Cleveland, July 2, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano "took off" today during Round 9 of the CART FedEx Championship Series at the Burke Lakefront Airport during the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by Firstar. The former...
Cleveland, July 2, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano "took off" today during Round 9 of the CART FedEx Championship Series at the Burke Lakefront Airport during the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by Firstar.
The former Formula 1 veteran started the Cleveland race in 21st position, and for the second week in a row, the start of the race was compounded by a massive car pile-up. This week, though, Shinji wasn't as lucky as at Portland. He was rear-ended by Tarso Marques going into the first corner on race lap 1. Nakano's car spun 180 degrees and stalled. He had to wait for a tow back to the pits from the CART safety crew, and finally was returned to the pits to replace a punctured tire. By the time he was able to re-enter the race, the Japanese rookie was two laps down. Nakano continued to fight for position throughout the race, and was able to race with the leaders throughout. A gearbox failure ended his day early on lap 82. He finished 15th.
"Tarso rear ended me on Lap 1," said Nakano. "And it damaged the undertray and punctured a tire. I had to wait quite a long time to get towed back to the pits, and when we got back out we were two laps down. We hadn't found a good set-up for the car until warm-up this morning, and then the car was quite good. It was also very good during the race and I was able to race with Moreno throughout, until the gearbox failed. The track was really bumpy, but I liked racing there very much."
Fisher flies too -- Indy Racing Northern Light Series Walker Racing driver Sarah Fisher participated in a two-day open test this weekend at Kentucky Motor Speedway. The test is in preparation for the August 27 Belterra Resort Indy 300, when the IRL drivers and teams will compete for the first time. The 19-year old rookie driver accumulated a total of 355 laps in the #15 Cummins/Dallara/Firestone around the 1.5-mile oval during the two days and she was also P1 (the fastest of all drivers) during every test session at the Kentucky Speedway.
Fisher's 355 laps were the most logged of any driver around the new track. She had the fastest lap at the test of 218.517 mph, clocked during Saturday's testing session.
"We had a really successful two days here," said Sarah. "It's neat to see that we were the quickest yesterday and today, and it gives our team a morale boost to see that we're on top. I like running at this track, it's a combination between the Las Vegas and the Texas tracks, but it's not as hard on your equipment as Texas is."
Coming up next -- Watch Sarah in her next Indy Racing Northern Light Series race during the weekend of July 13 - 15 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 2nd night race of the IRL schedule will take place on Saturday night, July 15, and will be broadcast live on ESPN at 8 p.m. (ET).
Then watch Shinji in round 10 of the FedEx Championship Series. The next race will take place on the weekend of July 14 - 16 at the Molson Indy race in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The race will be broadcast on July 16 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Walker Racing's corporate sponsor partners are avex, Alpine, Mitsuba, Cummins, Mead, SpeedWRX.com, Emlrockfort, Dell Computer Corporation, NGK, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Honda, Reynard and Firestone.