Saturday Morning Practice

Saturday Morning Practice

One of two remaining championship contenders, Juan Montoya returns to the pits during morning warm-up. He was nine points behind Dario Franchitti going into the weekend.

08:54 Fujifilm Nexia A200 SS1/700 CF5.6

Juan Montoya
Bang Goes Another Mercedes Engine

Helio Castro-Neves blows an engine, an all too common sight for him this season. This would be his last race for Hogan Racing, which pulled out of the series at the end of the year.

08:58 Fujifilm Nexia A200 SS1/500 CF9.5

Adrian Fernandez struggled in all the practice sessions, switching each time to the spare car with little improvement. However, this didn't prevent him from going on to win the race.

08:59 Fujifilm Nexia A200 SS1/700 CF5.6

Fernandez
de Ferran

In his last race for Walker Racing before joining Penske for the 2000 season, Gil de Ferran was also having trouble getting a good lap speed.

08:59 Fujifilm Nexia A200 SS1/1000 CF5.6

This was Scott Pruett's final Champ Car race, before switching to NASCAR for the next season. At this stage of the weekend it didn't appear that this would be a memorable one for him.

08:59 Fujifilm Nexia A200 SS1/1000 CF5.6

Pruett

Vitolo

Contrary to the large presence of tobacco company sponsors, Dennis Vitolo drives for Team NicoDerm CQ-NICORETTE in Payton-Coyne's Reynard-Ford. Dennis is one of the nine American drivers to compete in 1999.

09:02 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/180 CF5.6

Also driving for Payton-Cone is Mexican national Michel Jourdain Jr. in the Herdez sponsored Lola-Ford. Payton-Coyne is unusual in that it is running two different chassis.

09:02 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/500 CF5.6

Jourdain

Jones

Another driver leaving his team at the end of the season was PJ Jones. His success in the season had been hampered because Patrick Racing was also running two different chassis and he drew the short straw to get the Swift.

09:08 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/125 CF5.6

With Carl Hogan announcing this weekend that his team won't be back next season, Helio Castro-Neves thinks he is without a drive. He is especially despondent because he has already turned down a ride with Team Rahal. He was consistently strong all season, although plagued by bad luck and engine problems. Notice his white driving suit.

09:08 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/500 CF8.0

Castro-Neves

Hertamania

And continuing the theme, this is Bryan Herta, posing with a fan, whose contract has not been renewed by team owner Bobby Rahal. In losing Bryan there will be only two American drivers with full time rides for the 2000 season.

09:11 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/250 CF8.0

Juan Montoya hops on his bike after the practice session where he was fourth fastest.

09:11 Fujicolor Smart D100 SS1/250 CF9.5

Montoya

Blundell

English driver Mark "Billy" Blundell won this race in its first running in 1997. Last year he came sixth, but this season has been a struggle for him. The Mercedes power plant has not been as strong as the Honda and Ford engines and he had to sit out seven races after a big crash in testing at Gateway.

09:17 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/125 CF5.6

Adrian Fernandez describes the one that got away.

09:17 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/250 CF9.5

Look, No Hands!

Penske Chassis

Engineers working on Al Unser Jr.'s car. This is Al's last race in CART before moving to the IRL next season. And after many years of building their own Champ Car chassis, Penske is finally throwing in the towel and going with a customer Reynard car for 2000. This may be the last time we see a Penske chassis in a CART race.

09:24 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/20 CF5.6

Driving his last race for Penske is Alex Barron.

09:27 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/180 CF5.6

The Red Barron

Dario Speedwagon

Dario Franchitti came to Fontana nine points ahead in the championship standings. He had been fifth fastest in the morning practice session.

09:53 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/350 CF8.0

Back to our theme of drivers in their last race for their team, we see Richie Hearn on his bike. Della Penna Motorsports lost their Budweiser sponsorship at the end of the season and took on Argentinean driver Norberto Fontana along with his own sponsorship package for 2000.

10:03 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/250 CF8.0

Little Richie Hearn

Carl Haas

Team owner Carl Haas drive by with his signature cigar between his teeth.

10:03 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/250 CF8.0

Roberto Moreno chats with Christian Fittipaldi.

10:10 Fujicolor Smart F100 SS1/250 CF8.0

Moreno and Fittipaldi

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1999-2000 Paul Jasper. Last updated Friday May 06, 2005.