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CART: Mercedes Fast at U.S. 500 Practice

24 July 1999

Race:   U.S. 500, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.
Date/Session:   Friday, July 23, 1999           Practice

        The Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine powered the Champ
Cars of Mauricio Gugelmin and Greg Moore to the top of the time sheets
during Friday's practice sessions for the U.S. 500, round 12 of the CART
FedEx Championship Series.  A total of four Mercedes pilots posted top-10
times on Michigan International Speedway's two-mile oval.

        Gugelmin and his PacWest Hollywood Mercedes entry posted the
second-quickest lap of the day (31.204 seconds/230.740 mph) in the waning
moments of the afternoon session -- just 0.070 seconds behind Juan
Montoya's lap of 31.134 seconds (231.258 mph).  Moore was fourth-quick in
his Player's/Forsythe Mercedes after touring the high-banked oval in a
hasty 31.269 seconds (230.260 mph).

        Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes veteran Al Unser Jr. was seventh,
lapping the race track in 31.383 seconds (229.424 mph), while Moore's
teammate, Patrick Carpentier, was eighth with a time of 31.397 seconds
(229.321 mph).   

        Alex Barron, making his premier appearance in the No. 3 Marlboro
Team Penske Mercedes, recorded a lap in 31.647 seconds (227.510 mph) for
the 18th spot.  Helio Castro-Neves, 19th overall, lapped Michigan's oval in
31.698 seconds (227.144 mph). Roberto Moreno, substituting in his
eighth-consecutive race for injured PacWest Motorola driver Mark Blundell,
tallied a quick lap of 31.969 seconds (225.218 mph) and heads into
Saturday's qualifying in 22nd position. 

        CART practice continues Saturday morning from 8:00-9:00 a.m., and
qualifying will be held from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  The green flag for the
U.S. 500 will wave Sunday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (ABC-TV, live).

Mercedes Quotes

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (Second/31.204
        "We started with a good race car today and had two productive
sessions.  The car handles well in traffic, which is always a relief when
you know you're going to go 500 miles.  This afternoon, we had full tanks
early, and I was trying to get into traffic to see how the car handles.  At
the end, I was able to get a tow for the quick lap."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Fourth/31.269
        "Considering we didn't test here at all, I'm pleased.  We always
know we'll be fast here, though.  We're normally pretty successful here, so
I'm not that concerned with qualifying.  The race is all that matters to
me.  I'm confident we're going to be up front."
Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone
(Eighth/31.397 seconds)
        "I'm happy with the engine.  We really have the power here.  On
long runs, though, my car is nervous after only seven laps.  In traffic it
gets worse.  It is important that we fix that."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (19th/31.698
        "The car is pretty good.  This is a tough track for us with the
Lola, because we've never run here.  The drag from the rear wing is really
bad.  We're working on getting a good race car.  Qualifying is not the most
important thing here, but we're trying very hard to find something for

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (22nd/31.969 seconds)
        "The car was very loose today.  Towards the end, we began to make
some improvements, but we have a lot of work on our hands."

U.S. 500, Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, Mich.
July 23, 1999
Pos.    Driver                  Engine          Time    Speed
1       Juan Montoya            Honda           31.134  231.258
2       Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   31.204  230.740
3       Max Papis               Ford Cosworth   31.234  230.518
4       Greg Moore              Mercedes-Benz   31.269  230.260
5       Christian Fittipaldi    Ford Cosworth   31.337  229.760
6       Tony Kanaan             Honda           31.349  229.672
7       Al Unser Jr.            Mercedes-Benz   31.383  229.424
8       Patrick Carpentier      Mercedes-Benz   31.397  229.321
9       Paul Tracy              Honda           31.445  228.971
10      Michael Andretti        Ford Cosworth   31.446  228.964
18      Alex Barron             Mercedes-Benz   31.647  227.510
19      Helio Castro-Neves      Mercedes-Benz   31.698  227.144
22      Roberto Moreno          Mercedes-Benz   31.969  225.218

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