PAPIS & HERTA POST TOP-FIVE'S IN TOUGH HOUSTON RACE HOUSTON, TEXAS . . . Max Papis guided the Miller Lite Ford/Reynard to a fourth place finish and Shell driver Bryan Herta posted a fifth place result in a wild Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of ...
PAPIS & HERTA POST TOP-FIVE'S IN TOUGH HOUSTON RACE
HOUSTON, TEXAS . . . Max Papis guided the Miller Lite Ford/Reynard to a fourth place finish and Shell driver Bryan Herta posted a fifth place result in a wild Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Both Team Rahal drivers started in the top-five but had to fight back from behind to finish in the top-five.
Papis started the race fifth overall and ran among the leaders for the first 40 laps. He was black flagged for a pit speed violation on his first stop and fell to 19th overall. A conservative fuel strategy and Papis' aggressive driving enabled the Miler team to post its ninth top-five finish of the season.
"This was a very difficult race," said Papis. "All day we were pushing and fighting for position. There was never a break where I could rest. This was by far the most physically demanding race I have run this year. We had the ability to run up front with the leaders but the black flag ended our chances at running up front. We kept fighting and the fuel strategy was a brilliant call by my team. These were some hard-earned points we picked up today."
Herta started on the front row, his third front row start in the last five races. Herta ran third for the first 13 laps but a brush with the wall punctured his right rear tire and forced him to make a pit stop under green. The stop dropped him to 24th overall and left him with a daunting task to earn any championship points.
"This was a fun day because I got to pass cars and fight for position," said Herta. "It was frustrating that we went from the front to the back because we had a car that was good enough to be on the podium today. I don't know if we had enough to battle [race winner] Paul [Tracy], but we could have made things interesting. I could have gone a lot faster but we were on the fuel run and you can't argue with that strategy because we finished in the top-five."
The duel top-five finish is the second straight for Team Rahal. Herta won the Shell 300 and Papis finished third at Laguna Seca two weeks ago. With the fourth place finish, Papis moves into sole possession of fifth place in the PPG Cup Point Standings with a career best 117 points. Herta's ten-point payoff for fifth place moves him into an 11th place tie with Tony Kanaan in the championship point standings.