CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Motegi Preview

TEAM KOOL GREEN DRIVERS TRACY AND FRANCHITTI EXCITED ABOUT JAPAN CART FedEx Championship Series: Round 2 of 19 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan MOTEGI, JAPAN, (March 23, 1998) - Shinkansen bullet trains slice through the ...

TEAM KOOL GREEN DRIVERS TRACY AND FRANCHITTI EXCITED ABOUT JAPAN

CART FedEx Championship Series: Round 2 of 19 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan MOTEGI, JAPAN, (March 23, 1998) - Shinkansen bullet trains slice through the countryside at 136 mph, which is nowhere near as fast as Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will be on the new 1.549-mile oval at the Twin Ring Motorsports Complex, March 26-28. Team KOOL Green is on its way to Japan for Round 2 of the 19-race CART FedEx Championship Series. The team has already enjoyed some testing time at Honda's state-of-the-art facility located approximately 60 miles northeast of Tokyo. Tracy, Franchitti and 12 other CART drivers proved to be very popular with 15,000 fans that showed up for an open test last November. "We were shocked that so many people would be in the stands," said Tracy, recalling the trek from his home in Parker, Ariz. "The Japanese people are very friendly and they took great care of the team during our stay. It's really an amazing country in that it's a very modern country with a lot of tradition. "As for the track, it's really smooth going flat out. The best chance to do some passing should come in turns three and four. It's similar to Homestead, which gives me reason to be confident. The season-opener was good in that we kept moving forward both on and off the track." Tracy was lapping at an incredible pace before brushing a wall near the halfway point. He started 21st and had stormed to sixth place before his day ended (27th). Franchitti, meanwhile, finished ninth at the Grand Prix of Miami and earned four points toward the PPG Cup. He had been as high as fourth early in the race, moving up from 13th on the grid. "The crew did a fantastic job in preparing the car for the race because we moved up to the front quickly," said Franchitti, who resides in Pompano Beach, Fla., during the season. "Each time out the car was better throughout weekend, which I hope is a good omen for Japan. "The track at Motegi is very wide and quick. You're not lifting at all in turns one and two. Turns three and four are more difficult. I think the trick is going to be to balance the two corners." Franchitti ran his first laps with Team KOOL Green at Twin Ring last fall. Franchitti and Tracy were very impressed with Honda's new circuit, posting similar times. Tracy clocked a lap of 26.348 seconds (211.644 mph), while Franchitti turned a lap of 26.105 seconds (213.614 mph). Team owner Barry Green is convinced his two KOOL Reynard/Honda/Firestone cars will contend at the inaugural race in Japan. He saw some positive developments over the weekend at Homestead. "Tracy showed me his commitment to this team with the way he worked with our engineers to improve the car," said Green. "It's unfortunate he did not finish considering how he was moving through the field. And Dario, well he did a great job to score some points by finishing ninth." ABC will broadcast the race via tape-delay on Sunday, March 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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