CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead report

RANDY TOLSMA WINS DODGE DEALERS 400 POLE, FERNANDEZ FASTEST IN PRACTICE FOR CART OPENER HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 19, 1999) - Randy Tolsma led a Dodge sweep of the front row for Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400, while Adrian...

RANDY TOLSMA WINS DODGE DEALERS 400 POLE, FERNANDEZ FASTEST IN PRACTICE FOR CART OPENER

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 19, 1999) - Randy Tolsma led a Dodge sweep of the front row for Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400, while Adrian Fernandez continued to top the time sheets in practice for Sunday's Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series opens its 1999 campaign Saturday at 3 p.m., while CART's FedEx Championship Series debuts in Sunday's feature at 2 p.m.

They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Fortunately for Tolsma, his first impression with his new team and sponsor was a great one, as the 33 year-old captured his second career pole position. His lap of 149.813 mph edged Stacy Compton's #86 Royal Crown Cola Dodge by less than two tenths of a second around Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5 oval.

This is the first time two Dodges have occupied the front row of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on a track one mile or longer. Making up the second row will be the Chevrolet of Jay Sauter and the Ford of Greg Biffle. Defending race winner Rick Crawford in his Ford starts 18th, while defending series champion Ron Hornaday will start 14th in his Chevrolet. Tolsma, who joined David Hodson's Impact Motorsports team for the 1999 season, is competing with a brand new team in his #25 Supergard Motor Oil Dodge. To top things off, this week's race in Miami is sponsored by Dodge.

"It's exciting for Dodge and exciting for the team," said the Idaho driver. "The Dodge Dealers are really behind this race, so to have two Dodges on the front row is extremely exciting."

As for Fernandez, his practice run of 213.218 mph further justified using his year-old Ford Reynard. Two weeks ago at Homestead, he used the car with spectacular results, as he ran the second-fastest lap ever recorded at the speedway (216.808 mph), in his first session of the year with a mothballed '98 machine. Patrick Racing had previously planned to use a Ford Swift for the 1999 season.

Following Fernandez in practice were Dario Franchitti (211.897 mph) and Patrick Carpentier (211.740 mph). The trio will look to knock off two-time defending race champion Michael Andretti who finished the first practice session eighth (210.520 mph).

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About this article
Series IndyCar , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Jay Sauter , Stacy Compton , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Rick Crawford , Randy Tolsma