CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Team Kool Green race report

Promising day turns tough for Team Kool Green. MIAMI - What looked like a promising afternoon as the result of a strong effort from Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy today in the Grand Prix Americas, turned to...

Promising day turns tough for Team Kool Green.

MIAMI - What looked like a promising afternoon as the result of a strong effort from Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy today in the Grand Prix Americas, turned to disappointment after a series of late-race incidents.

Franchitti started seventh, but advanced to second by lap 24 due to attrition and pit strategy. He held the second-place position until lap 90, when he slid into the tire barrier at Turn Three. Franchitti was able to continue the race, but fell two laps down and finished 10th. Tracy started back in the pack (16th) but excellent pit strategy and outstanding pit stops by the TKG crew put him firmly into the hunt. He pitted out of sequence on lap four, picked up a position on the stop, and moved to fifth when the leaders pitted. Even after brushing the wall and then spinning, Tracy still advanced to third, but retired after being collected by another car on lap 99 and was credited with 12th place.

Cristiano da Matta collected his seventh win of the year and wrapped up the CART FedEx driver's championship. His teammate Christian Fittipaldi finished second with Jimmy Vasser rounding out the top three. Franchitti still stands third in the points with 129, behind da Matta (212) and Bruno Junqueira (143). Tracy sits 10th with 87 points and TKG technical partner Michael Andretti, who finished eighth today, is eighth with 90.

Team KOOL Green will donate $12,000 to the 100 Black Men of America for today's race, bringing the total monies raised to date in 2002 to $72,000. The funds are used by the 100 to increase access to computers, technology and training in urban communities.

Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I lost my radio after the first pit stop, so I wasn't able to communicate with Team KOOL Green during the race. I just kept trying to keep up with Cristiano (da Matta). The car was running all right, it was quicker on some parts of the track than others. First off I want to congratulate Cristiano, his team did a great job this year and he really deserves this. I'd buy him a drink tonight but I think we're all paying for the bar jointly. I'm pretty disappointed with race control. When I went into the tires it took them two laps to get the yellow out, but yesterday when I spun and went off, they threw the red in two seconds and my car was still running. I wouldn't have been on the podium, but I could have been much further up when the other guys went out."

Warm-up
Position: 4th
Speed: 79.863 mph
Time: 1:02.522

Race
Started: 7th
Finished: 10th
Laps Completed: 103
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 3
Championship Standing: 3rd

Allen McDonald, Chief Engineer

"Obviously we're disappointed. I think we had a really good chance of retaking second in the championship. I think we have a pretty good street course car. Losing the radio was a problem, but Dario did a great job of reading the race on his own. We also weren't able to let him know what was going on with Junqueira throughout the race. All we can do at this point is look forward to going to Surfers Paradise and claiming second in the championship."

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"A disappointing day for Team KOOL Green. I was just trying to get my third place. I don't know what happened, but Jimmy (Vasser) hit me. That's kind of out of character for him. He's not one to really do things like that, so I guess it was just one of those things. ON THE SPIN: It's one of the fastest parts of the track and I just lost it through there. I was lucky not to hit the wall. I was looking in my mirrors driving backwards down the track and backed into the runoff area and took off again. It was a pretty tough race all the way around. All day long the handling on the car would come and go depending on who was in front of you and what was going on with the track. In spite of that we were in position for a podium finish but it just didn't happen today."

Warm-up
Position: 2nd
Speed: 80.234 mph
Time: 1:02.233

Race
Started: 16th
Finished: 12th
Laps Completed: 98
Laps Led: 8
Points Earned: 1
Championship Standing: 10th

John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant

"This is certainly one of those times when the results don't reflect the effort and performance of the day. We struggled with the car this weekend but the guys gave PT a good one when it counted, and our warm-up times this morning showed we were going to be quick in the race. The kid drove his heart out and held on when it got tough and it sure looked good for finishing right up there. But Lady Luck stepped in and ended that."

-TKG-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , John Anderson , Cristiano da Matta