CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy Tests at Nazareth

CART FedEx Championship: Round 4 - Nazareth April 9 - INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Team KOOL Green set a torrid pace in testing at Nazareth Speedway as Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti completed 270 trouble-free laps around the one-mile oval...

CART FedEx Championship: Round 4 - Nazareth April 9 - INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Team KOOL Green set a torrid pace in testing at Nazareth Speedway as Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti completed 270 trouble-free laps around the one-mile oval on Wednesday, April 8. Steady rains on Thursday cancelled plans for a second day of testing. Tracy ran a total of 165 laps and posted a best lap of 18.65 seconds, nearly .2s faster than the track record he set in qualifying prior to winning last year's Nazareth race. Tracy, who tested at Nazareth Speedway extensively when he drove for Penske Racing, was delighted with the test. "I knew what I wanted out of the car when I got there," he said. "John Dick [race engineer] wanted to start conservatively and I said 'No way. Let's get down to business. I don't need any practice getting around this track. I've done 20,000 laps here, so put all the tricks on right now!' Within thirty laps I'd done an 18.8. "After lunch we could see it was going to rain. So we put on a new set of tires and I did an 18.65, which is faster than I've ever run here. It's too bad the rain kept us from running Thursday because I know there's a lot more in the car. We've just opened the envelope. The Firestone tires are great, the Honda engine felt good and there's a lot of potential in the car. I think the pole is going to be in the low 18s." In contrast to Tracy, Franchitti was making just his second trip to Nazareth Speedway, having qualified 18th and finished 13th in his debut there in 1997. Dario completed 105 laps during the test. His fastest lap of 19.2s was .7s faster than his qualifying run last year. "I just got used to driving Nazareth a little more," said Franchitti, who posted his best Champ Car finish to date - second place - at Long Beach last weekend. "I went quicker than I ever went in '97. I picked-up one big tip from Paul: I need to carry more speed around the track. It's all a matter of getting comfortable and I feel a lot more comfortable at Nazareth after this test." Team Green technical director Don Halliday was pleased with the results of the test. "Paul, the maestro, has done thousands of miles here and he continued on his merry way," he said. "Dario has done hundreds of miles here and did a very credible job in getting down to a 19.2. The balance on his car is not perfect yet, and he's learning as he goes, but it was a very constructive test." Team KOOL Green will continue its testing program next week with Franchitti slated to run two days at Portland International Raceway on April 15 and 16. Tracy will also be busy, as he and fiancee Liisa Hunter will be married in Las Vegas on April 18.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti
Teams Team Penske