CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Saturday Track Notes

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes Saturday, Aug. 15, 1998 After late afternoon showers Friday, the weather has greeted the early arrivals to the track with beautiful blue skies and cool breezes. CART on track activities begin with a...

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes Saturday, Aug. 15, 1998

After late afternoon showers Friday, the weather has greeted the early arrivals to the track with beautiful blue skies and cool breezes. CART on track activities begin with a 75-minute practice session taking the Green Flag at 9 a.m. followed by the final round of qualifying at 12:45 p.m. The qualifying sessions will again be the split-group format with the faster qualifiers from yesterday's provisional qualifying comprising Group Two.

ANDRE RIBEIRO is in the #3 Team Penske Mercedes for this morning's session. RIBEIRO fractured his left leg in an incident yesterday during qualifying and his status as a driver this weekend was unknown at the end of the day's activities.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the morning practice session.

Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 83 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 71 degrees F. at the start of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 9:06 a.m. after #26 TRACY spins into the gravel pit at Turn 3 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car restarted and TRACY returns to his pit.

At 9:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #27X FRANCHITTI with a lap of 137.705 mph (1:45.826), followed by #12 VASSER (135.919 mph; 1:47.217) and #26 TRACY (135.886 mph; 1:47.243).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:14 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #20 PRUETT with a lap of 140.438 mph (1:43.767), followed by #12 VASSER (139.794 mph; 1:44.245) and #10X HEARN (137.855 mph; 1:45.711).

RED FLAG waves at 9:29 a.m. after #12 VASSER spins into the gravel pit at Turn 8. CART safety workers get the car restarted and VASSER continues on to his pit.

At 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #5 DE FERRAN with a lap of 143.102 mph (1:41.835), followed by #8 HERTA (142.389 mph; 1:42.345) and #40 FERNANDEZ (142.056 mph; 1:42.585).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:33 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:36 a.m., #21 KANAAN runs off course at Turn 1 but regains control of the car and pulls back on course. KANAAN immediately pits the car.

At 9:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #5 DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 143.102 mph (1:41.835), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (142.592 mph; 1:42.199) and #8 HERTA (142.389 mph; 1:42.345).

At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #27X FRANCHITTI with a lap of 143.151 mph (1:41.800), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (143.102 mph; 1:41.835) and #33 CARPENTIER (142.767 mph; 1:42.074).

At 10 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is #5X DE FERRAN with a lap of 144.215 mph (1:41.049), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (143.533 mph; 1:41.529) and #27X FRANCHITTI (143.151 mph; 1:41.800).

RED FLAG waves at 10 a.m. after #10 HEARN spins into the gravel pit at Turn 8. CART safety workers get the car back to the pit area..

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:04 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #5X DE FERRAN with a lap of 144.215 mph (1:41.049), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (143.533 mph; 1:41.529) and #27X FRANCHITTI (143.151 mph; 1:41.800).

RED FLAG waves at 10 a.m. after #18 BLUNDELL and #24 GORDON make side-to-side contact at Turn 12 and spin into the gravel pit. Both drivers are uninjured in the incident and the cars appear to have no major damage.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:11 a.m. as CART Race Control has determined that there will not be enough time to clean up the track from the GORDON-BLUNDELL incident before the scheduled end of the session. The fastest driver of the morning session is still #5X DE FERRAN with his earlier lap of 144.215 mph (1:41.049), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (143.533 mph; 1:41.529) and #27X FRANCHITTI (143.151 mph; 1:41.800). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 32 separate cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #5X DE FERRAN, #27X FRANCHITTI, #99X MOORE, #10X HEARN, #25X PAPIS, #24X GORDON, #19X JOURDAIN JR., #3X RIBEIRO, and #17X GUGELMIN. There are 14 drivers within two seconds of the fast lap set by #5X DE FERRAN. CART drivers logged a total of 298 laps in the morning session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:45 p.m. to start the final Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 98 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 75 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 12:50 p.m., five minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #10X HEARN with a lap of 137.965 mph (1:45.627), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (134.395 mph; 1:48.433) and #99X MOORE (132.712 mph; 1:49.808).

At 12:55 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #10X HEARN with a lap of 141.894 mph (1:42.702), followed by #17 GUGLEMIN (141.671 mph; 1:42.864) and #99X MOORE (141.647 mph; 1:42.881).

At 12:55 p.m., #10X HEARN stalls at the entrance to pit road. CART safety workers tow the car back to the pit area.

At 12:57, #25 PAPIS goes off course at Turn 2 but gains control of the car and continues on course to his pit area with no apparent damage to the car.

At 12:58 p.m., #16 CASTRO-NEVES goes off course at Turn 8 but continues on course to his pit area.

At 1 p.m., 15 minutes into the Group One qualifying session, the fastest qualifier is now #99X MOORE with a lap of 143.285 mph (1:41.705), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (143.172 mph; 1:41.785) and #9 LEHTO (143.088 mph; 1:41.845).

At 1:03 p.m., #19 JOURDAIN JR. spins into the gravel pit at Turn 8 and continues on course to his pit. The car sustains some damage in the incident.

At 1:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest Group One drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 1 p.m. report.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:08 p.m. to #10X HEARN for a pit road speed violation.

At 1:09 p.m., #36 BARRON stalls at Turn 8. CART safety workers pull the car to safety for the rest of the session.

At 1:10 p.m., #24 GORDON runs off course at Turn 8 and regains control and continues on course to his pit area.

At 1:10 p.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #99X MOORE with a lap of 143.977 mph (1:41.216), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (143.172 mph; 1:41.785) and #9 LEHTO (143.088 mph; 1:41.845).

At 1:13 p.m., #99X MOORE clocks the fastest lap of the Group One session with a speed of 144.633 mph (1:40.757).

At 1:13 p.m., #33 CARPENTIER spins at Turn 14 and returns to the pit area.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. with #99X MOORE still the fastest driver with a lap of 144.633 mph (1:40.757), followed by #21 KANAAN (144.031 mph; 1:41.178) and #33 CARPENTIER (143.172 mph; 1:41.785).

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 100 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 77 degrees F. at the start of the Group Two qualifying session.

At 1:33 p.m., #26 TRACY spins at Turn 14 but continues on course without damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 1:34 p.m. after #12 VASSER spins at Turn 7. #20 PRUETT and #40 FERNANDEZ spin together into the gravel trap at Turn 8. CART safety workers get all three cars restarted and the drivers return to their respective pit areas, each sporting a standard eight-minute penalty.

At 1:35 p.m., five minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #27X FRANCHITTI with a lap of 143.061 mph (1:41.864), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (140.974 mph; 1:43.372) and #40 FERNANDEZ (140.124 mph; 1:43.999).

At 1:40 p.m., ten minutes into the session and still under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:35 p.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:46 p.m. to continue the Group Two qualifying session.

At 1:52 p.m., #18 BLUNDELL spins at Turn 5 and continues on course to his pit area.

At 1:53 p.m., #6 ANDRETTI logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 145.323 mph (1:40.279).

At 1:54 p.m., #8 HERTA moves to second-fastest with a speed of 144.942 mph (1:40.542).

At 1:55 p.m., the fastest Group Two driver is still #6 ANDRETTI with a lap of 145.323 mph (1:40.323), followed by #8 HERTA (145.045 mph;

1:40.471) and #5X DE FERRAN (144.345 mph; 1:40.958).

At 1:58 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI spins off course at Turn 14 and stalls against the wall. CART safety workers pull the car to safety and the race course stays Green.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2:01 p.m. to end the Group Two qualifying session with #6 ANDRETTI the fastest of the session and the weekend with a lap of 145.745 mph (1:39.988), followed by #8 HERTA (145.628 mph; 1:40.069) and #7 RAHAL (145.228; 1:40.344).

At 2:03 p.m., #1 ZANARDI spins off course on his last lap and stalls the car.

At 2:04 p.m., #8 HERTA spins at Turn 14 on his cool-down lap and continues on course to his pit area.

The top nineteen drivers on the grid are separated by less than two seconds in lap times.. FedEx Championship Series drivers brought 27 cars to this final round of qualifying with secondary cars utilized by #5X DE FERRAN, #27 FRANCHITTI, #99 MOORE, #19 JOURDAIN JR. and #10 HEARN. #3 RIBEIRO did not take a timed lap during the final round of qualifying. CART drivers logged 222 laps during the session.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI wins the Marlboro Pole Award for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200 with his track-record lap of 145.745 mph (1:39.988). This is ANDRETTI's first pole since Long Beach in 1995. This is also ANDRETTI's 31st career pole which gives ANDRETTI sole possession of second place in career poles in CART history, breaking the tie he has been in since 1995 with his father, Mario.

BRYAN HERTA is second on the grid with his speed of 145.628 mph (1:40.069). This is HERTA's sixth top-five start in the last seven events. This also represents HERTA's best career start at Road America.

HERTA's previous best start was a sixth in 1996.

BOBBY RAHAL will start third in tomorrow's race by virtue of his 145.228 mph (1:40.344) lap. This represents the second-best start of the season for RAHAL; he had previously started second at Long Beach. Tomorrow will also represent RAHAL's seventh top-ten start of the season.

Quotes from the top three qualifiers for tomorrow's Texaco/Havoline 200 follow.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford: "Until this afternoon, it seemed like every time we started to get something going this weekend we'd get a red flag, and I'd wonder, 'How am I going to ever catch a break?' But it was a perfect qualifying session. Every lap I had out there was clear and the car was great. This feels as good as a win to me personally because it's been so long. I'd like to thank Goodyear, they've really worked hard to get to this point. And the Ford engine has been great. I'm just really happy with the package we're running right now."

BRYAN HERTA, Shell Reynard Ford: "It was a pretty good day throughout. We made some significant gains yesterday in the car and today was just fine tuning. I had a good lap going, then [Gil] de Ferran spun off and I thought they were going to red flag the session. Luckily, they didn't, and it gave me enough time to get in one more good lap."

BOBBY RAHAL, Miller Lite Reynard Ford: "This morning was kind of uneventful. We made some changes and ran on cold tires, and I really think I had my best lap on tires which had 110 miles on them. In the first part of the [qualifying] session, we couldn't get going, then the Patrick guys [Adrian Fernandez and Scott Pruett] got together and we were able to make some changes that the car really liked. As the owner of the second and third cars on the grid, I'm thrilled, and hoping that maybe we can do one better tomorrow. I've raced all around the world, as Michael [Andretti] has, and I rate this as one of the top five race tracks, not only in the country, but in the world. This is a drivers' track and drivers love coming here."

PPG Industries, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dale Coyne, owner of Payton Coyne Racing, has been named as PPG's Colorful Character for Road America at Elkhart Lake.

Coyne got his racing start in 1975 in Showroom Stock before progressing through Formula Atlantic and Super Vee on his way to becoming a Champ Car driver. He retired from driving in 1988 to focus his efforts on running his team. Since then, he has gained a reputation for offering young rookies like Paul Tracy their first Champ Car rides. Payton Coyne's driver, Michel Jourdain Jr.1 was voted STP Most Improved driver in 1997.

"Dale Coyne is a dedicated and popular team owner who has boot-strapped his team up the ladder in PPG Cup competition," said Mike Sack, PPG's Director of Sports Marketing. "We are pleased to welcome Dale as our latest PPG Colorful Character."

Created in 1995 by PPG Industries, co-title sponsor of the 1998 CART FedEx Championship, the PPG Colorful Character award recognizes members of the racing community who add color, style, personality and fun to the series.

Coyne joins prior winners including: Fr. Phil DeRea, Tom Carnegie, Rick Mears, Roger Bailey, Lou Palmer, Barry Green, Leo MehI, Sid Priddle, Floyd Ganassi, Wally Reese, Wally Dallenbach, Robin Miller, Shav Glick, Mario Andretti, Jim McGee, kirk Russell, Mike Nealy, Al Speyer, Ned Wicker, Ned and Ann Miller, Michelle Trueman-Gajoch, Jim Melvin, Jim Hall, Dan Gurney, Pat Patrick, Ralph Sanchez, Les Unger, Dan Luginbuhl, Bud Stanner, Derrick Walker, Mike Harris, Christine Horne, Jim Haynes, Phil Heard, Ron Hussey, Alex Zanardi, Dr. Steve Olvey, Bruce Flanders, Walt Czarnecki, Chuck Givier, Emerson Fittipaldi, Brian Stewart, Carl Haas, Andrew Craig, Bruce McCaw, Dan Proudfoot, Roger Penske and Bobby Rahal.

Nominations for PPG Colorful Characters may be sent by fans, media, teams and sponsors to: PPG Colorful Characters, PPG Industries, Inc., 19699 Progress Drive, Strongsville, OH 44136.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Scott Pruett , Dan Gurney , Emerson Fittipaldi , Carl Haas , Barry Green , Roger Bailey , Roger Penske , Robin Miller , Dale Coyne , Michel Jourdain
Teams Team Penske