CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Friday track notes

Good Morning from the most beautiful venue on the Champ Car circuit, Vancouver, B.C., Canada for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 15 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Molson Indy Vancouver! Friday morning's weather...

Good Morning from the most beautiful venue on the Champ Car circuit, Vancouver, B.C., Canada for the opening day of practice and qualifying for Round 15 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Molson Indy Vancouver! Friday morning's weather has greeted the early arrivals to the 1.781-mile street course with very cool temperatures and mostly cloudy skies in this mountain-ringed city. A light drizzle broke out at the start of the Indy Lights session at 9:30 a.m., but blue skies have appeared to the west and the course is drying out for the start of the Champ Car session. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-seventies by the Green Flag for Friday's Provisional Qualifying sessions. The remainder of the weekend's weather has partly cloudy skies and cool to mild temperatures for Saturday and Sunday's forecast.

The CART on-track schedule features the weekend's first practice session taking the Green Flag at 10:30 a.m. This full-field session will last 90 minutes. At 2:30 p.m., the FedEx Championship Series teams will again take to the track for the split-group provisional qualifying session with the fastest drivers from the previous road course (last month's Motorola 220 at Road America) comprising Group Two. The Champ Car drivers will be chasing the Vancouver track-qualifying record of 105.730 mph; (1:00.641) set by JUAN MONTOYA in 1999. Each split-session provisional qualifying Group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two groups' efforts. Saturday's schedule has the Champ Cars again on track for practice from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. with the final round of CART qualifying scheduled from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. This final qualifying session will again be in the split-group format with the fastest drivers from Friday's provisional qualifying comprising Group Two. Again, each group will be on track for 30 minutes with a 15-minute break between the two Groups. Sunday's schedule has the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 90-lap, 160.290-mile Molson Indy Vancouver at 1 p.m. (All times are local.)

ALEX BARRON makes his first start of the 2000 season this weekend, taking over the driving chores in the #19 Sports Today Dale Coyne Ford/Lola. BARRON's last start came at Fontana at the end of the 1999 season.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 67 degrees F. (19 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F. (18 degrees C.) at the start of the session. The track still has patches of moisture showing in the corners, but the sun is quickly coming out and all drivers start the session on slicks (dry tires).

At 10:39 a.m., #5 NAKANO spins at Turn 8 but regains control and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 10:40 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #1X MONTOYA with a lap of 91.482 mph (1:10.086), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (84.833 mph; 1:15.579) and #19 BARRON (81.289 mph; 1:18.874).

At 10:45 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #1X MONTOYA with a lap of 99.417 mph (1:04.492), followed by #10 GIDLEY (96.802 mph; 1:06.234) and #20X MORENO (96.786 mph; 1:06.245).

RED FLAG waves at 10:54 a.m. after CART course observers report debris on the track at Turn 3. Corner workers retrieve a piece of broken exhaust pipe from the track during the downtime.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:56 a.m. to resume the session.

At 10:59 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL slides into the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #1X MONTOYA with his earlier lap of 99.417 mph (1:04.492), followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (96.894; 1:06.170) and #10 GIDLEY (96.802 mph; 1:06.234).

At 11:03 a.m., #97 DA MATTA logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed 99.913 mph (1:04.172).

At 11:05 a.m., #20 MORENO makes fairly hard contact against the wall exiting Turn 12. The driver maintains control and subsequently pits the car.

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #40 FERNANDEZ with a lap of 100.116 mph (1:04.042), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (99.933 mph 1:04.159) and #97 DA MATTA (99.911 mph; 1:04.173).

At 11:12 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:13 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 101.720 mph (1:03.032).

At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is again #1 MONTOYA, this time in his primary car, with a speed of 102.768 mph (1:02.389), followed by #12X VASSER (102.094; 1:02.801) and #55 KANAAN (102.065mph; 1:02.819).

At 11:21 a.m., #96 SERVIA brushes the tire barrier at Turn 6 and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:26 a.m., #97 DA MATTA slides into the run-off at Turn 6 and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is still #1 MONTOYA with a lap of 102.768 mph (1:02.389), followed by #12X VASSER (102.094 mph; 1:02.801) and #6 ANDRETTI (102.084 mph; 1:02.807).

At 11:35 a.m., CART course observers report smoke trailing from the rear of the car of #6 ANDRETTI while on course at speed. ANDRETTI subsequently slows and pits his car.

At 11:38 a.m., #11X FITTIPALDI clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 102.940 mph (1:02.285) on his 18th circuit.

At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #11X FITTIPALDI with his earlier lap of 102.940 mph (1:02.285), followed by #1 MONTOYA (102.768 mph; 1:02.389) and #2 DE FERRAN (102.540 mph; 1:02.528).

At 11:41 a.m., #34 MARQUES slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #3 CASTRONEVES at 11:43 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation. CASTRONEVES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 11:45 a.m., #25 GARCIA JR. slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11:46 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES moves to second-fastest of the session with a lap of 102.780 mph (1:02.382).

At 11:47 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES runs out of fuel as he enters the front stretch and the driver parks the car to the inside of Pit Out. The crew retrieves the car and rolls it back to his Pit Box.

At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 104.081 mph (1:01.602), followed by #26X TRACY (103.258 mph; 1:02.093) and #17 GUGELMIN (103.258 mph; 1:02.093).

RED FLAG waves at 10:50 after #97 DA MATTA passes #25 GARCIA entering Turn 10 but then makes contact against the tire barrier and wall at the inside of the left hand corner. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains damage to the front nose and right side suspension. CART safety workers pulls the car to safety as the driver hitches a ride back to the Pits with the safety truck. DA MATTA will receive the standard eight-minute carryover penalty in the last eight minutes of Saturday morning's session for causing a delay in the last 10 minutes of the practice session.

At 11:52 a.m. while in the pits, #11 FITTIPALDI exits his car, done for the session, to serve an eight-minute delay-of-session carryover penalty from Elkhart Lake.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:55 a.m. to resume the session.

RED and CHECKERED FLAGS wave at 11:57 a.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ slides into the tire barrier at Turn 7 and stalls the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains damage to the nose of the car. FERNANDEZ will receive the standard eight-minute penalty at the end of Saturday morning's session for causing a delay in the last 10 minutes of the session. Because there is not enough time to clean up the incident before the scheduled end of the session, CART Race Control checkers the session.

#27 DARIO FRANCHITTI ends the session as the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 104.081 mph (167.4466 kph; 1:01.602), followed by #26X PAUL TRACY (103.258 mph; 166.142 kph; 1:02.093) and #17 MAURICIO GUGELMIN (103.258 mph; 165.904 kph; 1:02.093). The top seven drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times and the top 18 drivers are separated by less than two seconds in lap times. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 32 cars to the track in Friday morning's session, with secondary cars utilized by #26X TRACY, #11X FITTIPALDI, #12X VASSER, #20X MORENO, #1X MONTOYA, #8X BRACK, #7X PAPIS, and #55X KANAAN. CART drivers logged 670 laps in Friday morning's session. Last year's winner, MONTOYA, is sixth-fastest at the end of the session.

Qualifying As the Green Flag for the first round of qualifying approaches, the cat and mouse game the sun has played with the racetrack continues, with drizzle ending the Barber Dodge session, but there is strong sunlight now on the course minutes before the Green Flag. The drivers again have mounted slicks for use in the Provisional Qualifying.

No. 32 CARPENTIER will serve an eight-minute penalty in the last eight minutes of the Group One session Friday due to a delay-of-qualifying carryover penalty from the last qualifying session at Elkhart Lake.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 74 degrees F. (23 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 71 degrees F. (21 degrees C.) at the start of the session.

At 2:34 p.m., #32 CARPENTIER slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car. Also, #7 PAPIS brushes the wall at Turn 7 but also continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 2:35 p.m. after #97 DA MATTA spins exiting Turn 10 and stalls in the middle of the course. #18 BLUNDELL slides to a stop, avoiding the stalled car of DA MATTA but stalls his car in the process. DA MATTA gets his car restarted and continues on course to his pit. CART safety workers get BLUNDELL's car restarted and BLUNDELL also continues to his pit. Both drivers will receive the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying session, to start at the resumption of the Group One qualifying session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:38 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #7 PAPIS with a lap of 101.877 mph (1:02.935), followed by #32 CARPENTIER (100.296 mph; 1:03.927) and #12 VASSER (99.463 mph; 1:04.462).

Also at 2:40 p.m., #10 GIDLEY slows on course and pits with a flat right rear tire.

At 2:43 p.m., #96 SERVIA slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On 2:44 p.m., #7 PAPIS slides into the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on track without apparent damage to the car.

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is now #12 VASSER with a lap of 103.776 mph (1:01.783), followed by #55 KANAAN (103.231 mph; 1:02.109) and #32 CARPENTIER (102.841 mph; 1:02.345).

At 2:51 p.m., #32 CARPENTIER brushes the wall at Turn 10 with the right rear tire but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 2:52 p.m. to #32 CARPENTIER to pit to serve his carryover penalty from the last qualifying session at Elkhart Lake. CARPENTIER subsequently pits his car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 2:58 p.m., #5 NAKANO brushes the wall at Turn 11 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 2:59 p.m., #12 VASSER stalls between Turns 7 and 8, apparently out of fuel.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to end the Group One session with #12 VASSER still the fastest with his lap of 103.776 mph (1:01.783), followed by #55 KANAAN (103.516 mph; 1:01.938) and #16 JOURDAIN JR. (103.306 mph; 1:02.064).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session.

At 3:21 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI takes the top spot of qualifying with a lap of 104.695 mph (1:01.241) on his fourth lap of the session, knocking VASSER off the provisional Pole. #3 CASTRONEVES moves into second with a lap of 103.899 mph (1:01.710).

RED FLAG waves at 3:24 p.m. after #17 GUGELMIN slides nose-first into the tire barrier at Turn 1 and stalls the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains damage to the front wings and left side pod. GUGELMIN will have to serve the standard eight-minute penalty for delaying the qualifying session, to start at the resumption of the Group Two qualifying session.

At 3:25 p.m., 10 minutes into the Group Two qualifying session and under the Red Flag, the fastest driver is still #27 FRANCHITTI with his earlier lap of 104.695 mph (1:01.241), now followed by #2 DE FERRAN (103.914 mph; 1:01.701) and #3 CASTRONEVES (103.899 mph; 1:01.710).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:32 p.m. to resume the session.

At 3:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 3:25 p.m. report.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 3:36 p.m. to #3 CASTRONEVES for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at 3:35 p.m. at Pit In. CASTRONEVES subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 3:39 p.m., #8 BRACK brushes the wall at Turn 11 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 3:42 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI ups his session-best speed to 104.993 mph (1:01.067) on his 13th circuit, followed by #2 DE FERRAN (104.712 mph; 1:01.231), also on his 13th circuit, and #26 TRACY (104.294 mph; 1:01.476) moves to third at the same time.

At 3:43 p.m., #8 BRACK again brushes the wall at Turn 11 and again continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. with #27 FRANCHITTI winning the Provisional Pole for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver with his lap of 104.993 mph (168.934 kph; 1:01.067), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (104.712 mph; 168.481 kph; 1:01.231) and #26 TRACY (104.294 mph; 167.810 kph; 1:01.476). The top 12 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times with the top 19 separated by less than two seconds. Group One leader VASSER winds up fifth and last year's winner, MONTOYA, is 11th with a speed of 103.433 mph (1:01.988). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 cars to the track in Friday afternoon's split sessions with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI and #20X MORENO. CART drivers logged 413 laps during the two group sessions.

DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the Provisional Pole for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard with his lap of 104.993 mph (168.934 kph; 1:01.067). If FRANCHITTI can hold on Saturday, he will have his second Pole of the season and his 10th of his career. FRANCHITTI earlier won the Pole at Road America. FRANCHITTI has qualified among the top five in seven of the last nine races this year.

GIL DE FERRAN is second on the grid in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda/Reynard with a lap of 104.712 mph (168.481 kph; 1:01.231). DE FERRAN is chasing his seventh front-row start of the season and his third in a row. DE FERRAN has won Poles this year at Homestead, Long Beach, and Mid-Ohio.

PAUL TRACY is third on the Provisional Grid in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard. If TRACY can hold on Saturday, he will have his season-best start on a road/street course. TRACY's current best start on a road/street course this year is a seventh from the Road America grid last race.

Quotes from Friday's top three qualifiers follow:

DARIO FRANCHITTI: "The car was great right off the truck. I didn't run a lot of laps this morning. I spent most of the session standing on the pit wall with Paul [Tracy], waiting for the conditions to improve, and we didn't want to use up our tires. We got our car sorted out in practice, and had a good car for qualifying as well. We're going to improve the car some more for tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, it can rain tomorrow. That would be great."

GIL DE FERRAN: "We started this morning with a couple of problems, but once we got those sorted out, the car was running pretty well. Qualifying went pretty well. I didn't get a really good lap on the first set [of tires] because I was caught behind Adrian [Fernandez], but I got a good lap in on the second set. It's pretty good, but we're going to have to improve a little bit if we want to pass my friend [Franchitti] here. It's important to try to win for us, but it's important to get to the end of the race and score points from now until the end of the season."

PAUL TRACY: "I think the car was quite good in the morning. I didn't run much because of the weather. It was slippery, and we wanted to save the tires. Qualifying went quite well. I was held up a little bit by [Kenny] Brack when he brushed the wall right in front of me. Honda has really worked hard. They've made a big difference in straightaway speed since the beginning of the season. Like everybody, you can count the points you left on the table. Last year when I came here, I was third in points, but I was kind of out of reach for the championship behind Dario and Juan [Montoya]. Hopefully, we can pick up a win or two in the remaining races. I'm pretty strong on most of the tracks coming up, so I'm really looking forward to the next six races."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Coyne
Teams Team Penske