CHAMPCAR/CART: Honda Milwaukee race report

Michael Andretti had his best race since switching to Team Motorola and Honda power, finishing second at today's Miller Lite 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile oval. The former series champion led a total of 75 laps and conducted a race-long...

Michael Andretti had his best race since switching to Team Motorola and Honda power, finishing second at today's Miller Lite 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile oval. The former series champion led a total of 75 laps and conducted a race-long battle with eventual winner Kenny Brack.

The second place finish for Andretti also moved Honda into the lead, ahead of Toyota and Ford Cosworth, in the tight CART Manufacturer's Championship battle.

Meanwhile team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez had his best FedEx Championship Series run since starting the Fernandez Racing organization this season. Starting 23rd when the field was started in championship points order after rain washed out qualifying yesterday, Fernandez used superior fuel mileage to run six laps further than any other competitor before his first pit stop. That moved the Mexican up into the top ten and a second quick stop resulted in a fifth place finish, just ahead of Honda-powered Tony Kannan, in another strong run for Mo Nunn Racing.

Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was the first casualty of the race, crashing after contact with Brack on the opening lap. The incident also led to the end of Paul Tracy's day as his Team KOOL Green entry suffered suspension damage in the incident that put him into the turn one wall on the restart. Gil de Ferran and Alex Zanardi both were delayed when they stalled in the pits, but recovered to finish 7th and 11th, with Dario Franchitti 9th after also losing ground in the opening lap crash.

<pre>

Driver's Championship Manufacturer's Championship

 1.  Kenny Brack                70 points               1.  Toyota              86 points
 2.  Helio Castroneves          47                      2.  Toyota              84
 3.  Cristiano da Matta         40                      3.  Ford Cosworth       73
 4.  Paul Tracy                 40                      4.  Phoenix Ilmor        0
 5.  Jimmy Vasser               40
 6.  Scott Dixon                38
 7.  Michael Andreti            36                      Rookie of the Year
 8.  Gil de Ferran              36                      1.  Scott Dixon         38 points
 9.  Tony Kanaan                34                      2.  Bruno Junqueira     23
10.  Bruno Junqueira            23                      3.  Nicholas Minassian   7
11.  Christian Fittipaldi       22
12.  Dario Franchitti           21
13.  Max Papis                  14
14.  Adrian Fernandez           10
15.  Alex Zanardi                8
16.  Nicholas Minassian          7
17.  Shinji Nakano               6

</pre> Michael Andretti (#39 Motorola Honda) Started 10th, finished 2nd , led 75 laps: "It was a strange race. The fuel mileage we needed to make meant that a bunch of us were just cruising around during the middle of the race. Later on the pace picked up considerably, but that's when my car suddenly went from handling very well to developing a huge understeer. That's why Kenny (Brack) was able to repass me. We had passed him during the last pit stop and I thought I would be able to hold him off, but the car was just pushing up towards the wall and he was able to get past me."

Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 23rd, finished 5th, scored first points of the 2001 season: "It feels good to have a finish in the points at last. Considering where we started, we had to be very patient and stick to our race strategy, which was excellent today, and we got great mileage from the Honda engine. Our last pit stop was for fuel only, we didn't change tires, and that gained us several positions. I'm very pleased with the day, now we have to build on this finish and go on to Detroit."

Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 11th, finished 9th: "On the first lap yellow, there was debris hitting my car, pretty big pieces of carbon fiber and I was backing off because of that plus being careful about the accident. Six or seven guys passed me under that yellow and there was nothing done about it by the officials. Overall, the car was pretty good - I think I got fastest race lap. We had a miscue when I stalled coming out of the pits. There is a pit rev limiter (switch) that I forgot to switch off when I left the pits and we stalled. The car was great all day, but when you are out of sequence, you have to fight back all day. It was fun to come through but we should have done better."

Alex Zanardi (#66 Pioneer/Worldcom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 15th, finished 11th: "That was a lot of work for just two points! But I'm happier to get those points than I can remember being after some race wins in the past. My car was okay. I had a lot of understeer, but at the same time I was one of the guys out there who could put some moves on people. Unfortunately we had a problem with our pit speed on our first stop. We must have had a bad sensor because my dash wasn't showing me going 54 mph. Then, when I stalled the car ... well, it's not the first time in my career that has happened, and I'm not proud of it. It got a little frustrating out there because it is so bloody difficult to pass. But we were able to make a run there at the end, gain a couple of positions and finish in the points again."

-Honda

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Michael An , Mo Nunn