CHAMPCAR/CART: Walker Racing - Houston Preview

What: Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. Round Eighteen of the 20-races FedEx Championship Series for the PPG Cup When: Sunday, September 26th, 1999 at 3:00 PM Local Time ( 4:00 PM ET) Where: A 1.53-mile course through downtown Houston. The 10-turn...

What: Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. Round Eighteen of the 20-races FedEx Championship Series for the PPG Cup

When: Sunday, September 26th, 1999 at 3:00 PM Local Time ( 4:00 PM ET)

Where: A 1.53-mile course through downtown Houston. The 10-turn course is bordered by the George R. Brown Convention Center on the East side, the downtown skyline on the West, Enron Field on the North and Root Park on the South.

Derrick Walker - Team Owner: "Houston - Looking forward to having a straight forward race, unlike last years mega rain we got in the race. I'm sure the boys know the starting set up were we can work our way to a good track position."

Houston - Fast Facts - 1998 Champion: Dario Franchitti - Defending Polesitter: Greg Moore - Length Track Layout: 1.527-mile temporary street circuit, ten-turn circuit. - Race Distance: 100 laps, 152.7 miles - Track Records: Qualifying (one lap) - 1998, Greg Moore, 92.377 miles per hour (59.508 seconds). Race - No race record at this distance as last year's inaugural event was shortened due to inclement weather. - Temporary Street Circuit A very narrow speed envelope, City streets are bumpy and crowned. There are few places to pass, so a well-executed pit stop can gain you a few positions. - Estimated Pit Stops For This Race: Approximately every 30 to 35 laps, based on fuel consumption. - The Setup: Mechanical grip is important on such a bumpy surface. - The Driving Style: You can get away with small errors, but not big ones. - Weather: Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 80s. Low 60. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High 89 - Low 66 With a 20 percent chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Southeast wind near 10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy: High: 90 Low: 68

Broadcast: ESPN2 CART Qualifying 4:00 PM ET (09/25)Saturday ESPN2 CART 2Day 11:00 AM ET (09/26)Sunday ESPN CART Race 400 PM ET (09/26)Sunday TV Worldwide 195 countries (09/26)Sunday RADIO- CART KILT, 610 AM 400 PM ET (09/26)Sunday

1999 Cart Point Leaders: (after 18 of 20 races):

1. Juan Montoya - 199; 2. Dario Franchitti - 171; 3. Paul Tracy - 134; 4. Michael Andretti - 127; 5. Adrian Fernandez - 105; 6. Max Papis - 105; 7. Gil de Ferran -104

Houston Notes: Houston, with it's low-speed, 90-degree turns, is the slowest street course on the CART circuit and the only venue where qualifying speeds are below 100 mph. The Houston street track proved very popular with the drivers. Unusually wide and unusually smooth for a street course, it was welcomed, despite the lack of any really imaginative corners. The long back straightaway was a particularly popular feature, as its impressive width allowed plenty of overtaking into turn five.

NAOKI HATTORI (Rookie) # 15 ALPINE - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: HOUSTON

Naoki Hattori: "After Laguna Seca, I went to Fontana for 2 days of testing, then I went to Japan. It was nice to see my friends, my sponsors and the warm reception from the fans. Upon my return to Indianapolis, I just stayed home for one night and left the next day, early in the morning to Houston. Last night I had a wonderful time at the Mayor's Gala, my table was all Japanese business people."

Naoki Hattori - 1999 Driver Index Report - Car # 15

Race            Qualify     Start   Finish  Race Points
        
Miami - Homestead   12th        12th    (dnf)25th   0
Detroit-Michigan    26th        26th    16th        0
Mid-Ohio - OH       23rd        23rd    19th        0
Vancouver           23rd        23rd    (dnf)27th   0
Laguna Seca         25th        25th    14th        0   

GIL DE FERRAN # 5 VALVOLINE/CUMMINS - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: HOUSTON

De Ferran is 7th in the PPG Cup standings with 104 points; has finished on the podium in four races, including a victory at Portland, runner-up effort at Motegi and Cleveland, third at Milwaukee. He also has qualified among the top three drivers for six events, including pole at Motegi and Toronto, second at Cleveland, third at Portland, Road America and Detroit.

CART: De Ferran Says Houston Restarts = Opportunity

"On a tight, temporary street course -- like that to be used for this Sunday's (Sept. 26) CART race in Houston -- the best opportunities to pass can come at the green flag and on restarts" says Gil de Ferran.

"I always feel that when everybody is together, either at the start or on a restart, there definitely is an opportunity to make up ground," said de Ferran, who has driven the Valvoline/Cummins Honda-Reynard to one win and two poles this season.

"Some people take a little longer to get in a rhythm, some others don't. One (driver) might be having a particular difficulty with his car and takes a couple of laps to adjust. Therefore, they (starts/restarts) are the most important parts of the race, especially at tracks where it is very difficult to pass. "It is an emotionally charged part of the race. It is very easy to get all excited. What I try to do is exactly the opposite. I try to calm myself down as much as I can so I can see things clearly. I try not to get wound up. I try to bring my pulse down so I can be as rational as I can. When you are emotional is when you make the mistakes and you make bad judgments. It is always better to be rational than emotional."

Gil de Ferran - 1999 Driver Index Report

Race                Qualify     Start     Finish  Race Points Total   Rank
Miami - Homestead       NQ      25th      6th         8         8     6th 
Motegi - Japan          1st     1st       2nd         1+16     25     3rd   
Long Beach - California 7th     7th       6th         8        33     2nd  
Nazareth - Pennsylvania 13th    13th     15th         0        33     7th  
Rio - Brazil            4th     4th      10th         3        36     7th  
Madison - Illinois      15th    15th      dnf         0        36     7th  
Milwaukee - Wisconsin   16th    16th      3rd         14       50     7th  
Portland - Oregon       3rd     3rd       1st         21       71     3rd  
Cleveland - Ohio        2nd     2nd       2nd         16       87     2nd  
Elkhart Lake - WI       3rd     3rd (dnf) 14th        0        87     3rd
Toronto - Canada        1st     1st (dnf) 19th        1        88     5th 
Michigan - MI           15th    15th (dnf)24th        0        88     7th 
Detroit - MI            3rd     3rd (dnf) 22nd        0        88     8th 
Mid-Ohio - OH           6th     6th       6th         8        96     7th 
Chicago - IL           19th    19th      13th         0        96     7th 
Vancouver - Canada      7th     7th (dnf) 26th        0        96     7th
Laguna Seca,CA          9th     9th       6th         8        104    7th 

What's next:

Following the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, the FedEx Championship Series continues with its annual trip to Australia for the Honda Indy 300, Sunday, Oct. 17 from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Queensland.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Naoki Hattori , Greg Moore