CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee Mercedes' Momentum Continues in Friday Practice

FedEx Championship Series Report Race: Miller Lite 225, The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis. Date/Session: Friday, June 4, 1999 Practice Following on the heels of last ...

FedEx Championship Series Report

Race: Miller Lite 225, The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis. Date/Session: Friday, June 4, 1999 Practice

Following on the heels of last weekend's strong performance in the Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway, Mercedes-Benz Champ Cars continued to top the time sheets at today's practice sessions for the Miller Lite 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Player's/Forsythe drivers Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier were second- and third-quickest, respectively, just a few ticks behind Paul Tracy. Helio Castro-Neves, who finished second at Gateway while posting the fastest lap time of that race, was fourth-quickest today. Mauricio Gugelmin's PacWest Hollywood Mercedes was the fourth Mercedes-Benz V8 in the top 10.

With the afternoon session delayed and dampened by heavy rains, the morning practice session provided the quickest lap times of the day. Moore, who became the youngest Champ Car winner in history with his win here in 1997, turned in a lap of 22.052 seconds (168.475 mph) around the 1.032-mile oval, just 0.027 seconds behind Tracy. Carpentier, the defending polesitter, posted a lap in 22.108 seconds (168.048 mph).

Hogan Racing's Helio Castro-Neves, who ignited the Gateway crowd last weekend with his hard-charging second-place finish, turned in a lap time of 22.117 seconds (167.979 mph). Veteran Mauricio Gugelmin piloted his PacWest Hollywood Mercedes Champ Car to a best lap time of 22.256 seconds (166.930 mph) for ninth position.

Gugelmin teammate Roberto Moreno, coming off a fourth-place finish at Gateway last Saturday while substituting for injured Motorola driver Mark Blundell, posted a lap time of 22.568 seconds (164.622 mph) for 18th place. Marlboro Team Penske veteran Al Unser Jr. lapped the Milwaukee Mile in 23.164 seconds (160.387) as the team continued to struggle with the set up on his new Lola race car. Bettenhausen Motorsports rookie Shigeaki Hattori completed the session in 26th place with a lap of 23.596 seconds (157.450 mph).

Drivers will qualify on Saturday. The green flag for the Miller Lite 225 will wave Sunday, June 6, at 2 p.m. CT (tape delay, ABC-TV, 4 p.m. ET).

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Second/22.052 seconds) "We had a good day today, mainly because of the test here two weeks ago. I think Patrick (Carpentier) and I are running the exact same set up, with a few small changes to accommodate our different driving styles. I think it's a good thing for the Player's team that we have gotten some of our momentum back on these short ovals. We struggled at Nazareth, but we are definitely getting better."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Third/22.108 seconds) "The car was very stable and very quick right away this morning. I was very happy with the car, especially considering last week's crash. The back end still has a little instability that we haven't cured yet. We'll try to solve that for tomorrow. There is some push in the car, like in St. Louis, but I am not worried, because it can be a good thing with this wing package."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (Fourth/22.117 seconds) "We're getting comfortable right now. With the weather conditions this afternoon, we didn't try anything crazy. Tomorrow we will kick it up a notch."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (Ninth/22.256 seconds) "In the morning, we had the car set up the way we had it at our Milwaukee test, with some adjustments. The car was behaving much better than I thought it would, and I was pretty pleased. Between the sessions, we worked on taking some of the push out of the car, but we still have understeer in the entry and exit of the corner. However, we did improve the mid-corner push. "I'm sure that it will be a very tight grid. The series is so competitive right now, it's important to hang onto any small gain that you have. The rain certainly didn't help us, but it's the same for everyone. I think we can improve tomorrow."

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (18th/22.568 seconds) "In the morning, we had our St. Louis set up on the car, and we had a major push. We changed to a set up that we developed through testing at Nazareth and Milwaukee, and the car was much better in the afternoon. However, we had an electrical problem that restricted our practice time. Nonetheless, the car is responding as it should."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear (24th/23.164 seconds) "Our initial set up this morning didn't suit the Milwaukee Mile, so we made a number of changes for the afternoon session. The rain obviously changed the track, and gave us a new challenge. Through it all we had mid-corner understeer, and I couldn't get off the corner. We know what we have to work on for tomorrow."

Shigeaki Hattori, No. 16, Bettenhausen Motorsports/Mercedes/Goodyear (25th/23.596 seconds) "This track is very different from other oval tracks we've raced on so far this year because it is so flat. With no testing here, we are testing at the same time as practice, which makes it very hard. We'll work hard tonight to find more speed for tomorrow."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Mauricio Gugelmin , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske