CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Saturday Track Notes

U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota Saturday - Pit Notes Good Morning from the soggy Irish Hills of Central Michigan for Qualifying Day for Sunday's Round 12 of the FedEx Championship Series season at Michigan Speedway! Yesterday's close to the...

U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota Saturday - Pit Notes

Good Morning from the soggy Irish Hills of Central Michigan for Qualifying Day for Sunday's Round 12 of the FedEx Championship Series season at Michigan Speedway! Yesterday's close to the racing action featured a thunderstorm that dumped a good 2 inches of rain on the 2-mile speedway, followed by an encore performance early in the morning hours. Whatever rubber laid down by the competitors yesterday now resides on the apron of the track and Champ Car set-ups will again have to account for the uncertain. The first practice session of the morning takes the Green Flag at 8 a.m. and will be on track for 65 minutes, followed by the start of the two-hour qualifying at 10:30 a.m. The 26 drivers entered will take a crack at the qualifying track record of 234.665 mph set by JIMMY VASSER in 1996. At 10:15 a.m., a unique photo opportunity will take place at Victory Circle here at Michigan Speedway. The mid-season CART all-star team will appear with Mario Andretti at 10:15 a.m. before the start of qualifying for photo journalists. Please do not cross the Pit Lane to Victory Circle until the Indy Lights session is completed at 10:10 a.m. GREEN FLAG waves at 8 a.m. to start the morning session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 79 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 76 degrees F. at the start of the session. The morning practice session has been extended by five minutes to allow the competitors a bit more track time after they lost some time to the rains yesterday. At 8:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #4 MONTOYA with a lap of 230.999 mph (31.169 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (229.878 mph; 31.321 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (229.212 mph; 31.412 seconds). At 8:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 231.459 mph (31.107 seconds), followed by #4 MONTOYA (230.999 mph; 31.169 seconds) and #9 CASTRO-NEVES (230.865 mph; 31.187 seconds). YELLOW FLAG waves at 8:22 a.m. after #2 UNSER Jr. stalls on course. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow UNSER Jr. to the Pit Area. GREEN FLAG waves at 8:26 a.m. to resume the session. At 8:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 8:20 a.m. report. At 8:32 a.m., last year's pole-winner #40 FERANDEZ clocks the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 233.146 mph (30.882 seconds). FERNANDEZ has come to the top from a 25th-fastest car after yesterday's afternoon session. At 8:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 233.146 mph (30.882 seconds), followed by #4 MONTOYA (232.446 mph; 30.975 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (232.288 mph; 30.996 seconds). YELLOW FLAG waves at 8:46 a.m. after CART Pit Officials report cut tires on #20X JONES, #18 MORENO, and #19X JOURDAIN Jr. after examination in the Pit Area. At 8:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 8:40 a.m. report. GREEN FLAG waves at 8:56 a.m. to resume the practice session. At 9 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 8:50 a.m. report. CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:05 a.m. to end the morning practice session with #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 233.146 mph (30.882 seconds), followed by #4 MONTOYA (232.446 mph; 30.975 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (232.288 mph; 30.996 seconds). The top 21 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #44X KANAAN, #19X JOURDAIN Jr., #20X JONES, and #22X GORDON. CART driver logged a total of 841 laps during the session. Drivers making the biggest jump in speeds from yesterday's best times are #40 FERNANDEZ (+7.78 mph) and #18 MORENO (+6.644 mph). U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota No. 9 FedEx Championship Series Press Notes-Saturday, July 24, 1999

QUALIFYING GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start qualifying for Sunday's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. The drivers will have up to three times by the flagstand to start their qualifying lap. #34 VITOLO's top speed: 221.682 mph (32.479 seconds); second lap. #36 SALLES's top speed: 221.076 mph (32.568 seconds); second lap. #22X GORDON's top speed: 220.089 mph (32.714 seconds); second lap. #20X JONES' top speed: 222.195 mph (32.404 seconds); first lap. #19X JOURDAIN Jr.'s top speed: 223.214 mph (32.256 seconds); second lap. #10 HEARN's top speed: 223.748 mph (32.179 seconds); first lap. #25 da MATTA's top speed: 227.740 mph (31.615 seconds); second lap. #3 BARRON's top speed: 225.275 mph (31.961 seconds); second lap. #2 UNSER Jr.'s top speed: 225.854 mph (31.879 seconds); first lap. UNSER Jr. only completed one timed lap before pulling off course and heading to Pit Road. #5 de FERRAN's top speed: 226.202 mph (31.830 seconds); first lap. #27 FRANCHITTI's top speed: 227.790 mph (31.608 seconds); second lap. #44X KANAAN's top speed: 227.029 mph (31.714 seconds); first lap. #11 FITTIPALDI's top speed: 225.996 mph (31.859 seconds); second lap. #33 CARPENTIER's top speed: 226.922 mph (31.729 seconds); second lap. #99 MOORE's top speed: 223.575 mph (32.204 seconds); second lap. # 9 CASTRO-NEVES's top speed: 224.916 mph (32.012 seconds); first lap. # 8 HERTA's to speed: 227.834 mph (31.602 seconds); second lap. #24 PRUETT's top speed: 228.593 mph (31.497 seconds): first lap. # 6 ANDRETTI's top speed: 229.168 mph (31.418 seconds); first lap. #17 GUGELMIN's top speed: 226.209 mph (31.829 seconds); second lap. #18 MORENO's top speed: 226.693 mph (31.761 seconds); second lap. #12 VASSER's top speed: 229.606 mph (31.358 seconds); first lap. #26 TRACY's top speed: 227.790 mph (31.608 seconds); first lap. TRACY matched teammate FRANCHITTI with identical lap times but takes the higher starting spot due to a faster first lap. # 7 PAPIS' top speed: 228.231 mph (31.547 seconds); first lap. # 4 MONTOYA's top speed: 229.321 mph (31.397 seconds); first lap. #40 FERNANDEZ's top speed: 229.438 mph (31.381 seconds); first lap. JIMMY VASSER wins the pole for Sunday's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota with his speed of 229.606 mph (31.381 seconds). ADRIAN FERNANDEZ will start second on the grid after posting a speed of 229.438 mph (31.381 seconds). JUAN MONTOYA is third in the starting line-up after clocking a lap of 229.321 mph (31.397 seconds). The top 21 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times in the starting line-up. Secondary cars were utilized by #20X JONES, #22X GORDON, #44X KANAAN, and #19X JOURDAIN Jr. CART drivers logged a total of 102 laps in today's qualifying session, including the warm-up laps. Both front row starters are a product of the CART ladder system. JIMMY VASSER is a graduate of the Toyota Atlantic Championship where he won eight races in 1990 and 1991. ADRIAN FERNANDEZ was the Indy Lights Rookie of the Year in 1992, finishing third in the Championship with four wins and three poles. The value of the draft is shown by the average change in speed in today's qualifying session versus practice speeds. The only driver to better his qualifying speed over his practice speed was DENNIS VITOLO. The field averaged 3.280 less mph over their respective practice speeds in today's session. GREG MOORE posted the largest loss of speed with a drop of 6.685 mph. The lap times of #19 JOURDAIN Jr. has been withdrawn after the car failed a post-qualifying technical inspection. JOURDAIN Jr. will start tomorrow's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota last on the grid as a result of the infraction. BRYAN HERTA is the winner of this week's Budweiser Accelerator Award by posting the largest increase in speed from his first qualifying lap compared to his second. HERTA will receive a $1000 award and a cold case of Bud from Budweiser for his effort. Today's effort by JIMMY VASSER represents the eighth pole of the year for Honda and the 35th pole of HONDA's Champ Car career. This is the 10th Pole for Firestone out of the first 12 races in the 1999 season. Scott Pruett's fifth-place qualifying position was the best-ever for a Toyota in Champ Car competition. PRUETT surpasses rookie teammate CHRISTIANO da MATTA'as sixth- place qualifying effort earlier this year at Homestead. After registering a program-best 13th in the first three years of the program, a Toyota has now qualified in the top-10 five times this season. PRUETT also logged the third-best trap speed in the qualifying session. Today represents the first pole of the season for JIMMY VASSER and the seventh of his career. This is also VASSER's third pole at Michigan in the last five starts. VASSER has also qualified on the front row in six of the last seven 500-mile events. ADRIAN FERNANDEZ will make his second front-row start of the season. FERNANDEZ also started second at Homestead. This also is VASSER's second consecutive front-row start at Michigan. Last year, FERNANDEZ sat on the pole. JUAN MONTOYA will start third in tomorrow's race. This is MONTOYA's seventh top-third start in 12 races. This is also MONTOYA's ninth top-five start in the last ten races. Quotes from today's top three qualifiers follow: JIMMY VASSER, Target Honda Reynard: "I learned a lot [about superspeedway racing] doing testing of Firestone's Speedway tire in 1996 and '97. I learned a lot about wheel input and scrubbing speed. Wheel input has a lot to do with it because you're basically going flat all the way around here. Juan [Montoya] has done a great job on his first superspeedway event and Alex [Zanardi] probably should have won the first U.S. 500 here in '96, so you have to give a lot of credit to the whole Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Team. If we play our cards right, I'll help Juan with some strategy tomorrow, and if we can be there after 500 miles, I think we will see one of our Target cars in the Winner's Circle tomorrow." ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard: "We came here with a very strong car. We normally don't test here. During the first practice session, the car was very loose with a lot of push, and in the afternoon, we had the same problem. For today, we made some changes to the car, and I think we found the problem. Since this morning, the car has been fantastic. I told my engineer, 'We're back!' and we're going to be strong. We have to figure out how to set the car up for tomorrow. The track is going to change a lot after the truck race, and I think it's going to be a little bit of a guessing game." JUAN MONTOYA, Target Honda Reynard: "The car has been working really good all weekend since rookie practice. The car had a little bit of understeer [during qualifying] and I think I scrubbed a little too much speed going into Turn 3. I think that's what made the difference. But I like it here. I like the speed and a lot of the technical aspects to driving here. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow." PPG Industries Inc. is pleased to announce that Steve Crowe, motorsports writer for The Detroit Free Press, was today named the newest PPG Colorful Character for the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway. Crowe is not only an exceptional writer but is also an accomplished musician. He palys quitar for the band "Skillet". "Steve is a hard-working, free spirited writer who knows people and the sport," said Mike Sack, PPG's Director of Sports Marketing. "Steve paints word pictures for his readers that help them to understand and enjoy the excitement of PPG competition," said Sack. This concludes the Pit Notes for today from Michigan Speedway. Have a great Saturday night and we'll see you at 9:30 a.m. for the traditional morning warm-up and the Green Flag for the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota at 1 p.m.!

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Pruett , Mario Andretti , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing