CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterey: Honda Racing race report

Andretti leads Honda drivers at Laguna Seca. Team Motorola's Michael Andretti fought his way up from a back row starting position to finish 11th at today's Grand Prix of Monterey CART FedEx Championship Series race, in what turned out to be a ...

Andretti leads Honda drivers at Laguna Seca.

Team Motorola's Michael Andretti fought his way up from a back row starting position to finish 11th at today's Grand Prix of Monterey CART FedEx Championship Series race, in what turned out to be a difficult day for the Honda-powered field at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Kanaan started on the second row for Mo Nunn Racing, but was penalized and put at the back of the field for driving over an airhose on his first pit stop. The Brazilian went on to battle Andretti for the final third of the 87-lap contest and eventually finished 12th. Team Fernandez driver Shinji Nakano was the only other Honda finisher today, crossing the line 14th after fighting handling problems throughout his run.

A multi-car collision on the opening lap ended the day for both Dario Franchitti and Adrian Fernandez, while Paul Tracy's race also came to an early conclusion when his left rear wheel came off the Team KOOL Green Honda just after his second pit stop of the race.

CART's June west coast swing continues next weekend with the G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.

Honda Fast Facts

* Today's Grand Prix of Monterrey was the 150th CART event for Honda since the company began Champ Car racing at the start of the 1994 season, and the 150th start for team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez

* This also was Honda-powered Dario Franchitti's 100th CART race start

Manufacturer's Championship:
1. Toyota - 88 points
2. Honda - 77
3. Ford Cosworth - 69

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) started 19th, finished 11th: "Today was a lot of hard work for just two championship points! But we came from last to 11th on a course like this where passing is so difficult, so we did the best we could with what we had. This race was really physical too; in fact it's one of the most physical races I remember in a long time. You just have to push really hard the whole time. We've definitely got our work cut out for us going into Portland."

Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 12th: "It is always something. We lost the clutch before the start of the race. But it wasn't too bad, we could drive without it. But being put at the back of the pack (for driving over an air line in the pits) was too much for us to overcome. The car was competitive, it was a top five car. By myself, I was pretty quick. But when you get stuck in traffic at this place, it's tough. A frustrating day, again."

Shinji Nakano (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Fernandez Racing Honda) started 18th, finished 14th: "It was a difficult day and actually a very difficult weekend for me. I had a lot of problems with the car the past two days. We just couldn't find a good setup. I had a big understeer during the race. It was bad and the car was really difficult to drive."

Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) started 17th, finished 16 (not running - contact): "We came in to make our scheduled pit stop and to try to get out of the pack. When I left the pit I didn't know if the tire was loose, or whether it was just cold tires. The crew didn't know for sure that the tire wasn't on and they waved me out. I got down into the third corner and the back wheel just fell off. It was a disappointing day. On the start, in the turn one incident, we got the left side winglet knocked off the car. We were just going to try to struggle around the track and work to get some points but it wasn't to be. It's a long season and we'll try to come back next week."

Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Fernandez Racing Honda) started 13th, finished 18th (not running - contact): "Going into the first turn everyone was really bunched up. I had already passed Mario Dominguez, and [Townsend] Bell left an opening. I went to the inside and I think I touched Michel [Jourdain]. At the same time, we were so bunched up that any little thing could have caused this to happen. It's a shame. It's our first DNF [did not finish] of the year, but we are looking forward to putting it back together for Portland."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Mo Nunn