Preview: Street mayhem on the cards

Today's 100-lap Champ Car race on the new Denver street circuit has been characterized as everything from a demolition derby to a reliability run. With that in mind, CART reduced the race length from 115 laps, but the drivers are still expecting mayhem.

Preview: Street mayhem on the cards

"I think this is going to be the toughest race of the year," remarked pole winner Bruno Junqueira. "The track will be hard on the engine and the brakes, and it's going to be tough on the drivers because of the altitude. The track is so slippery it's easy to make a mistake here.

"But being in the front is good," he added. "If I can lead the race, it will be good because I can get a little bit more air and I can run the engine a little bit cooler."

CART debated about moving the start from the short pit straight to the longer backstretch on the run to the enormously wide Turn 5 hairpin. But Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach nixed the idea after the drivers meeting.

"I think starting at the back it would be a little more dangerous," said front row starter Adrian Fernandez. "There are a lot of bumps and it can create a lot of problems. I went on the inside of that straight and I hit a bump and the wheels came off the ground. Everybody knows it's so slippery that if you try too hard, you're going to end up in the wall. You cannot make quick decisions and try to brake late because the rear end is not there.

"I think everybody should be a little bit more cautious, otherwise no one is going to finish."

Junqueira was only ninth fastest in the pre-race warmup, which was led by his Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon. The New Zealander managed a lap of 61.815 seconds, just a fraction off Saturday's qualifying times. The speed may have been helped by cooler conditions, with cloud cover keeping temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than they were Friday and Saturday.

Christian Fittipaldi was second and Shinji Nakano third in the 30-minute session, which was stopped only once when Kenny Brack tore the right-front corner off his Ganassi Lola-Toyota. The Swede was still fourth fastest in the warm-up.

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