LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 12, 2000) - Saturday's 30-minute morning practice had its ups and downs but most important it didn't have any caution periods. The net result was all drivers had a full practice to iron out the kinks in their Indy...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 12, 2000) - Saturday's 30-minute morning practice had its ups and downs but most important it didn't have any caution periods. The net result was all drivers had a full practice to iron out the kinks in their Indy Lights armor in preparation for Saturday afternoon's final qualifying session.
The weather in central Ohio is nothing short of fantastic for racing in August. The forecasted temperature high of 75 degrees is under sunny, non-humid skies. Track temperature when practice started at 9:15 a.m. (ET) was 78 degrees with an ambient reading of 69 degrees. A steady northerly breeze blew across the front straight-away. When the session was completed, Casey Mears was fourth fastest at 1:15.758 = 107.300 mph around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Teammate Jason Bright was right behind as fifth fastest at 1:16.190 = 106.691 mph. Townsend Bell was 10th at 1:16.416 = 106.376 mph.
Mears was fast from the start including running second fastest after seven minutes at 1:16.661 = 106.036 mph. Bright was fourth fastest at that time at 1:16.702 = 105.979 mph.
"Friday was a bad day with the gearbox," said Bright. "We're playing catch up now since everybody else had a full practice session with less problems. Portland was our last permanent road course so we have a little more work on the car left. We expect the track will change between practice and qualifying similar to yesterday. The car's balance will probably be better for qualifying and that would give me a reasonable chance at winning the pole."
Mears improved his time a couple of minutes later to 1:16.533 = 106.491 mph before moving to the top of the leader board after 20 minutes at 1:16.209 = 106.665 mph. Bright was seventh fastest at 1:16.514 = 106.229 mph.
A brief off-course detour between turns one and two for Mears with three minutes remaining likely cost Mears the session's fastest time. Chris Simmons popped the best lap of 1:15.560 = 107.581 mph.
"We were quickest a couple of times but we had to make a variety of small adjustments throughout the session," said Mears. "I'm learning my way around the track better. I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable with the circuit so I think I'll be able to improve my qualifying time. The drivers to watch out for are the two KOOL drivers. They're tough and they have a good set-up for this track."