CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Sunday lap report

Budweiser/G.I. Joes's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline FedEx Championship Series Lap Notes- Sunday, June 21, 1998 Race Day at Portland International Raceway for Round 9 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented...

Budweiser/G.I. Joes's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline FedEx Championship Series Lap Notes- Sunday, June 21, 1998

Race Day at Portland International Raceway for Round 9 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline is beautiful in the Portland area with blue skies and temperatures expected to peak in the mid-eighties by race time with no threat of rain in the forecast. Today's on-track activities begin with the traditional 30-minute warm-up session at 10 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the 98-lap race at 2 p.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the final CART practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 103 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 72 degrees F.

At 10:07 a.m., #7 RAHAL loses power on course on his first lap of practice and immediately pits the car.

At 10:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #2 UNSER JR. with a lap of 115.602 mph (1:01.255), followed by #8 HERTA (115.591 mph; 1:01.261) and #1X ZANARDI (114.917 mph; 1:01.620).

At 10:15 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #18 BLUNDELL with a lap of 116.713 mph (1:00.672), followed #27 FRANCHITTI (116.534 mph; 1:00.765) and #8 HERTA (115.962 mph; 1:01.065).

RED FLAG waves at 10:16 a.m. after #34 VITOLO spins at the entrance to Turn 1 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car re-started and VITOLO continues to his pit.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:20 a.m. to resume the practice session. The fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 10:15 a.m. report at this point of the session.

At 10:25 a.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 10:20 a.m. report.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to end the practice session with #18 BLUNDELL the fastest with a lap of 117.700 mph (1:00.163), followed by #1X ZANARDI (116.557 mph; 1:00.753) and #27 FRANCHITTI (116.534 mph; 1:00.765). CART drivers introduced 27 cars to the track this morning with secondary cars utilized by #1X ZANARDI, #7X RAHAL, #3X RIBEIRO, #12X VASSER, #19X JOURDAIN JR., #26X TRACY, and #98X JONES. #11 FITTIPALDI was the only driver that did not bring a car on-track in this morning session. CART drivers logged a total of 258 laps during the session.

Bryan Herta (Shell Reynard Ford), polesitter for today's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline, will attempt to become the third active driver in the FedEx Championship Series to have his first career CART victory come from the pole. Andre Ribeiro (Marlboro Penske Mercedes) won his first race from the pole in 1995 for Tasman Motorsports, and Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) was victorious from the pole at Portland in 1996 for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Should Herta win from the pole, he also would win a record $240,000 rollover bonus from the Marlboro Pole Award program.

A Herta victory this afternoon would also make him the fourth active FedEx Championship Series driver to claim his first career victory at Portland. Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Penske Mercedes) recorded his first CART career triumph at Portland in 1984, followed by Zanardi in '96 and Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) last year.

At 1:56 p.m., the National Anthem is sung by Linda Hornbuckle.

At 1:59 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by Bill Hildick, the Portland Rose Festival Chairman. Mr. Hildick will be retiring from the chairmanship this year after a long career at that post.

At 2 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins to roll for the first of three pace laps with the field of 28 cars in tow.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:06 p.m. to start the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Havoline/Texaco. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 135 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 84 degrees F. at the drop of the Green Flag.

YELLOW FLAG waves as the field enters the chicane just past the pit exit. #99 MOORE, #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, #18 BLUNDELL, #11 FITTIPALDI, #24 GORDON, and #25 PAPIS are involved in the incident. TRACY, FITTIPALDI, and MOORE retire from the race due to the damage received in the incident.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 4 to resume the race with #8 HERTA leading.

#8 HERTA leads the first lap under a full-course caution flag, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 4 to resume the race with #8 HERTA leading.

On Lap 5, #8 HERTA leads by .278 seconds, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

On Lap 7, #9 LEHTO pulls off-course with smoke trailing from the car. LEHTO subsequently retires from the race with an electrical problem.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 10 after #40 FERNANDEZ and #12 VASSER make side-to-side contact as they enter the chicane. Both drivers are uninjured in the incident but FERNANDEZ's car sustains too much damage to continue. VASSER continues on course with damage to his car and immediately pits his car.

On Lap 10, #8 HERTA leads under a full-course yellow flag by 1.147 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, and #20 PRUETT.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 13 to resume the race. As the field streams through Turn 9 and 10, contact in the field results in #24 GORDON sliding off course with damage to the car and stalling in the grass. CART safety workers get the car re-started and GORDON continues on course. GORDON subsequently retires from the race due to the damage received in the incident.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 14 for the incident involving GORDON. #8 HERTA pits his car and hands the lead to #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #20 PRUETT, and #1 ZANARDI. HERTA has an unofficial pit-stop time of 10.6 seconds and returns to the race in 12th place.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 15 with #27 FRANCHITTI leading, followed by #20 PRUETT, and #1 ZANARDI.

On Lap 20, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 2.359 seconds, followed by #20 PRUETT, #1 ZANARDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 25, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 3.872 seconds over #20 PRUETT, #1 ZANARDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 28, #12 VASSER and #18 BLUNDELL make side-to-side contact at the chicane. BLUNDELL pulls off course at Turn 4 and subsequently retires from the race due to contact.

On Lap 30, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 4.631 seconds over #20 PRUETT, #1 ZANARDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #21 KANAAN.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 33 to #16 CASTRO-NEVES for a pit road violation. CASTRO-NEVES subsequently pits the car.

On Lap 34, second-place #20 PRUETT pits and hands second place to #1 ZANARDI. PRUETT returns to the race in ninth place.

On Lap 35, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 13.531 seconds over #1 ZANARDI, followed by #21 KANAAN, #3 RIBEIRO, and #2 UNSER JR. ZANARDI and KANAAN both pit their cars on Lap 35, handing second and third place over to #2 UNSER JR. and #8 HERTA. ZANARDI returns to the race in fourth place and KANAAN returns in tenth.

On Lap 36, #3 RIBEIRO takes over the lead when #27 FRANCHITTI pits his car. FRANCHITTI has trouble getting out of the pits and stalls the car. His crew finally gets the car restarted and FRANCHITTI returns to the race in 16th place.

On Lap 37, #3 RIBEIRO pits his car and hands the lead over to teammate #2 UNSER JR. followed by #8 HERTA.

On Lap 39, #2 UNSER JR. passes MARIO ANDRETTI on the all-time laps led list in Champ Car history. As of Lap 39, UNSER JR. has now led 3065 laps to Mario Andretti's 3064.

On Lap 40, #2 UNSER JR. leads by .872 seconds over #8 HERTA, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #20 PRUETT, and #5 DE FERRAN.

On Lap 44, #2 UNSER JR. pits his car and hands the lead over to #8 HERTA. UNSER JR. returns to the race in seventh place.

On Lap 45, #8 HERTA leads by 9.317 seconds, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #20 PRUETT, #5 DE FERRAN, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 46, #8 HERTA pits and hands the lead over to #1 ZANARDI. HERTA returns to the race in fifth place.

On Lap 50, #1 ZANARDI leads by 3.774 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #21 KANAAN, and #8 HERTA.

On Lap 52, #6 ANDRETTI spins at Turn 10 and continues on-course with damage to the car.

On Lap 55, #1 ZANARDI leads by 6.528 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #21 KANAAN, and #8 HERTA.

On lap 60, #1 ZANARDI leads by 7.234 seconds over #20 PRUETT, #5 DE FERRAN, #21 KANAAN, and #8 HERTA.

On Lap 64, second-place #20 PRUETT pits and hands second place to #5 DE FERRAN.

On Lap 65, #1 ZANARDI leads by 14.487 seconds over #5 DE FERRAN, followed by #8 HERTA, #2 UNSER JR. and #21 KANAAN. KANAAN pits and hands fifth place to #20 PRUETT. KANAAN returns to the race in seventh place.

On Lap 67, leader #1 ZANARDI pits and hands the lead to #8 HERTA. ZANARDI returns to the race in second place.

On Lap 70, #8 HERTA leads by 13.127 seconds over #1 ZANARDI, #2 UNSER JR., #5 DE FERRAN, and #20 PRUETT.

On Lap 72, #98 JONES spins at Turn 2 and continues on course without damage to the car.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 73 after #27 FRANCHITTI and #98 JONES make side-to-side contact as FRANCHITTI is passing JONES on the inside. The contact cuts down the left rear tire of FRANCHITTI and his car makes heavy impact on the left side of the car with the wall coming out of Turn 5. Though the car is destroyed, FRANCHITTI exits the car under his own power. JONES continues on course t his pit area.

Leader #8 HERTA pits on Lap 73 under the caution flag and hands first place over to #1 ZANARDI. #8 HERTA returns to the race in second place, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #20 PRUETT, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 75 and under a full-course caution flag, #1 ZANARDI leads #8 HERTA, #5 DE FERRAN, #20 PRUETT, and #21 KANAAN.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 79 with ZANARDI leading and #5 DE FERRAN passing #8 HERTA under the flag, attempting to take second place from HERTA. DE FERRAN and HERTA make side-to-side contact at the chicane and DE FERRAN is knocked off course and stalls in the grass against the fence. HERTA continues on course. DE FERRAN subsequently withdraws from the race.

Also on Lap 79, #2 UNSER JR. passes #7 RAHAL to take over fifth place.

On Lap 80, #1 ZANARDI leads by 3.685 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA, #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 85, #1 ZANARDI leads by 2.368 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA, #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 90, #1 ZANARDI leads by 3.962 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA, #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 94 to #19 JOURDAIN JR. for an oil spray coming from the rear of the car. JOURDAIN JR. subsequently pits the car and withdraws from the race with an oil leak.

On Lap 94, #1 ZANARDI leads by 5.182 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA (.399 seconds further back), #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 95, #1 ZANARDI leads by 4.935 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA (again, .399 seconds further back), #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

On Lap 96, #1 ZANARDI leads by 6.338 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA (.340 seconds further back), #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 97 for #1 ZANARDI, leading by 6.560 seconds over #20 PRUETT, followed by #8 HERTA (.333 seconds further back), #21 KANAAN, and #2 UNSER JR.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 98 for ALEX ZANARDI, winner of the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline. ZANARDI wins by 3.962 seconds over SCOTT PRUETT, followed by BRYAN HERTA, .270 seconds further back. TONY KANAAN takes fourth place, and AL UNSER JR. comes home in fifth.

Today's win is the second victory in a row for ZANARDI and the fourth straight for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. ZANARDI averaged 101.355 mph in his effort today. It also represents ZANARDI's 12th career victory in 41 starts. This is the second quickest a CART driver has achieved 12 wins in the series history. (RICK MEARS needed 38 starts to get to the 12-victory plateau. ZANARDI led a race-high 47 laps and he has now led at least one lap in 8 of 9 career starts on permanent road courses. He failed to led a lap only at Laguna Seca in 1997. ZANARDI has now extended his PPG Cup Points lead over Greg Moore, 134 to 96.

SCOTT PRUETT's second place finish is his season-best. PRUETT previously finished fifth at Homestead and Gateway this year. It is also PRUETT's best finish since winning at Australia in 1997.

BRYAN HERTA finished third today which matches his season-best finish, which he logged at Long Beach when he also started on the pole.

Today represents the eighth straight victory for Firestone and the fourth straight victory for Honda.

There were 17 cars running at the end of the race with nine cars on the lead lap. The time of the race was one hour, fifty-four minutes, and 6.822 seconds. There were 7 lead changes during the race among 5 different drivers. ZANARDI led the most laps with 47, followed by FRANCHITTI with 22, HERTA with 20, UNSER JR. with 8, and RIBEIRO with 1. The Yellow Flag flew four times for a total of 13 laps.

The average victory margin through the first nine races of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series is 3.068 seconds and the average podium margin is 4.775 seconds.

Quotes from the top three finishers in today's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline follow.

ALEX ZANARDI (Target Reynard Honda): "Obviously, it was a fantastic day for me. I'm obviously very happy with the way the day turned out. The championship has started very well, and I'm certainly very happy that I've been able to take advantage of other people's misadventures. There is still plenty of time for me to go home with a grumpy face. Things can't always go this well all the time. We were obviously concerned [about pit strategy] before the race. I told the team, 'We have to play the odds,' and the odds are usually to follow the leader, but I think we were surprised a little bit when Bryan [Herta] came into the pits. At that point, I decided that wasn't the way to go and I'm pleased that our way turned out to be the right way. It was surprising to me to see Bryan, who had the best car and was leading, take the chance. Normally, that's a chance you take when you're running 14th. I'm absolutely not the best driver in the world. But I have to believe deep inside that I'm not worse than anybody, either. Otherwise, I'd better pick another job. But I still have much more to learn. Conditions were tough, there wasn't a lot of chance and opportunity to take a rest."

SCOTT PRUETT (Visteon Reynard Ford) "Everything went pretty good. When the first yellow [flag] came out, we obviously went to a two-stop strategy, which worked out very well for us. It was nice to get this thing turned around at Portland. I didn't think I could hold Bryan [Herta] off at the end. He had a very good car. Fortunately we were able to keep him behind us. [Racing with Herta] It was great fun. Bryan and I were both trying as hard as we could. When you have a car underneath you that will allow you to race, it's a lot of fun."

BRYAN HERTA (Shell Reynard Ford) "I was really, really happy with my car. I thought I had one of the best cars ever to race in terms of being able to do a lot with it. The pit stop strategy was the story of the race. I have to talk to my team. We decided that an early stop was the way to go, but I don't think that's the way it worked out. Luckily, we had a good enough car to finish on the podium, and I'm happy about that. [On racing with Pruett] That was fun. It was enjoyable to race with Scott because it was clean and hard racing. Our best shot was to try to push him into a mistake. I harried him as much as possible in every corner, but he didn't make a mistake."

This concludes the pit notes for today. We wish you all a happy Fathers Day and we'll see you in two weeks in Cleveland for the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland!

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Bryan Herta , Mario Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing