Watkins Glen II: Cheever Racing race report

Fittipaldi, Erdos Finish Seventh Despite Mid-Race Penalty At Watkins Glen International's Crown Royal 200 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Friday, Aug. 11, 2006) Christian Fittipaldi and fellow Brazilian Tommy Erdos brought the ...

Fittipaldi, Erdos Finish Seventh Despite Mid-Race Penalty At Watkins Glen International's Crown Royal 200

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Friday, Aug. 11, 2006) Christian Fittipaldi and fellow Brazilian Tommy Erdos brought the #39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford home in seventh-place finish despite an early race drive-through penalty during tonight's Grand American Rolex Series Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International.

Erdos, who co-drove the team's sister car at the season's opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, qualified 14th on Thursday and was up to 11th by the time tonight's 200-mile race first went yellow on Lap 2. After it went yellow again during the subsequent restart on Lap 6, the Cheever team took advantage of the opportunity to mount an alternative strategy and brought Erdos in for an early driver change and a topping off of fuel. Fittipaldi jumped into the driver seat and resumed in 20th with still some 75 laps to go. Fittipaldi's march toward the front with a very well-handling race car was sidetracked on a Lap-20 restart when Grand-Am officials black-flagged him for stepping out of line before the start-finish stripe. Fittipaldi resumed in 18th after serving the drive-through penalty and again began making his way to the front of the pack.

Fittipaldi was back up to 15th by Lap 36, 12th by Lap 40 and seventh by Lap 61, where he was when the checkered flag flew on Lap 82.

After a weekend off, the series concludes with back-to-back events Aug. 26 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Sept. 2 at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI

"On the positive side, I think we all have to be happy with another top-10 finish. We've been consistent, lately, after a really rough middle of the season where we had a series of rough weekends in a row. I was really surprised we got black-flagged for being out of line because everybody was all fanned out on that restart and I certainly didn't take advantage of it. In fact, I even lifted to keep from passing a car that seemed to be struggling a little bit before the start-finish line. Why they singled us out there, I don't understand, but you have to take it and move on. That's the way it is and we have to try and make the best of it after that. I don't believe it took away a win, or ruined a podium finish, but I really believe we had a top-five car today. Those are the breaks, and we did get to leave here with a seventh. Now we are focusing on two very strong race weekends to finish the season."

TOMMY ERDOS

"Like I said yesterday, it's really nice to be back with the Cheever team. Today was a short day for me, but I knew that was going to be a possible scenario if the situation presented itself, which it did. I'm here to be a team player and support Christian and the Crown Royal team in any way possible. It was unfortunate we got black-flagged there in the early going because I think we had a car that could have finished a bit better than we did. But, otherwise, it was a good experience to get back into these cars and gain some more experience in the Rolex Series. I hope there is more of that in the cards for me."

-credit: cheever racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi