CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Rough Ride for Team KOOL Green Drivers

PORTLAND, OR., (June 25, 2000) – Turn 1 on lap 1 proved to be the undoing of Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy today at Portland International Raceway. Both drivers were collected in an incident, which was started when ...

PORTLAND, OR., (June 25, 2000) – Turn 1 on lap 1 proved to be the undoing of Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy today at Portland International Raceway. Both drivers were collected in an incident, which was started when Franchitti was tapped from behind. Franchitti managed to finish the 112-lap race in ninth place, while Tracy’s day ended on lap 71, likely because of damage sustained on the opening lap.

Gil de Ferran, meanwhile, took the checkered flag for his second victory of the season and the fifth of his career. De Ferran, who also won at Portland last year, cruised across the finish line 2.625 seconds ahead of Roberto Moreno with Christian Fittipaldi in third. Helio Castroneves, de Ferran’s teammate, led the most laps (85) only to hand over the lead on lap 104 when he pitted for a quick splash of fuel. Castroneves returned in fourth place, but dropped to seventh when he ran out of fuel just at the finish.

After the race, CART officials admitted they assessed Franchitti a drive-thru penalty incorrectly because of a communications error. A course martial waved him through the chicane short cut after members of the safety crew push-started the #27 KOOL car. Franchitti served the penalty on lap 6, but he climbed no higher than his finishing position. Tracy retired in 18th position because of a broken toe-link in the rear suspension, which was originally bent in the mayhem of the first lap. Tracy struggled with the handling of his #26 KOOL car until the toe-link finally broke after brushing a wall.

Moreno assumes the overall lead with 68 points, holding a one-point advantage over de Ferran with 67. Tracy gave up the championship lead today, dropping to third overall with 59 points. Michael Andretti is fourth with 56 points, while Jimmy Vasser is fifth with 54. Franchitti is 10th overall with 44 points.

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:

(Started 17th / Finished 18th ; Currently 3rd in the standings with 59 points)

“The left rear toe-link broke. I think it was something that happened on the first lap in the first corner. I got clipped by somebody and turned around backwards in the middle of the course. I’m not sure what caused the incident on the first lap, but when I went into the turn the track was blocked. I tried to go through on the inside and it was just a big mess with guys running over each other. I think that did the damage to it because the steering was bent and cocked a little off center. Bouncing over the curbs on the back straightaway didn’t do it any good. Then I brushed the wall coming out of the last turn and it finally broke.

“Team KOOL Green is just having a spell of bad luck and we need to get it turned around. We need to keep working hard and slugging it out to get points the rest of the year.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:

(Started 4th / Finished 9th ; Currently 10th in the standings with 44 points)

“On the start, I came down to Turn 1 and the KOOL car was pretty well boxed in. I had the two Penske cars side-by-side in front, Roberto [Moreno] to my side and I said ‘okay, I’ll just slip around the outside and I’ll have it better for the next corner’. I gave Roberto plenty of room, he was fine and I guess [Kenny] Brack clipped me from behind. And then, I spin around one way because the chicane is blocked. I sat there and waited for everyone to pass. I tried to get the car around, but I stalled it. The safety crew pushed me straight into the short-cut. The engine didn’t catch until three-quarters of the way through, so I couldn’t stop the thing. They directed me to go that way [on through the short-cut] and I was not gaining any positions out of it. Then I get a drive-thru penalty.”

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti