Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti head to the Irish Hills of central Michigan for this weekend's Michigan 500, one of two 500-mile races on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship calendar. Tracy is looking to repeat his ...
Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti head to the Irish Hills of central Michigan for this weekend's Michigan 500, one of two 500-mile races on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship calendar.
Tracy is looking to repeat his pole-winning performance from 2000, when he turned a fast lap of 234.949 mph around the two-mile superspeedway oval. Franchitti is also looking for a repeat of his strong performance last season at Michigan, when he earned his best result (3rd) on a superspeedway.
Paul Tracy - #26 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard
(Started 1st / Finished 7th at Michigan in 2000; currently 10th in the standings with 48 points)
"At Michigan, it comes down to having a good setup if you want to be in the hunt on race day. From the time the car comes off the truck, the Team KOOL Green engineers and I will be working to get it balanced. Once we get the car right, then it's just a matter of holding it wide open and working the draft. It's all about race strategy and fuel mileage. Nobody wants to lead the race because you burn too much fuel when you're out front.
"This is a long race and you've really got to conserve both the car and yourself. I've been on a pretty serious fitness program - lots of biking and I'm in the best shape ever. I've lost weight and increased my stamina since the beginning of the season. I know it's going to make a difference in a 500-mile race."
Dario Franchitti - #27 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard
(Started 4th / Finished 3rd at Michigan in 2000; currently 4th in the standings with 65 points)
"We tested at Michigan in June, so the Team KOOL Green engineers have some new data to work with. Michigan is one of those races that is very close and very exciting for the fans, but it's difficult for the drivers. It's one of the tracks that you can run side-by-side, which is good fun. But you've got to concentrate 100 percent for the entire race. You've got to make sure that everyone around you is playing the same game - that guys are giving each other room to run side-by-side and stuff. You're thinking the whole time about the way you position the car relative to other people to keep some air on your wings and give yourself some downforce. It's really a thinking track. But the car has to be good. It's a track where a driver can't carry the car. It has to be working for you."
Michigan is the middle race of three back-to-back events on this segment of the 2001 Champ Car schedule. With less recovery time between races, drivers have to be in top form, especially heading into a challenging contest like the Michigan 500. TKG's Paul Tracy has been spending time with PitFit, an Indianapolis-based company that is helping him to improve his overall level of fitness. Besides designing a program and monitoring Paul's workouts, PitFit travels to Champ Car events to provide nutrition counseling and support, as well as on-site massage therapy sessions. According to PT, whose stamina is up and weight is down, he's feeling ready for 500 miles.
Home for the weekend:
Jack Christiansen, who is a lead mechanic on Dario Franchitti's #27 Honda Reynard is looking forward to the trip to Michigan. Jack grew up in Ann Arbor and expects to have friends and family at track this weekend. In his youth, Jack played football for the Ann Arbor Junior Wolverines and sold hot dogs at Michigan Stadium. Nowadays Jack stays fit playing third base for the Team Green Misfits.