MONTEREY, Ca. (June 9, 2002)-- Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti started today's race in 19th position and tried to utilize the opposite strategy of the leaders by pitting early and often. Â By the end of the day, Andretti had made seven...
MONTEREY, Ca. (June 9, 2002)-- Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti started today's race in 19th position and tried to utilize the opposite strategy of the leaders by pitting early and often. By the end of the day, Andretti had made seven pit stops, finished 11th and earned two championship points. "Boy, that was a lot of work for two points," said Andretti at the close of the 87-lap race. "We've certainly got our work cut out for us as we head into Portland."
The race got off to a hectic start when a first lap, first turn melee took out Michael's technical partner Dario Franchitti and also Adrian Fernandez. "Today was one of the most physically demanding races we've had in a long time," Andretti commented. "And the competition was intense all day." Michael ran as high as seventh in today's event and eventually ended the day in 11th.
Cristiano DaMatta, who started from the pole, dominated the majority of the race and finished in first place. Christian Fittipaldi finished second while Kenny Brack finished third. Michael's other technical partner Paul Tracy finished 17th after making contact in Turn 4 due to a miscommunication in the pits that allowed him to return to the track before the left, inside rear tire was secured. Andretti is in ninth place in the championship with 30 points, while Cristiano DaMatta has assumed the lead with 51 points. Michel Jourdain is in second place with 46 points and Christian Fittipaldi rounds out the top three with 43 points. Franchitti is in fifth with 35 points while Paul Tracy is in sixth with 32 points.
Team Motorola will now travel to Portland, Oregon to begin preparations for the G.I. Joe's 200 that will be held on Sunday, June 16th.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"Boy, today was a lot of hard work for those two championship points! This race was really physical too; in fact it's one of the most physical races I remember in a long time. My handling wasn't really right so the car was never great all day and the competition was really intense. So you were working hard all day just to gain anything. I don't think we could have done any better than we did today and in the end I'm just happy we were able to get a couple of points. We've definitely got our work cut out for us going into Portland."
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 86 of 87
Points Earned: 2 for 30 total, 9th in the CART FedEx Championship
Today was Michael's 295th start of his career.
In 2001, Michael started 16th and finished 14th in this race.
Michael leads all active Champ Car drivers with 295 race starts, 42 wins, 32 poles and 6,563 laps led.
Kim Green -- General Manager
"This weekend was a lot of really hard work to earn these two championship points but the points were important. To come from 19th with seven pit stops and end up in the points, that's not too bad a day. The Team Motorola crew worked their tails off in the pits and Michael did the same on the track. All in all we're going to get out of Laguna and move forward and keep working hard to get our performance where it needs to be to contend for the championship."