CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Team Rahal race report

Vasser takes third at Miami. Jourdain keeps point streak alive and tops 100 points. MIAMI, FL . . . Shell driver Jimmy Vasser captured his second podium finish of the season with a third place finish and Office Depot/Gigante driver Michel...

Vasser takes third at Miami.
Jourdain keeps point streak alive and tops 100 points.

MIAMI, FL . . . Shell driver Jimmy Vasser captured his second podium finish of the season with a third place finish and Office Depot/Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. collected a sixth place finish in the inaugural Grand Prix Americas in downtown Miami. Both drivers had to overcome costly mistakes on their second pit stops en route to their top-six results.

Vasser's third place finish vaulted him into an eighth place tie in the CART points standings and put him within striking distance of his sixth 100 point season in the last seven years. Vasser has posted six straight top-ten results and has finished in the top-ten in eight of the last nine events.

Jourdain kept his team record 16 race point streak alive and he finished the race despite being involved in a lap 99 incident with Paul Tracy, Vasser and Alex Tagliani. Jourdain finished the race in sixth, his 13th top-ten result in 2002, two short of the team record set by Bobby Rahal in 1992.

Newman/Haas driver Cristiano da Matta captured his seventh win of the season and clinched his first CART championship. In winning the race da Matta took an insurmountable lead (212-143) over Bruno Junqueira with three races remaining.

The CART FedEx Championship Series will resume in three weeks (October 25-27) when the competitors travel to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia for the Indy Gold Coast 300.

Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "I really didn't have a chance for the first two spots at the end of the race. It is too bad we started so far back in the field because our Shell car was good, one of the best we had this season. I got held up in the middle of the race behind some slower cars and I lost a lot of time. I really had to be patient and just bide my time. We had a mistake on our second pit stop. I thought the car was in neutral and I knocked the transmission into gear. It was a little mistake but it cost us a lot. I do feel bad for Paul Tracy. He was just a victim of circumstances, but he has been on the other end of the front wing before. I was able to make some moves on guys in Turn 1 during the race because my car was so good under braking all day. I was able to get under Tags [Alex Tagliani] I just didn't realize how close he was to PT. It is just too bad we never had the track position and that we had to fight forward all day. The Shell car was really fast today. We moved back into the top ten and now I have my sites set on the top-five."

Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Office Depot/Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) -"I had a great car today it is just too bad I made a mistake on my second pit stop. The strategy was brilliant and my crew guys gave me a fantastic car. It is hard to believe that a communication problem probably cost us a podium finish. Tony [Kanaan] had come out on cold tires and I called to the pits asking to pit early so I wouldn't lose a lot of time. I thought my crew had heard me, and that they called for me to pit, so I came in a couple of laps early. Everything wasn't ready and we lost a lot of time there. It was so hot out there. I was very slippery and very easy to make mistakes. If you lost your concentration for a moment you were in trouble. On the last incident I really didn't have anywhere to go. I tried to get past Paul but he came into me and that cost me a lap and a top-five. Still I am very proud of my team and once again we found ourselves racing towards the front. If we can get our qualifying in order we are going to find ourselves racing for a win."

-tr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain