CHAMPCAR/CART: Newman/Haas drivers fast in the dark

Newman/Haas Racing's drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira finished 1-2 tonight in the first night practice for the Champ Cars at Cleveland. With 21 Musco lighting towers flooding the runways of Burke Lakefront Airport with light, the ...

Newman/Haas Racing's drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira finished 1-2 tonight in the first night practice for the Champ Cars at Cleveland. With 21 Musco lighting towers flooding the runways of Burke Lakefront Airport with light, the first ever nighttime session for the Champ Car World Series provided a good test for the upcoming qualifying session (on Friday night) and race (Saturday.)

Bourdais, who was also fastest in the morning practice and was third to Forsythe Racing's drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier in the provisional qualifying session this afternoon, turned the fastest lap tonight at 58.569 seconds (129.447 mph.) This was despite an incident in the track's final chicane that kept him off the track for a long stretch. "I went completely straight at the fast chicane. I was flying and damaged the front wings and needed new tires," Bourdais said.

The drivers all liked racing on the Cleveland airport at night. Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia, third fastest tonight, said it best: "It's fun at night. When you are behind a car you see sparks, see the brakes light. You feel you are part of something good"

Since this was the drivers' first chance to get on the course under the lights, they did have some adjustment requests for the lighting crew. When asked, Servia suggested better lighting in turn 7. Junqueira agreed and added: "At the last chicane, we have lost our braking point. At other places we have cones and boards. There, the reference point is the asphalt and it is very dark."

CART officials and the Musco lighting team took the suggestions of the drivers and will have adjustments in place for the Champ Cars' night qualifying session on Friday night.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais