IRL: Michigan: Friday practice report

Kanaan Led Friday Practice at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich., Friday, July 30, 2004 -- IRL IndyCar® points leader Tony Kanaan posted the fastest lap during the opening day of practice for the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International ...

Kanaan Led Friday Practice at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich., Friday, July 30, 2004 -- IRL IndyCar® points leader Tony Kanaan posted the fastest lap during the opening day of practice for the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Kanaan's best lap around the 2-mile, D-shaped oval was 33.5200 seconds, 214.797 mph, in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Kanaan's lap was slightly faster than rookie Kosuke Matsuura, who posted a lap of 33.5799 seconds, 214.414 mph in the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone.

"There was a lot of drafting, and we worked on race setup a lot," Kanaan said. "I ended up having a pretty good lap behind my teammates. I don't think the lap time says a lot. We're just working, like I said, on race setup, and we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Tomas Scheckter, who captured the MBNA Pole Award in the previous two IndyCar Series events at Michigan, was third after posting a lap of 33.6013 seconds, 214.277 mph in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

The only incident of the day occurred when Townsend Bell, driver of the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, spun and made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. Bell was uninjured.

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "There was a lot of drafting, and we worked on race setup a lot. I ended up having a pretty good lap behind my teammates. I don't think the lap time says a lot. We're just working, like I said, on race setup, and we'll see what happens tomorrow."(About running in tight packs during practice): "Either we do it today or we do it on Sunday. I guess we're learning how to take care of each other, and that's what we're doing. I didn't see a bunch of crazy moves out there. I came in and looked at my boss' face, Kim Green, and he looked pretty scared after I ran three-wide for four laps with me, (Tomas) Scheckter and (Dan) Wheldon. But that's the way the race is going to be." (About running with his teammates): "Because it's a superspeedway, where you are qualifying doesn't really matter. That's why we're running together. We're just trying to work on race setup all the time. We really don't care about qualifying." (Do you feel like you have a target on your back as points leader?): "I see a Target on (Scott) Dixon's back and on (Darren) Manning's. I don't take the pressure. People can try to do it, but I've been in championships before, and I've had tough teammates. I've fought for championships. Right now, I'm just doing my job. If I am a target, that means I'm running fast, and I'm bugging people. I think our team is the target. Six (wins) out of nine races, that's a pretty good record. I'm just taking one race at a time. I'm thinking, 'go out there and win.'"

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "This track is the second-biggest circuit in the series, and it's the first time I've driven here. Last week at Milwaukee was a completely different type of circuit. We're very confident about the race here because we have a good Honda engine and a good (Panoz) G Force car, a good package. I was very confident to finish in the top three today, but it doesn't mean anything. I'm thinking of how to race 200 laps. Of course, having a Honda engine is very helpful, but I think this time the Chevy engine is also very strong. I don't think the race will be easy."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This team was struggling last year, but Chevrolet stepped it up for them over here, and hopefully, they'll do it again for us this weekend. It's still early in this long weekend. For sure, we're looking much stronger now than we have. I think Chevrolet has been working hard, and it's showed. It's the beginning of the weekend, but it's certainly evident that Chevy is dedicated to winning, and they're going to do what it takes to make sure they're running up with these other engines. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into the next two days and get what everybody and Chevy and Pennzoil wants, and that's a win."

***

<pre> SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local): 9 a.m. -- 10 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups) 10:15 a.m. -- 10:45 a.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice 11 a.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying for the Michigan Indy 400 3:15 p.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series qualifying for Paramount Health Insurance 100 4:30 p.m. -- 5 p.m. IndyCar Series warmup (all cars) 5:15 p.m. -- 5:30 p.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series warmup

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tony Kanaan , Townsend Bell , Kim Green , Kosuke Matsuura