CHAMPCAR/CART: Rain falls, Fontana season finale postponed

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Fontana, Calif. (October 29,2000) - The Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota is on hold until 10:00 a.m. Monday morning due to persistent showers in the area. Thirty-three laps were completed before the race was...

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Fontana, Calif. (October 29,2000) - The Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota is on hold until 10:00 a.m. Monday morning due to persistent showers in the area. Thirty-three laps were completed before the race was red flagged with Juan Montoya at the point.

The race will be covered live by ESPN starting at 10:00 a.m. local time, with the cars starting single-file. The race will resume under yellow with the number of yellow laps determined by weather conditions tomorrow morning. Without a warmup session before the race, several laps will be needed in order to bring the engines and tires up to proper temperatures.

The green flag waved at 11:45 a.m. under cloudy skies with Marlboro Team Penske teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves immediately entering into a fierce battle for the lead. The pair swapped the lead several times until lap 23 when Paul Tracy, one of championship contenders, experienced an engine failure, launching debris into his wake.

Debris from Tracy's car was collected by Cristiano da Matta, collapsing his right front suspension. Da Matta's car veered into the turn four wall causing a yellow which eventually turned to red as the rains came.

Tracy's Team Kool Green entry has been classified as out of the race. The Canadian driver could resume the race in teammate Dario Franchitti's car but would not be eligible for points, effectively ending his championship hopes for this season.

"I don't really know what happened," said Tracy, who has won three races this season. "There was no warning. We were just cruising, kind of taking it easy and all of a sudden we lost the engine. I looked at the car when I got out and the top of the engine was gone."

With Helio Castroneves leading his teammate under yellow, the leaders entered the pits for their first stop. Castroneves stalled in the pits dropping him to 18th when he returned to the track.

Juan Montoya, who entered the pits fourth, returned to the speedway with the lead followed by Franchitti, Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser in fifth.

The cars toured the two-mile superspeedway under yellow while debris from Tracy's car was cleared from the track, but green flag racing never resumed as light mist turned to rain on lap thirty. Three laps later the race was red flagged.

The race nearly resumed an hour after the red flag was initially shown but the track was lost to another passing shower ending the day.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Cristiano da Matta