CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Friday track notes

• Good Morning from the rolling green hills of the Lehigh Valley in Nazareth, Pa. for the opening day of practice for Round Four of the FedEx Championship Series, the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota! Blue skies and calm winds have...

• Good Morning from the rolling green hills of the Lehigh Valley in Nazareth, Pa. for the opening day of practice for Round Four of the FedEx Championship Series, the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota! Blue skies and calm winds have greeted the early arrivals to the D-shaped .946-mile, 1.522-kilometer Nazareth Speedway. Temperatures are expected to be in the high-seventies by the Green Flag for today's first morning practice sessions with temps expected to top out in the high-eighties. The remainder of the weekend's weather features spring-like sunny skies and high-seventy temperatures for Saturday and Sunday's forecast. A stiff cold front will pass through the area tonight, ushering drier air and cooler temps for the first oval event of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season.

• The CART on-track schedule features the weekend's first practice session taking the Green Flag at 9:45 a.m. for a two-hour practice session. At 1:30 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the one-hour, 45-minute afternoon practice session. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars performing in the split group format with Group One on track at 9:30 a.m. for the 45-minute morning practice session, followed by Group Two for the same session length. The groups will be split according to the Championship points earned thus far in the season with the highest-point-total drivers making up Group Two. CART qualifying will then follow, scheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. This single qualifying session will started by the driver who has the lowest total of Championship Points, moving up to the driver with the highest going out last, (barring any cars qualifying out of order). Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 225-lap, 212.85-mile, 342.540-kilometer Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota at 1 p.m. EST (All times are local.) On hand for your media needs from Championship Auto Racing Teams this weekend are Ron Richards, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Mike Zizzo, Vice President of Competition Public Relations/Marketing; Steve Shunck, Director of Broadcast Relations; T.E. McHale, Senior News Manager; Jay Galloway, Advance Public Relations, Nate Siebens, New Media Public Relations/Internet Manager and Mark Tate, Champ Car Pit Note Specialist. Feel free to seek out any of these individuals with any questions that you may have concerning this weekend's Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 9:45 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 97 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 79 degrees F. at the start of the session.

• At 9:55 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #8X BRACK with a lap of 161.610 mph; 21.073 seconds) on his ninth lap, followed by #7 PAPIS (159.304 mph; 21.378 seconds; seventh lap) and #4X JUNQUEIRA (158.814 mph; 21.444; 10th lap).

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:56 a.m. to #25 WILSON for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out. WILSON subsequently pits his car t o comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• At 10 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the two Target/Chip Ganassi rookies have climbed high in the speed chart. #12X MINASSSIAN sits second-fastest overall with a speed of 159.707 mph (21.324 seconds) and #4X JUNGUEIRA is fourth overall at 158.814 mph; (21.444 seconds).

• At 10:05 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #8X BRACK with a lap of 161.725 mph (21.058 seconds; 19th lap overall), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (161.487 mph; 21.089 seconds; 10th lap overall) and #12X MINASSIAN (159.707 mph; 21.324 seconds; 27th lap).

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:09 a.m. to #66 ZANARDI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out. ZANARDI subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:12 a.m. after CART Pit Stewards report that the car of #6X da MATTA has a small oil leak in the transmission while sitting on Pit Road.

• At 10:15 a.m., 30 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #8X BRACK with his earlier lap of 8X BRACK with his earlier lap of 161.725 mph (21.058 seconds; ninth lap), followed by #4 JUNQUEIRA (161.640 mph; 21.069 seconds; ninth lap), and #3 CASTRONEVES (161.487 mph; 21.089 seconds; 10th lap).

• GREEN FLAG waves at 10:16 a.m. to resume the session.

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:17 a.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 10:10. FRANCHITTI subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• BLACK FLAG is shown again, this time at 10:18 a.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out at 10:17:30. And FRANCHITTI subsequently pits his car again to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• At 10:25 a.m., #8 BRACK has placed his primary car at the top of the speedboard with a lap 162.403 mph (20.970 seconds; 8th lap), followed by his secondary car with his earlier lap of 161.725 mph (21.058; ninth lap) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (161.640 mph; 21.069 seconds; ninth lap).

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:29 a.m. to #27 FRANCHITTI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out FRANCHITTI subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• Also at 10:35 a.m., the top three cars and speeds are unchanged from the 10:25 a.m. report.

• At 10:40 a.m., #3 CASTROENVES logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 162.994 mph (20.894 seconds; 22nd lap).

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:41 a.m. to #66 ZANARDI for another Pit road speed violation incurred at Pit in at 10:35 a.m. ZANARDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

• At 10:45 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 10:40 a.m. report with #3 CASTRONEVES leading the two cars of #8 BRACK in lap times.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:48 a.m. after the crew of #39 ANDRETTI reports that their car has sustained a cut tire after examination in the Pit Box. CART safety workers quickly circle the track looking for any debris on course.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 10:54 a.m. to resume the session.

• At 10:55 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the three fastest cars and speeds are unchanged from the 10:45 a.m. report.

• At 11:05 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the three fastest cars and speeds are unchanged from the 10:55 a.m. report.

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:14 a.m. to #6 da MATTA for a Pit Road speed violation. Da MATTA subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag.

• At 11:15 a.m., #7 PAPIS logs the fastest lap of the session with a lap of 163.747 mph (20.798 seconds; 73rd lap), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (162.994 mph; 20.894 seconds; 22nd lap) and #8 BRACK (162.403 mph; 20.970; eighth lap).

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:20 a.m. to #6 da MATTA for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 11:16 a.m. at Pit In. Da MATTA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• At 11:25 a.m., 100 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 163.747 mph (20.798 seconds; 73rd lap), now followed by #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (163.409 mph; 20.841 seconds; 72nd lap) and #3 CASTRONEVES (162.994 mph; 20.894 seconds; 22nd lap).

• At 11:33 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES returns to the top of the speedboard with a lap of 164.681 mph (20.680 seconds; 47th lap).

• At 11:35 a.m., 110 minutes into the session, #3 CASTRONEVES is still the fastest with his earlier lap of 164.681 mph (20.680 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (163.747 mph; 20.798 seconds; 73rd lap) and #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (163.409 mph; 20.841 seconds; 72nd lap).

• At 11:37 a.m., #4 JUNQUEIRA clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 166.249 mph; 20.485 seconds on his 70th lap.

• CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:45 a.m. to end the session with the fastest driver remaining CART rookie #4 BRUNO JUNQUEIRA in his Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota Loa with his speed of 166.249 mph (267.544 kph) for his 70th lap of the session. Second remains with #3 HELIO CASTRONEVES in his Marlboro/Team Penske Honda Reynard at 164.681 mph (20.680 seconds; 265.021 kph; 47th lap) and #8 KENNY BRACK (164.395 mph; 20.716 seconds; 264.560 kph; 60th lap) in his Shell/Team Rahal Ford Lola. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 44 cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #8X BRACK, #6 da MATTA, #12X MINASSIAN, #4X JUNQUEIRA, #51X FERNANDEZ, #55X KANAAN, #18X DIXON, #11X FITTIPALDI, #22X SERVIA, #5X TAKAGI, #52X NAKANO, #77X HERTA, #1X de FERRAN, #32X CARPENTIER, #3X CASTRONEVES, #33X TAGLIANI, #40X VASSER, and #16X JOURDAIN Jr. The top 19 cars are separated by less than one second in lap times at the end of the session with the top 36 cars separated by less than two seconds.

• Trap speeds vary greatly around the Nazareth Speedway depending on the particular set-ups desired by the driver. The trap speeds are generated by CART Timing and Scoring exactly like your local Highway Patrol but with happier results. It's a one-time snapshot of an oncoming car's velocity. Here at Nazareth, the traps are set at the Start/Finish line, exiting Turn 2 and entering Turn 3; the latter the traditional fast-spot of the track while the Turn 2 exit should be the slowest point of the .946-mile track. Four drivers own all of the top-two recordings in trap speeds. The Start/Finish line trap has 11th-overall fastest BRYAN HERTA the quickest at this point of the track with his speed of 181.604 mph followed by third-overall fastest KENNY BRACK with a clocking of 180.921 mph. The Turn 2 trap features the same line-up as the overall speeds: overall-fastest BRUNO JUNQUEIRA first at 150.303 mph, followed by second-fastest #3 CASTRONEVES (150.029 mph). The Turn 3 trap again shows BRACK again the fastest with a speed of 186.137 mph, followed by HERTA (185.717 mph).

• The astute Champ Car fan will note that the cars are logging laps over 11 mph slower than the speeds posted in the opening practice sessions for last year's Nazareth race. After last year's race, CART Race Officials noted that last year's aero package featuring the Hanford MK II high-downforce rear wing created the desired downforce numbers but it also created a large amount of wake (disturbed air) trailing the cars at speed. This in turn made overtaking cars unstable and created difficulties while passing. In the interest of better racing, CART has now mandated the Hanford MK II low-downforce wing for this year's race. The intended result of the rear wing is to produce less disturbed air behind the cars at speed, but the new aero package is also responsible for the slower lap speeds in this morning's weekend-opening practice session.

• The PacWest Racing Group has regretfully announced that veteran driver MAURICIO GUGLEMIN will be officially withdrawn from this weekend's race in Nazareth. GUGELMIN, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Toyota, is at home in Florida with his wife Stella and his family mourning the death of one of their children, six-year-old Giuliano. Complications at birth left Giuliano, who was born 27 minutes after his twin brother Bernardo, a quadriplegic and with a form of cerebral palsy. Since his birth in 1994, Giuliani has required 24-hour care. He succumbed to respiratory complications early Thursday morning. The CART community wishes to express the sorrow that all feel of us for the GUGELMIN family.

• As the Green Flag approaches, the sun has steadily increased in intensity and the Nazareth area is experiencing a full-fledged summer day. The downside to this heat; however, is that the track will get slower and slippery. Even worse, the track will not resemble the conditions that the Champ Car drivers will perform on for the rest of the weekend, as the cold front will make the set-ups learned this afternoon practically worthless.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the afternoon session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 133 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 92 degrees F. at the start of the session.

• At 1:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #16 JOURDAIN Jr. with a lap of 160.687 mph (21.194 seconds; sixth lap), followed by #51X FERNANDEZ (155.110 mph; 21.956 seconds; tenth lap) and #25 WILSON (154.744 mph; 22.008 seconds; 13th lap).

• At 1:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #16 JOURDAIN Jr. with his earlier lap of 160.687 mph (21.194 seconds; sixth lap), followed by #4 JUNQUEIRA (160.528 mph; 21.215 seconds; seventh lap) and #40 VASSER (158.378 mph; 21.503 seconds; 19th lap).

• At 1:55 p.m., #4 JUNQUEIRA clocks the fastest lap of the session on his 13th circuit with a speed of 162.303 mph (20.983 seconds).

• At 2 p.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #4 JUNQUEIRA with a lap of 162.303 mph (20.983 seconds; 13th lap), followed by #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (161.174 mph; 21.130 seconds; 20th lap) and #3 CASTROENVES (160.793 mph; 21.180 seconds; eighth lap).

• At 2:05 p.m., #3 CASTRONEVES logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 163.362 mph (20.847 seconds; 17th lap).

• At 2:10 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #3 CASTRONEVES with his earlier lap of 163.944 mph (20.773 seconds; 25th lap), followed by #4 JUNQUEIRA (162.303 mph; 20.983 seconds; 13th lap) and #16 JOURDAIN Jr. (161.174; 21.130 seconds; 20th lap).

• At 2:20 p.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest cars and speeds are unchanged from the 2:10 p.m. report.

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:26 p.m. to #66 ZANARDI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 2:22 p.m. ZANARDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. for a track inspection. CART safety teams quickly take to the track for a full-track inspection.

• At 2:30 p.m., one hour into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #3 CASTRONEVES with his earlier lap of 163.944 mph (20.773 seconds; 25th lap), followed by #4 JUNQUEIRA (162.303 mph; 20.983 seconds; 13th lap) and #7 PAPIS (161.189 mph; 21.128 seconds; 55th lap).

• Also at 2:30 p.m. and under the Yellow Flag, Firestone engineers report that the ambient temperature is up to 93 degrees F. but that the track temperature has dropped to 130 degrees F.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 2:36 p.m. to resume the session.

• At 2:40 p.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:30 p.m. report.

• At 2:50 p.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:40 p.m. report.

• At 2:54 p.m., #8 BRACK goes to the fastest with a speed of 164.585 mph (20.692 seconds) on his 66th lap.

• At 3 p.m., 90 minutes into the session, #8 BRACK still leads the afternoon field with a lap of 164.585 mph (20.692 seconds), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (163.944 mph; 20.773 seconds; 25th lap) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (162.303 mph; 20.983 seconds; 13th lap).

• Also at 3 p.m., Firestone engineers report an ambient temperature that has increased to 94 degrees F. but the track temperature of 130 degrees F. remains static.

• At 3:02 p.m., #26 TRACY moves to third-fastest with a lap of 162.628 mph (20.941 seconds) on his 72nd lap of the session.

• At 3:07 p.m., #7 PAPIS takes the top spot from teammate BRACK with a lap of 164.896 mph (20.653 seconds) on his 83rd circuit.

• At 3:10 p.m., 100 minutes into the session, #7 PAPIS still leads the speedboard with his earlier lap of 164.896 mph (20.653 seconds; 83rd lap), followed by #8 BRACK (164.585 mph; 20.692 seconds; 66th lap).

• CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to end the last practice session of the weekend with #7 PAPIS the fastest of the session with his earlier lap of 164.896 mph (20.653 seconds) on his 83rd lap. #8 BRACK holds onto second with a 164.585 mph (20.692 seconds), and #3 CASTRONEVES winds the session up in third with a lap of 163.944 mph; (20.773 seconds). The FedEx Championship series drivers introduced 26 cars to the track in this afternoon's session with the top 22 cars separated by less than one second. Secondary cars were utilized by #39X ANDRETTI, #51X FERNANDEZ, #18X DIXON, and #52X NAKANO.

• The heat present for this afternoon's runs caused the trap speeds to fall slightly at the Turn 2 measurement as expected; traction being the main victim to a hot race track, but the speeds actually increased at the fastest part of the track. Afternoon-fastest #7 PAPIS tied with 12th-fastest #77 HERTA at the Start/Finish line with a recording of 180.243 mph. The Turn 2 trap features CASTRONEVES and HERTA tied with a 180.243 mph, but the quickest Turn 3 drivers are BRACK and de FERRAN with a speed of 187.409 mph.

• BRUNO JUNQUEIRA logs the fastest speed of the day with his morning practice speed of 166.248 mph (20.485 seconds) in his Target/Chip Ganassi Toyota Lola. JUNQUEIRA is trying to win his first Pole of his CART career. JUNQUEIRA's current season-best start is a 20th a Mexico in the season opener.

• MAX PAPIS is the fastest driver in the afternoon session and the second-fastest overall with his afternoon speed of 164.896 mph (20.653 seconds). PAPIS is also looking to log his season-best start as his previous best start this year was a 11th at Mexico.

• HELIO CASTRONEVES winds up third on the day's speeds with his morning speed of 164.681 mph (20.680 seconds) in his Marlboro/Team Penske Honda Reynard. CASTROENVES is looking to log his third top-four qualifying effort of the season. CASTRONEVES won the Pole at Long Beach and started fourth at Mexico.

• BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: "The test here helps a lot. On the other hand, I'm racing against guys who race 20 times a year, and have much more preparation than me. I'm happy things went well for me today. The first time I did an oval was here last year. I remember the first time I was on the track I turned in and all I saw was the wall. Being such a short track, you never stop turning left. On the bigger tracks, it's turn, then turn again, then turn again, but here, you never stop turning. I think here, the driver makes a lot more difference, and this is why I like it here. I never thought about ovals before, and people in Europe can say what they want, but this is hard. The corners in Europe become slow compared to the ovals."

• MAX PAPIS: "This is the first short oval with the Lola for me and (teammate) Kenny (Brack), and we have less experience with the car. We are quite far from maximum performance. I did mostly long runs, but I gave it a shot in the afternoon, and it was a good lap time. The conditions were slower in the afternoon, but it was a good lap time. This is a new car, and it is a different beast. We need to set our minds in a different way. If we keep it simple, we may not have the best car all the time, but you can sneak up on it step-by-step. We are gaining a lot of experience in a short period of time. I am spending a lot of time with my engineer."

• HELIO CASTRONEVES: "Today, basically, it was very hot. It's a little bit of tropical weather, which is what I'm used to. It was really tough. We go back to 1999 with the same level of downforce. In the afternoon, doing long runs was really tough, there was lots of turbulence. But if you take it easy, you could be there at the end of the day."

• Team Rahal's Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) has been awarded the championship point he earned in claiming the pole position for last week's postponed Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer at Texas Motor Speedway. The point was awarded in accordance with Section 7.1 of the 2001 CART Champ Car Rule Book, which states, "One point will be awarded to the fastest qualifier. This point will be awarded at the conclusion of qualifying and is not contingent on the position of the entrant in the starting lineup." Brack, who has won two of three possible poles thus far this season, moves into ninth in the championship with 12 points.

-CART

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kenny Brack , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske