BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 20, 2001) - FedEx Championship Series championship leader Kenny Brack of Team Rahal continued his impressive work on ovals Friday when he posted the top testing time for the Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan...
BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 20, 2001) - FedEx Championship Series championship leader Kenny Brack of Team Rahal continued his impressive work on ovals Friday when he posted the top testing time for the Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).
Brack (Shell Ford Lola), who owns oval poles at Texas and Milwaukee - where the starting grid was based on championship points - and oval victories at Japan and Milwaukee this season, put together a lap of 226.351 miles per hour (31.809 seconds) during the first of two practice sessions to lead a Team Rahal sweep of the day's top two positions. Brack will be chasing his fourth pole of the season and his sixth front row start of the campaign when qualifying begins noon ET Saturday.
Brack entered the weekend with an 84-73 lead over Michael Andretti of Team Motorola through nine completed rounds of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series championship.
Following closely behind Brack on the speed chart was Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Lola) of Team Rahal, who was second at 226.038 mph (31.853 seconds). Papis, who posted the top speed of afternoon testing, seeks his second pole of the season Saturday after driving to victory from the pole at Portland last month.
Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing was third fastest Friday following a lap of 225.585 mph (31.917 seconds). Carpentier, whose fast lap came in the morning, is chasing the third pole of his career and his first since Milwaukee in 1998.
Rounding out the top five drivers were Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), Carpentier's Player's/Forsythe Racing teammate, who was fourth at 225.077 mph (31.989 seconds); and defending Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota polesitter Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, fifth fastest at 224.474 mph (32.075 seconds).
Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) was 16th-fastest Friday following a lap of 222.614 mph (32.343 seconds).
Lap speeds were roughly eight miles per hour slower than Tracy's track record of 234.949 miles per hour (30.645 seconds) established last year. In an effort to contain performance, CART implemented a number of changes to the race car specifications for this weekend's event, including a reduction in the maximum manifold pressure to 36 inches of mercury absolute and a three-inch downward extension of the back plate of the Handford Mk1 device.
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Lola: "I think the track was obviously less slippery in the morning. I don't know if it was due to a change in track conditions or if it was the ARCA cars. They have a little different rubber. But the Shell Ford ran well in the morning and in the afternoon, so we're looking forward to tomorrow. There's a lot more turbulence this year. I can't feel much change when it comes to engine power, but the handling will definitely make it interesting."
MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Lola: "This morning was a very hectic session. Nobody got much running in, because the session was supposed to be an hour and a half, but we only ran for about 20 minutes. I think I got about two laps in my primary car this morning. The car was really fast in the afternoon. We ran the car on full tanks, and it was a very special lap. It's very encouraging. The turbulence is much larger, and the car is much more disturbed. It requires a lot more attention to drive this year at 224 miles per hour than it did last year to drive 236 for me. It does make it a lot of fun. The car in front of you is a dead duck on the straightaways. It's a different feeling that I've never felt before. To tell you the truth, I don't think the track owes me anything [due to the fact that he ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap in 1999'. Actually, I think it helped my credibility. It would be special for me to win a 500-mile race. That's what American racing is all about."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "Traffic put it together for me today. I had a good time this morning, and we wanted to stay in the top ten in the afternoon. We ran full tanks and did that all afternoon. When I wasn't happy with the car I came in and we made changes. The car was really good at the end. You're going to see a lot of passing in the race. I think it's going to be flat-out, and it's going to be great racing. It always is here. I didn't find [the extension of the Handford Device] worse. I thought it was a little bit better than last year. What I like is that the speeds are a little bit less going into the corners, just a little bit. The only thing is that we're going to be racing a lot closer. I was only running together with one other car. It's going to be a lot different when there are 18 cars running together."
* Kenny Brack's (Shell Ford Lola) average starting position in FedEx Championship Series oval events this season is 2.5. He earned poles at Texas and Milwaukee -where the starting grid was based on championship points due to a rainout of qualifying - an outside pole at Nazareth and a sixth-place start at Japan. Brack has scored a series-high 59 of his FedEx Championship Series-leading 84 points in oval competition this season.
* Max Papis' (Miller Lite Ford Lola) top oval qualifying effort this season is 14th at Nazareth. He started 13th at Milwaukee, where the grid was based on championship points. Papis is seeking his first pole position on an oval since 1999 at Chicago.
* Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) owns a career-best superspeedway start of seventh at California Speedway in 1999. His career best start in four appearances at Michigan is ninth last year.
* Ford-powered drivers filled six of the top seven positions on Friday's combined time sheets. Following Brack, Papis and Carpentier were Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing, who was fourth in his secondary car at 225.077 miles per hour (31.989 seconds) and sixth in his primary car, at 224.341 mph (32.094 seconds). Bryan Herta (Forsythe/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Forsythe Championship Racing was seventh at 223.776 mph (32.175 seconds)
Qualifying for the Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota will air 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.