CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Saturday track notes

MOTOROLA 220 FedEx Championship Series track notes- Saturday, August 19, 2000 Good Morning from chilly Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220! Though the temperatures Saturday morning...

MOTOROLA 220
FedEx Championship Series track notes- Saturday, August 19, 2000

Good Morning from chilly Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220! Though the temperatures Saturday morning are in the mid-60s, a cool wind from the northeast is coupling with a partial cloud cover to produce quite a few windbreakers up and down Pit Road. But rain is not in the forecast, and a cool track may produce a track qualifying record run before the sun sets Saturday. The first item on CART's on-track schedule has the Champ Cars out for a 75-minute practice session, taking the Green Flag at 10 a.m., followed by the final round of qualifying at 1:45 p.m. GIL DE FERRAN is on the Provisional Pole by virtue of his 145.159 mph (1:40.392), followed by eight other drivers within one second of DE FERRAN's Pole-winning effort.

#19 GUALTER SALLES will have a delay-of-session penalty assessed against him for the last eight minutes of Saturday morning's session. SALLES was involved in a hard-contact incident with the wall just past Turn 8 (Station 10A) in the final 10 minutes of Friday morning's practice session to earn the penalty.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the morning practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 68 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 140.759 mph (1:43.530), followed by #32 CARPENTIER (140.085 mph; 1:43.817) and #33X TAGLIANI (139.906 mph; 1:44.161).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:16 a.m. to #20X MORENO for a pit road speed violation. MORENO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 10:17 a.m., #97 DA MATTA slides off course and through the gravel trap at Turn 6 (Station 8), but the driver regains control and continues on course to his Pit Area.

At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #8 BRACK with a speed of 141.287 mph (1:43.143), followed by #97 DA MATTA (140.759 mph; 1:43.530) and #40X FERNANDEZ (140.558 mph; 1:43.678).

RED FLAG waves at 10:21 a.m. after #5 NAKANO slides off course at Turn 6 (Station 8) and stalls in the middle of the gravel trap. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to the paddock as the team does not want the safety workers to restart the car. The crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:28 a.m. to resume the session.

At 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:20 a.m.

Also at 10:30 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES slides off course at Turn 4 (Station 6) but regains control and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 10:34 a.m., #2 DE FERRAN sets the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 141.835 mph (1:42.745) on his eighth circuit. DE FERRAN immediately pits his car.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #11 FITTIPALDI after CART course observers report smoke and spray from the rear of the car at speed. FITTIPALDI pulls into the shortcut and re-enters the track at Turn 12 (Station 14). As FITTIPALDI climbs the uphill Pit Entrance under power, a large plume of smoke erupts from the rear of the car. FITTPALDI makes it to his Pit Box, where the crew quickly extinguish what appears to be an oil fire. The crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

At 10:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #2 DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 141.835 mph (1:42.745), followed by #8 BRACK (141.599 mph; 1:42.916) and #97 DA MATTA (140.759 mph; 1:43.530).

At 10:43 a.m., #1 MONTOYA runs off course exiting Turn 8 (Station 10A) and takes a rough ride across the grass before regaining control and continuing on course to his Pit Area.

RED FLAG waves at 10:43 a.m. after #55 KANAAN stalls on course at Station 4. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to the paddock area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:46 a.m. to resume the session.

At 10:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #2 DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 141.835 mph (1:42.745), followed by #8 BRACK (141.599 mph; 1:42.916) and #6 ANDRETTI (141.114 mph; 1:43.270).

RED FLAG waves on 10:52 a.m. after #96 SERVIA spins off of Turn 4 (Station 6) and crosses the gravel trap backwards, finally making contact against the tire barrier with the rear of the car. SERVIA is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains damage to the rear wing and suspension. The crew readies the secondary car for use ion the remainder of the session while the driver is making his way back to Pit Road via the CART tow truck.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:55 a.m. to resume the session.

At 11 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:50 a.m. report.

At 11:03 a.m., #8 BRACK logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 141.872 mph (1:42.718) on his 8th practice lap but is immediately eclipsed by #97 DA MATTA (142.650 mph; 1:47.158) on the driver's 17th circuit.

At 11:04 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI moves to the top of the speedboard with a lap of 143.231 mph (1:41.743) on his 14th lap of the session.

At 11:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 143.231 mph (1:41.231), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (143.052 mph; 1:41.871) and #8 BRACK (142.798 mph; 1:42.052).

At 11:12 a.m., #6 ANDRETTI logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 143.615 mph (1:41.471) on his 17th lap of the session.

RED and CHECKERED FLAGS wave at 11:14 a.m. after #11X FITTIPALDI stalls on the uphill portion of the front straight. Because the session was within one minute of being completed, CART Race Control checkered the session. #6 ANDRETTI remains the fastest driver with a speed of 143.615 mph (1:41.471), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (143.556 mph; 1:41.513) and #7X PAPIS (143.412 mph; 1:41.615). There are nine cars within one second of the top speed set by ANDRETTI in the session with the top 17 cars separated by less than two seconds in lap times.

FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 31 different cars to the track in Saturday morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #7X PAPIS, #40X FERNANDEZ, #20X MORENO, #11X FITTIPALDI, #33X TAGLIANI, #12X VASSER, #34X MARQUES, #55X KANAAN, #3X CASTRONEVES, #96X SERVIA, #5X NAKANO, and #19X SALLES. CART drivers logged 436 laps in the session. As the time for the Green Flag for the final round of Qualifying approaches, the temperatures have steadily risen to the high 70s, but the cloud cover has increased; this is most likely a wash in advantages for the tire engineers. But more rubber has been scrubbed into the track, courtesy of the Toyota Atlantics and Trans-Am sessions that have completed since the end of the Saturday morning Champ Car session, and the track qualifying record may be in trouble.

The team of Mo Nunn Racing has announced that the team will be using the primary car #55 and, as specified in CART Rules, the times earned by #55X in Friday's Provisional session will be forfeited. Also, #26 TRACY will serve an eight-minute penalty for delaying Friday's Group One Provisional Qualifying session. Finally, #1 MONTOYA will also have the same eight-minute penalty for delaying the Group Two session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:45 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 90 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 72 degrees F. at the start of the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:48 p.m. to #10 GIDLEY after the driver shortcuts the course at Station 5 but fails to bring the car into Pit Road, as specified in the Qualifying Procedures. GIDLEY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 1:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One qualifying session, the fastest Group One driver is #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 143.767 mph (1:41.364), followed by #26 TRACY (143.388 mph; 1:41.632) and #55X KANAAN (143.129 mph; 1:41.816).

At 2:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest driver is now #26 TRACY with a lap of 144.075 mph (1:41.147) on his seventh lap of the session, followed by #97 DA MATTA (143.937-1:41.244) and #12X VASSER (143.189 mph; 1:41.773).

At 2:06 p.m., #26 TRACY ups his session-best speed to 144.741 mph (1:40.682) on his eighth lap of the session.

At 2:07 p.m., #26 TRACY pits his car to start serving his delay-of-session penalty. TRACY is the fastest Group One driver so far but is now through for the session.

RED FLAG waves at 2:08 p.m. after #32 CARPENTIER slides off course at Turn 12 (Station 14), making light contact against the tire barrier with the nose of the car. CARPENTIER exits the car under his own power and CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and pull it from the gravel pit. CARPENTIER will receive the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying session. Because there is not enough time left in the Group One session to serve the eight minutes, the driver will have to sit out the last eight minutes of the Friday qualifying session at the next race, the Molson Indy Vancouver.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:11 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2:15 p.m. to end the Group One qualifying session with the fastest driver still #26 TRACY with his earlier lap of 144.741 mph (1:40.682), followed by #97 DA MATTA (144.056 mph; 1:41.161) and #7X PAPIS (143.634 mph; 1:41.458). TRACY's time is the fifth-best so far of all qualifiers.

Team Penske has elected to use the #3X secondary car for CASTRONEVES in the final round of qualifying; therefore, CASTRONEVES' eighth-best time from Friday's Provisional session will be forfeited. Also, Newman/Haas Racing will use the secondary car #11X (which was sixth-best in the Provisional session), and therefore the times earned by driver FITTIPALDI in the primary car #11 will be forfeited.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.

At 2:34 p.m., #20X MORENO encounters a mechanical problem on his third timed lap and takes the shortcut off Turn 3 (Station 5) to Pit Road.

At 2:37 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN clocks the fastest lap of the weekend on his third circuit with a speed of 145.166 mph (1:40.387) and takes the top spot on the speedboard.

At 2:38 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN ups his weekend-best speed to 145.471 mph (1:40.177) on his fourth lap.

RED FLAG waves at 2:39 p.m. after #17 GUGELMIN breaks traction at Turn 12 (Station 14) and makes hard contact with the inside wall, spinning around and coming to rest at the entrance to Pit Road.

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

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, #2 DE FERRAN is still the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 145.471 mph (1:40.177), followed by #33X TAGLIANI (145.350 mph; 1:40.260) and #27 FRANCHITTI (144.912 mph; 1:40.563).

At 2:51 p.m., #1 MONTOYA breaks traction and runs off course at Turn 10 (Station 12), finally pulling back on just in front of #8 BRACK, who has to brake hard to avoid colliding with MONTOYA.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:52 p.m. to #1 MONTOYA to begin his delay-of-session penalty, covering the last eight minutes of this session.

At 2:55 p.m., the penalty assessed to #17 GUGELMIN expires, but the team elects to stand on the times produced by the primary car and does not bring the secondary car out for use in the session.

At 2:56 p.m., #2 DE FERRAN ups his session-best speed to 145.504 mph (1:40.154) on his ninth lap of the session.

At 2:58 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI breaks the track record with a lap of 145.924 mph (1:39.866) on his 10th circuit.

At 2:59 p.m., #3X CASTRONEVES runs off course at Turn 4 (Station 6) but maintains control and continues on his last flyer lap of the session.

Also at 2:59 p.m., #20X MORENO slides into the gravel trap at Turn 6 (Station 8) but continues slowly on course, his flying lap apparently over.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to end qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220 with DARIO FRANCHITTI winning the Pole, followed by GIL DE FERRAN, ALEX TAGLIANI, MICHAEL ANDRETTI and ADRIAN FERNANDEZ. The top seven qualifiers are separated by less than one second in lap times, with the top 17 qualifiers separated by less than two seconds. Last year's winner, CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, wound up eighth on the grid. Secondary cars were utilized by #33X TAGLIANI, #3X CASTRONEVES, #40X FERNANDEZ, #11X FITTIPALDI, #20X MORENO, #7X PAPIS, #12X VASSER, and #19X JOURDAIN JR. PAUL TRACY posted the best gain of the frontrunners from Friday to Saturday efforts, moving from 13th-best to seventh-best.

CART drivers logged 242 laps in the session.

DARIO FRANCHITTI takes the Pole for Sunday's Motorola 220 with a new track record (145.924 mph; 1:39.866) in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard. This is FRANCHITTI's first Pole of the 2000 season and the ninth of his CART career. This is FRANCHITTI's first Pole since Australia in 1999. This is FRANCHITTI's seventh top-five start in the last nine events.

GIL DE FERRAN sits second on the grid with a clocking of 145.504 mph (1:40.154) in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda/Reynard. This is the sixth front-row start of the season for DE FERRAN.

ALEX TAGLIANI will start third Sunday by virtue of his 145.350 mph (1:40.260)-lap in his Player's/Indeck Forsythe Racing Team Ford/Reynard. This represents the Canadian rookie's best start on a road/street course. His previous best start was an 11th place on the Long Beach grid this spring.

Saturday represents the third straight road course Pole won by Honda-powered cars this season. Honda has won the Pole at Portland, Mid-Ohio, and now, Road America.

The last two Pole winners at Rio De Janeiro recorded their first CART career victory at Road America later in the same season. DARIO FRANCHITTI was the honoree in 1998 and CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI accomplished the feat in 1999. That has to give ALEX TAGLIANI a bit of hope for the year 2000 as the Canadian won his first career Pole at Rio this spring!

Quotes from Saturday's top three qualifiers follow:

DARIO FRANCHITTI: "This morning we were just looking for that little bit that we were talking about yesterday, and we tried to improve on what we had. We didn't, in fact -- the car got worse -- so we went back to what we had yesterday for qualifying and improved throughout the session. I wanted to get in both sets of tires early and not get caught in a situation where there was a red flag with two minutes to go and not be able to get enough heat in the tires. The strategy worked perfectly today. It's nice to be on a pole, not tying the time or getting a lap taken away. Now we've just got to concentrate on the race tomorrow. I think we've got a pretty good car, we just need some luck."

GIL DE FERRAN: "I'm pretty happy. I was happy with the car in the morning and pretty happy with the car in qualifying. I made a mistake going into Turn 3 and went off. That's what happens when you're going for it. I'm just glad we were able to get back out there and get a good lap in. Dario just beat us today. It's really hard to predict what's going to happen tomorrow. It's definitely possible to pass here. It's always been a race that's been tight on fuel, and there's no reason to expect that it won't be the case again tomorrow."

ALEX TAGLIANI: "I'm very happy for the whole Player's/Forsythe team. We struggled quite a lot earlier in the year on the road and street courses. We came here and tested a few weeks ago and had a pretty good test here. I'm just happy to have a car that's good enough to fight for the pole. I hope we're able to pass tomorrow, because we're not quite up at the front yet."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske