CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Team Kool Green Thursday practice report

Franchitti third and Tracy 11th in practice for Bridgestone Potenza 500. MOTEGI, Japan - Practice for the first oval race of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship season began today (Thursday) with Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul ...

Franchitti third and Tracy 11th in practice for Bridgestone Potenza 500.

MOTEGI, Japan - Practice for the first oval race of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship season began today (Thursday) with Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy setting the third and 11th fastest laps respectively in practice for Saturday's Bridgestone Potenza 500 at the 1.548-mile Twin Ring Motegi superspeedway.

Though powered by their Honda engines, the two TKG drivers used different chassis to set their fastest laps. Franchitti turned his quick lap - 214.174 mph / 26.020 seconds - in his Reynard chassis, while Tracy's fast lap - 211.045 / 26.306 seconds - was set during his first outing in a Lola chassis.

Franchitti concentrated on race setup most of the day, turning his quick time on his 75th and final lap. Tracy's debut in the Lola got off to a quick start when he was second fastest in the morning practice, but a wheel bearing problem in the afternoon ended his session while he stood fourth fastest overall, with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Bruno Junquiera's lap of 214.479 mph (25.983 seconds) was the fastest of the day, followed by Patrick Carpentier's lap of 214.215 mph (26.015 seconds).

Tomorrow's on-track schedule begins with two 45-minute practice sessions. The first starting at 9:30 a.m. local time (8:30 p.m. Thursday, Eastern Daylight Time), followed by a 15-minute break before the second 45-minute session starts at 10:30 a.m. local time (9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). Single-car qualifying is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. local time (12:45 a.m. Friday Eastern Daylight Time).

Highlights of today's practice sessions will be shown Thursday in the United States on Speed Channel from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Friday's coverage on Speed Channel includes a two-hour Champ Car Qualifying show beginning at 2:00 p.m., plus the half-hour CART Friday Night show at 9:30 p.m. Raceday coverage on Speed Channel begins on Saturday at 12:00 p.m., with a half-hour pre-race show, followed by full race coverage from 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"It was a bittersweet day for Team KOOL Green. This was our first day with the Lola chassis and it was very promising. The car was fast right away and I finished the morning practice session second fastest overall. Then this afternoon we were turning some fast laps, learning more about the car and we were fourth fastest in the second session when we had a wheel bearing go bad in the left rear. We didn't have time to fix it so that ended our day with about 20 minutes to go -- that's 20 very valuable minutes when you're working with a new car. It's a shame because we were building up speed and had just put a fresh set of tires on when we discovered the problem. It's all part of working out the bugs of a new car, I guess. The big concern now is weather. If it rains tomorrow and we line-up for the race based on today's practice speeds, we're mid-pack. It's not the end of the world, but when you've got the chassis working well and good power from Honda, it's a little disheartening.

Thursday Morning Practice
Position: 2nd
Speed: 211.749 mph
Time: 26.318 seconds

Thursday Afternoon Practice
Position: 11th
Speed: 211.845 mph
Time: 26.306 seconds

Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Reynard-Bridgestone

"The car is very good. Team KOOL Green did a great job coming up with the setup and Honda has given us terrific power. We had the race setup on the car all day and put in a long run this afternoon We wanted to see how the car would react over a long run and I have to say we're quite happy with it. We ran a total of 75 laps this afternoon - that's more than a third of the race (201-lap race). Tomorrow morning we'll work on winding the car up for one qualifying lap. We went for a fast time at the end of the session today. But we've still got quite a bit more for qualifying tomorrow.

Thursday Morning Practice
Position: 8th
Speed: 210.469 mph
Time: 26.478 seconds

Thursday Afternoon Practice
Position: 3rd
Speed: 214.174 mph
Time: 26.020 seconds

-TKG-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti