Takagi fourth, Giaffone eighth on opening day of practice at Kansas KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Friday, July 4, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone endured a sweltering opening day of practice for Sunday's Kansas Indy 300 by clocking the fourth- and...
Takagi fourth, Giaffone eighth on opening day of practice at Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Friday, July 4, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone endured a sweltering opening day of practice for Sunday's Kansas Indy 300 by clocking the fourth- and eighth-fastest speeds of today's twin sessions on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway tri-oval.
Under crystal clear skies but temperatures that surpassed the 100-degree mark, Takagi and his #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force had his best run in the late-afternoon session with a lap of 25.2039 seconds (217.109 mph) that was fastest among the first group of 11 cars to practice. Earlier in the afternoon, Takagi was able to run with the second group after losing time in the pits as the Pioneer crew dealt with mechanical issues while the first group was running. Takagi turned a fast lap of 25.3553 seconds (215.813 mph) during that practice session, good for seventh on the timesheets. At Takagi's last race on a 1.5-mile tri-oval, at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7, he qualified third and finished third.
Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force worked exclusively on race setup and turned in his fastest lap of the day in the early session at 25.3043 seconds (216.248 mph), which was fifth on the early-session timesheets. That time was eighth on the timesheets combining today's early and late practice sessions. Late in the afternoon, Giaffone recorded a fast lap of 25.3793 seconds (215.609 mph), good for 12th in that session.
Tomas Scheckter's morning practice time of 25.0706 seconds (218.264 mph) was fastest of the day, followed by his teammate and winner of the last two races, Scott Dixon, at 25.1310 seconds (217.739 mph) in the same session. Series points leader Tony Kanaan's late-afternoon time of 25.1400 seconds (217.661 mph) was third-fastest on the day.
"I'm feeling much better this weekend than I have in a while. I think it's because we're back to a high-speed track, and that is my favorite kind of track. We got a lot of work done with the Pioneer car today. We worked on our race setup and we worked on our qualifying setup and we learned a lot. I like this track a lot. It's a little bit like Texas. It doesn't have the kind of banking like Texas, but the surface is a lot more smooth. I'm really happy with the setup and I am really looking forward to a good day tomorrow. It's very hot, but I think I am getting used to it. I really like running with the second group much better. We will have to have a great result on Sunday so we can score a lot of points and work our way into the second practice group. It makes a big difference."
"We're a little bit off the pace and we're working through various things to figure out why. I'm sure we'll be just fine for the race. I'll admit we worked only on race setup today. We'll try some new things to find some qualifying speed in practice tomorrow morning and I'm sure we'll find it for the Hollywood car. Overall, we'll be in great shape. We will definitely need a car that sticks to the track for the race so we can stay out of trouble. Everybody's been talking about the heat, but it's not totally unbearable. When you're in the race car, there are many other more important things to think about than how hot you feel. I'll just pretend I'm in a cool, air conditioned Toyota sedan and I'll be fine."