Helio Castroneves benefited from a late pit stop strategy to return to the track in the lead and never looked back en route to victory at the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, his third win of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship.
Helio Castroneves benefited from a late pit stop strategy to return to the track in the lead and never looked back en route to victory at the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, his third win of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship. Castroneves powered away to a 1.568 sec. win over his teammate for his third straight podium finish. Castroneves' win tightens the race for the FedEx Championship considerably. Although 1993 Barber Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack still leads, his margin is down to a single point over Castroneves (104-103) as the Champ Cars head to Elkhart Lake, Wis., for next weekend's Motorola 220 at scenic Road America. Tony Kanaan turned in a fifth place performance, rounding out the Skip Barber trained drivers in the Top-10.
Earlier, 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series racer Townsend Bell continued his domination of the Mid-Ohio Dayton Indy Lights meeting with a crushing flag-to-flag victory in today's 34-lap race. For the third time this season, the Californian earned the Simple Green Clean-up Award, which goes to a driver who "cleans up" statistically by taking the pole, winning, leading most laps and setting the fastest lap. In the process, he massaged his cushion in the points standings to a comfortable 27 markers over his closest competitor with four rounds to go.
"It was just like last year [when Bell scored his maiden Lights victory at Mid-Ohio] in that we were able to pull out a pretty good gap lap after lap," said a suitably delighted Bell. "When the yellow flags come out, you have to let the field stack back up. Then you pick up some rubber on the tires. That makes the first couple of laps on the restart a bit dicey while the tires burn that stuff off. I was able to get back into a rhythm each time, and that made it comfortable in pulling away."
Skip Barber trained Dan Wheldon drove hard in his PacWest entry but was unable to threaten Bell's tenure of the lead.
"Townsend just had too much for me today," conceded the Englishman. "Overall my car was pretty good, although it was quite nervous in Turn 1. That's where I was losing most of the time. Second place is good, and the points will be really important for me down the road. I still have a shot at [the title], but I need to start winning now. I'm tired of being the bridesmaid."
In Winston Cup, Skip Barber alumnus Jeff Gordon made an impossible pass of race-long leader Jeff Burton with 12 laps to go, then held off the fellow Barber trained racer on two subsequent restarts, and won Sunday's Global Crossing at the Glen NASCAR race. Burton and Jeremy Mayfield followed in second and third to make it a 1-2-3 Barber trained podium.
Gordon, winner last week at Indianapolis, added more feathers to his headdress with his 57th career victory and seventh on a road course, a NASCAR record. He won three in a row here from 1997 through 1999.
Gordon increases his points lead to 194 in bidding for his fourth championship. He also appears to be on the way to becoming the third driver to win more than three NASCAR titles, matching Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. With 14 races left in the 36-event campaign and with Gordon on a red-hot streak, that seems inevitable. Todd Bodine (5th), Formula Dodge standout Jerry Nadeau (6th), road racing specialist Boris Said (8th), 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte (9th) and Steve Park (10th) rounded out a strong Skip Barber trained Top-10.
Earlier at the Glen in Grand-American Road Racing competition, Skip Barber trained Butch Leitzinger shared the win in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250, taking the checkered flag ahead of former Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Andy Lally, who teamed up to take third place in the SRP II classification. Dorsey Schroeder followed with a fifth place in SRP. John Andretti and teammate narrowly edged Spencer Pumpelly and Rick DiIorio for the GT class win.
In Indy Racing League Northern Light Series action at Kentucky Speedway, Skip Barber trained Scott Sharp (2nd), Sam Hornish Jr. (3rd), Robbie Buhl (9th) and Jeff Ward (10th) earned top-10 results. Points leader Sam Hornish Jr.'s third-place allows him to retain a 25 point lead in the standings with three races remaining.
- Andrew Torres