Giaffone and Takagi Sixth and Seventh in Practice at Chicagoland JOLIET, Ill. (Friday, Sept. 5, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi logged the sixth- and seventh-fastest practice laps of the day this afternoon in...
Giaffone and Takagi Sixth and Seventh in Practice at Chicagoland
JOLIET, Ill. (Friday, Sept. 5, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi logged the sixth- and seventh-fastest practice laps of the day this afternoon in practice for Sunday's Delphi Indy 300 on the Chicagoland Speedway 1.5-mile tri-oval.
Giaffone, who is making his comeback this weekend after missing the last five races due to injuries suffered in a July 6 racing accident at Kansas Speedway, drove the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force to a fast lap of 24.5893 seconds (222.536 mph) during the afternoon session. He opened the day with the fourth-fastest time in the morning practice session at 24.6810 seconds (221.709 mph). Giaffone suffered a broken right femur and pelvis in the accident at Kansas Speedway. Surgery was performed on July 7. He returned to the cockpit of the Hollywood car for the first time during two days of testing here at Chicagoland Speedway last week. Alex Barron subbed for him at the last five events, scoring a victory at Michigan on July 27 and a fifth-place finish at Nashville on July 19.
After starting the day in the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara, Takagi switched to the Panoz G Force that he drove at the first 10 events this season and again two weekends ago at Nazareth and finished the afternoon session one tick behind Giaffone at 24.6004 seconds (222.435 mph). Takagi and the Dallara were 19th in the morning session at 25.0259 seconds (218.653 mph).
Practice resumes Saturday morning with single-car qualifying set for 4:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. EDT). Race time Sunday is 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT) with ABC-TV set to carry the broadcast live.
"I think it was a very good first day. The Hollywood car has been very good since we started out this morning. We concentrated a lot all day about making it a good car in a race-type setup. I think we are very close to where we want to be. Some things we tried worked better in the morning. Some other things we tried worked better in the afternoon. For tomorrow, we will put them all together and see how it works. We will need every bit of speed we can find because the practice times are all so close. Physically and mentally, when I'm in the race car, I don't feel like I'm coming back from an accident at all. When you're running so close to everybody, you really don't have time to think about anything else other than what you're doing. About the only time I feel anything at all is when I'm getting in and out of the car, but I'm getting the hang of it."
"We didn't achieve the kind of success we had here in the test last week with our Dallara chassis this morning, so we tried the (Panoz) G Force this afternoon and, obviously, it's the much better car for us on this track. The G Force has a lot less drag, and we were able to put together much more consistent laps. It's definitely the way to go for qualifying. We also need to work very hard to make it a good race car for Sunday, and we are making progress in that area. I feel much better about this weekend after the afternoon practice."