CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Finds Nazareth Cool

NAZARETH COOL TO TEAM KOOL GREEN TESTING REPORT INDIANAPOLIS (March 26, 1999) -" Team KOOL Green and drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy conducted two days of tests at a chilly Nazareth Speedway on March 25 and 26 in preparation for Round 4...

NAZARETH COOL TO TEAM KOOL GREEN TESTING REPORT

INDIANAPOLIS (March 26, 1999) -" Team KOOL Green and drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy conducted two days of tests at a chilly Nazareth Speedway on March 25 and 26 in preparation for Round 4 of the FedEx Championship Series there on May 2.

The test provided Franchitti and Tracy their first experience at Nazareth with the low downforce "speedway" wing configuration mandated by CART on domestic oval tracks in 1999. With ambient temperatures hovering near 40°F, Franchitti ran 155 laps on Thursday and another 136 laps on Friday in the KOOL Honda-Reynard. His fastest lap of 20.7 seconds was among the fastest of several cars testing at Nazareth this week, but more than 2 seconds off last year's pole-winning time.

The news was not so good for Tracy, who had a minor accident on Thursday, then after overnight repairs suffered an engine failure the next morning. However, his mechanics installed a fresh engine in time for Tracy to run 168 laps on Friday afternoon. His best lap of the test was a 20.92 seconds.

PAUL TRACY, #26 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone:

"I'm not a big fan of the new wing configuration. I was doing 80 mph, maximum, when I crashed. There's no grip, no security, and the window of controllability is virtually nothing. Under these conditions, it takes 15 laps just to get your tires up to temperature.

"But we all have to deal with it. Friday afternoon we got some good laps in and we'll come back with a good starting point for the race."

DARIO FRANCHITTI , #27 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone:

"It's really tricky. This is the first time the track has been used since the winter, so it's 'green,' there are new asphalt patches in the turns, the weather is cold and, with low downforce, there's no grip."

KYLE MOYER, Team KOOL Green team manager

"We were just trying to get a handle on the car in low downforce trim. The balance is about the same. We're still facing the same problems in Turn 2 with the car being loose and in Turn 3 with it wanting to push. It's just that everything's a bit slower."

Meanwhile, Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney continued preparations for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship by testing at Buttonwillow Raceway in California March 24 and 25. Gurney completed 180 miles in his Swift 008.a during the course of the test, and lapped fractionally slower than his previous best of 57.6s at Buttonwillow.

"We went through a lot of good changes to the car and we found out a good bit of information," said Gurney. "We weren't able to improve on our previous times, but we got pretty close. I think we'll have some good things for the start of the season."

Team KOOL Green will spend the next several days preparing for the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi circuit on Apr. 10. Gurney’s crew plans to test again in mid-April before their season-opener at Long Beach on Apr. 17. In addition, Team KOOL Green Indy Lights driver Jonny Kane is scheduled to test at Portland International Raceway April 7 and 8, and at Firebird International Raceway Apr. 13 prior to Round 2 of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship at Long Beach.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Gurney , Paul Tracy , Jonny Kane