CHAMPCAR/CART: Spring Training Wednesday Track Notes

Spring Training Track Notes, Wednesday Homestead, FL (February 3, 1999) Welcome to the opening day of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season; Day One of CART Spring Training at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. This morning has...

Spring Training Track Notes, Wednesday

Homestead, FL (February 3, 1999)

Welcome to the opening day of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season; Day One of CART Spring Training at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. This morning has greeted the early arrivals to the 1.052-mile oval with warm temperatures and blue skies here in south Florida. Today's on-track schedule has the Champ Cars on-track at 9 a.m. for a 2 hour, 45-minute practice session, followed by the afternoon session taking the Green Flag at 1 p.m.; again on-track and at speed for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Champ Car drivers will be lapping the track well over 200 mph within minutes of the start of the first session, taking a crack at GREG MOORE's track record speed of 217.541 mph (24.856 seconds) logged in last year's qualifying for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami.

The Team Kool Green #26 Honda-Reynard entry normally piloted by PAUL TRACY will be driven by veteran RAUL BOESEL during this morning's session. TRACY will be sitting out the first race of the season; the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota; to comply with a rough-driving penalty levied by CART Chief Steward, WALLY DALLENBACH, after last year's Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. Since BOESEL will be driving the car for the Miami race, Team Kool Green elected to give the Brazilian ace as much seat time in the 1999 Reynard as possible. TRACY will officially return to the FedEx Championship Series the weekend of April 10th for the second event of the season, the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Motegi, Japan.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the first practice session of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season. #18 BLUNDELL logs the first official timed lap of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 77 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 75 degrees F. at the start of the session.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:05 a.m. after #26 BOESEL loses power on-track and stalls the car at the bottom of Turn 1. CART safety workers quickly get the car back to the garage area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:07 a.m. to resume the morning session.

At 9:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #6X ANDRETTI with a speed of 204.153 mph (26.486 seconds), followed by #2X UNSER JR. (197.293 mph; 27.407 seconds) and #19 JOURDAIN JR. (188.720 mph; 28.652 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:14 a.m. after #16 HATTORI makes heavy contact with the outside wall in Turn 4. HATTORI is uninjured in the incident but the Epson-sponsored Mercedes-Reynard is destroyed in the incident. HATTORI is seen and released from the CART Mobile Medical facility within minutes. The Bettenhausen Mortorsports team loads up their equipment to return to their home base in Indianapolis as they only brought one car to Spring Training.

At 9:20 a.m. and under a full-course yellow flag, the fastest driver is now #40 FERNANDEZ with a speed of 205.965 mph (26.253 seconds), followed by #6X ANDRETTI (204.153 mph; 26.486 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (203.669 mph; 26.549 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:32 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

At 9:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #12 VASSER with a speed of 210.766 mph (25.655 seconds), followed by teammate #4 MONTOYA (210.055 mph; 25.748 seconds) and #26 BOESEL (208.266 mph; 25.963 seconds).

At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 9:40 a.m. report.

At 10 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is still #12 VASSER with his earlier lap of 210.766 mph (25.655 seconds), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (210.758 mph; 25.656 seconds) and #4 MONTOYA (210.005 mph; 25.748 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:07 a.m. for a track inspection after the crew of #25 da MATTA reports a cut right front tire on their car upon examination in the pits. CART safety workers quickly make a full sweep of the track.

At 10:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session and under a full-course yellow flag, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:14 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 10:20 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:10 a.m. report.

At 10:30 a.m., 90 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:20 a.m. report.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 10:31 a.m. for CART safety workers to inspect the track after several crews on pit road report cut tires on their machines.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:44 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

At 10:50 a.m., one hour and 50 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:30 a.m. report.

At 11 a.m., two hours into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:50 a.m. report.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:05 a.m. for a track inspection after CART corner workers report possible debris on the track.

GREEN FLAG waves 11:10 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

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

At 11:26 a.m., #33 CARPENTIER logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 213.092 mph (25.375 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:27 a.m. for a track inspection after the crew of #9 CASTRO-NEVES reports that a small piece of metal from their car may have fallen on the track.

At 11:30 a.m., two and one half hours into the session and under a full-course yellow flag, the fastest driver is still #33 CARPENTIER with a lap of 213.092 mph (25.375 seconds), followed by #12 VASSER (212.723 mph; 25.419 seconds) and #5 de FERRAN (210.758 mph; 25.656 seconds).

At 11:40 a.m. with ten minutes left in the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:30 a.m. report.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:45 p.m. with #33 CARPENTIER the fastest driver of the session with his earlier lap of 213.092 mph (25.375 seconds), followed by #12 VASSER (212.723 mph; 25.419 seconds) and #5 de FERRAN (210.758 mph; 25.656 seconds). Sixteen drivers clocked laps within one second of the fast time set by CARPENTIER. There were 28 different cars on-track this morning with secondary cars utilized by #6X ANDRETTI and #2X UNSER JR. #22 ROBBIE GORDON did not make an appearance in this morning's session as Team Gordon will not take delivery on their new Swift chassis until later this month. The Champ Car drivers logged a total of 1183 laps during this first session of the session.

At 1 p.m. and with the Champ Cars reading for another session, the temperature here in south Florida has increased dramatically. With plentiful sunshine punctuated only by a light breeze from the Atlantic, the setups will definitely have to change from the morning runs to accommodate the heat buildup.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. to start the afternoon practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 104 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 89 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 1:25 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #6X ANDRETTI with a speed of 205.808 mph (26.273 seconds), followed by #24 PRUETT (195.065 mph; 27.720 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (175.359 mph; 30.835 seconds).

At 12:29 p.m., #24 PRUETT logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 209.703 mph (25.785 seconds).

At 1:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #24 PRUETT with his earlier lap of 209.703 mph (25.785 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (208.209 mph; 25.970 seconds) and #6X ANDRETTI (205.808 mph; 26.273 seconds).

At 1:45 p.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #24 PRUETT with his earlier lap of 209.703 mph (25.785 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (208.209 mph; 25.970 seconds), and #7 RAHAL (207.905 mph; 26.008 seconds).

At 1:55 p.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #24 PRUETT with his earlier lap of 209.703 mph (25.785 seconds), followed by #26 BOESEL (208.611 mph; 25.920 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (208.209 mph; 25.970 seconds).

At 2 p.m., #7 PAPIS clocks the fastest lap so far in the session with a speed of 212.305 mph (25.469 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:02 p.m. after the crew of #17 GUGELMIN reports that their car picked up a bolt at speed on the track. The bolt damaged the under wing on GUGELMIN's car, necessitating a quick pit stop. After the rest of the cars on the track pit for the Yellow Flag, the crew of #15 N. HATTORI subsequently reports a missing bolt from the visor on their car. CART safety workers quickly locate the bolt after inspecting the track.

At 2:05 p.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 212.305 mph (25.469 seconds), followed by #4 MONTOYA (211.674 mph; 25.545 seconds) and #24 PRUETT (209.703 mph; 25.785 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:08 p.m. to resume the afternoon session.

At 2:15 p.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is #7 PAPIS with his earlier lap of 212.305 mph (25.469 seconds), followed by #12 VASSER (211.839 mph; 25.525 seconds) and #4 MONTOYA (211.674 mph; 25.545 seconds).

At 2:23 p.m., #2 UNSER JR. slows on-course in Turn 2 and loses power with smoke trailing from the rear of the car as he continues down the back stretch. UNSER JR. subsequently pits his car.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:24 p.m. for a track inspection after CART safety workers report oil on the track from #2 UNSER JR.'s car.

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

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to resume the practice session.

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

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.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 2:56 p.m. after the crew of #8 HERTA reports a cut right rear tire upon examination in the pit area. CART safety workers quickly make a track inspection and find the offending screw that caused HERTA's tire puncture.

GREEN FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to resume the session.

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 3:10 p.m., #7 PAPIS loses power on the back stretch and subsequently pits his car after a long Green Flag run while maintaining the fastest speed of the session.

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 driver is now #12 VASSER with a clocked lap of 212.556 mph (25.439 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (212.305 mph; 25.469 seconds), and #4 MONTOYA (211.674 mph; 25.545 seconds).

At 3:40 p.m., #12 VASSER ups his session top-speed to 212.915 mph (25.396 seconds).

At 3:45 p.m., the fastest driver is still #12 VASSER with his earlier lap of 212.915 mph (25.396 seconds), followed by #7 PAPIS (212.305 mph; 25.469 seconds) and #4 MONTOYA (211.674 mph; 25.545 seconds). The top 20 cars logged speeds within one second of VASSER's top rank during this afternoon's session. CART drivers introduced 28 different cars to the track in this afternoon's session with secondary cars utilized by #6X ANDRETTI, #2X UNSER JR., and #44X KANAAN. The drivers logged a total of 1151 incident-free laps during this afternoon's session.

MAX PAPIS made the biggest gain in speed from this morning to this afternoon's sessions by jumping from ninth-fastest to second-fastest by the end of the day. MICHAEL ANDRETTI also moved up from fifteenth-fastest to eighth-fastest by the end of the afternoon session.

PATRICK CARPENTIER ends the first day of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series in his Players Mercedes Reynard with the fastest practice speed of all drivers by virtue of his 213.092 mph lap (25.375 seconds) in this morning's session.

JIMMY VASSER stands second in the rankings in his Target Honda Reynard with his afternoon effort of 212.915 mph (25.396 seconds).

MAX PAPIS is third in Team Rahal's Ford Reynard after the day's dust settles with a 212.305 mph (25.469 seconds) speed.

Quotes from today's top three drivers follow:

PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard: "We're really happy. The Player's Forsythe team always has good setups on ovals and when we put the car on the track this morning, it was very fast right out of the box. We had a good day today. I give 100 per cent all the time. Everybody has the same track time and everybody is working hard to put a good lap in. That's what we did today. The track changed a little bit [from the morning to the afternoon]. We tried to change some things this afternoon but it didn't work out. The car was kind of loose, but we were able to make it better toward the end and hopefully, we can carry that into tomorrow."

JIMMY VASSER, Target Honda Reynard: "We've been running good on the bigger ovals for awhile and we've done a lot of tire testing with Firestone and a lot of work with Honda on the engine. We've been going good in the off-season, but we need to do a little bit more work on the race car. In Spring Training, you can try a few things, but you don't really get the kind of results you get when you come out and test all day by yourself. Juan [Montoya, fourth fastest today] is doing a great job; he's going to be a great replacement for our missing champion [Alex Zanardi, now in Formula One]. I see no reason why the success we've had the past three or four years shouldn't carry over."

MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Reynard Ford: "We're starting to know each other, building some chemistry on the team. I'm very pleased. I feel like I'm going pretty slow and we're still running third. We've got a long way to go, but this is a good start. For sure, I see the CART world from an entirely different perspective this year."

Source: CART Online

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Zanardi