David Reininger - motorsport.com Phoenix, AZ (March 17, 2000) - Stephan Gregoire turned the fastest lap of the day at 171.838 mph in practice for Sunday's MCI Worldcom Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway this afternoon. Gregoire took ...
David Reininger - motorsport.com
Phoenix, AZ (March 17, 2000) - Stephan Gregoire turned the fastest lap of the day at 171.838 mph in practice for Sunday's MCI Worldcom Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway this afternoon. Gregoire took advantage of a test session in February to obtain an optimal set up on his race car.
"It (testing) makes a big difference, said Gregoire. "This morning, they put the car on the ground and immediately it was fast and very comfortable. It was just like I had been driving the day before, and it had been three weeks."
Most drivers reported slippery conditions after the morning practice session. "The track is different compared to when we came in February. We just wanted to see, with low fuel and new tires, what the car could do, and we ended up with fastest lap. It makes me very excited, I know I have a car capable of getting the pole position."
Track conditions deteriorated as temperatures rose throughout the day. "It was much more greasy (in the afternoon). This morning was not great, compared to the test, this afternoon was even worse. I think this afternoon's conditions is a good indication of what we will see for the race. It was not very good this afternoon but that's good because we need to make the car good enough to handle these types of situations."
Gregoire was ninth fastest in the afternoon session, five mph slower than in the morning session. "We did a lot of work for the race. I think that's the most important thing because the conditions for the race are going to be very tough. We did very good work today, I'm very happy."
Second fastest of the day was Robby McGehee in the Energizer Motorsports entry fielded by Treadway Racing. McGehee, who turned a lap at 171.502 mph in the morning session, is looking forward to this weekend's race.
"We learned a lot in the 'Test in the West.' Plus we stayed an extra day, and it really paid off. The car is comfortable. But more importantly, it's consistent. We hope to qualify in the top five and finish in the top three."
Tyce Carlson was the most consistent driver of the day. His best lap in the morning session was good enough for third fastest of the day. In the afternoon session Tyce was fourth fastest, just two mph shy of his best lap of the day.
"The track didn't change that much," said Carlson, driver of the Hubbard-Immke Dallara Oldsmobile. "It's the wind that changed that made the cars more difficult to drive. The wind kept changing directions so the set up you had in the morning might have been stuck, and then all of a sudden the next time you went out the wind was blowing a different direction, so it might have made you loose in one of the corners."
Tyce practiced in his primary and back up cars today setting similar times in each. "Our cars have been comfortable out of the box wherever we've taken them so far. We really haven't made any changes to our car. A little bit of stagger and a little bit of downforce change and that's it."
Tyce was fourth fastest overall in the back up car. "Both cars are pretty much identical. We took them both out to make sure that the back up car was there if we needed it. Hopefully we won't need it."
Eliseo Salazar was the fourth fastest driver of the day in A.J. Foyt's Rio Casinos sponsored No. 11 and Donnie Beechler rounded out the top five.
MBNA Pole Qualifying for the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 takes the green flag at 10:45 a.m. Saturday morning.