FIRST-DAY FORM HOLDS AS TEAM RAHAL CONTINUES ATOP SPRING TRAINING SPEED CHARTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 10, 2000) - Team Rahal drivers Max Papis and Kenny Brack maintained their exalted status Thursday by remaining...
FIRST-DAY FORM HOLDS AS TEAM RAHAL CONTINUES ATOP SPRING TRAINING SPEED CHARTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 10, 2000) - Team Rahal drivers Max Papis and Kenny Brack maintained their exalted status Thursday by remaining atop the speed charts during the second and final day of CART Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), fastest during Wednesday's opening day of testing, bettered his effort with a fast lap of 209.907 miles per hour (25.760 seconds) on the 1.502-mile oval. His showing capped off the two-day open test that was designed to give competitors the opportunity to measure themselves against their rivals as they prepare for the 2000 FedEx Championship Series. The season begins March 26 with the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota in Homestead.
Papis' performance was nearly three miles per hour faster than Wednesday's average speed of 206.044 mph (26.243 seconds).
Brack (Shell Ford Reynard), a rookie making his first appearance at a CART-sanctioned event, was second fastest at 208.651 mph (25.915 seconds). He was over four miles per hour faster than Wednesday, when he was also second at 204.176 mph (26.483 seconds).
Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola), a two-time winner at Homestead (1997, '98), was third fastest Thursday at 208.033 mph (25.992 seconds). He added to a dominant Ford performance as seven of the top-10 drivers were powered by that engine. The group included Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Lola), fifth at 207.069 mph (26.113 seconds); rookie Alexandre Tagliani (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), seventh at 206.437 mph (26.193 seconds); Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), eighth at 206.130 mph (26.232 seconds), and Roberto Moreno (Visteon Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), ninth at 204.369 mph (26.458 seconds).
Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing was sixth-fastest overall at 206.678 mph (26.151 seconds). He and teammate Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola), fourth fastest at 207.236 mph (26.092 seconds), have switched from Honda to Toyota power and from Reynard to Lola chassis this season.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "We've been working very well. We've been evaluating a lot of things, trying to go faster and trying to get a good race setup as well. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a transmission problem in the afternoon, but overall it was a good couple of days and I'm very excited about the start of the season. I have the same mindset I had last year. I just want to be competitive. I want to be in the top three and be consistent. I feel that's very important.
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Reynard: "We've gone through a lot of stuff, mostly race stuff, and we seem to be going fast when we want to go fast. I still don't think it [Spring Training] is a true reading of the race weekend, but if there's going to be a chart it's better to be on top.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola: "It went well in terms of the way the car felt and the speed of the car. We ran the whole [afternoon] session on one set of tires and I think if we had put on a new set of tires, we would have been right there with Max. We ran full tanks during the whole week and the car was right there where we wanted it to be. I think we're going to be close. The beauty of the [Ford] engine is the size of the engine. It allows you to do a lot more things you couldn't do before. We're very excited about having Ford behind us this year."
* Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, visited with Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) early Thursday morning at Jackson Memorial Hospital and reported that the driver is in good spirits and experiencing minimal discomfort. Olvey said that Franchitti, who was injured in a single-car accident when he made contact with the Turn 3 wall on Wednesday afternoon, has a perfectly normal mental status and was due to be transferred from the Trauma Intensive Care Unit to a private room Thursday. According to Olvey, Franchitti is expected to be up on crutches Thursday or Friday and will be released sometime over the weekend. Olvey said Franchitti's ability to compete March 26 in the season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway has not been ruled out at this time. The initial data from the incident points to a mechanical failure in the right rear spindle. "There is no history of failure in this area," Team KOOL Green General Manager Kim Green said. "We are working with our technical partners at Reynard to evaluate the components." Franchitti sustained non-displaced fractures of the pelvis and hip and small multiple contusions of the brain as a result of Wednesday's accident The incident occurred with approximately 10 minutes remaining in the session.
* Admission at Spring Training was available to members of the CART Winners Circle Fan Club, which welcomed 1,031 new members, an increase of nearly 300 over the total of 744 fans registered at last year's event. Membership in the club may be purchased by sending a check or money order for $14.99 to P.O. 8578, Prospect Heights, Ill. 60070.