MONTERREY, Mexico - Team KOOL Green teammates Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti kicked off the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series today, as the team took to the 2.1-mile temporary road circuit at Fundidora Park, in Monterrey, Mexico. Franchitti...
MONTERREY, Mexico - Team KOOL Green teammates Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti kicked off the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series today, as the team took to the 2.1-mile temporary road circuit at Fundidora Park, in Monterrey, Mexico.
Franchitti showed some of the speed that has earned him 10 pole positions in his Champ Car career when he set the second fastest lap time of the day -- 1 minute,19.798 seconds -- a lap average speed of 95.634 mph, in the first of two qualifying sessions this weekend.
Teammate Tracy wasn't as fortunate and is hoping to take advantage of the new rule that provides for two qualifying sessions - one on Friday and a second on Saturday. After setting the ninth fastest time in the morning's practice session, Tracy encountered several problems during the afternoon qualifying session and he was credited with the 20th fastest time of the day - 1 minute, 20.716 seconds (93.84 mph average speed).
An estimated crowd of 56,000 had plenty to cheer about today, as Adrian Fernandez, one of three Mexican drivers in the race, clocked the fastest lap of the day with a lap time of 1 minute, 18.929 seconds, an average speed of 95.965 mph.
Saturday's schedule includes a morning practice session from 11:00 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), followed by the second and final qualifying session from 1:45 - 2:45 p.m. (CST).
Paul Tracy -- #26 KOOL Honda-Reynard-Bridgestone
"This is a disappointing way to start the year, but one day doesn't make a season - we've got a lot of miles to go before this one is over. You're going to have ups and downs, but everyone at Team KOOL Green knows we've just got to keep our head down and focus on making the car fast. If we do that, the results will come. But certainly I've had better qualifying sessions than this. First, I spun on cold tires and stalled the engine (causing a red flag). Then we had a gearbox failure and had to bring out the spare car. It took time to warm up the engine so we only got a couple of laps in (before the end of the session) and never had a chance to get up to speed. Tomorrow the track should be faster, and hopefully we got all of our mechanical gremlins out of the way today.
Speed: 92.623 mph
Time: 1:21.777 secs
Speed: 93.84 mph
Time: 1:20.716 secs
John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant:
"After all his hard work in the off-season, that's a tough way for Paul (Tracy) to start the season. But we'll regroup overnight and come back strong tomorrow. The track will be a little faster and should have a good deal more grip. Traction control can be a big advantage on temporary circuits like this one; it really helps you get the power down. But when the front slides, as well as the back, it really doesn't do you any good."
Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Reynard-Bridgestone
"It was just horrendous trying to get a clear lap out there. We tried some small things on the car but the track is changing so much we didn't want to go too far away from what we know. I think it's incredibly slippery out there and I think Team KOOL Green did a good job coming up with the car setup that we've got. Honda has done a good job with the traction control, and we're working on that. Hopefully we can use our success today as a springboard for a better session tomorrow. It's frustrating though because coming out of the pits at the end I had Max (Papis) in front of me and Michael (Andretti) behind me. I caught Max and he was holding me up, even though he was on a fast lap. I couldn't back off anymore because I had Michael pushing me from behind. It's unfortunate because it cost us time and maybe a point for the pole today."
Speed: 92.296 mph
Time: 1:22.066 secs
Speed: 95.634 mph
Time: 1:19.798 secs
Kyle Moyer, Team KOOL Green Team Manager:
"I think the new rules are good but today we didn't play them as well as we could have. But that's just part of the learning experience, you know. We got caught with three laps still in our pocket when time ran out. We probably could have used those three laps at some point to get a faster time, but all in all I'll take what we've got."