CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Walker Racing rookie Nakano in hot seat

Brooklyn, Mich., July 21, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano gave the fans at Michigan Speedway a thrill today at the end of the second CART practice session at the 2-mile oval. Shinji's ...

Brooklyn, Mich., July 21, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano gave the fans at Michigan Speedway a thrill today at the end of the second CART practice session at the 2-mile oval. Shinji's #5 avex car caught fire in a big way as he headed toward the pits at the checkered flag at the end of practice. He coasted back into the Walker Racing pits and hopped out very quickly. "Something obviously happened in a big way and we turned into the fastest flame-thrower on wheels," said owner Derrick Walker. "The oil caught fire in a spectacular way. It burnt up a few wires and the car probably won't be ready to run first thing in the morning, but Shinji is fine, and that's what is important." Shinji is preparing for Sunday's Michigan 500 presented by Toyota. This will be his first race on a super-speedway track and also his first 500-miler. In this morning's special practice session for the six rookies in the CART series, he finished in second place. All the CART FedEx Championship drivers practiced in two additional sessions later in the day. Shinji was 22nd overall, with a best time of 31.963 seconds, 225.260 mph. "The track is very fast," said Shinji. "Michigan is the first time I've drafted like this. The tow is quite strong, you can feel it at about 100 meters away from the car in front. "When the saw the fire at the back of my car I thought 'OH [bleep, bleep), then the flame disappeared and I thought 'OK, I can get back to the pit' and that's when it flamed up again. When I stopped it in the pit, and then got out, that was the fastest I ever got out of ANY car. But I am OK." Walker Racing's corporate sponsor partners are avex, Alpine, Mitsuba, SpeedWRX.com, Dell Computer Corporation, NGK, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Honda, Reynard and Firestone.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Shinji Nakano