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How Nigel Mansell prepped for his first CART Indy car test with a white Cadillac rental car

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It’s funny how sometimes, when you’re looking up something, you stumble across something entirely different that immediately grabs your attention because of its unique subject matter.

Such was the case Thursday afternoon. While looking up something else about IndyCar racing, we ran across an online story by Road & Track magazine (RoadandTrack.com) that we had never heard of before.

The well-written story by Travis Okulski was about former Formula One and CART champion Nigel Mansell and his first test in an Indy car on January 4, 1993 at the former Firebird International Raceway (now Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park) in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

Before we talk more about the test, the only reason Mansell crossed the Atlantic to come race in America was because his ride with Williams in Formula One went away after 1992, even though Mansell captured the F1 championship that same season.

Without an available F1 ride, Mansell came to the U.S., when ironically, just as 1991 CART champ Michael Andretti moved to F1 to race for McLaren. In a sense, Mansell became the de facto replacement for the younger Andretti with the Newman Haas Racing squad.

Getting back to the CART test at Firebird:

Now, a test is usually a test, no matter what type of motorsport you’re in. But Mansell’s first effort in an Indy car had the kind of back story that would definitely qualify for the late Paul Harvey’s “Now You Know The Rest Of The Story” radio series.

You see, and as Okulski so aptly described, Mansell prepared for his first run in an Indy car by taking to the 1.6-mile road course first not in an open-wheeler, but in an all-white 1993 Cadillac rental car – at a time when Cadillacs were more like four-wheeled boats and not the much more nimble rides they’ve since become.

Mansell took a couple laps around in the Caddy before climbing into the Indy car. It didn’t take long before the Englishman broke Firebird’s single-lap record.

Beginner’s luck? No, rather, a great skill that would ultimately pay off later that 16-race season with five wins – plus a third-place finish in the 1993 Indianapolis 500 – as well as 10 podiums, six poles and capped off with the CART championship.

Unfortunately, Mansell’s tenure in CART was short-lived. After his great rookie campaign, he struggled in his sophomore season, failing to win a race, earning just three podiums and three poles. The 1994 season would be his second and last in CART before he returned home to his native England.

Here’s a video about Mansell’s initial CART foray – including his run in the Caddy – you definitely want to check out.

Click here to read Okulski’s story.

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Qualification report for Anaheim II Supercross

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Marvin Musquin posted the fastest lap in Qualification 2 for the third round of the 2019 Supercross season at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. His fastest lap was 57.660 seconds.

Eli Tomac was second-fast at 58:026 with Ken Roczen rounding out the top three at 58.381.

The 250s were almost as fast in the Qualification 2 with Adam Cianciarulo posting a lap of 58.892. In fact, in the first qualification round while the track was still drying out from weekday rains, the 250s were considerably quicker with Dylan Ferrandis’ lap of 58.637 topping the 450 field. Tomac was fastest in that session with a lap of 59.003 seconds.

Click here for complete Qualifying 2, Group A results
Click here for complete Qualifying 1, Group A results

In the 250 class:

Group A, Qualifying 2: Adam Cianciarulo and the field lost some time from Qualification 1, posting a fastest lap of 58.892 seconds. Dylan Ferrandis was second fast at 59.027 with RJ Hampshire third at 59.541 seconds. Thomas Do was quickest in Group B with a time of 1:02.704.
Group A, Qualifying 1: Ferrandis (58:637) was fastest over Cianciarulo (58.725) and Colt Nichols (59.173). Scott Champion was fastest from Group B with a 1:03.544, which was 19th best.

Click here for complete Qualifying 2, Group A results
Click here for complete Qualifying 1, Group A results

Qualification each week can be seen live with NBC’s Sport Gold Supercross / Motocross season pass, which can be purchased at https://www.nbcsports.com/gold.

MORE: Anaheim II Preview: Ken Roczen eyes first win 

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