Fernandez hogs top practice apot at Milwaukee; Lola drivers nab six fastest speeds Adrian Fernandez used afternoon practice at The Milwaukee Mile to take top overall spot in preparation for Sunday's Miller Lite 250. Leading the time sheets...
Fernandez hogs top practice apot at Milwaukee; Lola drivers nab six fastest speeds
Adrian Fernandez used afternoon practice at The Milwaukee Mile to take top overall spot in preparation for Sunday's Miller Lite 250. Leading the time sheets nearly from the start of the hour and fifteen-minute session, the Mexican ace lowered his lap time, it seemed, nearly every tour of the 1.032-mile oval. His 45th and final lap in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Honda was his best, at 22.021 seconds (168.712mph). "This was the same car we used in testing a couple of weeks ago and that was a good test," Fernandez acknowledged. "Today the car was good straight away, despite the 30-degree warmer temperatures today." Air temperatures remained in the middle 80s for most of the day, while track temps hovered near the 90-degree mark.
Last year's winner Kenny Brack, who gave Lola Cars its 100th CART victory at this venue turned a quick lap of 22.535 seconds (164.864mph) in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota to take second. His quick time came in the morning session, on his 30th of 32 laps. "We used last year's setup," Brack joked. "This oval is very challenging and normally produces a pretty exciting race. You're very, very busy [during the race]." Rookie Mario Dominguez was third in the #16 Herdez Lola/Ford, turning his quick time of 22.586 seconds (164.491mph) on his 52nd of 54 laps. "We had a very good car right from the start. We had a good test here and just worked on different things today to prepare for Sunday's race," Dominguez explained.
Cristiano da Matta had a tough morning session, but his crew "changed everything but the kitchen sink" on pit road this afternoon, bumping the Brazilian from 21st to fourth overall, at 22.596sec/164.418mph. "We made huge progress from when we came here to test and also from this morning. There are a few areas we need to work on, but overall those things are manageable. We now have something to work with," said da Matta.
Brack's spare car was fifth quickest (22.672sec/163.867mph). Sixth went to Jimmy Vasser's #8 Shell Lola/Ford, lapping at 22.689 seconds (1643.745mph) and, while Vasser isn't extremely happy yet, "we're in tire conservation mode today because you need to have four good sets of tires for this 250-mile race."
Today was a fairly uneventful day at this historic track, with four cautions in the morning, three for debris (and one tow-in) and only two for track inspection in the afternoon. While showers have been predicted for both Saturday and Sunday, the Champ Car teams and drivers are hopeful they'll be able to qualify at 1:45pm CDT tomorrow and race at 11:45am Sunday morning.