CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Lola Thursday practice report

Michel Jourdain Jr. paced the inaugural Champ Car night practice for Saturday evening's Centennial Milwaukee Mile 250 presented by Miller Lite, touring the historic 1.032-mile oval at 21.040 seconds (176.578mph) in his ...

Michel Jourdain Jr. paced the inaugural Champ Car night practice for Saturday evening's Centennial Milwaukee Mile 250 presented by Miller Lite, touring the historic 1.032-mile oval at 21.040 seconds (176.578mph) in his #9 Gigante Lola/Ford/Bridgestone racer. Jourdain admitted "the car was great from the time we rolled it off the truck, though I was a little surprised with how much speed I was able to get through the corners." CART has mandated road course wings for this historic first night race in Champ Car series history, producing additional downforce for the cars that should enable overtaking.

Paul Tracy was second in his #3 Team Player's Lola/Ford at 21.075 seconds (176.285mph). The Canadian, who owns three Champ Car wins at this track, caused one of three caution periods this evening. "I wish I could have run more in the dark but I got a bit high in turns 3 and 4, got into the gray and brushed the wall. I like the wing package CART chose [for this race] and think it'll make for good racing Saturday night. It feels good to run under the lights here, but I wish I could have run more than half the session."

The Milwaukee Mile track record holder Patrick Carpentier set the third quickest time tonight in the #32 Team Player's Lola/Ford of 21.146 seconds (175.693mph). Carpentier's record set in 1998 of 20.028 seconds (185.500mph) came with 150 more horsepower. "Tonight was a lot of fun. The difference between this afternoon's practice and tonight was more difficult. You get used to it after a while. You change your visor to a clear one and change a few other things," he noted.

Adrian Fernandez, on pole here last year, was fourth in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford at 21.155 seconds (175.618mph). Jimmy Vasser was fifth in the #12 American Spirit Reynard/Ford. Sixth went to Oriol Servia's #20 Visteon Lola/Ford at 21.239 seconds (174.923mph). Bruno Junqueira was seventh in the #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford at 21.249 seconds (174.841mph). "I had to get everything out of myself and the car to set that time," he said. Alex Tagliani was 8th in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola/Ford with a lap of 21.252 seconds (174.816mph), set on his 34th of 86 laps.

Air temps were in the mid-50s for this night session while track temps fell from 65 to 62 degrees. Forecasts call for cooler temps, by about ten degrees tomorrow evening, yet teams and drivers don't think that will make much difference in their single car qualifying efforts, which take place at 9:30EDT and will be telecast live on Speed TV.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Michel Jourdain