CART Franchise Board Approves Two New Rule Changes
©2002 SpeedCenter Publishing

New Rules to Take Effect at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 12, 2002) - As a continuation of an initiative to promote competitive racing at every CART FedEx Championship Series event, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) announced today two rule enhancements that have been approved by the Franchise Owners Board and will take effect beginning with this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, April 13).

Both of the rule changes deal with road and street circuit qualifying, and are enhancements of the substantial rule changes made prior to the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season.

The first change deals with the possibility of wet weather during either qualifying round. Rule 5.4.1B now stipulates that the chief steward may declare a qualifying session a "wet session," which would allow each driver to run an unlimited amount of laps on rain tires within the 60 minutes allotted to the qualifying session.

Should the "wet session" designation be withdrawn, each driver will revert to the previously allotted maximum of 15 timed laps from the time the designation is withdrawn through the end of the time remaining in the session, regardless of which type of tire is being used. The rule changes announced prior to the season allowed each driver a maximum of 15 timed laps per 60-minute qualifying session regardless of the track conditions.

"We took a hard look at our new qualifying procedures in Monterrey, Mexico and we learned a few tricks to make the show even more exciting for the fans," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "After all, we are here to entertain the fans and provide value for our sponsors. If the track is wet, the new wet session revision puts the cars on track for the fans with unlimited laps and puts the sponsors' logos on the television screen. It should be a great show both in wet and dry conditions."

If a driver exceeds the 15-lap allotment by one lap, he will lose his fastest timed lap of the session. Should he exceed the allotment by more than one lap, he will lose all of his timed laps from the session.

The second approved rule change addresses the establishment of the front row at every street or road circuit. In any case, the driver who turns the fastest lap of the two qualifying sessions will start from the pole position. However, rule 5.4.5 stipulates that the fastest qualifier on each day of qualifying-if they are not the same driver-will now start from the front row.

The driver who posts the fastest time during the first day of qualifying will be awarded the provisional pole position and is guaranteed a starting position no lower than second. This driver will also be awarded one championship point.

The fastest driver from the second day of qualifying will start from the pole position if he posts a faster time than the provisional polesitter, with the fastest driver from the first day starting in the second position. If nobody goes faster than the provisional pole sitter on the second day of qualifying, the provisional pole sitter will start the race from the pole position and the fastest driver on the second day will start from the outside of the front row and will earn a championship point.

If the same driver posts the fastest speed on each qualifying day, that driver will start from the pole position and will earn one point for being the fastest driver on each day for a total of two championship points. The rest of the field will then be established based on the fastest speeds of the combined qualifying sessions.

"The brief Franchise Owners meeting that we had to establish these new rules is yet another example of how, in 2002, the CART Franchise Owners are closing ranks and making strategic moves in the best interest of our sport," said Lopes. "The CART team owners overwhelmingly supported these changes to provide the fans a great show. The fans in Southern California will be the first to witness the CART FedEx Championship's world class drivers battle for the front row two days in a row."

The newest rule changes come on the heels of extensive changes made prior to the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series campaign. The new rules were first implemented in the season-opening Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, and most of the new rules drew rave reviews from competitors and fans alike. The new rules announced today are also designed with the best interests of the competitors and fans in mind.

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