CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Homestead Preview

TEAM KOOL GREEN PACKS A POWERFUL PUNCH WITH TRACY AND FRANCHITTI AT HOMESTEAD NAOKI HATTORI AIMS FOR PODIUM IN INDY LIGHTS FedEx Championship Series: Round 1 - Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Following an extensive pre-season schedule...

TEAM KOOL GREEN PACKS A POWERFUL PUNCH WITH TRACY AND FRANCHITTI AT HOMESTEAD NAOKI HATTORI AIMS FOR PODIUM IN INDY LIGHTS FedEx Championship Series: Round 1 - Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Following an extensive pre-season schedule of testing, Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti are set to open the 1998 FedEx Championship Series for the PPG Cup at the Miami-Dade Motorsports Complex, March 13-15. Tracy, who resides in Parker, Ariz., will be looking to retain his 1996 track record of 198.590 mph on the reconfigured 1.5-mile, continuous radius oval. The mark itself is expected to fall, as Tracy was one of 28 drivers to exceed the record at CART Spring Training in February. "The track record will be erased, but I'm not really concerned about that," said Tracy, who started 16th but finished second to Michael Andretti last year. "Our focus is really on the race itself. My three wins came on ovals last year, so I like our chances early in the season with six of the first seven races on ovals. "We've also done a lot of testing over the last two months and I'm getting more comfortable with the car each time out. We'll use qualifying to work primarily on our race setup, but I'll still shoot for the pole position." Tracy ran a total of 230 laps on Homestead's 1.5-mile oval on Feb. 24-25, turning a fast lap of 25.8 seconds in the process. Franchitti, who can drive to the race from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, posted the fourth-fastest speed in day two of Spring Training with a lap-time of 25.788 seconds. "I'm really pumped up for this race, especially with what we have achieved in testing," said Franchitti, who started 13th but placed 25th in his CART debut at Homestead. "We have been accumulating a lot of good data that should prove useful in the race. Really, my only concern is the weather and the wind pushing the car around. We can go extremely fast with no wind." Team owner Barry Green believes strongly in the talent behind the wheel of his two KOOL Reynard/Honda/Firestone cars. He did not hesitate in signing an aggressive veteran driver like Tracy to partner with a young lion like Franchitti. "Tracy's desire to race at the front is very intense, as are his hopes for winning the championship," said Green. "And, Franchitti continues to impress me with his ability to communicate with our engineers. I firmly believe this is the right driver combination to work toward a championship." Team KOOL Green also has its sights set on challenging for the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship this season with Naoki Hattori. The second-year Japanese driver logged 450 miles at Homestead, Feb. 12-13, with a best lap of 30.3 seconds (178.808 mph) in pre-season testing. "It took most of one day to get used to driving on the oval track," said Hattori, who finished 13th in his debut at Homestead last year. "By the end of the day I was comfortable with the track. We also have a couple more days of testing before the race." The PPG-Dayton Indy Lights race begins at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, before the 150-lap CART FedEx Championship Series race at 1:30 p.m.

*********** Motorsport News International Miami Internet Access Provided by: MIACOM, Inc. A Miami Internet Access Company http://www.miacom.net

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Barry Green , Naoki Hattori