PORTLAND, Ore., (June 21, 1998) - Alex Zanardi won his fourth race of the season and second in a row at today's Budweiser / G.I. Joes's 200, finishing 6.839 seconds in front of Scott Pruett and Bryan Herta at Portland International Raceway....
PORTLAND, Ore., (June 21, 1998) - Alex Zanardi won his fourth race of the season and second in a row at today's Budweiser / G.I. Joes's 200, finishing 6.839 seconds in front of Scott Pruett and Bryan Herta at Portland International Raceway.
Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy did not finish as both were involved in two different incidents. Tracy came up on an accident between Greg Moore and Christian Fittipaldi, entering Turn One of the opening lap. With nowhere to go, Tracy ran into the rear of Moore's car. Franchitti's day ended abruptly when P.J. Jones clipped his left rear tire. Jones was recovering from a spin and the contact he made with Franchitti sent the KOOL car off the track at full speed. Franchitti crashed heavily into the wall at the exit of Turn Six, but was cleared by CART medical.
Franchitti was running an impressive race, leading laps 15 to 36. However, two lengthy pit stops cost him track position. He was leading when he entered the pit area on lap 36, but he stalled the car when it was time to leave. The crew tried to push-st art Franchitti, but had to pull the car back into the pits area to re-start the engine. He went from first to 17th, but continued to fight his way up to 12th when he pitted for his second stop. The gained positions were lost when the fuel nozzle could not be connected immediately.
After nine rounds, Zanardi has a commanding lead in the overall standings with 134 points. Moore's DNF was costly, as he loses ground and is in second with 96 points. Jimmy Vasser is third with 85, followed by Adrian Feranadez with 75 and Gil de Ferran with 55 points.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 2nd / Finished 21 st DNF; Currently 8th overall with 50 points)
"It was a strange start. Brian (Herta) was a full car length ahead of me. We got through the first corners and there was the full course yellow. Once we got running again Brian was pulling away from me, but I was very conservative on the fuel so I wasn't worried. He pitted early and that's when I started pulling away, even though I was running lean on the fuel. The first stop I stalled it coming out.
On the second pit stop our fueller had difficulty engaging the fuel nozzle. Then, I almost stalled it again leaving the pits. But, I got back out and was pushing pretty hard on the new tires trying to make up the lost time. I almost got past P.J. (Jones) coming out of turn six. He didn't see me and just turned into me, spinning me around and into the barriers. That was all she wrote. Physically, it was a very tough race. The hardest race I've every driven in and we didn't even finish. I'm disappointed because it was looking good at the start, but that's racing. We'll go to Cleveland and try again. I like Cleveland and someone has got to beat Alessandro (Zanardi). It might as well be me."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 20th / Finished 28th DNF; Currently 13th with 32 points)
"I made a good start. I was on the gas early and I had a clean line going into Turn One. I came around the corner to a blocked track and couldn't stop in time. Its just one of those things. You start in the back and it's hard to get through that kind of stuff. It was a frustrating weekend. We had a good car and didn't get a chance to show it. I've won at Cleveland (next race) before so we'll get after it there."
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER:
"The results of this weekend are nothing to write home about. But the fact is we were here and we were very fast. This team is very competitive right now and all we've got to do is start believing in ourselves and keep doing what we're doing. We can win. Yes, we've got to quit making mistakes on the track. We just need to work a little harder and the win will come. The team is great.
"I think the only disappointment this team is feeling right now is that Cleveland is three weekends away. We're anxious to get to the next race because we feel we've got a great setup for the road courses, two great drivers and a team to go with it. So we just need to go to Cleveland and make it all happen. There wouldn't be a better place to win."