CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Ready for Vancouver and Laguna Seca

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 31, 1998) -- Team KOOL Green conducted tests on two fronts last week in preparation for the upcoming Vancouver and Laguna Seca race weekends. Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and the Team KOOL Green Champ Car team...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 31, 1998) -- Team KOOL Green conducted tests on two fronts last week in preparation for the upcoming Vancouver and Laguna Seca race weekends. Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and the Team KOOL Green Champ Car team completed two full days of testing at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., while the Indy Lights team and Naoki Hattori ran at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in Illinois.

Tracy and Franchitti ran at Laguna Seca on August 29 and 30, with work focusing on identifying similarities and differences in their chassis setup preferences. Tracy completed 51 laps on Saturday in the #26 KOOL Reynard-Honda, posting a best lap of 1:09.1. Paul's time was more than .2s quicker than his qualifying run for last year's Laguna Seca race, but more than a second slower than the fastest lap of the test (set by Bryan Herta). Nevertheless, the team was pleased with the results.

"We began with Dario's Mid-Ohio setup and learned that it produced too much understeer for Paul," said technical director Don Halliday. "We continued working and, by day's end, found a setup very much to his liking. We didn't go for an ultimate lap, and there was traffic on Paul's best lap, but he was happy with the car. We made good progress."

Franchitti ran the #27 KOOL Reynard-Honda on Sunday, starting with Tracy's late Saturday setup and running 45 laps on the way to a fast lap of 1:08.8. Like his teammate, Franchitti did not make a concerted effort to turn a fast lap.

"Dario's best lap came on worn tires," said Halliday, "then we made another chassis adjustment just before the end of the day that he didn't like, so we never got to go for a 'Big Lap.' Still, Dario felt very confident about the car and, as a whole, we learned a lot during the test. We gained a thorough understanding of our driver's chassis setup preferences which will prove useful in fine-tuning their cars on race weekends the rest of the season."

Last Thursday (August 27), Hattori had his first run in the KOOL Lola-Buick since his third place finish at Trois-Rivieres on August 2. Unfavorable track conditions prevented Naoki from matching his previous lap times, but the team was still able to conduct valuable chassis setup work at the test.

"It was good for Naoki and the team to shake the rust off," said team manager Lou Schollum. "We'd totally rebuilt the car since Trois-Rivieres so we were able to do a shake-down on all the systems, plus we evaluated alternative shock absorber set-ups."

The Team KOOL Green Champ Car and Indy Lights teams will return to action on Labor Day weekend at the Molson Indy Vancouver, followed on September 13 by the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Naoki Hattori