CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Race Notes

Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota FedEx Championship Series Race Notes Nazareth, PA (April 27, 1998) -- Race Day at Nazareth Speedway - Sunrise has brought clear skies and sunshine to the Nazareth Speedway in ...

Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota FedEx Championship Series Race Notes

Nazareth, PA (April 27, 1998) -- Race Day at Nazareth Speedway - Sunrise has brought clear skies and sunshine to the Nazareth Speedway in stark contrast to yesterday's day-long rain that forced cancellation of the race.

GREEN FLAG waves at 8 a.m. to start the morning session. #8 HERTA is the first car to take to the track. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 56 degrees F. with an ambient temperature of 48 degrees F.

At 8:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 170.493 mph (19.975 seconds), followed by #24 GORDON (170.271 mph ; 20.001 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (169.974 mph; 20.026 seconds).

At 8:11 a.m., #6 ANDRETTI enters pit road without power and his crew pushes his car behind the wall upon arrival in his pit area. The crew later reports no problem with taking the green flag for today's race.

At 8:15 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 175.059 mph (19.454 seconds), #24 GORDON (174.548 mph; 19.511 seconds), and #33 CARPENTIER (173.684 mph; 19.608 seconds).

At 8:16 a.m., side-to-side contact is reported between #16 CASTRO-NEVES and #20 PRUETT upon exiting the pit area by CART safety workers. No damage is reported to either car.

YELLOW FLAG waves at 8:19 a.m. for debris on the track. An aluminum piece from the radiator of #18 BLUNDELL is retrieved from the first turn to clear the track for practice.

At 8:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #99 MOORE with a lap of 175.059 mph (19.454 seconds), followed by #24 GORDON (174.548 mph; 19.511 seconds), and #17 GUGELMIN (174.396 mph; 19.528 seconds).

GREEN FLAG waves at 8:21 a.m. to resume the session.

At 8:25 a.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 175.140 mph; (19.445 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (175.059 mph; 19.454 seconds) and #24 GORDON (174.458 mph; 19.511 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. with the fastest driver still #11 FITTIPALDI with a lap of 175.140 mph; (19.445 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (175.059 mph; 19.454 seconds) and #24 GORDON (174.458 mph; 19.511 seconds). There are 23 drivers logging laps within one second of the top speed of FITTIPALDI during this session. CART drivers introduced 26 cars to the track in this final session with secondary cars utilized by #10X HEARN and #5X DE FERRAN. CART drivers logged a total 695 laps during the session.

Today's Round Four of the FedEx Championship Series, the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota, is the first CART race to run on Monday since September 24, 1984. The previous Monday race was the Detroit News 200 at Michigan International Speedway, a 200-mile race that was won by MARIO ANDRETTI.

This morning, the drivers from the March 29th Budweiser 500 at Motegi, Japan presented HIRO MATSUSHITA with a case containing their driving gloves from the race in a ceremony to honor the Japanese driver, who retires from competition following the May 10th Rio 400.

CART sends best wishes to RED REED, a veteran press room volunteer at Penske Motorsports Facilities who is missing his second event in 32 years this weekend due to health considerations. Red is at home in Lima, Ohio and the Champ Car community looks forward to seeing him again at the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota, July 26th at Michigan Speedway.

The team of #99 GREG MOORE has elected to bring MOORE's secondary car to the starting grid for the race. Also, the team of #27 FRANCHITTI changed engines in his car prior to the start of the race.

At 10:03 a.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by Ben Bendixen from The Robert Bosch Co.

At 10:04 a.m., the Pace Car begins to roll for the first of five pace laps.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:09 a.m. to start the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 1 after #40 FERNANDEZ slides into the interior wall on the back stretch exiting Turn 2. The nose of the car receives some damage and is towed back to his pit area by CART safety workers.

#33 CARPENTIER leads the first lap as he takes the caution followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #99 MOORE, and #5 DE FERRAN.

On Lap 6, #34 VITOLO spins off of Turn 2 while the field is under a full-course yellow flag. VITOLO loses two laps in the process.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 10 to restart the race.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 14 after #34 VITOLO spins off of Turn 4 and impacts the outside wall with the left rear corner of the car. The driver is uninjured but the car receives major damage to the rear.

On Lap 11, #6 ANDRETTI passes #33 CARPENTIER to take first place.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 20 to resume the race with #6 ANDRETTI leading #33 CARPENTIER, #99 MOORE, #5 DE FERRAN, and #12 VASSER.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 21 to #25 PAPIS for passing under the yellow flag. PAPIS receives a drive-through penalty and re-enters the race.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #77 MIERE for to slow of a pace. MIERE immediately pits the car with gear box problems..

At 40 laps, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by .601 seconds over #33 CARPENTIER, #99 MOORE, #5 DE FERRAN, and #12 VASSER.

On Lap 44, #12 VASSER passes #5 DE FERRAN to take over fourth place.

On Lap 45, #99 MOORE passes his teammate #33 CARPENTIER to take over second place.

On Lap 60, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading over #99 MOORE, followed by #33 CARPENTIER, #12 VASSER, and #5 DE FERRAN.

YELLOW FLAG waves on lap 63 after #16 CASTRO-NEVES spins in Turn 4 and impacts the outside wall in Turn 4. The driver exits the car under his own power but the car is heavily damaged.

On Lap 67, the top 20 cars pit for the first time in the race. #6 ANDRETTI retains the lead with #5 DE FERRAN coming out in second after coming into the pits in fifth. #99 MOORE exits the pits in third, #26 TRACY in fourth, and #33 CARPENTIER into fifth. #20 PRUETT's car has the fuel receiver port stuck open and a brief fire breaks out as PRUETT readies to leave the pit. His crew extinguishes the fire but PRUETT retires his car from the race. Also during this pit sequence, #9 LEHTO makes contact with a crewman from #12 VASSER's team. As a result, LEHTO will be black-flagged upon the restart.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 79 to resume the race.

BLACK FLAG waves on Lap 80 to #9 LEHTO.

On Lap 80, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading #5 DE FERRAN, #99 MOORE, #26 TRACY, and #33 CARPENTIER.

YELLOW FLAG on Lap 82 after #27 FRANCHITTI spins and contacts the wall in Turn 4. FRANCHITTI exits the car under his own power and is uninjured but the car is too heavily damaged to continue the race.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 92 to resume the race with #6 ANDRETTI leading #5 DE FERRAN.

On Lap 100, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading #5 DE FERRAN by 3.256 seconds with #99 MOORE in third, #26 TRACY in fourth, and #33 CARPENTIER in fifth.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 109 after #18 BLUNDELL makes contact with the outside wall in Turn 2. The driver exits the car under his own power and is uninjured but the car is too heavily damaged to continue.

On Lap 112, #6 ANDRETTI, #5 DE FERRAN, #26 TRACY, #1 ZANARDI, and #99 MOORE pit under the caution. #8 HERTA, #12 VASSER, and #24 GORDON stay-on track and move up in the running order. HERTA now leads with #12 VASSER in second, #24 GORDON in third, #6 ANDRETTI in fourth, and #5 DE FERRAN in fifth.

On Lap 120, the running order under a full-course yellow flag is #8 HERTA leading #12 VASSER, #24 GORDON, #6 ANDRETTI, and #5 DE FERRAN.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 122 but is immediately replaced with a YELLOW FLAG when #6 ANDRETTI spins on the bottom of Turn 4 and makes heavy contact with the outside wall. A brief fire breaks out at the rear of the car as ANDRETTI slides back down the track into the infield grass. TRACY makes a dramatic move to get by on the inside lane to avoid ANDRETTI as he slides down the track. ANDRETTI exits the car uninjured and CART safety workers quickly extinguish the fire. ANDRETTI is out of the race.

On Lap 123, halfway through the race and under a full-course yellow flag, the running order is #8 HERTA leading over #12 VASSER, #24 GORDON, #6 ANDRETTI, #5 DE FERRAN, #1 ZANARDI, #99 MOORE, #26 TRACY, #21 KANAAN, and #17 GUGELMIN.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 133 with #8 HERTA leading #12 VASSER with #24 GORDON third.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 134 to #33 CARPENTIER for a pit-road speed violation from the previous caution period. Also on Lap 134, #26 TRACY passes #99 MOORE to take over sixth place.

On Lap 140, #8 HETA leads #12 VASSER with #24 GORDON in third, #1 VASSER in fourth, and #5 DE FERRAN in fifth.

On Lap 155, #12 VASSER passes #8 HERTA to take over first place.

On Lap 158, #24 GORDON pits and returns to the race in 12th place.

On Lap 160, #12 VASSER leads #8 HERTA, #1 ZANARDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 161, #8 HERTA pits and returns to the race in 11th place.

On Lap 165, #12 VASSER pits and returns to the race in tenth place. #1 ZANARDI takes over the lead as all of the front-runners are now in the same pit sequence.

On lap 170, #1 ZANARDI leads by 1.589 seconds over #5 DE FERRAN with #99 MOORE in third, #26 TRACY in fourth, and #17 GUGLEMIN in fifth. At this point there are nine cars on the lead lap.

On Lap 176, #9 LEHTO spins his car as he enters his pit stall. LEHTO's crew turns his car back around and services the car. LEHTO exits the pits too fast and receives a pit road speed violation.

BLACK FLAG is shown to Lap 177 to #9 LEHTO for the previous pit-road speed violation.

On lap 180, #1 ZANARDI leads by 2.564 seconds over #5 DE FERRAN with #99 MOORE in third, #26 TRACY in fourth, and #17 GUGLEMIN in fifth. At this point there are nine cars on the lead lap.

On lap 187, #99 MOORE passes #5 DE FERRAN to take over second place.

On Lap 190, the leader is #1 ZANARDI leading 2.406 seconds over #99 MOORE.

On Lap 192, #1 ZANARDI pits his car and #99 MOORE takes over first place. ZANARDI's crew executes a 10.2-second pit stop and returns to the race in fourth place.

On Lap 194, #99 MOORE pits and hands the lead to #12 VASSER. MOORE re-enters the race in third place, 7.342 seconds behind the leader #12 VASSER.

On Lap 196, #5 DE FERRAN and #26 TRACY get by #24 GORDON to take over fifth and sixth place respectively.

On Lap 200, the running order is #12 VASSER leading #1 ZANARDI, with #99 MOORE in third, #17 GUGELMIN in fourth, and #5 DE FERRAN. Nine cars remain on the lead lap at this point of the race.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #33 CARPENTIER on Lap 203 for a pit-road violation after he runs over his air hose leaving the pits on his last stop. CARPENTIER pits on Lap 204 and returns to the race in 14th place.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 207 after #17 GUGELMIN spins and makes heavy contact with the outside wall in Turn 4. The car slides to a stop at the top of the track and CART safety workers quickly attend to the driver.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 220 to resume the race with #12 VASSER leading by 1.004 seconds over #1 ZANARDI and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 221, #12 VASSER leads by 1.531 seconds over #1 ZANARDI and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 222, #12 VASSER leads by 1.695 seconds over #1 ZANARDI and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 223, #12 VASSER leads by 1.598 seconds over #1 ZANARDI and #99 MOORE.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 224 with #12 VASSER leading by 1.798 seconds over #1 ZANARDI and #99 MOORE.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 225 for #12 JIMMY VASSER, the winner of the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. VASSER winning margin was 1.798 seconds over teammate #1 ALEX ZANARDI, with #99 GREG MOORE finishing third, #5 GIL DE FERRAN fourth, and #26 PAUL TRACY finishing fifth.

JIMMY VASSER averaged 108.830 mph in his victory today. Only VASSER, HERTA, and GORDON managed to complete today's race with two pit stops; the remainder of the front-runners needed three stops. Six drivers took turns at the front of the pack with #6 ANDRETTI leading the most laps with 102, followed by #8 HERTA with 42, #12 VASSER with 41, #1 ZANARDI with 27, and #99 MOORE with 3. There were six caution periods totaling 78 laps. Seven cars finished on the lead lap with 16 cars running at the end of the race. The time of the race was one hour, 57 minutes and 20 seconds.

Today's win is the sixth career victory for JIMMY VASSER and his first since Laguna Seca in 1997. This is also the fist podium of the year for VASSER, his last was a second place at California Speedway in the last race of the 1997 season. This is the first teammates to finish one-two since ZANARDI won over VASSER at Mid-Ohio in 1996.

ALEX ZANARDI's second-place finish is his best career-finish on a sort oval. ZANARDI's previous best finish at Nazareth was an 11th place in 1997. ZANARDI has finished 3rd or better in nine of the last 11 starts.

GREG MOORE's third-place finish is his fourth top-six finish this season. MOORE was second at Homestead, fourth at Japan, and sixth at Long Beach. This is also MOORE's second top-three in three career starts at Nazareth. MOORE was second in 1996.

According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, MAURICIO GUGLEMIN was awake and alert at the CART Medical Center and reported pain between his shoulder blades. He has been taken by ambulance to Easton Hospital for precautionary X-rays of his cervical spine. MARK BLUNDELL was held for observation at the CART Medical Center. After reporting a headache and blurred vision, BLUNDELL was transferred to Easton Hospital by ambulance for precautionary CAT scans. TIM DOUTHAT, vent man for #18 BLUNDELL's car was also transferred to Easton Hospital by ambulance for precautionary X-rays to rule out a lumbar fracture. DOUTHAT was injured when the vent hose momentarily stuck during BLUNDELL's first pit stop.

GREG MOORE moves into first place in the FedEx Championship Series points chase for the PPG Cup. MOORE has 51 points to second-place ALEX ZANARDI's 50 points. The previous leader, ADRIAN FERNANDEZ is now in third place.

Today's seventh-place finish by ROBBY GORDON was the best finish ever by a Toyota-powered car in CART competition, surpassing a pair of eighths. MAX PAPIS finished eighth at the 1997 U.S. 500, and JUAN FANGIO II finished eighth at Road America in 1996.

Today's win is Honda's 20th CART victory in 69 starts. Both Honda wins this year have been one-two results.

Driver quotes from today's race follow.

JIMMY VASSER, Target Reynard Honda: "I actually feel lucky that [making only two pit stops] worked out for us. At the time I was really questioning the move. I don't think it was the right thing for us to do. We were forced into a strategy which was the opposite from what the leaders were doing. From the time I made my last stop on Lap 160 or so [actually Lap 165] until the race leaders stopped, there was no yellow, so we were lucky. It [the strategy] helped us a bit with track position, but the risk was much greater than the reward.. If there would have been a yellow after my last stop, I would have been a lap down with no way to catch up. Traditionally, we have struggled on one-mile ovals just because the car wasn't consistent from beginning to end. We did some things to find a bit more consistency and this gives us a great platform to build on.

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "Historically, we have always struggled a little bit on short ovals, but I think that with Jimmy's and my performance today, we proved that we picked the right direction. The team has been under an enormous amount of pressure during the past few weeks and has responded very well."

GREG MOORE, Player's/Indeck Reynard Mercedes: "The biggest problem we had came this morning when we changed from our primary car to Patrick's (Carpentier) backup car. It's a real tribute to the guys on the team, and a testament to them for getting it all together. Basically, they had an hour to transfer everything from my car to Patrick's. It's a good job for the Firestone sweep, but more importantly, we leave here with the championship lead."

Source: CART Online

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar