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Cleveland night race a first for CART series

Published Sep. 1, 2005

Patrick Carpentier of Las Vegas is the defending champion of the Cleveland Grand Prix but this year's race will have a different look as it marks the first time CART has raced under the lights on a temporary road course.

"I know the experience we had racing at night in Milwaukee several weeks ago was a lot of fun but there are a whole new set of variables with night racing in Cleveland _ is the setting sun going to be a factor on that first turn, for instance?" Carpentier said. "Fortunately, we'll have some practices to get used to the conditions."

His victory last year at Cleveland was Carpentier's first on a road course and first of two that season.

"I got a lot of satisfaction from Team Player's victory there last year, especially because getting a victory in Cleveland is a bit like winning the marathon," Carpentier said. "There are so many things to deal with, like going from a bumpy surface to a flat one, staying focused mentally and maintaining your physical stamina under the extremely hot temperatures in the cockpit."

Sebastien Bourdais won the pole for tonight's race with a lap of 130.686 mph, followed by Paul Tracy and Carpentier.

O'REILLY AUTO PARTS 250: Chad Chaffin won his first truck series pole with Bobby Hamilton Racing teammate Bill Lester also starting today's race on the front row at Kansas Speedway.

Chaffin's Dodge turned in a fast lap of 166.323 mph on the 1 {-mile tri-oval in Kansas City, Kan. The lap was almost 2 mph faster than Lester's 164.429.

FRENCH GRAND PRIX: Five-time world champion Michael Schumacher was a bit too quick practicing a pit stop and it cost Ferrari $10,000.

Schumacher and his crew were practicing tire changing during free practice at Magny-Cours. The German was waved to move back to pit lane and his Ferrari crashed into Mark Webber's Jaguar as he came down pit lane. The Ferrari was relatively undamaged.

Meanwhile, Minardi, the least successful of F1's 10 teams, was fastest in the first qualifying session. Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson, first and second quickest, were about seven seconds faster than Schumacher, who was 11th.

CARS RETURNED: The BAR Formula One team was cleared to race in Sunday's French Grand Prix after a judge lifted an injunction by a Monaco-based company that says it's owed $3.2-million.

The team, owned by British American Tobacco PLC, successfully contested the injunction at a court in Nevers, France. BAR drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button had to sit out a practice while the decision was pending. Police officers impounded BAR's cars at the Magny-Cours track Thursday.

MORE SOFT WALLS: Homestead-Miami Speedway plans to install SAFER (steel and foam energy reduction) barriers this year. Earlier this week, tracks in Richmond, Va., and Louden, N.H., were approved for the walls.