DENVER, Colorado (September 1, 2002)--After starting today's Shell Grand Prix of Denver in 17th place, Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti had hopes that the incidents that had been so prevalent throughout the weekend would lead to attrition...
DENVER, Colorado (September 1, 2002)--After starting today's Shell Grand Prix of Denver in 17th place, Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti had hopes that the incidents that had been so prevalent throughout the weekend would lead to attrition and a points paying finish for the team. Unfortunately, as general manager Kim Green explained, that wasn't the case. "I'm a bit surprised that there was only one yellow and I think everyone was just being extra cautious since there had been so many incidents during practice and qualifying. That was too bad for us, because with so few yellows we weren't able to gain much on the track or in the pits today."
After the start of the race, Andretti had moved into 16th position and was running strong when the back end of the race car stepped out in Turn 1 causing a spin. Although there was no contact in the incident, the spin put him a lap down. "It was strange because the car was inconsistent all day," said Andretti. "When I spun, that was the only time all day that the back end of the car did that and then it never happened again." Andretti soldiered on and moved as high as 13th in today's 100-lap event. Despite running lap times that matched the leaders, going a lap down early on was too much to overcome and Andretti eventually brought the No. 39 car home in 13th place.
Bruno Junqueira started from the pole today and led every lap on his way to victory. Scott Dixon finished second and points leader Cristiano daMatta finished third. Andretti's technical partners didn't have very good days after first lap contact between the two knocked Dario Franchitti out before completing a lap and relegated him to an 18th place finish. Paul Tracy was able to recover and finish eighth. Cristiano daMatta's third place finish has moved him into a commanding lead in the championship with 175 points while Bruno's win today moved him back into second place with 123 points. Dario Franchitti held on to third place in the championship with 106 points and Paul Tracy is now in seventh place with 86 points. Michael dropped back to ninth in the championship with 82 points
Team Motorola will now return to their shop in Indianapolis and begin preparations for the Rockingham 500 to be held on September 14 in Corby, England. Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone "It's tough to say anything today because I really don't have anything positive to say after a weekend like this one. It was a really bad weekend and the race ended just as bad. We stayed out there all day and worked really hard and to finish in 13th place with no points is just icing on the cake. It's not like we could pinpoint a specific problem with the car today it was just really inconsistent through the whole race. I guess I'm just glad that this weekend is over and now we'll turn our focus to England."
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 99 of 100
Points Earned: 0 points for 82 total, ninth in Championship
Kim Green -- General Manager
"Well, we love the city of Denver but I don't think we fared so well at this race track this weekend. It was really a very long day. We thought there would be more incidents on the race track today since there had been so many throughout the weekend. But it looks like everyone else was thinking the same thing and driving very, very cautiously. There was only one yellow so we weren't really able to gain much on the track or due to yellows. It's disappointing to leave here today with no points because everyone on Team Motorola worked very hard this weekend but now we need to get back to business and get ready for our next round in England."