Race No. 10
1996 Pole Winner: Jimmy Vasser
1996 Race Winner: Gil de Ferran
1996 SpeedCenter Report
Cleveland Weather Forecast
Burke Lakefront Area Map
Warning - Low Flying Aircraft
CART returns to Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland
Round ten of the 1997 PPG CART World Series comes to Cleveland, OH thisweekend. The race is scheduled for 90 laps around the 2.369-mile, tenturn temporary road course for a total of 213.21 miles. The race will besubject to the two-hour time limit rule. The event will be televisedlive on ABC TV at 2:00PM EDT.
The flat track, laid out on the runways and taxi lanes of BurkeLakefront Airport, is known for it's wide-open passing zones, but isalso notorious for having too many drivers attempt to occupy the samespace. The entrance to turn one invites three-wide racing, while theturn itself narrows to a maximum of two car-widths. As on allroad/street courses, qualifying near the front of the field will beextremely important.
Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Reynard Honda) comes to therace as the defending champion, and also with a strong record in the '97season. De Ferran has three podium finishes in the last four races, and,on June 22, came in second by only .027 seconds in a final straight dragrace with Mark Blundell for the closest finish in Indy car history.
De Ferran scored the first pole position in his PPG CART World Seriescareer at this temporary road course in '95. In doing so, he set arecord lap of 57.815 for a speed of 147.512, but, in view of theperformance of the "de-tuned" cars and improved tire compounds thisseason, that record will be in jeopardy should conditions remain dry forqualifying and race-day.
Picking a likely winner of Sunday's race has no real scientificfoundation. As I said before, qualifying position will play a great partin the equation, but keep in mind that qualifying times have repeatedlybeen within one-tenth of a second deep into the field.
The points battle is heating up, with Tracy in the lead with 100 points.Moore and Andretti are easily within striking distance with 95 and 91points respectively. De Ferran, with 77 points going to Cleveland, couldclose the gap considerably with a pole and a win. Any of the top sixdrivers are still in realistic contention, and Pruett, in seventh with66 points, could strike with a winning streak in the second half of theseason.
Tasman Motorsports fields a Reynard chassis for Andre Ribeiro for thefirst time this year, and Lola claims to have made improvements aftersupposedly discovering ailments during recent test sessions. Could thispull Tasman into the list of possible competitors with Ribeiro andAdrian Fernandez?
And how about that Fittipaldi? Out for 75 days, then returns to acareer-best qualifying (third), and a fourth place finish that wassecond until the final lap of the Portland race. And this while havingto use crutches to walk. He doesn't have much of a shot at the title,but is still chasing that elusive first PPG CART World Series win.
We'll see on Sunday!
©1997 SpeedCenter Internet Publishing, Inc.