The third time was a charm today as the Champ Cars made two aborted attempts at starting the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America in the rain before finally taking the green flag just after 5:30pm local time. The inclement...
The third time was a charm today as the Champ Cars made two aborted attempts at starting the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America in the rain before finally taking the green flag just after 5:30pm local time. The inclement weather rolled in shortly before the cars were scheduled to grid at 1:15pm and the race was started under yellow flag conditions. But by the end of the first lap it was clear there was simply too much rain falling around the four-mile circuit to race safely.
A restart was attempted after a delay of 20 minutes but after six laps behind the pace car, Race Control determined that conditions were still treacherous. Following a second delay, this time for two hours and 40 minutes, the skies had cleared enough that, with the race distance shortened to 34 laps from the originally scheduled 60, CART felt they could attempt to complete the event prior to darkness falling. Junqueira led the way to the green flag and was never bested. He was followed home by rookie teammate Sebastien Bourdais with Alex Tagliani taking third.
Herdez Competition had a mixed day with Mario Dominguez unable to finish the race and Moreno coming home in seventh. Dominguez ended up in a gravel trap on lap 19 after attempting to pass Geoff Boss. Moreno broke a wheel in a multi-car incident on lap 11 and was forced to enter a closed pit lane for repairs; CART penalized him for this infraction by moving him to the back of the pack (14th). A combination of others' mistakes, quick pit work and savvy driving in the ever-changing conditions allowed Moreno to move up the field to finish in seventh place.
Mario Dominguez - Driver, Car 55
I'm very disappointed to not be able to make a better result from my best qualifying position. It was very hard for me with the rain to keep the car on the track. My pit crew gave me an awesome first pit stop and moved me from fifth to third. But it was so wet out there - twice I went off track but was able to carefully get going again. Then I was trying to pass one of the Coyne cars and got wide and ended up in the gravel trap. The car wasn't damaged but the Safety Team didn't want to pull me out of the trap so my day was done. Even though I won a race in the rain last year, growing up in Mexico I didn't get a lot of experience racing in the rain so it was a tough day for me. But we'll be back fighting again next weekend."
Roberto Moreno - Driver, Car 4
"It was a great race for me really. Once again, I'm very happy with the work of the entire Herdez Competition team. We decided to develop the car in a way that we thought would be beneficial here and also later in the year at Mexico City. My race engineer, Chris Gorne, did a great job in finding the right solution in time for final qualifying and the car was awesome in the race. I think if the race had gone on longer and we had been able to change onto slick tires, I think we would have been very fasts indeed. Toward the end, we were already using the grooved tires too much so even though we were gaining speed it was very hard to keep the car on the track. But I'm happy with the result and looking forward to Mid Ohio next weekend."