MIAMI (March 1, 2000) -- One month ago, Tony Kanaan was named to drive for Morris Nunn's fledgling CART FedEx Championship Series team. Wednesday, the Brazilian driver was at Homestead-Miami Speedway, testing on the 2.21-mile road circuit in ...
MIAMI (March 1, 2000) -- One month ago, Tony Kanaan was named to drive for Morris Nunn's fledgling CART FedEx Championship Series team. Wednesday, the Brazilian driver was at Homestead-Miami Speedway, testing on the 2.21-mile road circuit in preparation for the 2000 season.
Kanaan and the CART competitors will be using the Speedway's 1.5-mile oval in the March 24-26 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota, the opening event of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season. However, many of the teams also test on the Speedway's infield road circuit.
"We test on the road course here because this is a very nice road course, and it is very tricky," said Kanaan, who now resides in Miami. "It has both slow and high speed corners, so they did a very good job from that standpoint. It is one of the greatest road courses.
"We're trying a lot of different things," Kanaan explained about the three-day session which concludes Thursday. "This is only our second test on a road course, and I am pretty pleased. I am learning a lot from Morris (team owner Nunn), who is the greatest with a lot of experience from the past. Hopefully, we will come out of here with a lot of miles on the car and a lot of data to prepare for the next road course race."
Joining Kanaan at the test were Newman-Haas Racing's Michael Andretti, the Player's/Forsythe duo of Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, and Walker Racing's Shinji Nakano. In addition, Della Penna Motorsports tested Norberto Fontana, who may join the team for selected road course events later in the year.
Nunn left Target Chip Ganassi at the end of the 1998 season, and announced his own team -- MoNunn Racing -- on December 1. Kanaan feels the experience of the team members will make up for the lack of preparation time for the upcoming campaign.
"We don't have much time, but they understood that when they formed the team late last year," Kanaan explained. "We're working hard. Morris has a lot of experience, I think I have some, and so do all the guys on the team. We're starting late, but we're going to catch up pretty quick. Spring Training (Feb. 8-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway) was our first test, and it went well, and we'll be back at Homestead next week for three days on the oval. So I don't see big problems."
How competitive does Kanaan feel the team will be when they return for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota?
"Very, very competitive, I expect," he said with an ear-to-ear grin. "It's going to be tough the first few races because we are still putting a lot of stuff together, but we're going to get there. Mercedes-Benz has put together a very good engine, better than last year. Chassis-wise, it's up to Morris. I'll do all the rest."
Official practice for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota begins on Friday, March 24. Other weekend events include a pair of Toyota Atlantic races plus the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
Reserved grandstand seats for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota are now on sale, beginning at $55, by calling (305) 230-RACE. For additional information, visit the official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.