IRL: Michigan: Mo Nunn Racing Friday report

Barron fourth, Takagi ninth in afternoon practice at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (Friday, July 25, 2003) -- Alex Barron and Tora Takagi wrapped up the opening day of practice for Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 with the fourth- and ninth-fastest laps...

Barron fourth, Takagi ninth in afternoon practice at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Friday, July 25, 2003) -- Alex Barron and Tora Takagi wrapped up the opening day of practice for Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 with the fourth- and ninth-fastest laps of today's afternoon session on the Michigan Speedway 2-mile tri-oval.

Barron, subbing for the second weekend in a row for the injured Felipe Giaffone in the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force, turned a fast lap of 32.4856 seconds (221.637 mph) this afternoon that was bettered by only three competitors in the session. Barron opened the day with a faster lap during the late-morning practice session at 32.4711 seconds (221.736 mph). That lap was fifth-best for the session and was sixth on the combined practice report.

Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force turned a fast lap of 32.6229 seconds (220.704 mph) this afternoon for the ninth spot on the timesheet. His morning lap of 32.6093 seconds (220.796 mph) was fastest for his half of the practice group but 11th among all competitors and 12-fastest on the day overall.

Giaffone, who broke his right femur and pelvis in a racing accident at Kansas Speedway July 6, flew to his native Sao Paolo, Brazil, last Sunday to continue his rehabilitation. He hopes to return to the cockpit of the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing machine in time for the race at Joliet, Ill., Sept. 7.

Two-time-defending IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish, Jr., debuting the all-new "Gen IV Chevrolet" engine produced by Cosworth here this weekend, clocked the fastest lap of the day this morning at 32.1977 seconds (223.618 mph). Kenny Brack's morning lap of 32.2894 seconds (222.983 mph) was second-fastest on the day, while Scott Dixon's afternoon lap of 32.3605 seconds (222.493 mph), was third-best.

ALEX BARRON

"I think the Hollywood car is very strong. We still need to work a bit on our setup for running in traffic. But we got a lot of quality time running in traffic during the second session today and we made some gains. It was a really good group and we were really good about sticking together. Overall, I'm happy to say we have a strong Toyota motor and I think we're going to be in great shape for Sunday."

TORA TAKAGI

"I'm confident we have the right package to be successful here. My teammate Alex (Barron) showed that we will be competitive. It was a disadvantage to be running in the first (practice) group here instead of the second group today because it was very difficult to find other fast cars to run with. So I was not able to learn too much personally about what my car needs to run in traffic, and I was not able to find a tow (draft) for a really fast lap like a lot of other people did. The Pioneer team will work closely with the Hollywood team to see what works and what doesn't and make those changes to our car for tomorrow, plus we will also look closely at what we were able to learn today. The morning practice session Saturday will be for qualifying setup, so tomorrow's final practice will be more important for us than ever."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Mo Nunn , Sam Hornis