CHAMPCAR/CART: Spring Training Thursday Report

Player's Duo Tops Spring Training Player's Forsythe Racing's Patrick Carpentier dominated 1999 Spring Training. Homestead, Fl (February 4, 1999) - Player's Forsythe Racing capped off a successful FedEx Championship ...

Player's Duo Tops Spring Training

Player's Forsythe Racing's Patrick Carpentier dominated 1999 Spring Training.

Homestead, Fl (February 4, 1999) - Player's Forsythe Racing capped off a successful FedEx Championship Series Spring Training on Thursday as drivers Patrick Carpentier and Greg Moore posted the fastest laps for the two-day open test.

For the second consecutive day, Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard) set the pace, averaging an event-best 216.617 miles per hour (24.962 seconds) for his quickest lap. His pace-setting lap was recorded during Thursday's morning session.

Moore (Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard) averaged 215.813 mph (25.055 seconds) in the same session, good enough for second overall. He is the defending polesitter for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota, which opens the FedEx Championship Series season March 21. His pole-winning speed for the event was 217.541 mph (24.856 sec.).

Carpentier also posted the third best lap of Spring Training as he was quickest in Thursday's afternoon session with a lap of 215.762 mph (25.061 sec.). He was followed by Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) at 215.375 mph (25.106 seconds) and Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard) at 215.203 mph (25.126 seconds).

This marked the first time in four Spring Training events that Vasser did not depart with the fastest lap.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:

PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard: "This gives us a lot of confidence. Actually, what we've been doing the last month has been giving us a lot of confidence. I'm just happy for the guys on the team. They've never stopped believing. I think we're ready to enter the season and I think we're going to be very competitive. We made quite a bit of change to the car this morning and those changes benefited the car. The car was very good; our engineers seem to know exactly which way to go almost 100 percent of the time. We're able to bounce back very quickly when things go wrong."

GREG MOORE, Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard: "We learned a lot because we didn't test here at all. We decided to focus our efforts on road course testing. We decided that rather than come here [earlier] and use up some of our allotted test days, why not come here and use Spring Training for what it is for? It turned out to be very quick learning. It was a good couple of days for the team. I think we rattled a few cages among some of the people who had already tested here three or four days. The list of people that are competitive and able to win races is just massive. The most important thing is to be consistent over the entire season. I certainly expect us to be race-winning contenders pretty much everywhere we go."

Moore - "I think we rattled a few cages among some of the people who had already tested here three or four days."

WHAT'S NOTEWORTHY:

FedEx Championship Series drivers logged 4,832 laps on the 1.502-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval during Spring Training with only one incident. That occurred when rookie Shigeaki Hattori (EPSON Bettenhausen Motorsports Mercedes Reynard) brushed the Turn 4 wall Wednesday morning. He was uninjured in the incident. Alex Barron (Castrol Toyota Eagle) completed the most laps, 347, while Hattori completed the fewest, six. A total of 17 drivers recorded best laps within one second of the event-leading 24.962 second-clocking of Carpentier.

Team Gordon, the newly formed FedEx Championship Series team co-owned by Robby Gordon (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift), John Menard and Mike Held, announced Thursday that Firestone would be the team's tire of choice for the 1999 season. The addition gives Firestone 20 cars on the 1999 entry list, the most for the tire maker since it joined the series in 1995. "We are very pleased to add Team Gordon to the already-potent roster of Firestone teams," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director. "Robby Gordon is a proven winner in open-wheel cars and, with the aid of Firestone tires, is driven to returning to victory lane once again." Gordon competed on Firestone tires in 15 events during last year's FedEx Championship Series. "Everyone at Team Gordon is excited about our alliance with Firestone," Gordon said. "Since the inception of the team, we have attempted to attain the best possible people and equipment available. We know we have the best tire now in Firestone. Team Gordon believes the addition of Firestone is another component that will help us win races as quickly as possible."

A total of 474 print and broadcast media were credentialed for CART's fourth annual Spring Training, a substantial increase from the 300-plus who attended the event in 1998. In addition to the United States, countries represented included Japan, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Finland, Colombia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The CART Winners Circle Fan Club added 744 new members during Spring Training, over 500 of them from Florida. Other new members came from Germany, Brazil, Venezuela, Austria, Switzerland, Chile and the United Kingdom.

WHAT'S NEXT:

The FedEx Championship Series returns to Homestead for the season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota the weekend of March 19-21. The race kicks off a record 20-event 1999 FedEx Championship Series.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Shigeaki Hattori , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron , Greg Moore