CHAMPCAR/CART: Team KOOL Green Prepares for U.S. 500

TEAM KOOL GREEN READIES FOR US 500 INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 29, 1998) - Team KOOL Green completed two days of testing at Michigan Speedway on June 25 and 26 in preparation for the U.S. 500 on July 26. Drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy ran a...

TEAM KOOL GREEN READIES FOR US 500

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 29, 1998) - Team KOOL Green completed two days of testing at Michigan Speedway on June 25 and 26 in preparation for the U.S. 500 on July 26. Drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy ran a total of more than 750 miles during the course of the test, with Franchitti topping the 221 mph mark and Tracy posting a best a best lap of 222.18 mph.

Thursday (June 25) saw Tracy run a variety of chassis and aerodynamic set-ups, and turn a lap of 221.7 mph on light fuel load. Later, he ran consistently in the 219-220 mph range on full tanks while Franchitti lapped at 218 mph before the track closed for the day when one of the other cars participating in the test experienced an engine failure.

"The test was extremely successful," said chief engineer Don Halliday. "We learned a tremendous amount. Paul shined throughout the test, running a wide range of settings in race and qualifying conditions, while Dario drove like a veteran despite the fact that this was only his second experience on a super speedway. Initially his speed wasn't what he wanted, but he just kept going round and round very patiently, and eventually matched Paul's speeds. It was a very impressive performance by the whole team and I'm confident when we come back here for the race we'll unload with a good set-up."

The test was the first experience for both Franchitti and Tracy with the new "Handford" rear wing developed by CART and aerodynamicist Mark Handford. The wing, which produces more drag and less downforce than conventional rear wings, was designed to reduce lap speeds at Michigan and California Speedways. Scott Pruett won the pole position for the 1997 U.S. 500 with an average speed of 233.857 mph while Mauricio Gugelmin set a world record when he qualified at 240.942 mph at California Speedway last year.

"With the new wing it's pretty easy to run at full throttle when you're the only one on the track," said Tracy. "The big challenge will be getting the car comfortable in traffic race conditions."

"This aerodynamic package may make for a very unusual race," said Halliday. "Paul and Dario both say they can feel their cars being sucked along in the draft created by the wing from a couple of hundred feet behind the car in front. On the other hand, the turbulence created by the wing will make overtaking difficult. So you could see a race with a lot of drafting but passing could be a problem."

Team KOOL Green will continue its testing program this week with Tracy and Franchitti slated to run two days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 30 and July 1.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Scott Pruett