MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2000) - - Casey Mears turned in another stellar performance in Saturday morning's practice to make him a clear favorite to maintain his grip on the pole position in final qualifying. Mears scored the session's ...
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2000) - - Casey Mears turned in another stellar performance in Saturday morning's practice to make him a clear favorite to maintain his grip on the pole position in final qualifying. Mears scored the session's second fastest time at 1:16.843 104.848 mph. Mears was only 0.296-seconds behind the session's pace setter, Scott Dixon, at 1:16.547 105.253 mph.
"This wasn't a wasted session because we experimented with something that really helped the rear shocks," said Mears. "The temperature differences between this morning and final qualifying in the afternoon won't matter in what we were trying to learn in practice. We improved in areas that needed improvement so I suspect I'll be able to go a little faster than I did in provisional qualifying. We also corrected a front wing problem. We found it wasn't positioned where we wanted it so the front end worked much better this morning."
Jason Bright, of Australia, and Townsend Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., had more challenging sessions. Bright struggled with set-up problems and finished 11th at 1:18.348 102.834 mph. Bell ran off-course and slid into the turn 10 wall late in the session that caused him to finish 15th overall at 1:18.931 102.074 mph. Bell was uninjured and exited the car under his power.
Overcast and cool weather greeted Indy Lights drivers for Saturday's practice. Dayton Tire engineers reported a track temperature of 70 degrees at the start of the session with an ambient temperature of 60 degrees.
Practice started promptly at 9:00 a.m. (PT) but was plagued with caution periods throughout its 40-minutes. The first red flag was issued six minutes into the session when Chris Menninga and Tony Renna spun off-course and into the turn eight wall. Both drivers were uninjured.
Another caution period surfaced after 22 minutes when Andy Boss spun and stopped high center in turn eighth. Boss needed assistance from the CART Safety crew to dislodge his car.
Bell's incident in turn 10 occurred with nine minutes remaining in the session.