CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Long Beach Preview

TEAM KOOL GREEN'S TRACY AND FRANCHITTI CONFIDENT HEADING TO LONG BEACH CART FedEx Championship Series: Round 3 of 19 - Long Beach LONG BEACH, CALIF. (March 30, 1998) - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy of Parker, Ariz. and Dario ...

TEAM KOOL GREEN'S TRACY AND FRANCHITTI CONFIDENT HEADING TO LONG BEACH

CART FedEx Championship Series: Round 3 of 19 - Long Beach LONG BEACH, CALIF. (March 30, 1998) - Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy of Parker, Ariz. and Dario Franchitti of Pompano Beach, Fla. are no doubt looking forward to this weekend's Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 3-5. Both drivers are coming off top-10 finishes last weekend in Japan, and both have proven successful at racing on tight, temporary circuits like the 1.568-mile seaside circuit in Long Beach, site of round three of the 19-race CART FedEx Championship Series. "Long Beach is a special place for me," says Tracy, who finished fifth last weekend in Motegi, Japan. "I started my first CART race there back in 1991 and my first CART win was at Long Beach in 1993. "It's a great event - the crowd is fantastic - and I always feel like I have a good chance to win there." Franchitti, who finished eighth last weekend on the Motegi oval, is also anxious to tackle the Southern California streets. "I really enjoy the temporary circuits. With the walls so close, it requires total concentration and for your driving to be very precise. I earned my first pole position in CART on the streets of Toronto last year and I led part of last season's race at Detroit." Team owner Barry Green shares his drivers' confidence heading to Long Beach. "I've been impressed with the way Paul and Dario and the team have been working together this season. We've had to work hard to get the results that we have and I'm certain that it's only a matter of time before both drivers end up on the podium." "We should do well at Long Beach," Green continued. "Paul has had success there over the years and Dario has proved he can be quick on the street courses. Plus, the team had its best result (fifth) here last season." Both drivers agree that qualifying will be important, as the tight confines of Long Beach will make passing during the race extremely difficult. "We'll put more emphasis on qualifying here than we did for the first two races that were on ovals," says Tracy, who has started on the front row three times at Long Beach, including from the pole in 1994. "Every position that we can gain in qualifying is one less pass that we'll have to make during the race," said Franchitti, whose five top-five qualifying positions last season all came on street or road courses. Following the first two rounds of the CART FedEx Championship Series, Tracy is in ninth place with10 points, while Franchitti is in 10th position with nine points. Adrian Fernandez, winner of last weekend's race in Japan, has 29 points to lead the PPG Cup point standings. Team KOOL Green is also fielding a car in the 1998 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship race for second-year driver Naoki Hattori (#27 KOOL Lola T97/20) of Japan. Hattori started 10th and had worked his way up to eighth in the season-opener at Miami before getting caught in a five-car accident that ended his race early. Long Beach marks the opening of the 25th anniversary season of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, as well as the Formula Atlantic debut of Matt Sielsky, graduate of the Team Green Academy driver development program's class of '96/'97. Sielsky, who is piloting the #16 D&L Racing entry with support from KOOL, earned four poles and finished second in last season's United States F2000 National Championship . ESPN will show the race live on Sunday, April 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Be part of something big

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