CRAZY RACE IN CLEVELAND SEES PASTORELLI'S DAY END EARLY AND KASEMETS' DAY EVENTFUL RESULTING IN A 12TH PLACE FINISH CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 25, 2006) - A crazy day in Cleveland, as Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series...
CRAZY RACE IN CLEVELAND SEES PASTORELLI'S DAY END EARLY AND KASEMETS' DAY EVENTFUL RESULTING IN A 12TH PLACE FINISH
CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 25, 2006) - A crazy day in Cleveland, as Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford took place this afternoon on the 2.106-mile temporary street course of Burke Lakefront Airport. Rocketsports drivers had an eventful afternoon as Nicky Pastorelli was part of the ciaos and his day came to an early end, while Tonis Kasemets was able to hold his own despite many trying moments to finish his second Champ Car race in the 12th spot.
Pastorelli started in the 15th spot this afternoon on the grid and steered clear all incidents on the first lap, which saw him move all the way up to the fifth spot by Lap 3. On Lap 22, the Italo-Dutch driver attempted to pass Paul Tracy for position on the inside. Tracy was not going to let him have it that easily and tried to protect the line coming down on Pastorelli as the two made contact. Pastorelli was left in the grass with damage and he climbed out of the cockpit of the #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone knowing the car was unable to continue in the race.
Pastorelli finished 17th overall in the race today.
Kasemets made it to the checkered flag, but it was not an easy Sunday drive for him. Starting his second Champ Car race this afternoon, he was able to steer clear of the first-lap craziness as he witnessed many spins, off-roading, and stalled cars throughout the first 14 laps before having his own adventures. Fellow rookie Katherine Legge spun on the front straight on Lap 15 and the Estonian was unable to clear her. Damag e was done to the front wing and front right tire. He came in the pits for a new wing and tires and headed back out there.
On Lap 36 the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone got a little loose as he was coming out of the first turned as he spins around and stalls on the track. No contact was made during that incident and Kasemets continued once get got started back up. A little bit later, he had an off-road moment when coming out of Turn 10 but continued with some damage to the front wing. A few laps later, he came back into the pits for another front wing and went on his way again into the battlefield.
Despite all this, Kasemets did bring the Rocketsports car home, finishing in the 12th spot after starting 18th on the grid, besting his finish in Portland - his Champ Car debut.
The Rocketsports team and drivers will have a little break before heading to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for Round Seven and then off to Edmonton for Round Eight. The action starts back up in Toronto July 7-9 for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto at Exhibition Place.
Nicky Pastorelli #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"Well we had a good start. Lots happened during the first lap, but we got through it all with no problems. I made a little mistake in the hairpin on cold tires and lost one position, but it was pretty minor. We were running faster that the two cars in front of us at that time, so I figured that I was going to be able to make up for it. I tried to overtake Paul Tracy for a position but that did not go over well. I don't know what he did, but he just went into me and our day was over in the #8 Curacao/Rocketsports car. It was a shame, the car was handling very well during the few laps that I did this afternoon. Hopefully our luck changes as we head to Toronto for the next race."
Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports
"This was a learning experience. We were able to learn during the race when we were not running in the lead, so we were able to get to know the good with the bad, and the bad with the good. We have definitely found a lead for the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car and a direction that we need to go, so that is something positive that came out of this weekend. We will keep plugging along as we prepare for the next race in Toronto. I would like to thank the Rocketsports team for a great job today, we had a lot of pit stops and stuff going on, but they worked hard to keep me in the race and we were able to finish another race together."
Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports Racing Team Owner
"(Paul) Tracy just turned into Pastorelli. Nicky tried to go on the inside of him, but Tracy does not give up his real estate that easily. It is unfortunate, but Nicky is definitely getting his confidence in the car and it was good to see him try to gain the position by making a move on one of the best drivers of the series. There is more to come from this young driver, he is getting there and we are very happy with him. He did his best this weekend, you can't ask for anything more.
Tonis did an excellent job today. It was a crazy race; he had some incidents, but kept fighting and brought the #18 Rocketsports car home for us this afternoon. We may not have been racing for position anymore after the incidents, but it was all about the practice and for him to log more miles in the Champ Car. He did a good job, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as we head to Toronto."