CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Saturday Pit Notes

Pit Notes / MOLSON INDY Saturday, July 17 , 1999 Good Morning from steamy Toronto, Ontario for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Round 11 of the FedEx Championship Series season, the Molson Indy! The Canadian Bell building is not the...

Pit Notes / MOLSON INDY Saturday, July 17 , 1999

Good Morning from steamy Toronto, Ontario for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Round 11 of the FedEx Championship Series season, the Molson Indy! The Canadian Bell building is not the only place in flames this weekend; it is nothing but hot here at the Toronto Exhibition Palace race course. Temperatures are supposed to peak in the mid-nineties by qualifying and the numerous support series present this weekend have left a slick track for the Champ Car drivers to attempt the bonzi run needed to get at the front of Sunday's grid. Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 75-minute warm-up session at 9 a.m. sharp, followed by the final round of qualifying at 12:45 p.m. The 27 drivers entered this weekend will be trying to knock DARIO FRANCHITTI off the pole by bettering his record-shattering lap of 109.023 mph (57.951 seconds). Even though the track has been revised to a new length of 1.755 miles, seven drivers bettered the time record by FRANCHITTI of 58.619 seconds from 1997.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the morning practice session.

At 9:07 a.m., #7 PAPIS brushes the wall at Turn 1 but continues on course to his Pit Area.

At 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #9 CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 105.430 mph (59.926 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (105.405 mph; 59.940 seconds) and #18 BLUNDELL (104.299 mph; 1:00.576).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 107.469 mph (58.789 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (106.815 mph; 59.149 seconds) and #27 FRANCHITTI (106.671 mph; 59.229 seconds).

At 9:22 a.m., #19 JOURDAIN Jr. slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course to his Pit area without apparent damage to the car.

At 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #40 FERNANDEZ with his earlier lap of 107.469 mph (58.789 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (107.227 mph; 58.922 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (106.815 mph; 59.149 seconds). At 9:39 a.m., #44 KANAAN slides up to the tire barrier at Turn 3 but continues on course to his without damage to the car.

At 9:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #40 FERNANDEZ with his earlier lap of 107.469 mph (58.789 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (107.227 mph; 58.922 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (106.842 mph; 59.134 seconds).

At 9:43 a.m., #19 JOURDIAN Jr. slows on course at Turn 6 and coasts to his Pit Area.

RED FLAG waves at 9:47 a.m. after #20 JONES slides nose-first into the tire barrier at Turn 3. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains damage to the nose and left front suspension. CART safety workers tow the car back to the paddock area.

At 9:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest driver is still #40 FERNANDEZ with his earlier lap of 107.469 mph (58.789 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (107.227 mph; 58.922 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (106.842 mph; 59.134 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:54 a.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation from Pit In at 9:47 a.m. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 10 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is still #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 107.469 mph (58.789 seconds), followed by #9 CASTRO-NEVES (107.321 mph; 58.870 seconds) and #5 de FERRAN (107.227 mph; 58.922 seconds).

At 10:02 a.m., #9 CASTRO-NEVES logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 107.658 mph (58.686 seconds).

RED FLAG waves at 10:03 a.m. after CART course observers report debris on the race course. CART safety workers quickly clear the debris.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:05 a.m. to resume the session.

At 10:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #9 CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 107.658 mph (58.686 seconds), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (107.469 mph; 58.789 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (107.267 mph; 58.900 seconds).

At 10:14 a.m., #19 JOURDAIN Jr. brushes the wall at Turn 1 and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:15 a.m. to end the morning session with #9 CASTRO-NEVES the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 107.658 mph (58.686 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (107.573 mph; 58.732 seconds) and #40 FERNANDEZ (107.469 mph; 58.789 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 29 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #7X PAPIS, #12X VASSER, #20X JONES, #4X MONTOYA, and #22X GORDON. CART drivers logged a total of 581 laps during this morning's session. With most of yesterday's top drivers barely improving in today's practice session, CASTRO-NEVES showed one of the largest gains in speed from yesterday's practice session with an increase of 2.239 mph, while TRACY, FITTIPALDI, MONTOYA, and MORENO were slightly slower.

Next up is the final round of CART qualifying at 12:45 p.m. Team Gordon has elected to utilize their secondary car (#22X) in today's final round of qualifying, and therefore, the team forfeits all times earned by the #22 car in the provisional round yesterday. #40 FERNANDEZ also has elected to use the #40X car, and therefore, the times earned in provisional qualifying will be forfeited.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:45 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 115 degrees F. (46 C.) and an ambient temperature of 87 degrees F. (30 C.) at the start of the session.

At 12:50 p.m., #20 JONES slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on-course without apparent damage to the car.

At 12:50 p.m., five minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #7X PAPIS with a lap of 107.036 mph (59.027 seconds), followed by #10 HEARN (106.312 mph; 59.429 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (106.081 mph; 59.558 seconds).

At 12:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session, #8 HERTA is the fastest Group One driver with a lap of 108.109 mph (58.441 seconds), followed by #25 da MATTA (108.007 mph; 58.496 seconds) and #15 GIDLEY (107.702 mph; 58.662 seconds).

At 12:59 p.m., #7X PAPIS spins backwards into the tire barrier at Turn 8 and breaks off a piece of the rear wing. PAPIS continues on course to his Pit Area as CART safety workers clear the debris.

At 1 p.m., 15 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 12:55 p.m. report.

At 1:03 p.m., #71 VITOLO makes contact with the outside wall at Turn 3 and slides to a halt deep in the turn. As the car is well out of the racing line, the incident is handled with local Yellow Flags. CART safety workers push the car to safety and after five minutes, VITOLO gets restarted and continues to his Pit Area.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 1:04 p.m. to #15 GIDLEY for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In at 1:02 p.m. GIDLEY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 1:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One qualifying session, #8 HERTA is still the fastest driver with a faster speed of 108.333 mph (58.320 seconds), followed by #25 da MATTA (108.007; 58.496 seconds) and #15 GIDLEY (107.702 mph; 58.662 seconds).

At 1:09 p.m., #40X FERNANDEZ pulls off course at Turn 3 and parks the car with a mechanical difficulty.

At 1:10 p.m., 25 minutes into the group One session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:05 p.m. report.

At 1:11 p.m., #20 JONES spins at Turn 2 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car. RED FLAG waves at 1:11 p.m. after #71 VITOLO spins in the middle of Turn 3 and stalls the car. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and VITOLO continues to his Pit Area. VITOLO will receive an eight-minute penalty at the next road course.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:13 p.m. to resume the Group One session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 1:15 p.m. with #8 HERTA the fastest group One driver with his speed of 108.333 mph (58.320 seconds; fourth-fastest overall), followed by #25 da MATTA (108.007; 58.496 seconds; seventh-fastest overall) and #15 GIDLEY (107.702 mph; 58.662 seconds; 11th-fastest overall).

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:30 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.

At 1:35 p.m., the fastest Group Two driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 109.642 mph (57.624 seconds), followed by #5 de FERRAN (109.389 mph; 57.773 seconds) and #44 KANAAN (109.042 mph; 57.941 seconds).

At 1:38 p.m. #4 MONTOYA slides into Turn 3, regains control and continues on course, subsequently pitting his car.

At 1:40 p.m., the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 109.642 mph (57.624 seconds), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (109.594 mph; 57.649 seconds) and #12X VASSER (109.520 mph; 57.668 seconds).

At 1:42 p.m., CART course observers report moisture from Turn 3 to Turn 6.

At 1:45 p.m., 15 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:40 p.m. report.

At 1:47 p.m., the slight drizzle has ended and the moisture flags around the track have been withdrawn.

At 1:48 p.m., #5 de FERRAN logs the fastest lap of the weekend with a speed of 110.121 mph (57.143 seconds) and takes the top of the speedboard.

At 1:49 p.m., #18 MORNEO spins on the front stretch but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 1:50 p.m., the fastest Group Two drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 1:45 p.m. report.

At 1:51 p.m., #5 de FERRAN logs an even faster lap at 110.565 mph (57.143 seconds) on his 11th lap of the session.

At 1:53 p.m., #26 TRACY slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car. TRACY subsequently parks the car for the rest of the session.

At 1:54 p.m., #44 KANAAN slides into the run-off at Turn 2 but continues on course to his Pit Area without apparent damage to the car.

At 1:55 p.m., #5 de FERRAN is the fastest driver of the weekend with his earlier speed of 110.565 mph (57.143 seconds), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (110.102 mph; 57.383 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (109.594 mph; 57.649 seconds). Also at 1:55 p.m., #99 MOORE pits his car with a flat right rear tire and retires from the qualifying session.

At 1:58 p.m., #24 PRUETT brushes the wall at Turn 11A but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 2 p.m. to end the qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy with GIL de FERRAN winning the pole with a speed of 110.565 mph (57.143 seconds), followed by #27 DARIO FRANCHITTI (110.102 mph; 57.383 seconds) and #6 MICHAEL ANDRETTI (109.594 mph; 57.649 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 27 cars to the track in this final qualifying session with secondary cars utilized by #12X VASSER, #7X PAPIS, #22X GORDON, and #40X FERNANDEZ. CART drivers logged a total of 314 laps during the session. De FERRAN establishes a new track record and the top 13 drivers topped FRANCHITTI's 1997 time record of 58.618 seconds. The top 18 drivers have lap times within two seconds of the fast lap set by de FERRAN.

GIL de FERRAN takes his second pole of the season with his track-record effort today as well as logging the second pole for Goodyear and the seventh for Honda. De FERRAN also won the pole at Japan. This is de FERRAN's sixth pole of his career, five of which came on temporary street circuits.

DARIO FRANCHITTI will start second in tomorrow's Molson Indy. This is FRANCHITTI's third second-place start, matching his season best. FRANCHITTI has qualified on the front row in 10 of the last 14 street/road course events. MICHAEL ANDRETTI has his third consecutive top-three start of the season. ANDRETTI has qualified among the top ten in all 13 appearances at Toronto. Quotes from the top three qualifiers follow:

GIL de FERRAN, Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard: "It was a bit of a nail-biting session for us. We started the session and I thought we did a pretty good lap, and we fell to fourth place. [After that] I just concentrated as hard as I could not to make a mistake and push really, really hard and the car responded. Basically, that was it. The car has been consistently quite good, and the main reason for that is not any magic on the team's behalf. I think it's been the evolution of Goodyear, which keeps giving us a great tire race after race."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "Our main qualifying problem was not being fast enough. We've improved our braking a lot, unfortunately we couldn't use the advancement during qualifying. It was a great effort by Gil. I thought after I went 57.3 [seconds], 'That's pretty good, let's see what happens.' And the next thing I know, Gil was two-tenths faster. We've won the pole for the last two years and we haven't finished either race, so we're looking for a bit of a change of luck tomorrow."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift: "This morning, we had a problem with the brakes and I was a little bit worried. As it ended up, because of the brakes the car didn't feel as good. Basically, I didn't get a clear lap through the whole session when our tires were at their best. We had one really good lap going which I know would have won the pole, and basically we're really disappointed that it didn't end up being a clear lap. We'll just come back and go after it again tomorrow."

DARIO FRANCHITTI is the winner of this week's Budweiser Accelerator Award. FRANCHITTI posted the largest gain in speed from his top practice speed to his qualifying speed and therefore, takes home a cold case of Bud and a $1000 check courtesy of Budweiser.

Federal Express Canada Ltd. announced Friday the launch of FedEx Learning Labs , a program to provide funding for educational centres at Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada locations in communities across Canada to give more youth access to technology. FedEx Learning Labs will consist of a computer, printer, Internet access and educational software. The program was officially launched at Friday's VIP Drivers Party, part of the festivities surrounding this weekend's Molson Indy. Local Big Brothers and Sisters members and Federal Express hosted a reception before the party to kick off the program. Part of the proceeds from the Drivers Party benefited Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada. "FedEx is excited to work with Big Brothers and Sisters to help give more Canadian youth access to computers and the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of technology. Many of the children in our programs do not have access to technology outside of their schools. Federal Express has been a great supporter of Big Brothers and Sisters and with programs like this, FedEx is helping us give the youth the tools they need to excel."

This concludes the Pit Notes for today.

Source: CART.com

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