CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Friday Track Notes

CART Chief Steward Kirk Russell announced that Newman/Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi has been fined $5,000 for committing an unsafe act in the pits during the March 26 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami...

CART Chief Steward Kirk Russell announced that Newman/Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi has been fined $5,000 for committing an unsafe act in the pits during the March 26 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Fittipaldi, according to the stewards' review of the incident, struck a crew member during a pit stop in the race. The act was in violation of Rule 6.7.26 of the CART Rule Book. According to the stewards, Fittipaldi was not issued a penalty during the race because the information from the pit official was inconclusive at the time.

Kelly Williams, a six-year veteran from Inglewood, Ontario, Canada, will be the FedEx Championship Series pace car driver for this weekend's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. Assisting Williams this weekend are fellow pace-car drivers Allison Stewart of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and Lea Bartlett of Jamaica, Vermont. Both drivers are in their third year in the series' pace-car program.

Walker Racing driver Shinji Nakano, who sustained several small brain bruises in a March 31 testing accident at The Milwaukee Mile, will be sidelined for the next three rounds of the FedEx Championship Series, at Nazareth, Long Beach (April 16) and Rio de Janeiro (April 30). Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, and consulting neurologist Dr. Terry Horner have been monitoring Nakano's recovery at St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis. He was scheduled to be released Thursday. "Shinji has several small bruises on his brain," said Dr. Horner. "While this is a moderately severe injury, there is really nothing we can do to speed the healing process. The brain heals pretty slowly in comparison to the rest of the body, so it just takes time. I'll see him back in the office in a week for an exam, and we will re-evaluate how he's doing and run some of the tests again, but this type of injury just takes time to heal itself." Nakano finished eighth in the season-opening FedEx Championship Series event at Homestead, the best result for a rookie driver in his opening event since the late Greg Moore finished seventh at Homestead in 1996. "We're obviously disappointed at not being able to go to Nazareth," said team owner Derrick Walker. "Shinji had worked very hard on ovals and we were looking forward to continuing the good progress he made at Homestead, but we agree with the doctors that it is best that he fully recover. In the meantime, we are regrouping and fully expect to participate at Long Beach with a replacement driver who we will announce on Monday. We all wish Shinji a speedy recovery and thank the doctors and staffs at St. Vincent's and Froedtert [Hospital, Milwaukee] for taking good care of Shinji."

There are quite a few changes in the 2000-season lineup of drivers in the FedEx Championship Series. JUAN MONTOYA from Target/Chip Ganassi Racing changes from #4 to #1 to wear the traditional number of the previous year's CART Champion. Marlboro Team Penske features GIL DE FERRAN in the #2 Honda Reynard, with teammate HELIO CASTRO-NEVES in the #3 Honda Reynard.

SHINJI NAKANO takes over the controls of the #5 Walker Racing Avex Honda Reynard, but NAKANO will not compete at Nazareth due to a testing incident at Milwaukee last week (see note above). KENNY BRACK is the new driver in the newly-colored, Shell-sponsored #8 Ford Reynard. NORBERTO FONTANA will pilot the #10 Della Penna Motorsports Toyota Reynard. MICHEL JOURDAIN Jr. takes over the #16 Herdez-sponsored Bettenhausen Mercedes-Benz Lola. #19 from Dale Coyne Racing will be driven by TAKUYA KUROSAWA, sponsored by MTCI.

ROBERTO MORENO takes over the Patrick Racing Visteon Ford Reynard #20 and #25 will feature the Hollywood-sponsored LUIZ GARCIA Jr. in the Arciero Project Racing Group Mercedes Reynard. ALEX TAGLIANI will compete in the Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard #33. GUALTER SALLES will drive the second Dale Coyne Ford Lola #34. TONY KANAAN moves to the newly-formed Mo Nunn Racing Team featuring a Mercedes-Benz Reynard with the number #55. Finally, ORIOL SERVIA and

CRISTIANO DA MATTA will campaign the 2000 season in the PPI Motorsports #96 and #97 Toyota Reynards, respectively. The CART Rookie Class is standing room only this year with NAKANO, BRACK, FONTANA, KUROSAWA, TAGLIANI and SERVIA competing for the honored distinction of CART Rookie of the Year.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 68 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 62 degrees F at the start of the session.

At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #26 TRACY with a lap of 167.871 mph (20.287 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (164.928 mph; 20.649 seconds) and #97 da MATTA (157.550 mph; 21.616 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:42 a.m. to #16 JOURDAIN JR. after CART course observers report that the engine is running rough at speed. JOURDAIN Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #26 TRACY with a faster lap of 168.669 mph (20.191 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (166.582 mph; 20.444 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (165.949 mph; 20.522 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:51 a.m. after #10 FONTANA makes contact with his left front tire against the left rear tire of #96 SERVIA as the cars enter Turn 1. Both drivers keep their cars under control and subsequently pit in their respective Pit Boxes.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:54 a.m. to resume the Group One session. At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 171.015 mph (19.914 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (170.887 mph; 19.929 seconds) and #55 KANAAN (170.673 mph; 19.954 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:01 a.m., again, to #16 JOURDAIN Jr. as the car again sounds rough while circling the track at speed. JOURDAIN Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:05 a.m. to #10 FONTANA for two Pit Road speed violations, one coming in and one going out. FONTANA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag and CART Pit Stewards hold the driver for several minutes to discuss the Pit Road speed regulations.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:07 a.m. after CART course observers report debris on course. CART safety workers quickly clean the course of the debris.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:10 a.m. to resume the Group One practice session.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #26 TRACY at 11:09 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 171.015 mph (19.914 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (170.887 mph; 19.929 seconds) and #7 PAPIS (170.775 mph; 19.942 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown to #18 BLUNDELL at 11:14 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation. BLUNDELL subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:15 a.m. to end the Group One practice session with #55 KANAAN now the fastest driver with a lap of 171.118 mph (19.902 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (171.015 mph; 19.914 seconds) and #26 TRACY (170.887 mph; 19.929 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:30 a.m. to start the Group Two practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 68 degrees F. and an falling ambient temperature of 59 degrees F. at the start of the session. BLACK FLAG is shown a 11:31 a.m. to #6 ANDRETTI after CART course observers report fluid spraying from the car at warm-up speed around the course. ANDRETTI subsequently pits the car showing gear oil at the rear of the car. ANDRETTI only logged one timed lap before pitting to comply with the Black Flag.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:32 a.m. to #2 DE FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation. DE FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:32 a.m. for a track inspection after CART course observers report fluid on the course from ANDRETTI'S car. CART safety workers quickly clean the track.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:38 a.m. to resume the Group Two practice session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:38 a.m. to #34 SALLES for a Pit Road speed violation. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:39 a.m. to #12 VASSER for a Pit Road speed violation. VASSER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:40 a.m. to #20 MORENO for a Pit Road speed violation. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is also shown at 11:40 a.m. to #32 CARPENTIER for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 11:40 a.m. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:40 a.m. to #20 MORENO for a Pit Road speed violation. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two practice session, the fastest driver is #20 MORENO with a speed of 164.538 mph (20.698 seconds; ninth-fastest overall), followed by #3 CASTRO-NEVES (162.590 mph; 20.946 seconds, tenth-fastest overall) and #11 FITTIPALDI (162.287 mph; 20.985 seconds, 11th-fastest overall).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:42 a.m. to #40 FERNANDEZ for a Pit Road speed violation. FERNANDEZ subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:43 a.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:43 a.m. to #32 CARPENTIER, again, for a Pit Road speed violation. CARPENTIER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:44 a.m. to #34 SALLES for a Pit Road speed violation. SALLES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is now #32 CARPENTIER with a lap of 171.498 mph (19.858 seconds; first overall on the day), followed by #3 CASTRO-NEVES (171.360 mph; 19.874 seconds; second overall) and #1 MONTOYA (169.949 mph; 20.039 seconds; third overall).

At 12 p.m., 30 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is now #3 CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 173.093 mph (19.675 seconds; first overall), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (171.939 mph; 19.807 seconds) and #32 CARPENTIER (171.498 mph; 19.858 seconds; third overall).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 12:01 p.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 12:03 p.m. after CART course observers report debris in Turn 1. CART safety workers quickly clean the track.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:06 p.m. to resume the Group Two session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 12:07 p.m. after #3 CASTRO-NEVES stalls on course with a mechanical problem. CASTRO-NEVES had just logged the fastest lap of the day for all drivers with a speed of 173.093 mph (19.675 seconds) on his 22nd lap. The Team Penske crew quickly readies the secondary car to use in the remainder of the session.

At 12:10 p.m., 40 minutes into the Group Two session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #3 CASTRO-NEVES with his earlier lap of 173.093 mph (19.675 seconds), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (171.939 mph; 19.807 seconds) and #32 CARPENTIER (171.498 mph; 19.858 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:11 p.m. to resume the Group Two practice session. At 12:13 p.m., #3X CASTRO-NEVES enters the track in his secondary car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12:15 p.m. to end the Group Two session with #3 CASTRO-NEVES the fastest driver of both groups with his earlier lap of 173.093 mph (19.675 seconds), followed by #1 MONTOYA (173.031 mph; 19.682 seconds; second-fastest overall) and #40 FERNANDEZ (172.270 mph; 19.769 seconds; third-fastest overall). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 30 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI, #6X ANDRETTI, #19X KUROSAWA, #3X DE FERRAN, #8X BRACK, #40X FERNANDEZ, and #7X PAPIS. CART drivers logged a total of 660 laps in this morning's split-group practice session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:45 p.m. to start the full-field practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 90 degrees and an ambient temperature of 56 degrees F. at the start of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:46 p.m. as #16 JOURDAIN JR. stalls at Pit Out while leaving the Pit Area. CART safety workers quickly get the car started and JOURDAIN JR. continues to his Pit.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:48 p.m. to resume the session.

At 2:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #26 TRACY with a lap of 171.774 mph (19.826 seconds), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (170.000; 20.033 seconds) and #8 BRACK (168.903 mph; 20.163 seconds).

At 2:56 p.m., #7 PAPIS enters Pit Road without power and coasts into his Pit Area.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3 p.m. after #8 BRACK breaks traction off of Turn 4 at the acceleration point and spins backwards into the apron grass on the front stretch. The driver keeps the car off the inside guardrail but the car sustains slight damage to the front wing from contact with the Timing and Scoring Photo cell located at the Start/Finish line.

At 3:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26 TRACY with his earlier lap of 171.774 mph (19.826 seconds), but now followed by #1X MONTOYA (171.213 mph; 19.891 seconds) and #2 DE FERRAN (170.000; 20.033 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:06 p.m. to resume the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:10 p.m. after #34 SALLES spins off of Turn 1 and makes hard contact with the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2. The car slides along the wall backwards, coming to rest against the wall entering Turn 2. CART safety workers quickly attend to the driver. According to Dr. Chris Pinderski, CART Associate Medical Director, GUALTER SALLES has sustained no injuries and will be released from the CART Mobile Medical Facility shortly.

At 3:15 p.m. and 3:25 p.m., 30 and 40 minutes into the session respectively and under the Yellow Flag, the top three drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 3:05 p.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:27 p.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:28 p.m. to #16 JOURDAIN JR. for a Pit Road speed violation. JOURDAIN JR. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #25 GARCIA JR. at 3:35 p.m. to come into the pits for consultation with the Pit Stewards.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:37 p.m. to #96 SERVIA for a Pit Road speed violation. SERVIA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 3:45 p.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is now #2 DE FERRAN with a lap of 174.978 mph (19.463 seconds), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (174.449 mph; 19.522 seconds) and #32 CARPENTIER (172.987 mph; 19.687 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:47 p.m. to #32 CARPENTIER for a Pit Road speed violation. CARPENTIER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 3:51 p.m. after #8 BRACK spins into the Turn 3 outside wall, making hard contact with the rear and left side of the car. BRACK slides to a stop against the wall in Turn 4. The driver is uninjured in the incident and exits the car under his own power, but the car sustains major damage to the left side and rear of the car.

At 3:55 p.m., 70 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #2 DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 174.978 mph (19.463 seconds), followed by #32 CARPENTIER (174.458 mph; 19.521 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (174.449 mph; 19.522 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 4:01 p.m. to resume the practice session. At 4:05 p.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 3:55 p.m. report.

At 4:07 p.m., #3 CASTRO-NEVES clocks the fastest lap of the weekend on his 79th lap of the session with a speed of 176.091 mph (19.340 seconds).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 4:11 p.m. to #32 CARPENTIER for a Pit Road speed violation. CARPENTIER subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is also shown at 4:11 p.m. to #2 DE FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 4:09 p.m. DE FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

At 4:12 p.m., #20 MORENO moves to 2nd in overall lap speed rankings with a 175.519 mph (19.403 seconds).

At 4:13 p.m., #1 MONTOYA logs the fastest lap of the day with a speed of 177.477 mph (19.189 seconds) on his 56th lap of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 4:13 p.m. after #32 CARPENTIER makes hard contact with the outside wall exiting Turn 4. The car slides to a stop in the middle of the track. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains major damage.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4:14 p.m. to end the session after CART Race Control determines that there will not be enough time to bring back the Green Flag before the scheduled end of the session.

The afternoon session ends with #1 MONTOYA the fastest driver with his lap of 177.477 mph (19.189 seconds), followed by #3 CASTRO-NEVES (176.200 mph; 19.328 seconds) and #20 MORENO (175.519 mph; 19.403 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers again introduced 30 different cars to the track in this afternoons session with secondary cars utilized by #17X GUGELMIN, #11X FITTIPALDI, #33X TAGLIANI, #12X VASSER, and #32X CARPENTIER. Of the fastest ten drivers in the afternoon session, the largest jump in speeds over the morning session were logged by #27 FRANCHITTI (10th overall with a 6.610 mph jump, followed by #1 MONTOYA (1st overall; +4.446 mph) and #20 MORENO (3rd overall; +3.710).

The days overall sessions end with #1 JUAN MONTOYA the fastest driver with his lap of 177.477 mph (19.189 seconds) in his Target/Chip Ganassi Toyota Lola, followed by #3 HELIO CASTRO-NEVES in the Marlboro Team Penske Reynard Honda (176.200 mph; 19.328 seconds) and #20 ROBERTO MORENO (175.519 mph; 19.403 seconds) in the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard. All three top speeds were logged in the afternoon session. Overall, 36 different cars were on track today. Quotes from today's top three drivers follow:

JUAN MONTOYA, Target Toyota Lola: "This morning, the car wasn't great ... [it was] very loose. This afternoon, we made a lot of changes and the car was much better. We got in a long run and right at the end, everyone was going for a fast lap, because everyone knows what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow. Everyone knowing that the weather was coming, everyone went out to see what they could do because if it rains tomorrow, this is the grid. I'll be all right. I just go out and push."

HELIO CASTRO-NEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "This morning, we were going very fast. We were trying to keep good balance, but something happened to the car. In the afternoon, we decided to go with the race setup and the car was very, very good. We ran a lot of laps, and the car was very, very good. I'm very excited, and I think the fans are going to see a great race. I think everyone is going to see a lot of passing, especially in Turn Two."

ROBERTO MORENO, Visteon Ford Reynard: "I was a little concerned before I came here, but it's all water under the bridge. The team gave me a car that was very good right out of the box, and that helped to build my confidence. This is a place where if you have a good car, it's very easy, because the car does everything here. I very much like the wings we're running now. It gives you very good confidence and makes the racing safer."

ANDREW CRAIG, CART President and Chief Executive Officer, on the speculation that the FedEx Championship Series will not be returning to Nazareth Speedway next season: "We have a contract through 2001 and we will be in Nazareth next year for a FedEx Championship Series event. We never discuss publicly the status of negotiations beyond the life of the current contract."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Shinji Nakano , Chip Ganassi , Greg Moore , Dale Coyne , Mo Nunn
Teams Williams , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dale Coyne Racing