CHAMPCAR/CART: Friday track report

Budweiser/G.I. Joes's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline FedEx Championship Series Notes- Friday, June 19, 1998 Fridayon-track activities begin with a 90-minute practice session beginning at 10:30 a.m. The afternoon provisional...

Budweiser/G.I. Joes's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline FedEx Championship Series

Notes- Friday, June 19, 1998

Fridayon-track activities begin with a 90-minute practice session beginning at 10:30 a.m. The afternoon provisional qualifying session will take to the track at 2:30 p.m. and will be split into two groups with Group One comprised of the fastest drivers from the previous road course qualifying results. The Group Two session will take the Green Flag at 3:15 p.m. Each group session will last 30 minutes.

Provisional qualifying this afternoon on only the third road-course event and the first permanent, road course event of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series season should be exciting. After a run of four straight ovals before last week's ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix, the Champ Car drivers now face a series of street and road courses beginning with this weekend's 1.96-mile Portland International Raceway. Attempts to break the track qualifying record set by SCOTT PRUETT in 1997 at a speed of 119.246 mph (59.383 seconds), will begin today at 2:30 p.m.

With the major part of the scheduled ovals of the season already history, one might expect different faces to begin to show up at the top of the qualifying results as the 1998 FedEx Championship Series begins a slew of road course qualifying. After the first eight races, six of them ovals, Canadian GREG MOORE has the best starting performance of all Champ Car drivers with a average start of 4.1, followed by ALEX ZANARDI (6.6) and JIMMY VASSER (7.0). As the series attempted qualifying at the first road course in over two months two weeks ago at Detroit, consistency seems to be the secret. There was no change in the qualifying performances. MOORE won the Marlboro Pole at Detroit with ZANARDI on the outside front row. VASSER started right where he has averaged, seventh on the grid. Look for the same faces to be the top threat for the pole today at Provisional Qualifying for Sunday's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline.

The Marlboro Pole Award Bonus has not been won in nearly a year (Cleveland in 1997 by Alex Zanardi) and now totals $240,000. The driver that puts together an effort to win the pole for Sunday's race here at Portland will collect the usual $10,000. If that driver then goes on to take the Checkered Flag in the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline, he will take home $250,000 for the pole/race-win accomplishment, a record payout by Marlboro.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend for the Champ Cars.

At 10:33 a.m., #24 GORDON spins at Turn 10 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:38 a.m., #9 LEHTO spins at Turn 3 and continues on-course without damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 10:39 a.m. after #16 CASTRO-NEVES spins and stalls at Turn 2. CART safety workers get the car back to the pit area. There appears to be no damage to the car during the incident.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:43 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10:45 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #26 TRACY with a lap of 113.001 mph (1:02.665), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (111.958 mph; 1:03.249) and #17 GUGELMIN (110.441 mph; 1:04.135).

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 118.910 mph (59.551 seconds), followed by #20X PRUETT (118.798 mph; 59.607 seconds) and #1 ZANARDI (118.383 mph; 59.816 seconds). Ten drivers are within one second of the fast time set by HERTA at this point of the session.

At 11:15 a.m., 45 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 11 a.m. report save for #1 ZANARDI, still third-fastest but with a slightly quicker speed of 118.577 mph (59.718 seconds). Fourteen drivers are within one second of the top speed of HERTA at this point of the session.

At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the 90-minute session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:15 a.m. report with 14 drivers within one second of the fastest time set by HERTA at this point of the session.

At 11:42 a.m., #8 HERTA unofficially breaks the track qualifying record (119.246 mph; 59.383 seconds set by SCOTT PRUETT in 1997) with a lap of 119.246 mph (59.119 seconds) on his 23rd lap of practice.

At 11:45 a.m., 75 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #8 HERTA with his earlier lap of 119.779 mph (59.119 seconds), followed by #20X PRUETT (118.798 mph; 59.607 seconds) and #1 ZANARDI (118.577 mph; 59.718 seconds). There are 13 drivers within one second of the top speed set by HERTA at this point of the session.

At 11:51 a.m., #5 DE FERRAN jumps to second on the speed board with a lap of 118.824 mph (59.594 seconds) on his 23rd lap.

At 11:52 a.m., #26 TRACY passes #5 DE FERRAN for the second-fastest time with a lap of 119.158 mph (59.427 seconds) on his 19th lap of practice.

At 11:54 a.m., the tandem of #20 PRUETT and #33 CARPENTIER take over the second and third fastest of the session with respective speeds of 119.700 mph (59.158 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (119.333 mph; 59.340 seconds).

At 11:58 a.m., #1 ZANARDI clocks the second-fastest lap of the session with a speed of 119.718 mph (59.149 seconds) on his 27th lap of practice.

At 11:59 a.m., #8 HERTA spins in Turn 2 and continues on-course with light damage to the front and rear wing. HERTA immediately pits his car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. to end the first practice session of the weekend with #8 HERTA still the fastest with a lap of 119.779 mph (59.119 seconds), followed by #1 ZANARDI (119.718 mph; 59.149 seconds), #20 PRUETT (119.700 mph; 59.158 seconds), #33 CARPENTIER (119.333 mph; 59.340 seconds) and #26 TRACY (119.158 mph; 59.427 seconds). The top four fastest drivers unofficially broke the track record of SCOTT PRUETT.

CART drivers introduced 37 cars to the track in this morning practice session with 19 cars within one second of the lead lap time set by HERTA. Secondary cars were utilized by #99X MOORE, #20X PRUETT, #3X RIBEIRO, #16X CASTRO-NEVES, #33X CARPENTIER, #19X JOURDAIN JR., #36X BARRON, #98X JONES, #9X LEHTO, and #18X BLUNDELL. FedEx Championship Series drivers logged a total of 681 laps during this morning session.

Green flag waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 124 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 71 degrees F. at the start of the Group One qualifying session.

At 2:31 p.m., #10 HEARN spins in Turn 3 and stalls on course.

RED FLAG waves at 2:32 p.m. for CART safety workers to attend to the stalled car of #10 HEARN. The CART safety workers get the car re-started and HEARN continues to his pit area without apparent damage to the car.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:34 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

At 2:35 p.m., five minutes into the Group One session, no drivers have logged an official lap.

At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 119.500 mph (59.257 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (119.114 mph; 59.449 seconds), and #40 FERNANDEZ (118.219 mph; 59.899 seconds).

At 2:45 p.m., halfway through the 30-minute Group One qualifying session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 119.500 mph (59.257 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (119.114 mph; 59.449 seconds), and #11 FITTIPALDI (118.316 mph; 59.850 seconds).

At 2:47 p.m., #1 ZANARDI slides off-track at Turn 3 and spins into the grass. ZANARDI continues on course without damage to the car and immediately pits his car.

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes through the Group One session, the fastest drivers and speeds have not changed from the 2:45 p.m. report.

At 2:54 p.m., #1 ZANARDI slides off-course at Turn 8. ZANARDI is uninjured in the incident but there is not enough time to retrieve the car and get back into the qualifying so ZANARDI's qualifying attempt is over for the day.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. with the top four drivers of the Group One session breaking the existing track record of 119.246 mph (59.383 seconds), set in 1997 qualifying by SCOTT PRUETT. #27 FRANCHITTI is the fastest with his earlier lap of 120.386 mph (58.821 seconds), followed by #8 HERTA (119.657 mph; 59.179 seconds), #40 FERNANDEZ (119.365 mph; 59.324 seconds), #99 MOORE (119.321 mph; 59.346 seconds), and #11 FITTIPALDI (119.052 mph; 59.480 seconds). The top nine drivers are within one second of the fast lap set by FRANCHITTI.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.

At 3:20 p.m., five minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is #20 PRUETT, (third-fastest overall with a lap of 119.597 mph; 59.209 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (ninth-fastest overall with a lap of 118.643 mph; 59.685 seconds), and #33 CARPENTIER (11th-fastest overall with a lap of 118.452 mph; 59.781 seconds).

At 3:25 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #20 PRUETT (third-fastest overall with a lap of 119.597 mph; 59.209 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (sixth overall with a lap of 119.164 mph; 59.424 seconds), and #26 TRACY (10th-fastest overall with a lap of 118.752 mph; 59.630 seconds).

RED FLAG waves at 3:27 p.m. after #19 JOURDAIN JR. and #26 TRACY make contact and slide off-course at Turn 3. Both drivers are uninjured but both cars sustain damage in the incident.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:33 p.m. to resume the Group Two qualifying session.

At 3:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #20 PRUETT (3rd-fastest overall with his earlier lap of 119.655 mph; 59.209 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (sixth-fastest overall with a lap of 119.164 mph; 59.424 seconds), and #26 TRACY (10th-fastest overall with a lap of 118.752 mph; 59.630 seconds).

At 3:40 p.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is still #20 PRUETT (third-fastest overall with a lap of 119.655 mph; 59.180 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (fourth-fastest overall with a lap of 119.393 mph; 59.310 seconds), and #3X RIBEIRO (eighth-fastest overall with a lap of 118.996 mph; 59.508 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to end the Group Two qualifying session with the fastest Group Two driver still #20 PRUETT (third-fastest overall with a lap of 119.655 mph; 59.180 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (fourth-fastest overall with a lap of 119.393 mph; 59.310 seconds), and #18 BLUNDELL (eighth-fastest overall with a lap of 119.142 mph; 59.435 seconds).

The top 15 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times in the provisional grid with 24 of 28 drivers separated by less than two seconds over the 1.96-mile course here at Portland.

DARIO FRANCHITTI wins the provisional pole for Sunday's Budweiser/ G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline. FRANCHITTI has two career poles to his credit with his last coming at Brazil in 1998.

BRYAN HERTA is second-fastest in today's provisional qualifying. HERTA will be going for his second 1998 front-row start in tomorrow's session. HERTA won the pole at Long Beach earlier this year.

SCOTT PRUETT is third-fastest in today's provisional qualifying. PRUETT will be attempting to duplicate his pole-winning effort from 1997 in Saturday's sessions. PRUETT has also had two top-three starts at Portland in his FedEx Championship series career.

Quotes from the three fastest drivers in today's qualifying session follow.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "We're starting [Saturday's qualifying session] from the right place. We struggled here this morning trying to find more grip. Our guys sorted it out and did a good job getting the car straightened out for qualifying. I think they changed almost everything before this afternoon's session. I'm pretty happy, especially after this morning. It was just a matter of putting a smooth lap together. The mechanical grip that was available through the tires [during the April test at Portland] was just amazing. I think that the more rubber they lay down here, the faster it's going to get."

BRYAN HERTA, Shell Reynard Ford: "We were sliding around a lot. It really was slippery. The balance on the track changed quite a pit from the morning to the afternoon. Everybody's chasing hard right now. There's a lot more out there if somebody could get this place figured out. I noticed that the top six cars today were at the test [in April], so it appears they must have learned something. I didn't come here with a particular expectation on a lap time, I just thought we could run well here. [During his morning contact with the Turn 2 tire barrier] I was trying to go fast and I just lost it. I actually got quite lucky and I thought maybe I was going to miss the tires. I'm going to talk to Wally [Dallenbach, CART Chief Steward] and see if he can extend that barrier a little bit. The tires definitely softened the blow. I could have done quite a bit more damage."

SCOTT PRUETT, Visteon Reynard Ford: "We all three were here testing at the same time [after Long Beach] and we ran in the 57s [seconds]. That's a far cry from the 58s we were running today. It's all gonna depend on the conditions. I've always loved it up here. My wife [Judy] and I came up here with both our daughters. My wife is from this area, and I've always liked this area, and the race track."

Drivers Association have announced a press conference/cocktail reception for the announcement of the 1998 Pro Celebrity Charity Ride partnership with Harley Davidson/ Buell Motorcycles. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. in the lobby living room of the 5th Avenue Suites Hotel, at the corner of 5th and Washington in downtown Portland. PARNELLI JONES, JIMMY VASSER, DANNY SULLIVAN, ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, ROBBY GORDON, P.J. JONES, TONY BETTENHAUSEN and others will join the press conference for this exciting announcement. The 5th Avenue suite Hotel is hosting the reception and will provide all guests Portland-area microbrews, wine and hors d' oeuvres. The 5th Avenue suite Hotel is located at 506 SW Washington Street. For directions you can contact the hotel at 503-222-0001.

The following announcement was made by CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach following Friday's provisional qualifying.

PAUL TRACY (KOOL Reynard Honda), placed on probation June 11 by CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach for an incident at the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix, has been fined $20,000 and will be excluded from Saturday's qualifying for today's incident with MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (Herdez/Viva Mexico! Reynard Ford). Dallenbach cited Tracy for unjustifiable risk, according to Rule 8:13 of the CART Rule Book, for the incident that occurred with Jourdain Jr. during the qualifying session for Group Two. "As far as the Friday incident, the accident was preventable and should not have happened on an out lap for both race cars," said Dallenbach, referring to the lap when the drivers exited the pits and were still getting up to speed. With the decision, Tracy will be forced to stand on Friday's qualifying time (59.630 sec./118.752 mph), which currently ranks 12th among 28 drivers. Tracy will be allowed to participate in Saturday's practice session, scheduled for 9 a.m. PT.

This concludes the pit notes for today's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline. We'll see you tomorrow at 9 a.m. for the Saturday morning practice session!

Source: CART Online

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Alex Zanardi