CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Friday track notes

MOTOROLA 220 FedEx Championship Series track notes- Friday, August 18, 2000 Good Morning from Road America in the rolling green hills of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 14 of the FedEx...

MOTOROLA 220
FedEx Championship Series track notes- Friday, August 18, 2000

Good Morning from Road America in the rolling green hills of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 14 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Motorola 220! Today’s weather has greeted the early arrivals to the 4.048-mile race course with very cool temperatures, partly cloudy skies, and a stiff wind from the East, blowing down the frontstetch. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-seventies by the Green Flag for today’s Provisional Qualifying sessions. The remainder of the weekend’s weather has partly cloudy skies and cool to mild temperatures for Saturday and Sunday’s forecast. The CART on-track schedule features the weekend’s first practice session taking the Green Flag at 10:30 a.m. This full-field session will last 90 minutes. At 2:30 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the split-group provisional qualifying session with the fastest drivers from the previous road course (last week’s Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio) comprising Group Two. The Champ Car drivers will be chasing the Road America track-qualifying record of 145.745 mph; (1:39.988) set by MICHAEL ANDRETTI in 1998. Each split-session provisional qualifying Group will be on-track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two groups’ efforts. Saturday’s schedule has the Champ Cars again on track for practice from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. with the final round of CART qualifying scheduled from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. This final qualifying session will again be in the split-group format with the fastest drivers from Friday’s provisional qualifying comprising Group Two. Again, each group will be on-track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two Groups. Sunday’s schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 55-lap, 222.64-mile Motorola 220 at 1 p.m. (All times are local.) On hand for your media needs from Championship Auto Racing Teams this weekend are Mike Zizzo, Director of Public Relations; Steve Shunck, Director of Broadcast Relations; T.E. McHale, Senior News Manager; Nate Siebens, New Media Public Relations Manager, and Mark Tate, Pit Note Specialist. Feel free to seek out any of these individuals with any questions that you may have concerning this weekend’s Motorola 220!

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 74 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 68 degrees F. at the start of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 10:32 a.m. after #32 CARPENTIER loses his brakes and slides into the gravel pit at Turn 10, Station 12. The driver is uninjured and the car sustains little if any damage.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:40 a.m. to resume the practice session. At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, no drivers have logged timed laps in the session due to the #32 CARPENTIER incident.

RED FLAG waves at 10:47 a.m. after #34 MARQUES spins at Turn 3 (Station 5) and stalls in the middle of the track. MARQUES gets the car turned around and continues on track to his Pit Area with no apparent damage to the car.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:50 a.m. to resume the session. At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #33 TAGLIANI with a lap of 138.645 mph (1:45.109), followed by #1X MONTOYA (137.962 mph; 1:45.629) and #12X VASSER (136.992 mph; 1:46.377).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:53 a.m. to #33 TAGLIANI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out at 10:49 a.m. TAGLIANI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

At 10:55 a.m., #6 ANDRETTI logs the fastest lap of the session so far with a lap of 142.671 mph (1:42.143) on his third circuit around the course.

RED FLAG waves at 11 a.m. after #20 MORENO spins at Turn 10 (Station 12), making contact with the tire barrier, and stalls the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to the Pit Area.

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 142.671 mph (1:42.143), followed by #32 CARPENTIER (140.589 mph; 1:43.655) and #11 FITTIPALDI (140.385 mph; 1:43.806).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:10 a.m. to resume the session. The fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11 a.m. report.

RED FLAG waves at 11:13 a.m. after #34 MARQUES slides off of the outside of Turn 1 and stalls the car deep in the gravel trap. The car is pulled to safety to await the end of the session by CART safety workers. The driver will receive the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the practice session for a second time.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:17 a.m. to resume the session. At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:10 a.m. report.

RED FLAG waves at 11:22 a.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ stalls on course with a mechanical problem. CART safety workers tow the car back to the Pit Area. At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 142.671 mph (1:42.143), followed by #2 de FERRAN (141.673 mph; 1:42.862) and #27

FRANCHITTI (140.968 mph; 1:43.377).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:31 a.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:32 a.m. to #96 SERVIA for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit Out. SERVIA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag.

At 11:33 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL pits with smoke and fire showing on the left side of the engine compartment. The crew immediately extinguishes the fire as the crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 11:37 a.m. after #33 TAGLIANI loses power on course and pulls off course exiting Turn 2 (Station 3). The crew readies the secondary car as CART safety workers hook up the #33 to tow it back to the Paddock.

At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver still #6 ANDRETTI with his earlier lap of 142.671 mph (1:42.143), followed by #2 de FERRAN with a faster lap of 141.799 mph (1:42.771) and #8 BRACK (141.176 mph; 1:43.224).

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:41 a.m. to resume the session. At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #2 de FERRAN with a lap of 143.054 mph (1:41.869) on his 10th circuit, followed by #6 ANDRETTI (142.671 mph; 1:42.143) and #27 FRANCHITTI (141.530 mph; 1:42.966).

At 11:54 a.m., #40X FERNANDEZ logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 143.490 mph (1:41.560) on his 12th circuit.

RED and CHECKERED FLAGS wave at 11:59 a.m. after #19 SALLES spins exiting Turn 8 (Station 10A). The car makes hard contact nose-first against the outside wall, then spins in circles back across the track before coming to rest at Turn 9 (Station 11). The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains major damage. CART Race Control determines that there will not be enough time to clean up the track before the scheduled end of the session.

Also at 11:59 a.m., #26 TRACY spins at Turn 5 and makes light contact against the tire barrier.

The session ends with #40X FERNANDEZ the fastest with his earlier lap of 143.490 mph (1:41.560), followed by #2 de FERRAN (143.054 mph; 1:41.869) and #6 ANDRETTI (142.671 mph; 1:42.143). The top six drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times, with the top 11 separated by less than two seconds. FedEx Championship series drivers introduced 36 cars to the track in this morning’s session with secondary cars utilized by #40X FERNANDEZ, #33X TAGLIANI, #6X ANDRETTI, #97X da MATTA, #12X VASSER, #20X MORENO, #7X PAPIS, #1X MONTOYA. #18X BLUNDELL, #2X de FERRAN, and #34X MARQUES. GIL de FERRAN will have to serve an eight-minute penalty at the end of today’s Provisional Qualifying session due to his spectacular but session-delaying incident at the end of last week’s Mid-Ohio qualifying session when the Brazilian won the Pole while sitting upside down in his car in the gravel trap at Turn 1. As there was not enough time to serve the penalty at Mid-Ohio, de FERRAN has the carryover penalty for today.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One Provisional Qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 83 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 78 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 2:40 p.m., ten minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #33X TAGLIANI with a lap of 143.087 mph (1:41.846), followed by #20X MORENO (142.922 mph; 1:41.963) and #17 GUGELMIN (142.207 mph; 1:42.476). At 2:42 p.m., #25 GARCIA Jr. slows on course and then pulls off course at Station 4 with a mechanical problem. The driver is apparently done for the session.

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is now #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 143.347 mph (1:41.661), followed by #33X TAGLIANI (143.087 mph; 1:41.846) and #10 GIDLEY (142.941 mph; 1:41.950).

RED and CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2:58 p.m. after #26 TRACY runs off course at Turn 12 (Station 14) and slides across the gravel pit, making contact with the tire wall. The driver exits the car uninjured but the front wing and suspension is damaged on TRACY’s car. TRACY will have the standard eight-minute penalty assessed against him in the last eight minutes of tomorrow’s session.

#33X TAGLIANI is the fastest Group One driver with a lap of 145.029 mph (1:40.482), logged on the driver’s tenth and final lap of the session.

#17X GUGELMIN is second with a 144.222 mph (1:41.044) clocking, again logged on the drivers’ tenth and final circuit followed by #20X MORENO (143.559 mph; 1:41.511).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session. At 3:23 p.m., #1 MONTOYA runs out of fuel halfway up the hill at Pit In. CART Pit officials tow the car into the Pit Area and the incident is handled with a Local Yellow Flag.

At 3:25 p.m., ten minutes into the group Two Provisional Qualifying session, the fastest Group Two driver is #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 145.146 mph (1:40.401), followed by #2 de FERRAN (145.084 mph; 1:40.444) and #27 FRANCHITTI (145.036 mph; 1:40.477).

At 3:31 p.m., #2 de FERRAN logs the fastest lap of the session with a lap of 145.159 mph (1:40.392) to move to the top of the speedboard.

At 3:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is still #2 de FERRAN with his earlier lap of 145.159 mph (1:40.392), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (145.146 mph; 1:40.401) and #27 FRANCHITTI (145.036 mph; 1:40.477).

RED FLAG waves at 3:37 p.m. after #1 MONTOYA spins into the gravel pit and stalls the car at the outside of Turn 12 (Station 14). CART safety workers hook MONTOYA up and tow the car back to his Pit Box. MONTOYA will have to serve the standard eight-minute penalty for qualifying-session- delay at the end of tomorrow’s final round of qualifying.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:42 p.m. to resume the Group Two qualifying session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:43 p.m. to #11 FITTIPALDI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 3:39 p.m. FITTIPALDI subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

Also at 3:43 p.m., #12X VASSER pulls on course for his first lap of the Group Two session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. to end the session with #2 de FERRAN winning the Provisional Pole with his earlier lap of 145.159 mph (1:40.392), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (145.146 mph; 1:40.401) and #27 FRANCHITTI (145.036 mph; 1:40.477). The top nine drivers have lap times within one second of the fast lap by de FERRAN with the top sixteen drivers separated by less than two seconds. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 different cars to the track in this afternoon’s Provisional Qualifying session with secondary cars utilized by #33X TAGLIANI, #40X FERNANDEZ, #20X MORENO, #12X VASSER, and #7X PAPIS. CART drivers turned 217 laps during the two qualifying sessions. Last year’s race winner, CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI winds up sixth with a lap of 144.262 mph (1:41:016).

GIL de FERRAN sits on the Provisional Pole with his 145.159 mph (1:40.392) speed in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda Reynard. De FERRAN is chasing his fourth Pole of the season and second in a row as de FERRAN sat on the Pole last week at Mid-Ohio. If de FERRAN can hold on, tomorrow will give the Brazilian his first career Pole at Road America. De FERRAN’s current best start here at Road America is a seventh in 1997.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI is second after today’s Provisional Qualifying with a speed of 145.146 mph (1:40.401) in his Big KmartTexaco/Havoline Ford Lola. This equates to 2.5 feet in track behind de FERRAN. If ANDRETTI can win the Pole tomorrow, it will represent his third consecutive Pole at Road America. Only two other drivers in CART history have logged three consecutive Poles at Road America, Danny Sullivan in 1988-1990 and PAUL TRACY in 1992 to 1994.

DARIO FRANCHITTI is third on the Provisional Grid with his speed of 145.036 mph (1:40.477) in his Team KOOL Green Honda Reynard. FRANCHITTI is chasing his seventh top-five start in his last nine events.

Quotes from today’s top three Provisional qualifiers follow:

GIL DE FERRAN: "Obviously, things are going pretty well. I was fairly happy with the car this morning. We made a few changes and we went a little bit quicker this afternoon. I'm taking nothing for granted. Even though this is a four-mile track, everybody is very, very close. I know I said it last week at Mid-Ohio, but I definitely think it's going to be quicker tomorrow. I'm not taking anything for granted, just taking it one day at a time. I'm just hoping we'll be able to stay here tomorrow."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "We unloaded pretty good. We put a good lap in on our first set of tires and never really got a chance to do a good lap on the second set. I got behind Adrian Fernandez and he kind of messed up a couple of my laps, and then the red flag came out. Hopefully, we'll be able to get two sets of tires in tomorrow. We just need to keep doing what we're doing, keep pushing. This track is one of my favorites because it has everything you want as a race driver. It was a boring race last week. (Marlboro Team Penske) made it boring. I hope we can keep them more honest this week. We have a better car this week, so I hope we can keep them honest."

DARIO FRANCHITTI: "We learned a lot in the test here, stuff we could use at Mid-Ohio as well as here, and hopefully for the rest of the year. It was a productive test. It was quite a lot like today. It was hard because there were a lot of red flags, and it was really hard to get a clear lap. It was pretty frustrating. This is the best race track I've ever raced on. It's a lot of fun. If you really get on with it, it rewards you in lap times."

This concludes the Pit Notes for today from Road America. Have a great Friday night and we’ll see you tomorrow for the final round of Qualifying for Sunday’s Motorola 220!

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Danny Sullivan
Teams Team Penske