CHAMPCAR/CART: Gateway practice a long day for Fittipaldi, Andretti

Round 17 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

Round 17 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola: PRACTICE POSITION: 12th TIME: 26.482

First time back at the track where he suffered a subdural hemitoma during a testing accident on August 2, 1999 when his transmission failed. He was only 28 points out of first place in the CART Championship after scoring his first win and pole and having completed all but two laps during the season, the most of all drivers in the series. Will be his third start at Gateway. Ran in second place in the 1999 event before a right rear problem during a pit stop dropped him to a ninth place finish. Was hit by the spinning car of Tracy in the 1998 event and had to fight back into 11th place after a lengthy stop to replace a rear wing. Did not compete in 1997 because he was recovering from an accident in Australia where he was hit from behind by Gil de Ferran.

"The car is okay so far. I'm pretty happy with our progress but the rear is not quite as good as it should be yet. When the rear of the car is not quite right at tracks like this, it effects the rest of the car also. We had to miss the last 18 minutes because we had a CV joint problem. We were just trying different aerodynamic and suspension settings. There is definitely more in the car for tomorrow."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola PRACTICE POSITION: 16th TIME: 26.676

Will be his fourth start at Gateway. Has led every CART event held at the track. Won the event in 1999 after starting 11th and leading 91 laps. Led 133 laps in the 1998 event but finished second. Led 66 laps in the inaugural event in 1997 before a wing problem dropped him to an 11th place finish.

"The car feels okay in race conditions. We were struggling a little then we found some things that worked good. I didn't get to run a fast qualification simulation lap though. It's a shame because I think we would have been up there. We are right on target progress-wise and plan to be faster tomorrow. We have to finish this race in the top-five. Hopefully we can win and score the maximum points. We have got to stay in the fast pack in the race and take the same pit strategy as everyone else. We need to keep learning about the car on every lap we run and have a good car in the race. Every minute is important now that we are in the home stretch of the Championship."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran