CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Sunday Track Report

Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank FedEx Championship Series Track Notes- Sunday (July 12, 1998) -- For today's running of the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank! The weather is perfect;...

Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank FedEx Championship Series Track Notes- Sunday

(July 12, 1998) --

For today's running of the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank! The weather is perfect; sunny with low 80-degree temperatures expected for the Green Flag for Round 10 of the FedEx Championship Series. Today's CART on-track activities begin with the traditional 30-minute morning warm-up session, followed by the start of the race at 12:30 p.m. JIMMY VASSER sits on the pole, looking to score the $255,000 rollover Marlboro Pole Award payout by winning the race.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 83 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 76 degrees F. at the start of the session. #77 MEIER is the first driver to log a lap in the session with a speed of 120.429 mph (1:02.955).

RED FLAG waves at 9:04 a.m. after #8 HERTA stalls at the entrance to pit road. CART safety workers quickly move the car to the pit area.

At 9:05 a.m., five minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 122.616 (1:01.832), followed by #77 MEIER (120.429 mph; 1:02.429) and #8 HERTA (110.654; 1:08.516).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:06 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #26X TRACY with lap of 125.351 mph (1:00.483), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (123.862 mph; 1:01.210) and #99 MOORE (122.616 mph; 1:01.832).

At 9:12 a.m., #21 KANAAN spins in Turn 4 but continues on course.

At 9:15 a.m., halfway through the practice session, the fastest driver is #26X TRACY with a lap of 125.988 mph (1:00.177), followed by #99 MOORE (125.955 mph; 1:00.193) and #24 GORDON (125.738 mph; 1:00.297).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26X TRACY with a lap of 125.988 mph (1:00.177), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (125.982 mph; 1:00.182) and #99 MOORE (125.955 mph; 1:00.193).

RED FLAG waves at 9:23 a.m. after #34 VITOLO spins exiting Turn 4 and stalls the car. CART safety workers.

At 9:25 a.m., 25 minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 128.104 mph (59.183 seconds), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (126.893 mph; 59.748 seconds) and #21 KANAAN (126.375 mph; 59.993 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:26 a.m. to resume the practice session.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to end the final practice session with #99 MOORE the fastest driver with a lap of 128.104 mph (59.183 seconds), followed by #5 DE FERRAN (127.671 mph; 59.384 seconds) and #17 GUGELMIN (126.929 mph; 59.731 seconds). Pole winner #12 VASSER only ran one lap during this session before experiencing a gearbox problem that led to an over-reving of the engine. FedEx Championship drivers introduced 28 cars to the track in the final session with secondary cars utilized by #16X CASTRO-NEVES, #26X TRACY, and #20X PRUETT. The top 23 drivers are separated by less than two seconds in lap times in this final session. CART drives logged a total of 228 laps during this session.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI was a guest of Janet Jackson at her concert last night here in Cleveland. Ms. Jackson had seen Michael earlier at their hotel and invited him to the concert. Ms. Jackson's boyfriend is a huge race fan and Michael, Michael's wife Leslie, and MARIO ANDRETTI went backstage before the concert to visit with Janet.

At 12:26 p.m., the National anthem is sung by Thomas Weiss.

At 12:28 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by the honorary starters, Nat Lipsyc and Jerry Zlotnik.

At 12:30 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 28 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps.

On the first pace lap, #10 HEARN spins his car and stalls at Turn 7. CART safety workers get the car restarted and HEARN resumes his position on the grid.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:36 p.m. to start the 100-lap Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank with #12 VASSER leading FRANCHITTI. Entering the first turn, #21 KANAAN and #24 GORDON spin. Both cars continue on course without damage to the cars but KANAAN and GORDON fall from 19th and 20th place respectively, to 27th and 28th . #1 ZANARDI and #26 TRACY get by #27 FRANCHITTI to take over second and third place respectively. #2 UNSER JR. moves from eighth to fifth on the first lap. #8 HERTA falls from fourth to eighth. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 113 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 81 degrees F. at the start of the race.

YELLOW FLAG waves after #99 MOORE runs off course exiting Turn 7 and spins into Turn 8 coming to rest stalled in the middle of the track. #16 CASTRO-NEVES attempts to clear MOORE on the outside of Turn 8 and impacts the wall. #19 JOURDAIN JR. tries to clear MOORE on the inside and contacts the front of MOORE's car. #9 LEHTO also makes contact with MOORE's car. All four drivers are uninjured in the incident but all four cars are too heavily damaged to continue.

On Lap 5 and under a full course Yellow Flag, #12 VASSER leads #1 ZANARDI, followed by #26 TRACY, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 10 and under a full course Yellow Flag, #12 VASSER leads #1 ZANARDI, followed by #26 TRACY, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #2 UNSER JR.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 11 and immediately a spirited duel breaks out among and between the Target and Kool Green teams through the first seven turns of the 11th lap. #1 ZANARDI comes out in the lead followed by #26 TRACY, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #12 VASSER falls to fourth.

On lap 12, #6 ANDRETTI gets by #2 UNSER JR. to take fifth place.

On Lap 15, #1 ZANARDI leads #26 TRACY by 3.216 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #12 VASSER, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 16, #2 UNSER JR. passes #6 ANDRETTI to take over fourth place.

On Lap 20, #1 ZANARDI leads by 5.289 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #12 VASSER and #2 UNSER JR..

On Lap 21, #2 UNSER JR. passes #12 VASSER to take over fourth place.

On Lap 22, #6 ANDRETTI passes #12 VASSER to take over fifth place.

On Lap 25, #1 ZANARDI leads by 8.859 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #2 UNSER JR., and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 26, #2 UNSER JR. passes #27 FRANCHITTI to take over third place.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 26 after contact between #17 GUGELMIN and #33 CARPENTIER at Turn 8. At the same time, #34 VITOLO spins at Turn 10.

On Lap 27, the top 15 positions pit save for #3 RIBEIRO who was riding in sixth place. While exiting the pits, #26 TRACY and #2 UNSER JR. leave their pit stalls side-by-side and make contact. UNSER JR. spins backwards toward the pit wall and the car stalls while TRACY continues with no apparent damage to his car. UNSER JR. is pushed back to his pit by CART pit road workers. UNSER JR. finally returns to the race in 20th place after the incident.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 28 to #77 MEIER for a pit road speed violation.

The running order after the pit stop sequence and incidents have settled out on Lap 28 is #1 ZANARDI, followed by #3 RIBEIRO, #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 30 with #1 ZANARDI leading #3 RIBEIRO, #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 31, #6 ANDRETTI passes #26 TRACY to take over third place. #11 FITTIPALDI and #5 DE FERRAN pass #27 FRANCHITTI to take over fifth and sixth place.

On Lap 40, #1 ZANARDI is leading by .394 seconds over #3 RIBEIRO, #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 40 to #26 TRACY for the previous incident on pit road. CART Race officials have determined that TRACY's move in the pit area presented an unjustifiable risk and TRACY is assessed a 10 second stop-and-wait penalty.

BLACK FLAG is again shown to #26 TRACY to pit for the penalty.

On Lap 42, #26 TRACY pits for the aforementioned penalty. TRACY falls from fourth place to 19th.

On Lap 45, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 46, leader #1 ZANARDI has led 35 laps and is now tenth in the all-time CART lap leaders. ZANARDI passes BOBBY UNSER for the honor. UNSER had led 1298 laps.

On Lap 50, #1 ZANARDI leads by 2.976 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 52, #21 KANAAN spins at Turn 4 but continues on course.

On Lap 55, #1 ZANARDI leads by 4.133 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #27 FRANCHITTI and #8 HERTA. #5 DE FERRAN pits and falls from fourth to 16th place.

On Lap 56, #8 HERTA passes #27 FRANCHITTI to take over fourth place.

On Lap 57, #6 ANDRETTI and #20 PRUETT pit. ANDRETTI actually moves up from third to second as third-place #11 FITTIPALDI pits the following lap allowing ANDRETTI back into second.

On Lap 59, #1 ZANARDI pits but retains the lead.

On Lap 60, #1 ZANARDI leads by 6.465 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

Also on Lap 60, #24 GORDON retires from the race with electrical problems.

On Lap 62, #17 GUGELMIN spins at Turn 1 but continues on course.

On Lap 65, #1 ZANARDI leads by 4.612 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT. #2 UNSER JR. moves up to sixth.

On Lap 66, #3 RIBEIRO spins at Turn 10 and continues on course. RIBEIRO's car sustains some damage to the front wing.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 67 for debris on the track after #3 RIBEIRO loses pieces of the front wing in Turn 1.

On Lap 68, #1 ZANARDI pits and hands the lead to #11 FITTIPALDI. This is the first time that FITTIPALDI has led a lap in CART competition since 1997 and the site of that last lap led was here at Cleveland. FITTIPALDI is the only driver of the top ten positions to not pit on Lap 68.

On Lap 70 and under a full-course Yellow Flag, #11 FITTIPALDI leads #1 ZANARDI, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 72 to resume the race.

On Lap 75, #11 FITTIPALDI leads by 2.783 seconds over #1 ZANARDI, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

On Lap 78, #98 JONES retires from the race with an engine problem.

On Lap 80, #11 FITTIPALDI leads by 2.749 seconds over #1 ZANARDI, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

On Lap 85, #11 FITTIPALDI leads by 3.482 seconds over #1 ZANARDI, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

On Lap 89, #11 FITTIPALDI pits his car and hands the lead to #1 ZANARDI. FITTIPALDI stalls the car on pit road and returns to the race in 13TH place.

On Lap 90, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI by 10.889 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #20 PRUETT, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 95, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI by 11.077 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #20 PRUETT, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 96, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI by 10.597 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #20 PRUETT, and #2 UNSER JR. Also on Lap 96, #26 TRACY slides into the tire wall at Turn 8 and stalls the car. CART Race Control displays a local Yellow Flag and the race continues uninterrupted. TRACY withdraws from the race due to contact.

Again, on Lap 96, #2 UNSER JR. pits and hands fifth place to #8 HERTA. UNSER JR. does not return to the race track and finishes in 17th place.

On Lap 97, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI by 9.891 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #20 PRUETT, and #8 HERTA.

On Lap 98, #1 ZANARDI leads #6 ANDRETTI by 9.342 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #20 PRUETT, and #8 HERTA.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 99 for #1 ZANARDI, leading by 8.818 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI.

#8 HERTA spins at Turn 8 and hands fifth place to #40 FERNANDEZ. HERTA does not get the car re-started and finishes in 13th place.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 100 for the winner of the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank, ALEX ZANARDI. ZANARDI wins by 8.422 seconds over second-place MICHAEL ANDRETTI, followed by #27 DARIO FRANCHITTI in third, #20 PRUETT in fourth, and #40 SCOTT PRUETT in fifth.

ALEX ZANARDI averaged 112.449 mph in today's victory. ZANARDI's win today is the 13th of his CART career and gives him a series-high five victories in the 1998 FedEx Championship Series season. This ties him for eighth with PAUL TRACY on the all-time CART victory list. ZANARDI led a total of 68 laps, allowing him to move into tenth on the all-time laps-led list with a total of 1332, passing AL UNSER SR. and BOBBY UNSER. This is also ZANARDI's 14th podium in his last 17 starts, including nine wins.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI finishes second today which represents his third podium finish of the season. This is also ANDRETTI's season-best finish on a street or road course. ANDRETTI had previously won at Homestead and finished second at St. Louis. Today is ANDRETTI's third runner-up finish at Cleveland. ANDRETTI had previously finished second in 1986 and 1992.

DARIO FRANCHITTI finishes third today. This represents FRANCHITTI's second podium of the season and of his career. Both podium finishes have come on temporary street courses. His earlier podium finish for the 1998 season was at Long Beach.

BRYAN HERTA recorded the fastest lap of all drivers of the race on his 97th lap with a speed of 128.902 mph (58.817 seconds).

There were three lap leaders in today's race. ZANARDI led 68 laps, followed by FITTIPALDI with 21 and VASSER with 11. There were three caution flags for a total of 16 laps. The time of the race was 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 22.282 There were 17 cars running at the finish of today's race with 12 cars on the lead lap.

Today represents the fifth straight win in the 1998 FedEx Championship Series season for Honda and for Target/Chip Ganassi racing.

MAX PAPIS's 12th-place finish is the 6th time in 10 races this season that a Toyota-powered car has finished in the points, eclipsing the manufacturer's total for all of last season. Toyota scored five points in the 1997 season.

Quotes from the top three drivers in today's race follow.

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "It certainly was easier than last year. The fact that it finally ended up being an economy run to the checkered flag definitely worked in our favor. We obviously had a great car and I have to thank everybody on the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team. We certainly had top-notch equipment. I think the race would have ended differently if the yellow flag had come out maybe five laps from the end. Michael could have made it exciting, but I'm obviously glad it wasn't an exciting finish. The race is always unpredictable, you never know whether the faster car is going to end up winning, or whether circumstances like occurred today are going to result in somebody else winning. My main concentration is going to be on winning some more races and possibly the championship. I think that the best way to advertise myself is to continue to win races."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford: "We had a pretty good race. I think track position hurt a little bit. By the time we got to the front, Alex had that little bit of an advantage. The biggest thing we gave away was track position. Qualifying was the key. I thought we could have made it exciting at the end. I was hollering at the guys about saving fuel. For about the last 30 laps I had to run about a second off the pace and that was really frustrating. All I was really worried about was keeping Dario behind me. It was nice to be able to show we had a good car on a road course."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "My start was abysmal. We got lost on the track. I came into Turn One and there were some cars on the inside of the track and I lost track of the markers. I braked early rather than late. After that, I just concentrated on picking up speed. We were in a fuel-saving mode for a few laps, and about 10 laps from the end, they told me I didn't have to worry about fuel anymore, so I tried to go after Michael. There were two places on the track where I could have passed him, but I wasn't quick enough through either of those areas.. It's a good result for Team KOOL Green, another podium. Somebody needs to stop this guy [Zanardi]. Now, we want to move up to the top step."

The attendance figures have been released by IMG for this weekend's Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank. The 3-day attendance totaled 175,980 versus 162,988 for the 1997 race. Friday's totals were 40,000 versus the 1997 total of 34,000. Saturday's totals were 65,711 versus 60,216, and today's totals were 70,269 versus 68,772.

According to CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach, the 10-second stop-and-wait penalty on Paul Tracy, who is currently on probation, for unjustifiable risk during Sunday's race was sufficient and there will be no further action against him. As for Greg Moore, who also is on probation, he was involved in a "racing incident'' during the event and there will be no action against him, according to Dallenbach.

This concludes the pit notes for today's race from Cleveland. Have a safe trip home and we'll see you in Toronto for next week's Molson Indy. And, as always, thank you for your interest in the FedEx Championship Series!

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Paul Tracy , Chip Ganassi , Greg Moore
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing