CHAMPCAR/CART: Molson Indy Toronto track notes

Good Morning from Toronto, Ontario, for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 10 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Molson Indy! Today's weather has greeted the early arrivals to the 1.755-mile temporary race course with...

Good Morning from Toronto, Ontario, for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 10 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Molson Indy! Today's weather has greeted the early arrivals to the 1.755-mile temporary race course with partly cloudy skies, expected to change to a chance of showers here this afternoon. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-80s by the Green Flag for today's Provisional Qualifying sessions. The remainder of the weekend's weather has partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures for Saturday and Sunday's forecast.

The CART on-track schedule features the weekend's first practice session taking the Green Flag at 10:30 a.m. This full-field session will last 90 minutes. At 2:30 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the split-group provisional qualifying session with the fastest drivers from the previous road course (last week's Cleveland Grand Prix) comprising Group Two. Each split-session provisional qualifying Group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two groups' efforts. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars again on track for practice from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m., with the final round of CART qualifying scheduled from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. This final qualifying session will again be in the split-group format with the fastest drivers from Friday's provisional qualifying comprising Group Two. Again, each group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two Groups. Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 112-lap, (192.75 mile; 308.4 kilometer) Molson Indy at 2 p.m. (All times are local.)

BRYAN HERTA will again fill in this week for the recuperating TONY KANAAN in the #55 Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes/Reynard.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 81 degrees F. (27 C.) and an ambient temperature of 81 degrees F. (27 C.) as well at the start of the session.

At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #3X CASTRONEVES with a lap of 104.890 mph (1:00.232), followed by #1 MONTOYA (104.200 mph; 1:00.631) and #20X MORENO (103.740 mph; 1:00.900).

RED FLAG waves at 10:47 a.m. after #19 KUROSAWA spins at Turn 1 and stalls the car in the middle of the track. CART safety workers get the car restarted and KUROSAWA continues to his Pit Box.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:50 a.m. to continue the session.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 105.971 mph (59.620 seconds), followed by #3X CASTRONEVES (104.894 mph; 1:00.232) and #20X MORENO (104.870 mph; 1:00.241).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:57 a.m. to #25 GARCIA JR. for a Pit Road speed violation. GARCIA JR. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with a faster lap of 106.010 mph (59.568 seconds), followed by #1 MONTOYA (105.960 mph; 59.621 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (105.780 mph; 59.727 seconds). CASTRONEVES had just parked his secondary car to utilize the primary car before this top-three clocking.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:04 a.m. to #8 BRACK for a Pit Road speed violation. BRACK subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:05 a.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 10:57 a.m. at Pit In. FRANCHITTI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:09 a.m., #97 DA MATTA slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues back on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 106.860 mph (59.124 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (106.010 mph; 59.598 seconds) and #1 MONTOYA (105.960 mph; 59.621 seconds).

Also at 11:10 a.m., #7 PAPIS slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 11:20 a.m. after #3 CASTRONEVES stalls on course at the exit of Turn 3. CART safety workers tow the car back to Pit Road while CASTRONEVES crew readies the secondary for use in the remainder of the session.

Also at 11:20 a.m., #96 SERVIA slides into the runoff at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest driver is still #11 FITTIPALDI with his earlier lap of 106.860 mph (59.124 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (106.511 mph; 59.318 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (106.459 mph; 59.347 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:28 a.m. to resume the session.

At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 11:20 a.m. report.

At 11:31 a.m., #6 ANDRETTI slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:34 a.m., #20X MORENO spins at Turn 1, making very light contact with the tire barrier. MORENO keeps the car running and continues to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:35 a.m., #96 SERVIA slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #11 FITTIPALDI with a faster lap of 107.347 mph (58.856 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (106.511 mph; 59.318 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (106.459 mph; 59.347 seconds).

At 11:41 a.m., #25 GARCIA JR. slides into the run-off at Turn 3 and stalls the car. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and GARCIA JR. continues to this Pit Area.

At 11:43 a.m., #55 HERTA slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:45 a.m. to #2 DE FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 11:41 a.m. DE FERRAN subsequently pits to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:48 a.m., #55 HERTA brushes the wall at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 11:49 a.m. after #11 FITTIPALDI locks up his brakes at Turn 3 and slides nose-first into the tire barrier, making very light contact. FITTIPALDI stalls the car and CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to Pit Road.

At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #11 FITTIPALDI with his earlier lap of 107.347 mph (58.856 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (106.511 mph; 59.318 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (105.459 mph; 59.347 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:54 a.m. to resume the session.

At 11:56 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES makes contact with the outside wall exiting Turn 1, damaging the suspension. CASTRONEVES slowly makes his way back to his Pit Box.

At 11:58 a.m., #19 KUROSAWA makes contact with the wall at Turn 1, damaging the car but continues on course to his Pit Box.

At 11:59 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL stalls at the inside of the Turn 2 exit. The driver exits the car to await the end of the session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. to end the session with the fastest driver still #11 FITTIPALDI with his earlier lap of 107.347 mph (172.721 kph; 58.856 seconds), followed by #8 BRACK (107.267 mph; 172.592 kph; 58.900 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (107.236 mph; 172.542 kph; 58.917 seconds). The top 12 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times at the end of the session. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 33 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary car utilized by #3X CASTRONEVES, #20X MORENO, #17X GUGELMIN, #34X MARQUES, #10X FONTANA, #5X NAKANO, #40X FERNANDEZ, #25X GARCIA JR., and #8X BRACK. CART driver turned a total of 861 laps in Friday morning's session.

Twenty-seven hours. Three announcements. Three countries. More than 12,000 flight miles. The net result: three more dates on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule in 2001. CART interim President and CEO Bobby Rahal was on a whirlwind tour this week, making announcements for new Champ Car races at Texas Motor Speedway, EuroSpeedWay in Germany and at England's Rockingham Speedway. The Texas announcement included 1996 FedEx Series champion Jimmy Vasser, while 1989 series winner Emerson Fittipaldi and CART team owner Derrick Walker joined Rahal for the announcement in Berlin. The Rockingham race was announced by the three-time CART champion Rahal during an event at London's Planet Hollywood on Wednesday evening. Rahal jumped on a plane Thursday morning to reach Toronto for the Molson Indy, Round 10 of the 20-race FedEx Championship Series. He was on the ground in Toronto at 2:45 p.m. ET, where he later attended Thursday evening's annual Molson Indy Foundation Black and White Gala prior to the start of the Molson Indy race weekend.

In the interval between the morning practice session and the start of qualifying, a ferocious thunderstorm enveloped downtown Toronto, dumping up to an inch of rain in a 30-minute period. But the Exhibition Place racecourse has excellent drainage and no standing water has ponded on the course. No delay of the 2:30 p.m. Green Flag for Provisional Qualifying is anticipated by CART Race Officials, but all cars will start the session with rain tires and rain lights.

#20 MORENO will have to serve an eight-minute penalty at the end of his Group Two qualifying effort Friday due to causing a delay in the final qualifying session at the last event, Cleveland. There was not enough time left in the final Cleveland session for MORENO to serve the penalty at that venue, thus the carryover penalty to Toronto. GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track and ambient temperature of 65 degrees F. (18 degrees C) at the start of the session. A light drizzle is all that remains of the lunchtime storm, but the entire race course is soaked. RED FLAG waves at 2:32 p.m. after #26 TRACY spins at Turn 2, making slight contact with the inside wall at the right-hander. TRACY stalls in the middle of the track and radios his crew that the car has damaged suspension parts on the right rear. CART safety crews quickly get the car restarted and TRACY continues to his Pit Box while his crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session. TRACY will serve the standard eight-minute penalty for delay of the qualifying session, starting when the Green Flag waves to resume the session. TRACY will also forfeit the one timed lap that he had logged in the session if he enters the course in the secondary car once the delay penalty has been served. GREEN FLAG waves at 2:35 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session. The rain has now stopped and the track is starting to dry in the racing groove at several of the turns. At 2:39 p.m., #32 CARPENTIER slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. RED FLAG waves at 2:40 p.m. after #32 TAGLIANI spins exiting Turn 2A and stalls in the middle of the track. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to Pit Road. TAGLIANI will serve the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying process, to start on the wave of the Green Flag. At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session and under the Red Flag, the fastest Group One driver is #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 84.869 mph (1:14.444), followed by #32 CARPENTIER (83.310 mph; 1:15.837) and #16 JOURDAIN JR. (79.170 mph; 1:19.803). GREEN FLAG waves at 2:45 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session. The rain has stopped and the track is starting to dry in the racing line. At 2:48 p.m., the penalty levied against #26 TRACY expires and TRACY subsequently returns to the racetrack in the secondary #26X. At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is now #10 FONTANA with a lap of 88.631 mph (1:11.284), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (88.631 mph; 1:11.784) and #32 CARPENTIER (88.202 mph; 1:11.631). At 2:53 p.m., the penalty levied against #33 TAGLIANI expires and TAGLIANI returns to the Group One session. At 2:54 p.m., #32 CARPENTIER spins at Turn 3, but the driver keeps the engine running. As the track is so narrow at the right hand Turn 3, CARPENTIER backs his car all the way from Turn 3 to Turn 5 where he finally can turn the car around and the Canadian rights the car and continues on course without apparent damage. The driver can be seen laughing in the car as he perfectly executes the reverse-gear maneuver. At 2:55 p.m., #34 MARQUES slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:56 p.m. to #10 FONTANA for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 2:55 p.m. FONTANA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty. At 2:57 p.m., #8 BRACK slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues back on course without apparent damage to the car. At 2:58 p.m., #5 NAKANO slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues back on course without apparent damage to the car. At 2:59 p.m., #16 JOURDAIN JR. slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to end the Group one qualifying session with #11 FITTIPALDI the fastest with a lap of 91.045 mph (1:09.394 mph), followed by #8 BRACK (91.007 mph; 1:09.423) and #7 PAPIS (90.958 mph; 1:09.461). During the 15-minute interval between the Group One and Group Two qualifying sessions, the jet blowers circle the course to attempt to dry out the racing line, much to the dismay of the Group One competitors. The dryers couldn't be used before the Group One session as it was still raining at the time. GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session. The track is definitely drying out, but all of the Group Two drivers start the session on rain tires. At 3:18 p.m., #1 MONTOYA takes the top overall spot on his second timed lap with a speed of 92.113 mph (1:08.590). BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:18 p.m. to #3 CASTRONEVES for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out. CASTRONEVES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty. At 3:19 p.m., #1 MONTOYA brushes the wall at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. Also at 3:19 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI logs the fastest lap of the session with a lap of 93.333 mph (1:07.693) on his third timed lap. At 3:23 p.m., #6 ANDRETTI takes over the top spot with a lap of 94.725 mph (1:06.698). Also at 3:23 p.m., #96 SERVIA brushes the wall at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. At 3:25 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 94.725 mph (1:06.698), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (93.333 mph; 1:07.193) and #20 MORENO (92.998 mph; 1:07.937). At 3:27 p.m., #17 GUGELMIN is the first driver to switch to slick tires as the light gray groove has formed in the middle of the track. GUGELMIN is currently seventh on the speedboard with a best speed of 92.193 mph (1:08.530) over six laps. At 3:28 p.m., #20 MORENO is the second Group Two driver to take on slicks. MORENO is currently fourth with a best lap speed of 92.998 mph (1:06.501). At 3:29 p.m., #1 MONTOYA again takes the top spot with a lap of 95.006 mph (1:06.501). At 3:31 p.m., #1 MONTOYA is the third driver to switch to slicks after eight laps on rain tires. The other two slick-tired drivers have not improved their positions on the speedboard. At 3:33 p.m., #17 GUGELMIN logs the fastest lap of qualifying with a speed of 96.045 mph (1:05.782) on his 11th lap, subsequently creating a stampede of drivers hitting Pit Road to take off rain tires and put on slicks. At 3:34 p.m., #17 GUGELMIN slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. At 3:44 p.m., #96 SERVIA slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. At the same time, #1 MONTOYA pits his car to await the end of the session, evidently confident of his lap holding up to challenge. Again at 3:44 p.m., #55 HERTA brushes the wall at Turn 1 but continues on course. Just behind HERTA, #2 DE FERRAN loses control and makes hard contact with both the inside and outside walls before coming to a stop. DE FERRAN is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains major damage to both sides. CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to end the session with #27 FRANCHITTI on the Provisional Pole with a speed of 107.308 mph (58.877 seconds), followed by #1 MONTOYA (107.272 mph; 58.897 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (106.299 mph; 59.436 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 different cars to the track in this afternoon's sessions with secondary cars utilized by #26X TRACY, #33X TAGLIANI, and #34X MARQUES. CART drivers logged 352 laps in the sessions. DARIO FRANCHITTI is on the Provisional Pole for Sunday's Molson Indy by virtue of his 107.308 mph (172.659 kph; 58.877 seconds) lap in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard. FRANCHITTI is chasing his first pole of the 2000 season and his first since Australia last year. His season-best start so far is a second at Milwaukee and Detroit. FRANCHITTI has won the pole here at Toronto twice and is the defending champion of the Molson Indy. JUAN MONTOYA is second after the end of Provisional Qualifying with his 107.272 mph (172.601 kph; 58.897 seconds) lap in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota/Lola. MONTOYA is looking to log his seventh front-row start in the 10 events of the 2000 season, including a series-best four poles. HELIO CASTRONEVES puts his Marlboro Team Penske Honda/Reynard third on the Provisional grid. CASTRONEVES is chasing his fourth top-three start of the season. His season best start is a pole win at Portland.

Quotes from Friday's top three qualifiers follow: DARIO FRANCHITTI: "This is definitely a rhythm course, but this definitely wasn't a rhythm session. The track was changing all the time. I think tomorrow is when it's really going to count, but if it rains tomorrow, we're going to be looking pretty good. As of [the race in] Japan, I think we got a grip on our car. Before that we were struggling. Honda's giving us new parts all the time, but I think all the guys at Team KOOL Green have also gotten a grip on our car since Japan. We're not done yet." JUAN MONTOYA: "I'm pretty happy to be up here. Last year was a pretty big disaster here. I think the car is fast enough to get the pole, but we didn't get enough fuel in the car and I had to watch the last three minutes. But it's still good to be up here, especially after what happened last year. You really don't know what the other guys are doing until you cross the line, and I thought I'd go straight to the back when I ran out of fuel. But here I am in second." HELIO CASTRONEVES: "In the wet in qualifying it was a little exciting. When we started it was great, and when we put on stickers I had a pretty big moment. I had to take it easy to get back to the pits. But it was very good today. Marlboro Team Penske is working very good. Let's see what happens tomorrow. If it rains, it'll be good for us, but if not, we'll come out tomorrow and see what happens."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing