DETROIT (June 15, 2001) - Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green continued to display his mastery of FedEx Championship Series temporary street circuits Friday when he posted the fastest lap during testing for this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand...
DETROIT (June 15, 2001) - Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green continued to display his mastery of FedEx Championship Series temporary street circuits Friday when he posted the fastest lap during testing for this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on The Raceway at Belle Isle (2 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).
Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) recorded a lap of 112.852 miles per hour (one minute, 14.838 seconds) on the 2.346-mile temporary street circuit to put himself in position to chase his 11th career FedEx Championship Series pole position when qualifying begins 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday.
Six of Franchitti's 10 previous poles have come on temporary street circuits, including his most recent, at Vancouver last year. His best career start at Detroit is second last year.
Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing was second fastest during Friday's testing at 112.419 miles per hour (1:15.126). Carpentier, a five-year FedEx Championship Series veteran, will seek his third career pole position, and his first on a road or street course, when qualifying opens Saturday.
Rookie Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was third fastest at 112.258 mph (1:15.234). Junqueira, who is looking to make his sixth CART start Sunday, already owns a pole during his rookie campaign, at Nazareth last month.
Rounding out the top five drivers were Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Toyota) of the PacWest Racing Group, fourth at 112.153 mph (1:15.304), and defending Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix champion Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, fifth at 112.085 mph (1:15.350).
FedEx Championship Series points leader Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal was 15th-fastest at 111.074 mph (1:16.036). Brack, who collected his first two career FedEx Championship Series victories in the past two events at Japan and Milwaukee, holds a 70-49 lead over Castroneves heading into Saturday's qualifying session.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "We were just working on the car throughout the day. We missed the morning session, but it didn't particularly hurt us, because the car was good right off the truck. We came up with a car we were reasonably happy with, and we did a good lap. I had a better lap going, but then [Alex] Zanardi brought out the caution. It was a good session and [engineer] Iain [Watt] did a good job with the car. It's very, very hot out there. I was opening my visor trying to get some air, but you can't get much rest from it. It's not such a problem to drive around. When you sit in the pits, it's very different, and very hot. You just want to get out of the car. But that's why I'm out there on the bike or running every day so that I'm trained for it."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "I really like that course, you can keep a lot of rhythm. For me, it's a very good circuit. In all the past years, our car was better on the ovals, but it's different this year. Today was the first day this year that we didn't have a problem, and I'm glad, because the team needed it. We've got a good car and we've got the best engineers, so we should be fast. I'm very happy to be here today, and I hope I'm here tomorrow and a lot more this season. Today feels like a birthday or Christmas for me. I'm happy for Ford. I'm very happy we could put it up front."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, Target Toyota Lola: "For sure, to do a test on a road course before a race after you haven't been on a road course for a long time is good. At Mid-Ohio, I did about five laps and I was running very fast. Today was a tough day because it was very hot and the car was really difficult at first. We changed the car a lot during the first session and between sessions. I ran new tires early in the second session and I was P1 [leading the session] with 50 minutes to go. I think Team Target did a very good job for me. To come back from a bad car, I'm really pleased in the team and the car."
* All FedEx Championship Series engine manufacturers were notified earlier this week that all Champ Cars would be fitted with the extended manifold pressure relief valve beginning at this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. The ¾-inch extension, situated at the base of the manifold pressure relief valve, was mandated to reduce the potential influence of airflow regarding the operation of the valve. The valves, which have a maximum allowable intake manifold pressure of 37 inches, are provided by CART to all competitors each race weekend. Kirk Russell, CART Vice President of Competition: "As the sanctioning body, CART has the obligation to implement any changes it deems necessary to ensure the integrity of the sport as well as for the best interest of all competitors. The valves are the property of CART and maintained by the sanctioning body to ensure the operation of all valves is as identical as possible." The components to modify the valve were manufactured by Metalore, the same manufacturer of the CART manifold pressure relief valve. Jeff Horton, CART Vice President of Electronics: "The first run of parts was manufactured in time for the CART Select Open Test held Tuesday at Michigan Speedway with five teams. All three manufacturers - Ford, Honda and Toyota - were involved in the test. At the time of the test, the engine manufacturers were informed of our intentions that the component would be implemented this weekend. The modification will remain in effect until further notice." The teams that participated in the test were Newman/Haas Racing (Toyota), Team KOOL Green (Honda), Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing (Ford), Team Rahal (Ford) and Marlboro Team Penske (Honda).
* Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) will be chasing his seventh career FedEx Championship Series pole position on a temporary street circuit when qualifying begins 1:45 p.m. Saturday. His previous street-course poles have come at Toronto in 1997 and '98; Vancouver in '98 and 2000 and Australia in 1998 and '99. Franchitti drove to victory at Detroit from the fourth starting position in 1999.
* Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing will be seeking his third career FedEx Championship Series pole position, and his first on a road or street course, when qualifying opens Saturday. His previous poles came at Nazareth and Milwaukee in 1998 and his best career start on a road or street course is sixth at Cleveland in 1999.
* Rookie Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing owns a career-best road- or street-course start of 20th at Mexico in his FedEx Championship Series career debut.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Qualifying for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will air 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.
DETROIT (AP) -- Friday's practice times for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit FedEx Championship Series race at Belle Isle Park, with car number in parentheses, driver, type of car, time in seconds and speed in miles per hour:
<pre> 1. (27) Dario Franchitti, Honda Reynard, 74.838, 112.852. 2. (32) Patrick Carpentier, Ford Reynard, 75.126, 112.419. 3. (4) Bruno Junqueira, Toyota Lola, 75.234, 112.258. 4. (17) Mauricio Gugelmin, Toyota Reynard, 75.304, 112.153. 5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Honda Reynard, 75.350, 112.085. 6. (20) Roberto Moreno, Toyota Reynard, 75.360, 112.070. 7. (11) Christian Fittipaldi, Toyota Lola, 75.386, 112.031. 8. (1) Gil de Ferran, Honda Reynard, 75.397, 112.015. 9. (6) Cristiano da Matta, Toyota Lola, 75.470, 111.907. 10. (18) Scott Dixon, Toyota Reynard, 75.565, 111.766. 11. (26) Paul Tracy, Honda Reynard, 75.623, 111.680. 12. (40) Jimmy Vasser, Toyota Reynard, 75.693, 111.577. 13. (39) Michael Andretti, Honda Reynard, 75.932, 111.226. 14. (51) Adrian Fernandez, Honda Reynard, 75.957, 111.189. 15. (8) Kenny Brack, Ford Lola, 76.036, 111.074. 16. (66) Alex Zanardi, Honda Reynard, 76.089, 110.996. 17. (33) Alex Tagliani, Ford Reynard, 76,214, 110.814. 18. (77) Bryan Herta, Ford Reynard, 76.223, 110.801. 19. (22) Oriol Servia, Ford Lola, 76.552, 110.325. 20. (55) Tony Kanaan, Honda Reynard, 76.627, 110.217. 21. (5) Tora Takagi, Toyota Reynard, 76.767, 110.016. 22. (52) Shinji Nakano, Honda Reynard, 76.840, 109.912. 23. (7) Max Papis, Ford Lola, 77.256, 109.320. 24. (12) Nicolas Minassian, Toyota Lola, 77.391, 109.129. 25. (25) Max Wilson, Ford Lola, 77.481, 109.002. 26. (16) Michel Jourdain Jr., Ford Lola, 77.577, 108.867.