CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana Sunday Track Notes

Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota - Sunday Track Notes Good Morning from sunny Southern California for Race Day at California Speedway! The early arrivals to the track this morning were greeted with bright blue skies and a cool Pacific...

Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota - Sunday Track Notes

Good Morning from sunny Southern California for Race Day at California Speedway! The early arrivals to the track this morning were greeted with bright blue skies and a cool Pacific breeze from the west. However, it is expected that the Santa Ana winds off the desert to the east will again make their presence known by the 12 p.m. Green Flag for the final race of the 1999 season, the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. One million dollars from Marlboro is at stake for the race winner, with another million to be awarded to the PPG Cup winner who also will emerge from this afternoon's event. DARIO FRANCHITTI and JUAN MONTOYA are locked in an epic points battle with FRANCHITTI maintaining a 209-200 point margin. A total of 21 points are available today, 20 to the winner and one for the driver leading the most laps. MONTOYA must finish in the top five positions when the dust settles today, or the Team KOOL Green Scotsman takes home the PPG Cup filled with one million dollars! Should FRANCHITTI win the race as well,

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 86 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 77 degrees F. at the start of the session. The wind is still nearly calm.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:05 a.m. to #3 BARRON for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at the Mid-Pit radar. BARRON subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:09 a.m. to #19 JOURDAIN Jr. for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at the Pit-Out radar. JOURDAIN Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

At 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #7 PAPIS with a lap of 230.779 mph (31.651 seconds), followed by #26 TRACY (230.401 mph; 31.703 seconds) and #6 ANDRETTI (230.227 mph; 31.727 seconds).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #7 PAPIS with an even faster lap of 232.995 mph (31.350 seconds), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (232.595 mph; 31.404 seconds) and #26 TRACY (230.845 mph; 31.642 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with #7 PAPIS the fastest driver for the entire session, logging his 232.995 mph (31.350 second)-lap on his 11th lap of the session. PAPIS parked his car with ten minutes to go in the session, evidently very happy with his race set-up. #11 FITTIPALDI ended up the second-fastest with a speed of 232.595 mph (31.404) and #26 TRACY third with 230.845 mph (31.642 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced a total of 32 cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #12X VASSER, #44X KANAAN, #9X CASTRO-NEVES, #24X PRUETT, #4X MONTOYA, #10X HEARN, #17X GUGELMIN, #40X FERNANDEZ, #22X GORDON, #15X HATTORI, and #25X da MATTA.

At 12:02 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given.

At 12:04 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins to roll for the first of four pace laps. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 116 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 88 degrees F. at the start of the race.

On the second pace lap, #18 BLUNDELL stalls at the bottom of Turn 2. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and BLUNDELL rejoins the the Pace Lap but is placed at the back of the pack.

GREEN FLAG waves to start the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. #24 PRUETT leads into the Turn 1 but #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #27 FRANCHITTI all stream past #24 PRUETT as the field exits Turn 2.

#7 PAPIS leads the first lap, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

· On Lap 2, #6 ANDRETTI passes #7 PAPIS to take the lead. PAPIS holds onto econd place.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 4 after #10 HEARN loses traction exiting Turn 2. The car slides across the apron grass and makes hard contact with the inside wall on the back straight. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car is destroyed and retired from the race due to contact.

On Lap 5 and under the Yellow Flag, #18 BLUNDELL stalls at the entrance to Pit Road. CART safety workers get the car restarted and BLUNDELL rejoins the field.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 9 to restart the race with #6 ANDRETTI leading #7 PAPIS. #4 MONTOYA gets past #7 PAPIS to take over second place.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 10 after #99 MOORE breaks loose out of Turn 2, sliding across the backstretch apron and contacting the wall at the inside of the track. The car flips over, landing upside down. CART safety workers quickly get the driver out of the car and MOORE is subsequently airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Facility with head injuries.

The running order on Lap 10 is #6 ANDRETTI leading under the Yellow Flag, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #7 PAPIS, #12 VASSER, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

The running order on Lap 20 is #6 ANDRETTI leading under the Yellow Flag, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #7 PAPIS, #12 VASSER, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

#33 CARPENTIER pits on Lap 21 with a mechanical problem. The driver shuts off the engine while in the Pit Box. CARPENTIER subsequently retires from the race.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 23 to resume the race. #4 MONTOYA passes #6 ANDRETTI as the cars enter Turn 1 and takes the lead. ANDRETTI regains the lead down the backstraight and continues on to lead Lap 24.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 28 after #3 BARRON slides up the banking in Turn 4, making contact against the wall with the rear of the car. The car slides back down the banking and into the infield grass on the front stretch. BARRON exits the car under his own power but the car is retired due to contact.

On Lap 31 and under the Yellow Flag, all but three cars at the rear of he field pit for tires and fuel. #19 JOURDAIN Jr. takes the lead, followed by #34 VITOLO. #4 MONTOYA wins the race off Pit Road, followed by #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, #7 PAPIS, and #27 FRANCHITTI. As the cars that pitted rejoin the field, #4 MONTOYA pulls into third place, followed by #26 TRACY and #6 ANDRETTI.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 35 to resume the race. As the cars enter Turn 1, #26 TRACY passes #4 MONTOYA to take second. In Turn 4, #6 ANDRETTI passes #4 MONTOYA to take third.

On Lap 37, #26 TRACY passes #19 JOURDAIN Jr. to take the lead.

On Lap 38, #6 ANDRETTI passes #19 JOURDIAN Jr. to take second place.

On Lap 40, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 1.716 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #7 PAPIS, #19 JOURDAIN Jr. and #4 MONTOYA.

On Lap 48, #24 PRUETT pits his car with a severe vibration and subsequently retires from the race.

On Lap 50, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 1.716 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #7 PAPIS, #19 JOURDAIN Jr. and #4 MONTOYA.

On Lap 60, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 7.046 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #7 PAPIS, #19 JOURDAIN Jr. and #4 MONTOYA.

On Lap 61, #9 CASTRO-NEVES passes #27 FRANCHITTI to take over fifth place.

On Lap 70, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading #26 TRACY by 3.753 seconds, followed by #7 PAPIS, #4 MONTOYA, and #9 CASTRO-NEVES.

On Lap 71, # 6 ANDRETTI pits and hands the lead to #7 PAPIS, followed by #9 CASTRO-NEVES, and #4 MONTOYA. #26 TRACY and #27 FRANCHITTI also pit their cars. While in the Pit Box, a fire breaks out. The car is subsequently retired from the race due to an oil fire. #27 FRANCHITTI also experiences trouble as he leaves his Pit. The car never comes up to speed with the driver complaining to the crew over the radio that something feels wrong at the rear.

On Lap 72, #27 FRANCHITTI again pits and the crew puts all new tires on. There is a mechanical problem on the right rear tire and before the two-pit sequence is completed, FRANCHITTI has lost two laps to the leaders and now runs in 16th place.

The running order on Lap 72 shows #7 PAPIS leading, followed by #26 TRACY, #4 MONTOYA, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #9 CASTRO-NEVES.

On Lap 80, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by #26 TRACY by 2.524 seconds, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #9 CASTRO-NEVES.

YELLLOW FLAG waves on Lap 85 after #34 VITOLO spins off Turn 4 and slides backwards down Pit Road. A brief fire breaks out at the rear of the car as the VITOLO slides to a halt.

On Lap 90, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading, followed by #26 TRACY, #4 MONTOYA, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #9 CASTRO-NEVES. · On Lap 92, #11 FITTIPALDI slows and loses four spots, dropping from fourth to seventh before Lap 94.

On Lap 100, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 3.524 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #9 CASTRO-NEVES, #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #11 FITTIPALDI, #12 VASSER, #2 UNSER Jr. and #44 KANAAN.

On Lap 110, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 4.013 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #17 GUGELMIN.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 110 after #9 CASTRO-NEVES blows an engine and coats much of the track with oil. CASTRO-NEVES pulls slowly down Pit Road and retires from the race.

On Lap 114 as the leaders are coming down Pit Road, leader #7 PAPIS nearly spins the car and falls from first to seventh before he can regain control.

On Lap 115, #44 KANAAN and #20 JONES make nose to tail contact. #20 JONES loses part of the left front wing and his crew makes repairs as the car pits.

On Lap 120 and under the Yellow Flag, the running order is #26 TRACY leading, followed by #12 VASSER, #4 MONTOYA, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #17 GUGELMIN.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 121 to resume the race.

On Lap 122, #4 MONTOYA passes #26 TRACY to take first place. #17 GUGELMIN moves from fifth to third.

On Lap 130, the running order is #4 MONTOYA leading, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #17 GUGELMIN, #26 TRACY, and #7 PAPIS.

On Lap 140, the running order is #11 FITTIPALDI leading, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #7 PAPIS, #17 GUGELMIN, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 141, #26 TRACY pits with a mechanical problem. TRACY subsequently retires from the race due to an electrical problem.

On Lap 144, #7 PAPIS passes #4 MONTOYA to take over second place.

On Lap 145, #4 MONTOYA passes #7 PAPIS to re-take second place.

On Lap 150, the running order is #11 FITTIPALDI leading by 3.962 seconds over #4 MONTOYA, followed by #7 PAPIS, #17 GUGELMIN, and #12 VASSER.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 153 after CART course observers report debris in Turn 2. CART safety workers quickly clean the track.

On Lap 158 and under the Yellow Flag, the lead lap cars pit. #11 FITTIPALDI leads the cars down Pit Road, followed by #4 MONTOYA, #7 PAPIS, #12 VASSER, and #40 FERNANDEZ. #11 FITTIPALDI wins the race off Pit Road, followed by #7 PAPIS, #4 MONTOYA, #17 GUGELMIN, and #12 VASSSER.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 163 to resume the race. As the cars come back up to speed, #7 PAPIS snatches the lead away from #11 FITTIPALDI just past the Start/Finish line. #4 MONTOYA passes FITTIPALDI on the backstretch to take second.

On Lap 165, #11 FITTIPALDI passes #4 MONTOYA to retake second place.

On Lap 170, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 8.75 seconds, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 180, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 8.442 seconds, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 190, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 7.100 seconds, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 197, #7 PAPIS pits and hands the lead to #11 FITTIPALDI. FITTIPALDI leads #4 MONTOYA by .378 seconds, followed by #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN. · On Lap 199, #11 FITTIPALDI and #4 MONTOYA both pit. #17 GUGELMIN now leads by .046 seconds.

On Lap 200, the running order is #17 GUGELMIN leading by 5.942 seconds over #2 UNSER Jr., followed by #40 FERNANDEZ, #7 PAPIS, and #4 MONTOYA. · YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 201 after #18 BLUNDELL stalls at the bottom of Turn 3. CART safety workers quickly hook the car up and tow it back to the Pit Area. BLUNDELL subsequently retires from the race due to an electrical problem.

On Lap 203, #27 FRANCHITTI pits under the Yellow Flag. FRANCHITTI is still two laps down in 11th position.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 207 to resume the race. Second-place #4 MONTOYA sweeps past leader #7 PAPIS just past the Start/Finish to take the lead. PAPIS returns the favor in Turn 3, retaking the lead.

On Lap 210, the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by .845 seconds over #4 MONTOYA, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 213, #11 FITTIPALDI passes #4 MONTOYA to take over second place.

On Lap 220 the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 1.944 seconds over #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 230 the running order is #7 PAPIS leading by 1.184 seconds over #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, #12 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 237 #7 PAPIS pits and #11 FITTIPALDI takes over the lead.

On Lap 238, #11 FITTIPALDI and #12 VASSER pit and #4 MONTOYA takes over the lead.

On Lap 239, #4 MONTOYA leads by 20.051 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, followed by #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 240, #4 MONTOYA pits and hands the lead to #40 FERNANDEZ, who now leads by 8.313 seconds over #17 GUGELMIN, #7 PAPIS, and #11 FITTIPALDI.

On Lap 241, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by 11.323 seconds over #17 GUGELMIN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #4 MONTOYA. MONTOYA is 19.898 seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 245, #27 FRANCHITTI pits for a splash of fuel. FRANCHITTI is in ninth position, one lap down to the leaders.

On Lap 246, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by 12.241 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 247, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by 10.748 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, and #17 GUGELMIN. MONTOYA is 17.626 seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 248, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by 9.612 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, and #17 GUGELMIN. MONTOYA is 16.313 seconds behind the leader.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 249 for race leader #40 FERNANDEZ, leading by 8.688 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #4 MONTOYA, and #12 VASSER. MONTOYA is 15.206 seconds behind the leader.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 250 for the winner of the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota, ADRIAN FERNANDEZ. FERNANDEZ wins One Million dollars from Marlboro as he comes home 7.634 seconds in front of MAX PAPIS. CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI finishes third, JUAN MONTOYA finishes fourth, and JIMMY VASSER winds up fifth. FERNANDEZ runs out of gas on the victory lap and has to be pushed down Pit Road.

FERNANDEZ averaged 171.666 mph in today's victory, taking 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 17.542 seconds to achieve the win. There were 18 lead changes among eight different drivers. PAPIS led the most laps with 112, followed by ANDRETTI with 62, FITTIPALDI with 37, MONTOYA with 13, FERNANDEZ with 10, TRACY with 9, JOURDAIN Jr. with 5, and GUGELMIN with 2.

This is FERNANDEZ's second victory of the 1999 season, the first coming in the second race in Japan. It represents FERNANDEZ's fifth career victory but his first 500-mile victory.

MAX PAPIS' second place finish matches his CART career best finish as the Italian also finished second in Australia two weeks ago. PAPIS also closes the season with his fourth consecutive top-four finish.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI's third place run represents the Brazilian's fifth podium of the season, and his third on an oval. This is also his fifth top-eight finish in the last six starts.

JUAN MONTOYA wins the PPG Cup and the Million Dollar purse that goes with it by finishing fourth in today's race. MONTOYA's finish gave him a tie with DARIO FRANCHITTI in PPG Cup points, both drivers earning 212 points this season. This is the first time in the FedEx Championship Series that the Championship was decided on a tie-breaker, MONTOYA winning based on his seven victories this season compared to FRANCHITTI'' three. The previous closest points finish in Champ Car history occurred in 1985, when Al Unser topped his son, Al Unser Jr., 151 points to 150.

JUAN MONTOYA becomes the second rookie in CART history to win the PPG Cup. Nigel Mansell was the other rookie winner in the 1993 season. MONTOYA becomes the youngest Champion in FedEx Championship Series history at age 24 years, one month and 11 days. Jacques Villeneuve was the previous youngest champion, having won the 1995 title at age 24, 4 months and one day.

Target/Chip Ganassi Racing becomes the first team in CART history to win four consecutive championships. JIMMY VASSER (1996) and ALEX ZANARDI (1997 and 1998) were the team's earlier champions. Target Chip/Ganassi Racing shared the record of three consecutive titles with Penske Racing which won consecutive titles from 1981-1983 (Rick Mears in 1981 and 1982 and Al Unser on 1983).

Greg Moore, a 24-year-old rising star from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, died Sunday as a result of injuries sustained in an accident during the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway. Moore, a four-year veteran of Champ Car competition with the Player's Forsythe Racing Team, went off course on the 10th of 250 laps and made contact with the wall coming out of Turn 2 on the 2.029-mile superspeedway. CART Safety Team members removed Moore from the car and he was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. According to Dr. Jeff Grange, Medical Director of California Speedway, Moore sustained massive head injuries in the incident and was pronounced dead at 1:21p.m. PT. Moore moved to Champ Car competition in 1996 after a record-setting 1995 season in which he captured the Indy Lights championship. He became the youngest race winner in CART history when he won the 1997 event at Milwaukee at the age of 22 years, 1 month and 10 days. Moore followed with his second career victory a week later at Detroit. During his steadily rising FedEx Championship Series career, Moore claimed five wins and five pole positions in 72 CART career starts, the final in both categories coming in the season opener at Homestead, Fla. where he won from the pole. Overall, he had 17 career podium appearances. He owned four other top-five finishes this season and was 10th in the series championship. All four years of his career, Moore had finished among the top 10 in the championship. After four years with Forsythe Racing, Moore announced in August that he would join Team Penske for the 2000 season.

"This is a very sad day for everyone involved with Champ Car Racing," said Andrew Craig, CART President and Chief Executive Officer. "Greg was one of the best and clearly had all the potential to be a series champion as well as being a world-class race car driver. He was also a fine individual who was much admired for his positive attitude and approach. To his family and his many friends, I extend our deepest sympathies on behalf of the entire Champ Car community."

"It's a tragedy," said Neil Blanche, director of marketing and communications for Player's, which sponsored Moore in the FedEx Championship Series. "At this time, all our thoughts and prayers are with Greg's family and friends."

Scott Atherton, president and general manager of California Speedway, said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg and his family and friends, the Forsythe Racing Team and all his fans around the world. It is a very sad day associated with California Speedway."

Quotes from today's top three drivers follow:

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard: "It's so hard, because Greg was such a good friend of ours. We've been racing for awhile, and we shared so many moments, inside and outside the track. I can't express how sad I feel. The win doesn't mean anything. My heart goes out to his dad, I'm sure he's hurting. We should all remember his family in our thoughts. We will remember him as a great friend, a great gentleman and a fantastic race car driver."

MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "He [Greg Moore] is up there in the sky, and these are the messages that God sends to us. I'm so sad. There are no words - there is nothing. Greg was a special person, in and out of the track. I came across the finish line and I thought I'd won, then Bob [team owner Bob Rahal] came on the radio and said, 'I have very bad news to tell you.' I had no idea - no idea. We are not here for this - we are not here for this."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Big Kmart Ford Swift: "Obviously, this is a very bad moment for all of us. Obviously, my thoughts go to Team Penske. This has been very, very difficult for them. I have no words. Definitely, Greg will be missed everywhere, inside and outside the track."

JUAN MONTOYA, Target Honda Reynard: "First, I want to say I'm really sad about what happened to Greg. I think he was a great guy, and I'm really sad for his family and friends. I think he was a great guy to be around. It's very satisfying to win the championship, even though we had some problems toward the end of the season."

CHIP GANASSI, owner, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing: "We certainly don't want our light to shine at the dimming of others. Let's not underestimate the charge Team [KOOL] Green made in the second half of the season. You live your whole life and dream about days like today, and you're never prepared for what ultimately happens. This guy next to me [Montoya] and our team had a great year. Team Green's tough. They're gonna be tough next year, and I'm damned glad the season is over. I've known Greg for five or six years. I think everybody who's ever driven one of these cars can tell you that maybe he's not burdened with these things anymore. Our sport seems so small and insignificant in times like this. Maybe this is a good time for everybody to take a step back. Everybody in this sport needs each other. Maybe it's time for us all to be back together."

This concludes the Pit Notes from California Speedway and for the 1999 season. Thank you for your interest in the FedEx Championship Series and we wish you the safest and best off-season that you can possibly have. May God Bless You all.

-CART-

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