CHAMPCAR/CART: Spring Training Thursday Track Notes

Spring Training Track Notes, Thursday Good Morning from southern Florida for the final day of Spring Training 1999! With most of the teams coming from the frigid Mid-West, and over 474 journalists from all over the world in attendance for this...

Spring Training Track Notes, Thursday

Good Morning from southern Florida for the final day of Spring Training 1999! With most of the teams coming from the frigid Mid-West, and over 474 journalists from all over the world in attendance for this year's sessions (many from the Northern hemisphere), sunscreen sales are soaring in the Homestead area. And another beautiful day is starting here at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex with temperatures expected in the mid-eighties by noon. Today's CART on-track activities are a mirror-image of yesterday's schedule; two two-hour and 45-minute sessions with the morning session taking the Green Flag at 9 a.m. and the afternoon session starting at 1:15 p.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the morning practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 77 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 74 degrees F. at the start of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:08 a.m. after several drivers report debris on the track. CART safety workers quickly are dispatched for a track inspection.

At 9:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #24 PRUETT with a lap of 210.667 mph (25.667 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (209.760 mph; 25.778 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (208.845 mph; 25.891 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:13 a.m. to resume the morning session.

At 9:18 a.m., #4 MONTOYA logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 211.136 mph (25.610 seconds).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #4 MONTOYA with his earlier lap of 211.136 mph (25.610 seconds), followed by #24 PRUETT (210.667 mph; 25.667 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (209.760 mph; 25.778 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:22 a.m. for a track inspection after the crew of #4 MONTOYA reports that they have found a cut right rear tire on the car upon examination in their pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:27 a.m. to resume the session.

At 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #4 MONTOYA with his earlier lap of 211.136 mph (25.610 seconds), followed by #24 PRUETT and #7 PAPIS, both clocking identical lap speeds of 210.667 (25.667 seconds).

At 9:33 a.m., #99 MOORE moves to the top of the morning session speed board with a lap of 212.330 mph (25.466 seconds).

At 9:34 a.m., #26 BOESEL now has the fastest speed of the morning session with a speed of 212.556 mph (25.439 seconds).

At 9:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26 BOESEL with his earlier lap of 212.556 mph (25.439 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (212.330 mph; 25.466 seconds) and #12 VASSER (212.155 mph; 25.487 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:45 a.m. for a track inspection after several drivers report debris between Turns 1 and 2. CART safety workers employ the truck-mounted jet blower to completely clean the racing surface.

At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:40 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:51 a.m. to resume the practice session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:58 a.m. for a track inspection after the crew of #10 HEARN reports a cut right, rear tire on their car after examination in the pit area.

At 10 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:50 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:03 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26 BOESEL with his earlier lap of 212.556 mph (25.439 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (212.330 mph; 25.466 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (212.230 mph; 25.478 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:19 a.m. after the crews of #5 de FERRAN and #20 JONES report cut tires on their respective cars after examination in the pit area. CART Race Control again dispatches the jet blower to completely clean the track from debris and rubber build-up.

At 10:20 a.m., 80 minutes into the session and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is now #99 MOORE with the quickest lap of Spring Training 1999 so far at a speed of 215.813 mph (25.055 seconds), followed by #12 VASSER (214.325 mph; 25.229 seconds) and #8 HERTA (213.614 mph; 25.313 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:34 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10:40 a.m., one hour and 40 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:20 a.m. report.

At 10:50 a.m., one hour and 50 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:40 a.m. report.

At 10:53 a.m., #5 de FERRAN logs the second fastest lap of Spring Training 1999 with a speed of 215.203 mph (25.126 seconds).

At 11 a.m., two hours into the session, the fastest driver is still #99 MOORE with his earlier lap of 215.813 mph (25.055 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (215.203 mph; 25.126 seconds) and #12 VASSER (214.325 mph; 25.229 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:07 a.m. for a track inspection after the crew of #27 FRANCHITTI reports two cut tires upon examination in the pit area.

At 11:10 a.m., two hours and ten minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:13 a.m. to resume the session.

At 11:15 a.m., #33 CARPENTIER clocks the fastest lap of Spring Training 1999 with a speed of 216.617 mph (24.962 seconds). He became the second driver ever to break the 25-second timed lap barrier at Homestead, joining teammate Greg Moore, who set the track record in qualifying for the 1998 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota (24.856).

At 11:20 a.m., two hours and 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #33 CARPENTIER with his earlier lap of 216.617 mph (24.962 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (215.813 mph; 25.055 seconds), and #5 de FERRAN (215.203 mph; 25.126 seconds).

At 11:30 a.m., two hours and 30 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:20 a.m. report.

At 11:40 a.m., two hours and 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #33 CARPENTIER with his earlier lap of 216.617 mph (24.962 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (215.813 mph; 25.055 seconds), and #12 VASSER (215.375 mph; 25.106 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:45 a.m. to end the final morning practice session of Spring Training 1999 with the fastest driver still the Players Mercedes Reynard driver #33 PATRICK CARPENTIER with his earlier lap of 216.617 mph (24.962 seconds), followed by Players teammate #99 GREG MOORE (215.813 mph; 25.055 seconds), and Target Honda Reynard driver #12 JIMMY VASSER (215.375 mph; 25.106 seconds). Most drivers in this morning's session improved lap speeds by one to three miles per hour over4 yesterday's best with #8 HERTA making the biggest jump in performance, from 17th-fastest overall Wednesday to sixth-fastest overall this morning. There were 16 drivers within one second of the fast lap of the session clocked by CARPENTIER. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 different cars to the track in this morning's session with no drivers utilizing secondary cars. CART drivers logged 1373 incident-free laps during the session.

Dayton Tire, official co-title sponsor of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship, will double its support of CART's "Official Development Series" at next month's season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota. Officials from Dayton Tire and CART announced today that the Indy Lights sprint that will set the stage for the season-opening FedEx Championship Series race on Sunday, March 21 on the Miami-Homestead Speedway will be entitled the Daytona Tire Challenge. "Dayton Tire's involvement as a series sponsor began here at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in 1998 when we joined the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship as a title sponsor and the official series tire supplier with our high-performance Dayton Daytona radials," said Joe Barbieri, Dayton Motorsports Project Manager.

"The relationship has increased Dayton's exposure tremendously after the first year and we are thrilled to add another element to our CART and PPG-Dayton Indy Lights sponsorship with the Daytona Tire Challenge. This will be Dayton's first involvement as a race sponsor and we are happy to be able to present the Daytona Tire Challenge at the same facility where Dayton began its PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship sponsorship last year." While the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship is not participating in this week's CART Spring Training, the series will conduct a two-day test session of its own on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the Daytona Tire Challenge.

The final rung in CART's "Ladder System" of driver development, the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship will commence its 14th year of operation with the Daytona Tire Challenge. No less than 10 drivers racing full-time in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series are graduates of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship. The list includes Champ Car rookies Cristiano da Matta, Shigeaki Hattori and Naoki Hattori who all made their FedEx Championship debuts this week after graduating from Indy Lights last season. Shigeaki Hattori won the 1998 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights race at Miami and da Matta finished second. Other drivers racing in the FedEx Championship Series who came from Indy Lights include winning graduates Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta, Adrian Fernandez, PJ Jones, Greg Moore and 1997 Indy Lights stars Tony Kanaan and Helio Castro-Neves. Tracy, (1990), Herta (1993), Moore (1995) and Kanaan (1997) join da Matta (1998) as Indy Lights champions.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. to start the final test session of Spring Training 1999. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 102 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 82 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 1:25 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #17 GUGELMIN with a lap of 210.577 mph (25.678 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (210.233 mph; 25.720 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (207.993 mph; 25.997 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 1:29 p.m. for a track inspection after the crews of #26 BOESEL and #33 CARPENTIER report cut tires on their respective machines after inspection in the pit area.

At 1:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:25 p.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:36 p.m. to resume the session.

At 1:45 p.m., 30 minutes into the final session, the fastest driver is now #18 BLUNDELL with a lap of 211.682 mph (25.544 seconds), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (210.577 mph; 25.678 seconds) and #33 CARPENTIER (210.233 mph; 25.720 seconds).

At 1:55 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #33 CARPENTIER with a speed of 212.122 mph (25.491 seconds), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (211.682 mph; 25.544 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (210.577 mph; 25.678 seconds).

At 1:56 p.m., #7 PAPIS clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 212.581 mph (25.436 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 1:58 p.m. after #12 VASSER loses power going through Turn 1 and stalls the car on the back straight.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:03 p.m. to resume the session.

At 2:05 p.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 212.581 mph (25.436 seconds), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (212.122 mph; 25.491 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (211.682 mph; 25.544 seconds).

At 2:15 p.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is now #33 CARPENTIER with a lap of 215.762 mph (25.061 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (213.335 mph; 25.346 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (211.682 mph; 25.544 seconds).

At 2:25 p.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:15 p.m. report.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:33 p.m. for a track inspection after the end plate from #8 HERTA's rear wing came off the car at speed. CART safety workers retrieve the piece and quickly complete the inspection of the track.

At 2:35 p.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:25 p.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:40 p.m. to resume the session.

At 2:45 p.m., 90 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:35 p.m. report.

At 2:55 p.m., one hour and 40 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:45 p.m. report.

At 3:05 p.m., one hour and 50 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:55 p.m. report.

At 3:12 p.m., #24 PRUETT loses power going down the backstretch and coasts to his pit area.

At 3:15 p.m., two hours into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:05 p.m.

At 3:25 p.m., two hours and ten minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:15 p.m. report.

At 3:35 p.m., two hours and 20 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:25 p.m. report.

At 3:45 p.m., two hours and 30 minutes into the session, #33 CARPENTIER is still the fastest driver of the session with his earlier lap of 215.762 mph (25.061 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (214.265 mph; 25.236 seconds), and #7 PAPIS (213.335 mph; 25.346 seconds).

At 3:55 p.m., two hours and 40 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 3:45 p.m. report.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 4 p.m. to end Spring Training 1999 with #33 CARPENTIER the fastest driver of the session with his earlier lap of 215.762 mph (25.061 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (214.554 mph; 25.202 seconds) and #99 MOORE (214.265 mph; 25.236 seconds). There are 18 cars within one second in lap times of the quick lap by CARPENTIER. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 different cars to the track in this final session with a secondary car utilized only by #2X UNSER JR. CART drivers logged 1125 laps during this final session.

PATRICK CARPENTIER finishes Spring Training 1999 with the quickest time by virtue of his lap of 216.617 mph (24.962 seconds) in this morning's session with his Players Mercedes Reynard.

GREG MOORE ends Spring Training 1999 second only to his Players teammate with a speed of 215.813 mph (25.055 seconds).

JIMMY VASSER finishes the week third in speed with his lap of 215.375 mph (25.106 seconds).

Quotes from the top two finishers follow:

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 per cent 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."

The FedEx Championship Series drivers logged 4832 laps in the last two days with only one incident. ALEX BARRON logged the most laps with 347 during the two days with SHIGEAKI HATTORI completing the fewest laps with 6. The final speed board show 18 drivers within one second of the hot lap speed of CARPENTIER.

Team Gordon, co-owned by Gordon, John Meynard, and Mike Held, announced today the selection of Firestone as its tire for Championship Auto Racing competition. The addition gives Firestone a total of 20 cars in CART, 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, 30, has already logged a varied and successful driving career in off-road, open-wheel and stock car machines. His CART debut came in 1992 and he is a two- time race winner in CART. "Everyone at Team Gordon is excited about our alliance with Firestone," said Gordon. "Since the inception of the team we have attempted to attain the best possible people and equipment available. We know that we have the best tire now in Firestone."

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Shigeaki Hattori , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Naoki Hattori , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta