CHAMPCAR/CART: Lola Cars Houston recap

Gidley Giddy after third place finish Charges from 23rd to take final podium spot for Lola Cars In a typical 100-lap street brawl, Gil de Ferran took victory in the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. But it was the Cinderella story of ...

Gidley Giddy after third place finish
Charges from 23rd to take final podium spot for Lola Cars

In a typical 100-lap street brawl, Gil de Ferran took victory in the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston.

But it was the Cinderella story of #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota driver Memo Gidley that had fans cheering, as the Californian used good strategy by his team and race smarts to come from 23rd on the grid to finish third. "I was able to maintain a good pace throughout the race, keep my tires and brakes in good condition and pass a few guys," Gidley said. "I pushed as hard as I could every lap. My team made some changes overnight to help conserve the rear tires, and they worked. We were quick on our lean settings, which helped a lot."

Gidley earned his second podium finish of the season -- he was second at Cleveland in July -- his third top-five and fourth top-ten in only eleven races driving for Team Target.

Cristiano da Matta finished sixth in his #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Lola/Toyota from eighth on the grid. His Newman-Haas Racing team were "hoping no yellows would come out after our second stop because we knew some guys were tight on fuel," and he wasn't. "Traffic hurt our track position as drivers pitted under yellow and got back on track in front of us. Well, that was the wrong strategy, but we'll take sixth place and get them next time." He's still sixth in the championship, with 100 points.

Kenny Brack's #8 Shell Lola/Ford got loose in the changed weather conditions, as the race was run under clear 70-73 degree skies, with track temps between 97 and 102 degrees, much different than the balance of the weekend. "The car was very loose in the first stint and that really hurt," as the Swede fell from his third grid spot to sixth before his first pit stop. Despite lagging de Ferran by ten points after finishing seventh, "This thing is not over until it's over. We are working hard, starting right now, to make some changes and be ready for Laguna Seca next week."

Lola drivers who gained points today were Christian Fittipaldi, bringing the #11 Kmart Blue Light Special Lola/Toyota home eighth and Max Papis' ninth place finish in the #7 Miller Lite Lola/Ford.

The 26 cars and drivers reconvene next weekend on California's Monterey Peninsula, at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. "We're going to keep fighting for this championship," said Brack. "Our engineers are working hard with everyone at Lola Cars to make sure we stay in this hunt."

-Lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Memo Gidley , Max Papis , Christian Fittipaldi , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta