A podium sweep for Reynard at the Cleveland Champ Car race this weekend confirmed Reynard's domination of the Championship and extended the Constructors Championship lead for the company. Roberto Moreno driving the Patrick Racing Ford Reynard gave...
A podium sweep for Reynard at the Cleveland Champ Car race this weekend confirmed Reynard's domination of the Championship and extended the Constructors Championship lead for the company. Roberto Moreno driving the Patrick Racing Ford Reynard gave a fine display of superiority to take his first CART victory in seven years of racing, leading 91 laps of the 100 lap race and establishing a clear lead for the majority of the race, building up to a gap of over 17 seconds ahead of Kenny Brack before his final pit stop. Runner-up Kenny Brack, Team Rahal Ford Reynard, mounted a charge in the final stages to follow Moreno home just over 0.8 seconds behind the winner, recording a career-best finish en route to second place. Cristiano da Matta, PPI Racing Toyota Reynard, rounded out the podium, with his career-best third placed finish.
Moreno became the eighth different winner in nine 2000 extending his Drivers Championship points lead to 90-68 over Michael Andretti of Newman/Haas Racing, who took over second place in the championship by finishing fourth. The victory was Moreno's first since a 1988 Formula 3000 triumph in Birmingham, England.
Moreno, who started on the pole, became the second driver to win from the pole this season, following Juan Montoya, who accomplished the feat at Milwaukee. He also scored the second victory of the season for Patrick Racing, following teammate Adrian Fernandez' triumph at Rio de Janeiro.
Roberto Moreno was overjoyed with his victory, saying, "Imagine, as a comparison, you dream about getting to the moon, and people say, 'Are you crazy?' But you believe and you push, and you push, and you push, and finally you get there, and it's just incredible. There were a lot of times that I was the only one who believed I could do it. It's what I do, and it's what I love. I love this Sport. Qualifying went really well, everything was great with the car and the Ford engine the whole weekend. The car was very competitive from the word 'Go.'" (On allowing Brack to close in late in the race) "It looked like I had a good lead to the finish, so I started thinking about things I shouldn't. You can't imagine the emotion I was going through. It was just a case of it being a bit too early. When Kenny got close it dried up and I got going again."
Kenny Brack explained his weekend saying, "It was a weird weekend for us. We started off fast on Friday, put the car in the transporter and thought we'd be all right on Saturday, but we couldn't get the car sorted out and we slipped to 15th. Don [Halliday, engineer] completely changed the car last night and when we wheeled it out today, it was fast. We were lucky on the first lap because it was a big mess [in Turn 1]. I was conserving fuel for a lot of the race, and we managed to catch up to Roberto in the end, but we were still running pretty lean. I tried to push it but I couldn't get to him because I had to save fuel, and also Cristiano was really quick behind me. It's good to know I'm not too rusty [on road courses]."
Cristiano da Matta summed up his day commenting, "It was a very eventful day indeed. After I was tagged at the start, we had to go all the way to the back. I thought, 'I couldn't do anything from here, I'm in last place.' I was very mad, but the guys said, 'Don't worry, there's still 99 laps left.' I had to run pretty hard in traffic, but I spent a lot of time behind [Alex] Tagliani or [Patrick] Carpentier, so I was able to save fuel. At the end I was able to run a little more rich. I was able to catch Kenny, but I couldn't get close enough to make a move. I'm happy because it's my best finish and I should be happy, but I'm a little disappointed because I thought I could win today. But 14 points are good, and it must have moved me higher than 14th [place in the point standings, actually now eighth] where I was when I came here." <pre> Top Twelve finishers 1 Roberto Moreno 2 Kenny Brack 3 Cristiano da Matta 4 Michael Andretti 5 Patrick Carpentier 6 Juan Montoya 7 Adrian Fernandez 8 Jimmy Vasser 9 Bryan Herta 10 Mauricio Gugelmin 11 Norberto Fontana 12 Mark Blundell
Drivers Championship Standings
1 Roberto Moreno 90 2 Michael Andretti 68 3 Gil de Ferran 67 4 Kenny Brack 63 5 Paul Tracy 59 6 Jimmy Vasser 59 7 Juan Montoya 54 8 Cristiano da Matta 49 9 Max Papis 47 10 Patrick Carpentier 47
Constructors Championship Standings
1 Reynard 181 2 Lola 133 3 Swift 4