the final 15 minutes of this morning's opening session.
The specification change involved the incorporation of a .75-inch spacer at the bottom of the pop-off valve. Honda deemed this a critical modification of the engine control system with a significant impact on performance, and with no proper chance to test the new component, Honda teams elected not to run this morning's session. When it was apparent CART was not going to allow teams to run without the .75-inch spacer, Honda left it up to the discretion of its teams whether they chose to continue here this weekend. The full field chose to run this afternoon.
Kanaan's best lap this afternoon came in his back-up car after an earlier accident in his primary car. He toured the 2.346-mile temporary street course in Belle Isle Park in 1 minute, 16.627 seconds (an average of 110.217 mph). Zanardi was 16th fastest in 1:16.089 (110.996 mph). Dario Franchitti (1:14.838 seconds; 112.852 mph) was fastest overall, followed by Patrick Carpentier (1:15.126; 112.419) and Bruno Junqueira (1:15.234; 112.259).
Practice resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. EDT and qualifying is set for 1:45 p.m. EDT. Qualifying will air at 5:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on ESPN2. Race time Sunday is 2 p.m EDT with a live broadcast carried by ABC-TV. The Sunday-morning CART2DAY warm-up show will air at 11 a.m. EDT.
"I really don't have anything to say about what happened today. It's all about politics, so I'll leave that up to (team owner) Morris (Nunn) and the sponsors. My back-up car worked much better than my primary car. It was about three-quarters of a second faster. There was a mechanical problem in my primary car and that had everything to do with my accident. We'll take the set-up from my back-up car and put it on my primary car and I'm sure we 'll be close to a second faster. I'm feeling pretty confident, otherwise."
EDITORS NOTE: Morris's comments regarding CART's surprise engine specifications change today are not fit for print or broadcast.
-Mo Nunn Racing