HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 9, 2000)--- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti is very optimistic about the 2000 racing season after his final day of testing on the track where he narrowly missed scoring an unprecedented third victory in a...
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 9, 2000)--- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti is very optimistic about the 2000 racing season after his final day of testing on the track where he narrowly missed scoring an unprecedented third victory in a row in the CART season-opener in 1999. Andretti, CART's winningest active driver with 38 victories, won the 1997 and 1998 CART season-openers on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval and finished second to Greg Moore in 1999,
"The conditions weren't the best because of the high winds but despite that, we have learned a lot since Spring Training," said Andretti. "We started out the day knowing that the winds would pick up so we had to get down to business quick. The car feels great. All of the elements are coming together for a great season. We always set our goals (for the next season) high during the off-season, but our testing has given us a good level of confidence. The Ford and Lola have been working well. The team has been working well and I am ready to race. The competition is going to be tough but I think we are in the best shape we have been in the past four years.
Andretti took over testing duties from teammate and Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi, who was also very pleased with his test after two days of running in windy conditions- Today, Andretti completed 125 laps on the 1.5-mile oval and set a lap time of 25.61 early in the day hoping to complete set-up work before the forecasted high winds arrived. His lap time is unofficially the quickest to date at the Homestead track. During the afternoon, the team ran long full-fuel runs and practiced race-speed pit stops.
The team's final test of the off-season begins March 13-15 and takes place on the road course portion of the Homestead track with Fittipaldi behind the wheel.
The CART FedEx Championship Series season begins on March 26 (in 17 days) with the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Andretti won back-to-back events in 1997 and 1998 and finished second to Greg Moore in 1999. Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Fittipaldi finished in the top-six in two of the three events held at the track and suffered a mechanical problem in the other.