CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Tony Kanaan Friday Practice; start on a high note

Brazilian native and Miami resident Tony Kanaan got the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing era started on a high note today by grabbing the top spot in practice for Sunday's season-opening Grand Prix of Miami. Kanaan drove the ...

Brazilian native and Miami resident Tony Kanaan got the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing era started on a high note today by grabbing the top spot in practice for Sunday's season-opening Grand Prix of Miami. Kanaan drove the #55 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard to a fast lap of 26.437 seconds, an average of 204.532 mph over the 1.5-mile Homestead Miami Speedway oval. He bested countryman Christian Fittipaldi's time (26.538) by almost a full-tenth of a second in the afternoon session. Canadian Patrick Carpentier (26.590) was third-quickest on the day by virtue of his fast time in today's morning session.

Today's morning practice session was cut short for Kanaan and his teammates when Alex Tagliani lost control of his car entering the pit lane and spun into the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing pits, injuring one crewmember and damaging the team's primary car. The crewmember, ventman Kenny Ferris, experienced discomfort in his lower back and was transported to Doctor's Hospital in Coral Gables for precautionary X-rays. He was expected to return to the track tonight and would decide Saturday morning whether he would continue with his responsibilities this weekend or return home to Indianapolis. Damage to the primary car -- which included moderate rear and front suspension damage -- could not be repaired in time for the afternoon session, sending Kanaan out in the team's back-up car.

Practice continues Saturday morning with qualifying set for 1:30 p.m. ET.

TONY KANAAN -- This is definitely a special way to start things off, because this team has only been together for three months. But everybody has been around long enough to know that we don't want to get too excited. This is a tough series and we know we have a lot of work to do. But I'm really happy for my guys. They've been working really hard in the short time we've been together. This is a gift for Hollywood, and to Mercedes, and everyone else who is responsible for getting this team together. But we have to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard. (REGARDING THE MORNING PIT LANE ACCIDENT) I was sitting in the car and heard a car screeching up from behind, so I held on. Kenny (Ferris) was kneeling down to the right of me, cleaning off my radiator, so I was very concerned for him. But he's okay. I went to see him in the medical center before they took him to the hospital. He'll be back tonight and he'll see how he feels tomorrow."

MORRIS NUNN -- We were expecting to be in the top 10 based on the way we've been testing, but I can't admit we expected to be P1 at the end of the first day. I'm not entirely surprised. But no one around here is getting complacent, either. We have two more days, and everybody is going to turn it up a notch for qualifying and for the race. But the one reason we can feel special about today is that we are a brand new team, and it was our very first day, and this is the one and only chance we'll have to leave that first impression. I feel happy for all the guys who have worked day and night to get us here. Now, tomorrow's another day.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Mo Nunn