CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Walker Racing driver Nakano finishes eighth

Houston, Tex., Oct. 1, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano brought the ...

Houston, Tex., Oct. 1, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano brought the #5 avex/Honda/Reynard/Firestone car home in eighth place today during the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston in eighth place today. The finish tied his best finish of the year which was at the season-opening CART FedEx Championship Series race on the oval track at Homestead Motor Speedway. Shinji had a very good weekend overall as the driver for Derrick Walker's race team, starting the race on the streets of downtown Houston in 17th place. Nakano was in 11th place during provisional qualifying, but was unable to get a clear track during final qualifications on Saturday. He had fast lap times during the Saturday morning practice and the final warm-up on Sunday morning, with the fifth-best overall time in each session. "This was a very good result for our team this weekend," said Shinji. "The track suits my style very well, and with the great set-up of the car that we had, it was an enjoyable race for me to run. I'm glad we did well here." Houston also marked Shinji's best start on a road or street course. After beginning the race in 17th, he methodically worked his way through the field, and was up to 11th place on Lap 48, when he had a brief off in the tire barrier at turn 1. He pitted under green flag conditions on the next lap, and the Walker Racing pit crew gave him the usual speedy pit service and sent him back out on track. Shinji made a final pit stop under yellow on Lap 54 to top off his fuel and insure that he had enough to make it to the end of the race. He narrowly avoided a four-car pile-up late in the race when he was coming up off a blind corner in turn 7 and raced on to his points-paying eighth place race finish. "Houston has been our strongest road course performance this year," said Walker Racing Team Manager Rob Edwards. "During the entire weekend we were in the top ten in every session except the final qualifying round, and with the combination of great race strategy, excellent fuel mileage and Shinji's ability to be aggressive here when he needed to be, it made for a good end result for our team." Shinji's best finish on a road or street course prior to Houston was at Portland., Ore., in June of this year, where he finished in 11th place. The CART FedEx Championship series will take next weekend off in preparation for the long trip to Surfer's Paradise, Australia the following weekend. The Honda Indy 300 will be broadcast on ESPN at midnight (ET) on Oct. 15. Walker Racing's corporate sponsor partners are avex, Alpine, Mitsuba, SpeedWRX.com, Dell Computer Corporation, NGK, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Honda, Reynard and Firestone.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Shinji Nakano