ROCKINGHAM, ENGLAND . . . The opening day of practice for the inaugural Rockingham 500 was limited to a handful of yellow caution laps due to heavy showers and drainage problems at the Rockingham Speedway in northern England. The Friday schedule...
ROCKINGHAM, ENGLAND . . . The opening day of practice for the inaugural Rockingham 500 was limited to a handful of yellow caution laps due to heavy showers and drainage problems at the Rockingham Speedway in northern England. The Friday schedule has been changed to include a pair of practice sessions replacing the normal second day practice and qualifying sessions. The fastest practice times during the scheduled practice sessions on Friday will determine the grid for Saturday's race.
The field of 26 competitors were limited to five yellow caution laps in their primary cars and five caution laps in their back-up cars after the new facility developed standing water on the backstretch. The track was scheduled to install drain wells overnight on Thursday which should rectify the problems in time for a full day of practice on Friday weather permitting.
"This will be a very busy track," said Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack who is the CART points leader. "The course is very smooth and fast and it should make for some great racing but the front and back stretches are pretty short which means you will be turning most of the time. It is important for us to maintain the momentum that we established last week. There aren't many races left and it is important for us to build on the points lead that we have."
Brack captured the Champ Car debut of CART in Europe last week when he won The American Memorial at the EuroSpeedway. Brack's victory was highlighted by the fact his teammate Max Papis finished second in the Miller Genuine Draft car posting the first one-two finish in Team Rahal history.
"I think the fans will enjoy the show we will put on here at Rockingham," said Papis. "Oval racing is a uniquely American form of racing and it is quite different from what most Europeans are used to seeing. The fans in Germany were treated to a great race last week with the Champ Cars running wheel-to-wheel at speeds over 200 mph. That kind of overtaking and speed are unique to the European fans who are used to watching road racing. I think they are in for a real treat once the weather lets us go on track."
The Rockingham 500 (kilometers) is scheduled for Saturday and will air live in the United States on EPSN at 7:30 AM EDT.