MAX PAPIS SETS FASEST TIME AS MIAMI SPRING TRAINING OPENS HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 9) â€“ Max Papis turned the fastest lap Wednesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the opening day of the fifth annual CART Spring Training. The driver of Bobby ...
MAX PAPIS SETS FASEST TIME AS MIAMI SPRING TRAINING OPENS
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 9) – Max Papis turned the fastest lap Wednesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the opening day of the fifth annual CART Spring Training. The driver of Bobby Rahal’s Miller Lite Ford Reynard ran a lap of 206.044 mph on the 1.5-mile oval, which will host the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota, the opening race of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series season March 24-26.
Spring Training concludes Thursday with extensive testing for the 200-mph racing machinery. The testing is open to members of CART’s Winners Circle Fan Club. Memberships to the club cost $14.99, and will be sold at the Speedway Registration Building. Thursday’s on-track sessions are scheduled from 9-11:45 a.m. and 1:15–4 p.m.
1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack was second at 204.176 mph in the Shell Ford Reynard, followed by Patrick Carpentier in the Player’s/Forsythe Ford, 203.462 mph.
"Today is just the beginning, so being fast doesn’t mean much," said Papis, a native of Italy who now resides in Miami. "When it counts is here on March 26, when he come here for the race. I treat Spring Training as a test session, where we can experiment and learn what’s right with the car and how to make it better."
"Max sets up the car for me and I go out and drive," said Brack, a native of Sweden who joins Team Rahal for 2000. "I’m very happy to be here with Shell and Rahal. I’m in a very good position."
Dario Franchitti crashed in turn three moments before the end of Wednesday’s activities in the only incident. He was taken to Jackson Hospital for precautionary x-rays.
In other Spring Training news, Sylvester Stallone announced he will be making a film – currently titled "Champs," based on CART FedEx Series racing. Stallone will play a retired driver working with an up-and-coming star in the film, which is scheduled for a release in mid-2001.
Also, J. Kirk Russell was named CART’s Chief Steward, replacing Wally Dallenbach, who retired in 1999 after 18 seasons. Russell was promoted from his position as vice president of competition.
In addition to exclusive Spring Training access, CART Winners Circle Fan Club members also receive numerous other benefits, including a subscription to the Inside Line newsletter; access to at-track meetings featuring drivers, race officials and other CART personalities scheduled exclusively for members during the FedEx Championship Series season; and discounts on merchandise, publications and race tickets, including a 10-percent discount on tickets for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota.
Tickets for the March 24-26 weekend featuring the CART FedEx Championship Series are also on sale during Spring Training. For additional information, call (305) 230-RACE, or visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com, or the official CART site, www.cart.com.