Vasser on Top Again CART Online (February 5, 1998) -- Jimmy Vasser's record of success at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex continued Thursday when he posted the fastest overall lap of ...
Vasser on Top Again
CART Online (February 5, 1998) -- Jimmy Vasser's record of success at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex continued Thursday when he posted the fastest overall lap of Championship Auto Racing Teams Spring Training.
Vasser (Target Reynard Honda) completed a lap of 212.039 miles per hour on the 1.5-mile, continuous radius Homestead oval during the second day of the two-day open test, which helped prepare teams for the 19-race FedEx Championship Series season. The series returns to Homestead March 13-15 for its season opener, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota.
Unofficially, 25 drivers bettered Paul Tracy's 1996 qualifying record of 198.590 mph over the two-day session. Championship Car drivers completed 3,606 incident-free laps during the two days.
Vasser's quick lap, which came during Thursday's morning session, added further to Vasser's impressive resume at Homestead. He was fastest at CART's inaugural Spring Training before earning his first career PPG Cup victory at Homestead in 1996, then claimed the fastest time of last year's Spring Training before finishing third in the season-opening race here.
Vasser's top speed was recorded during the Thursday morning session, which took place in mild weather conditions that contrasted sharply with Wednesday's practices, which were slowed by gusts of up to 36 miles per hour.
"Our whole package still seems to be every bit as good as what it's been the past couple of years," said Vasser, the 1996 PPG Cup champion. "We only used two sets of tires the whole time we were here. In the afternoon, we changed our setup around and went for long runs. I'm still somewhat happy but not totally happy. There's still some room for improvement."
Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford) was second fastest Thursday and overall at 210.756 mph. He also posted the second-fastest time of Wednesday at 202.406 mph. Both of his efforts came during morning sessions.
"It was a good two days for us," said Andretti, winner of the 1996 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota . "We didn't learn anything yesterday because of the wind. But this morning we unloaded and the car was great right away. We didn't make one adjustment to the car in the morning session. Had we done a little more work to the car this afternoon, we could have been right down there with Jimmy's time."
Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes) was third fastest at 210.682 mph. It was the leading time of the afternoon session and third best overall.
"Yesterday was pretty much a waste of a day, but I was happy to see that my car was reliable and running well," Gugelmin said. "The engine behaved really well. It was very similar to where we left off last year [when Gugelmin set a world closed-course speed record of 240.942 during qualifying at California Speedway], and there's the potential to grow from there, so I'm really happy.
"The circuit is a lot nicer to drive. I think we'll have very good racing, even though we're more than 10 miles an hour faster than last year."
Source: CART Online