CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Saturday Track Notes

Good Morning from sunny Nazareth, Pennsylvania, for Qualifying Day at Nazareth Speedway! Early arrivals to the track this morning were greeted with spring-like conditions, temps in the 60's and bright blue skies. The thermometer is expected to ...

Good Morning from sunny Nazareth, Pennsylvania, for Qualifying Day at Nazareth Speedway! Early arrivals to the track this morning were greeted with spring-like conditions, temps in the 60's and bright blue skies. The thermometer is expected to reach the mid-70s by the Green Flag starting qualifying at 1:15 p.m. A ferocious low-pressure system west of the state has delayed its arrival, giving Champ Car fans perfect conditions for what should be an extremely competitive battle for the pole position for Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. It seems that the rain will arrive tonight and hopefully clear the area by sunrise tomorrow, leaving 45-degree temperatures in its wake. Saturday's CART on-track activities begin with a split-group practice session beginning at 9:45 a.m. Both groups will be on track for 45 minutes. Group Two will comprise the fastest drivers from Friday's combined times.

Dale Coyne Racing has announced that the team is withdrawing the #34 Ford/Lola of Brazilian GUALTER SALLES from further competition in this weekend's activities. SALLES' car sustained major damage from an incident in yesterday's practice session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:45 a.m. to start the Group One practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 77 degrees F and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F at the start of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:49 a.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ'S car breaks traction in Turn 4 and makes hard contact against the outside wall with the rear of the car on his sixth lap of the session. FERNANDEZ slides to a stop in the apron grass at the Start/Finish line. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains major damage to the rear and left side suspension.

At 9:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest Group One driver is #8X BRACK with a lap of 162.590 mph (20.946 seconds), followed by #55 KANAAN (162.171 mph) and #33 TAGLIANI (153.759 mph; 22.149 seconds). Most drivers were warming their cars up at the 10-minute mark and have not established flying laps as of yet.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:56 a.m. to resume the Group One practice session.

At 10:05 a.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #8X BRACK (172.672 mph; 19.723 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (171.170 mph; 19.896 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (170.203 mph; 20.009 seconds).

At 10:09 a.m., #33 TAGLIANI logs the fastest lap of Group One this morning with a speed of 172.759 mph (19.713 seconds) on his 23rd lap.

At 10:13 a.m., #8X BRACK moves back to the fastest driver of Group One with a lap of 175.329 mph (19.424 seconds) on his 23rd lap of the session.

At 10:15 a.m., 30 minutes into the Group One session, #8X BRACK is still the fastest of Group One with a quicker lap of 175.746 mph (19.378 seconds), followed by #55 KANAAN (172.864 mph; 19.701 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (172.759 mph; 19.713 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:24 a.m. after #19X KUROSAWA loses control coming off Turn 4 and makes hard contract against the outside wall with the rear of the car. KUROSAWA slides to a stop at the Start/Finish line. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains major damage to rear.

At 10:25 a.m., 40 minutes into the Group One session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #8X BRACK with an even quicker lap of 176.374 mph (19.309 seconds), followed by #33 TAGLIANI (175.537 mph; 19.401 seconds) and #55 KANAAN (175.068 mph; 19.453 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:27 a.m., three minutes earlier than scheduled, after CART Race Control determines that there is not enough time to clean up from the KUROSAWA incident to get the Green Flag back out. The Group One session ends with fastest driver #8X BRACK with an even quicker lap of 176.374 mph (19.309 seconds), followed by #33 TAGLIANI (175.537 mph; 19.401 seconds) and #55 KANAAN (175.068 mph; 19.453 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:45 a.m. to start the Group Two session. A stiff wind has slowly built up from the west during the Group One practice session and is now blowing straight across the backstretch at an estimated 15-20 mph.

At 10:48 a.m., #2 DE FERRAN pits on his sixth lap of the session with smoke showing at the rear of the car. The driver exits the car and the crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

At 11:05 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is still #1 MONTOYA (175.882 mph; 19.363 seconds, 2nd-fastest overall), followed by #26 TRACY (175.456 mph; 19.410 seconds, 4th-fastest overall) and #11 FITTIPALDI (174.431 mph; 19.524 seconds; 7th-fastest overall).

At 11:06 a.m., #26 TRACY cracks the fastest lap of the day and the weekend with a speed of 178.015 mph (19.131 seconds) on his 20th lap.

At 11:23 a.m., #1 MONTOYA logs the fastest lap of the weekend and retakes the top spot on the speed board with a lap of 178.108 mph (19.121 seconds).

At 11:25 a.m., 40 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #1 MONTOYA with his earlier lap of 178.108 mph (19.121 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (178.015 mph; 19.131 seconds; 2nd-fastest overall) and #12 VASSER (177.717 mph; 19.163 seconds; 3rd-fastest overall).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:30 a.m. to end the Group Two practice session with the fastest Group Two and overall driver for the weekend #1 MONTOYA (178.108 mph; 19.121 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (178.015 mph; 19.131 seconds; 2nd-fastest overall) and #12 VASSER (177.717 mph; 19.163 seconds; 3rd-fastest overall). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #2X DE FERRAN, #8X BRACK, #32X CARPENTIER, #40X FERNANDEZ, #19X KUROSAWA, and #18X BLUNDELL. CART drivers logged a total of 801 laps during the session. There are 18 cars within one second of the fast lap established by MONTOYA at the end of the session.

As the 1:15 p.m. Green Flag approaches, the west wind is up to over 30 mph and still blowing hard from the west. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 101 degrees F and an ambient temperature of 77 degrees F at the start of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. to start Qualifying for Sunday's Bosch Spark Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. The drivers will have up to five times past the Start/Finish line before starting their timed laps. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 101 degrees F and an ambient temperature of 77 degrees F at the start of qualifying.

#25 GARCIA JR.'s top speed: 131.475 mph; 25.903 seconds, second lap.

#10 FONTANA's top speed: 164.197 mph; 20.741 seconds, first lap.

#16 JOURDAIN JR.'s top speed: 169.576 mph; 20.083 seconds, second lap.

#19X KUROSAWA's top speed: 171.127 mph; 19.901 seconds, second lap.

#96 SERVIA's top speed: 170.852 mph; 19.933 seconds, second lap.

#97 DA MATTA's top speed: 169.644 mph; 20.075 seconds, first lap.

#18 BLUNDELL's top speed: 170.544 mph; 19.969 seconds, first lap.

#27 FRANCHITTI's top speed: 172.917 mph; 19.695 seconds, second lap.

#40X FERNANDEZ's top speed: 174.182 mph; 19.552 seconds, first lap.

#32X CARPENTIER's top speed: 174.164 mph; 19.554 seconds, first lap.

#17 GUGELMIN's top speed: 173.260 mph; 19.656 seconds, first lap.

#55 KANAAN's top speed: 174.664 mph; 19.498 seconds, second lap.

#7 PAPIS' top speed: 171.619 mph; 19.844 seconds, first lap.

#6 ANDRETTI's top speed: 172.392 mph; 19.755 seconds, first lap.

#33 TAGLIANI's top speed: 172.917 mph; 19.695 seconds, second lap.

#8X BRACK's top speed: 175.465 mph; 19.409 seconds, first lap.

#2X DE FERRAN's top speed: 175.628 mph; 19.391 seconds, first lap.

#3 CASTRO-NEVES' top speed: 175.918 mph; 19.359 seconds, second lap.

#20 MORENO's top speed: 175.393 mph; 19.417 seconds, second lap.

#11 FITTIPALDI's top speed: 176.401 mph; 19.306 seconds, second lap.

#12 VASSER's top speed: 174.128 mph; 19.558 seconds, first lap. As VASSER heads down the back straight on his second lap, the driver shuts off the engine with a mechanical problem. VASSER currently rides ninth on the grid.

#26 TRACY's top speed: 175.891 mph; 19.362 seconds, second lap.

#1 MONTOYA's top speed: 176.868 mph; 19.255 seconds, first lap. MONTOYA slows on the second lap on the backstretch as the driver has just won the pole on his first qualifying lap.

JUAN MONTOYA wins the Pole for Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota in his Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota/Lola. MONTOYA will lead a field of 22 cars to the Green Flag by virtue of his 176.868 mph (19.255 seconds). This represents the eighth career pole for the Colombian driver, and the first of the 2000 season. MONTOYA is also the second driver in CART history to earn consecutive Pole Positions at Nazareth Speedway.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI will start second in his Big Kmart/Newman Haas Racing Ford Lola after posting a 176.401 mph (19.306 seconds) lap. This represents

FITTIPALDI's second career front-row start, the other being a pole win at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1999.

HELIO CASTRO-NEVES places 3rd on Sunday's grid with his qualifying performance of 175.918 mph (19.359 seconds) in the Marlboro/Team Penske Honda/Reynard. This is CASTRO-NEVES' second consecutive top three start at Nazareth. CASTRO-NEVES started 2nd in the 1999 grid.

Qualifying ends with 21 of 22 cars logging a timed lap within one second of the quick time posted by MONTOYA.

CART Chief Steward KIRK RUSSELL has announced that Brazilian driver LUIZ GARCIA JR. will not be in tomorrow's starting lineup. GARCIA JR. has fought a handling problem with his car all weekend and failed to produce a qualifying lap within 110 percent of the pole-winning time set by MONTOYA in today's qualifying session. GARCIA JR. will reappear on the CART circuit next week at Long Beach in a brand-new 2000 Mercedes/Reynard.

Quotes from today's top three qualifiers follow:

JUAN MONTOYA, Target Toyota/Lola: "The car has been good all weekend long. The wind didn't effect me that much. I was surprised. Tomorrow, I think the stints are really gonna be long, and saving tires will be very important. The Toyota has been really good so far. I think tomorrow will be a really interesting race."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford/Lola: "The conditions were pretty tough, but they were tough for all the cars out there. It was tough coming out of Turn 4; we lost a bit of downforce. It was a little bit better than this morning. I reckon we could have gone with a more neutral setup, but I'm very happy to start on the front row. The top four or six [qualifiers] tomorrow are going to have a big advantage."

HELIO CASTRO-NEVES, Marlboro Honda/Reynard: "I was expecting a change in my car, but I think I waited too long. The car was handling well, then the green flag came, and I thought we needed to do something. I ran a 19.3 [second lap] and I wished I could have had one more lap, but everyone says that. I've got a very good package; if it's going to be cold I think we need to bring some Brazilian heat for the tires, but it's gonna be really good for the fans."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi , Dale Coyne
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dale Coyne Racing