CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee Friday afernoon track notes

As the time for the full-field Green Flag approaches, the wind has picked up considerably, blowing from over the fourth turn wall toward Turn 2. It's a 50/50 sky, part clouds and part brilliant blue. But the rain chance looks practically...

As the time for the full-field Green Flag approaches, the wind has picked up considerably, blowing from over the fourth turn wall toward Turn 2. It's a 50/50 sky, part clouds and part brilliant blue. But the rain chance looks practically nil!

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:45 p.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 86 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 71 degrees F. at the start of the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:46 p.m. to #2 DE FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 2:45 p.m. DE FERRAN subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown again at 2:47 p.m. to #2 DE FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out at 2:45 p.m. And DE FERRAN subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:50 p.m. to #6 ANDRETTI for a Pit Road speed violation. ANDRETTI subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:52 p.m. for a course inspection after several teams have reported small cuts on the tires of their cars in the Pit Area. CART safety crews immediately begin a full clean-up of the track.

At 2:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #32 CARPENTIER with a lap of 171.334 mph (21.684 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (171.097 mph; 21.714 seconds) and #26 TRACY (169.219 mph; 21.955 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:58 p.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:01 p.m. to #16 JOURDAIN JR. for a Pit Road speed violation. JOURDAIN JR. subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

At 3:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #32 CARPENTIER with a lap of 171.334 mph (21.684 seconds), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (171.176 mph; 21.704 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (171.097 mph; 21.714 seconds).

At 3:06 p.m., #8 BRACK clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 171.342 mph (21.683 seconds) on his 19th circuit of the track.

At 3:15 p.m., 30 minutes into the session, the top three fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 3:05 p.m. report.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:24 p.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation. FRANCHITTI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is again shown at 3:25 p.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation. And again, FRANCHITTI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:27 p.m. to #96 SERVIA after CART course observers report smoke trailing from the rear of the car. SERVIA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag.

At 3:35 p.m., #55 KANAAN is now the fastest driver with a speed of 171.524 mph (21.660 seconds), followed by #8 BRACK (171.342 mph; 21.683 seconds) and #32 CARPENTIER (171.334 mph; 21.684 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:36 p.m. for a track inspection after several teams report cut tires on their cars upon examination in the Pit Area. CART safety workers quickly begin a complete inspection and clean-up of the track.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:42 p.m. to resume the session.

At 3:45 p.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:35 p.m. report.

At 3:47 p.m., #6 ANDRETTI logs the fastest lap of the day with a lap of 173.575 mph (21.404 seconds). Previously in this session, ANDRETTI had been driving the secondary car (#6X) and had completed 68 laps without ranking in the top 20 positions on the speed board.

Again at 3:47 p.m., #26 TRACY moves to 2nd-fastest with a lap of 172.096 mph (21.588 seconds) on his 47th lap of the session.

At 3:55 p.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 173.575 mph (21.404 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (172.096 mph; 21.588 seconds) and #55 KANAAN (171.524 mph; 21.660 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 4 p.m. after several teams report cut tires on their machines after examination in the Pit Area. CART safety teams again dispatch to inspect and clean up the track.

At 4:05 p.m. and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with a speed of 173.575 mph (21.404 seconds), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (173.211 mph; 21.449 seconds) and #26 TRACY (172.096 mph; 21.588 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 4:06 p.m. to resume the session.

At 4:11 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN logs the fastest lap of the day with a speed of 173.697 mph (32.657 seconds) on his 96th lap of the session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4:15 p.m. with #2 DE FERRAN the fastest driver with a speed of 173.697 mph (21.389 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (173.575 mph; 21.404 seconds) and #3 DE FERRAN (173.211 mph; 21.449 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 29 cars to the track in this afternoon's session with secondary cars utilized by #20X MORENO, #11X FITTIPALDI, #55X KANAAN, #18x BLUNDELL, #5X NAKANO, #6X ANDRETTI, and #8X BRACK. No. 6 ANDRETTI left the session at 3:47 p.m. and did not compete in the last 27 minutes in the session. CART drivers logged a total of 1974 laps during the session.

GIL DE FERRAN winds up the fastest driver of the day in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda/Reynard by virtue of this afternoon's 173.697-mph clocking. DE FERRAN is chasing his third pole of the season, having already won at Homestead and Long Beach.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI is 2nd after the dust settles today, with his 173.575-mph lap in his Texaco Havoline Ford Reynard. ANDRETTI is hoping to improve on his best start of the 2000 season, a 6th on the grid at Homestead.

HELIO CASTRONEVES is 3rd after the end of today's session with this afternoon's speed of 173.211 mph. CASTRONEVES hopes to also equal or surpass his best start of the year, a 3rd place on the grid at Nazareth.

Of the 29 cars that took the track in this afternoon's session, 24 are within one second of the fastest lap set by DE FERRAN.

Quotes from the top three drivers from today follow:

GIL DE FERRAN: "I like coming here. I think for me, just as Nazareth is, it's one of the most challenging small ovals. That's why I like coming here, because it's very tough. The first time I came here in '95, it was very bumpy. But then they resurfaced it in '96 and now I love it."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "The car feels really good. We had a really good test here the Sunday before Nazareth and it was good. The first session this morning, I thought, 'Whew, this feels pretty good,' so we didn't push it, we just made small changes this morning. The car is very good. There are two different setups, qualifying and race. I think we've got good setups for both. We thought, 'Let's not push it this afternoon. It's going to be a little calmer tomorrow morning, so we'll work more on our qualifying setup then. But it's pretty close now."

HELIO CASTRONEVES: "It came off the truck pretty good, we did a test here way back and it was pretty good. We did exactly the same thing today and the car felt pretty good. This afternoon we worked on race setup and it was really tough, there was lots of traffic. We did 124 laps, trying to do a race simulation. We were on the same tires and we wanted to see what it would do for the race. "

Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi and drivers Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) and Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola) met with the media this afternoon to talk about their recent experiences at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya has had a particularly busy week since winning the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday.

"On Monday morning, I had to wake up at six o'clock in the morning, and Chip was already there [at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway]," Montoya said. "I had to do 'Good Morning America,' pictures, pictures, and more pictures, and then I got on a plane and went to New York and did interviews, interviews, and more interviews.

"Then, I got to throw the ball [Montoya threw out the first pitch at Tuesday night's New York Yankees game], and I didn't do a very good job. They told me to throw it high and hard, and that's what I did [Montoya threw the ball into the grandstands]. Everything was exciting for all two weeks. I haven't been home, I've been staying in hotel rooms, but I've had fun. When you have fun, it doesn't matter."

Said Ganassi: "When you're in a management position in this business, we're always asking ourselves if we're asking too much of our people. Obviously, the first time that became a big question was in Nazareth [on April 9] when we woke up on Sunday morning and there was snow. Then, we got to Japan [in May] and everything was going right and then it rained. I was asking myself that question up until the halfway point in the race Saturday [at Nazareth], and I was asking that question at Indy because Juan's radio wasn't working at the start. It was a team effort, I can't say enough about these two guys [Montoya and Vasser]. I think they'll be glad to hear that I don't have any plans other than the regular CART schedule for the rest of the year."

J. Kirk Russell, CART Chief Steward, has announced that Della Penna team of driver #10 NORBERTO FONTANA has withdrawn from this weekend's competition due to a lack of time to ready the car after last weekend's race at Nazareth where the Argentine driver ended the race with hard contact against the wall. Also, Dale Coyne Racing has withdrawn the #19 piloted by TAKUYA KUROSAWA from this weekend's race due to driver condition. The Japanese driver is still suffering from some dizziness after hard contact with the wall in last week's Nazareth race.

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Chip Ganassi , Dale Coyne
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dale Coyne Racing