Franchitti wins inaugural Molson Indy Montreal. Montreal, Quebec - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti etched his name into the record books today when he became the first driver to win a Champ Car race on the 2.707-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve...
Franchitti wins inaugural Molson Indy Montreal.
Montreal, Quebec - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti etched his name into the record books today when he became the first driver to win a Champ Car race on the 2.707-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in downtown Montreal. Franchitti played an 80-lap game of chase during the inaugural Molson Indy Montreal with CART FedEx Champ Car points leader Cristiano da Matta, and crossed the finish line 2.588 seconds ahead of the Brazilian. Franchitti's teammate Paul Tracy moved from 10th place on the starting grid to earn a fourth place finish.
Franchitti, who lined up second for the start, took the lead for the first time on lap 12 when da Matta chose to make an early pit stop during the second full-course caution period of the day. The move forced da Matta into a four-stop strategy, while Franchitti stayed with his original three-stop plan. The duo swapped the lead after each subsequent pit stop, with the Scot taking the lead for good on lap 68. A late-race yellow closed the gap between the leaders, but da Matta was unable to capitalize on the restart and Franchitti cruised to victory. Franchitti becomes the first driver in CART history to win all three Canadian races on the schedule.
Tracy, who started tenth, was able to move his way through the field through a combination of on-track passing and excellent pit stops by his Team KOOL Green crew to secure his fourth place finish.
Today's win marks Franchitti's second of the season and second in Canada this year and propels him into second place in the CART Championship points race with five races remaining. Da Matta continues to lead the CART standings with 161 points. Franchitti has 106 points while Canadian Patrick Carpentier is third with 101 points. Paul Tracy is ninth in the standings with 81 points while Team KOOL Green technical partner Michael Andretti is seventh with 82 points.
The CART FedEx Championship now moves to Denver for next weekend's inaugural Shell Grand Prix of Denver.
Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"What a great day. The KOOL car was good this morning and then we just went out and attacked on every lap. My guys gave me perfect pit stops. This is just great for Team KOOL Green. I just don't know what to say. There was a great crowd here today and I love racing in Canada. It took us until just before the final qualifying session before we got the car working properly, but I have to say that this weekend was a great team effort from my guys at Team KOOL Green. It's going to be hard to catch Cristano (da Matta) in the championship but we are going to keep after it. I wasn't concerned when da Matta pitted early, we had the strategy we were going to run and we stuck to it. Cristiano and I have had some good races this year and it's always very enjoyable. I was just pushing ten-ten in the race because you never know what's going to happen. You have to attack on every lap. That's what racing is all about."
Barry Green - Team Owner
"It was a great weekend. To recover from Friday's qualifying and move up the grid yesterday was a great job on Team KOOL Green's part. Dario had a great drive today and the team delivered great pit stops. Paul was terrific as well. It's just been a fantastic weekend for Team KOOL Green. We love Montreal and I'm sure Dario loves it too."
Marina Franchitti - Dario's Mother
"This is the first time I've ever seen Dario win, I was very proud. I was watching the race with Mr. Amemiya (President of American Honda) and he told me that Dario would win. I was sure that Dario could hold off da Matta. How did I know? Because I know my son."
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"It has been an up and down season for Team KOOL Green. We didn't have the fuel mileage to compete with some of the guys, but Dario had a fantastic race and it's great for Team KOOL Green. I think I got the most out of the car handling-wise. We were racing (Tony) Kanaan for position and we just couldn't get the mileage to beat him out of the pits. We had a rocky weekend but to come home fourth, score some points and have Dario win, well that's just great. Jimmy (Vasser) and I had a good race. I don't think he'll complain about it, he's riding with me to the airport, so I guess we'll have to see in the car. I definitely didn't want to crash with him because we've got to spend the next six hours together. In the first corner Alex (Tagliani) and I bumped nose to tail and then Kenny (Brack) tried to turn when Alex was already there. They locked wheels and Kenny went off the track but it was a deal between Kenny and Alex as far as I'm concerned."
John Anderson - Team KOOL Green Consultant
"Paul drove a bloody good race and we were looking very close on fuel. It was a real nail biter. Thankfully Dario was able to carry it through. He needed this good finish, the team needed it and it's good for all of us. When we get in the shop tomorrow morning they'll be a lot of smiling faces. Paul did a great job, he was great with the fuel and he was always a step ahead of us when it came leaning it out. Unfortunately we didn't have enough left to take a run at Kanaan, but there will be other chances."