BITTERSWEET DAY AT ROAD AMERICA FOR MINARDI TEAM USA Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 12, 2007) - Minardi Team USA experienced a bittersweet victory with the second place finish of the dark horse, 'Speedy' Dan Clarke today at the Champ Car ...
BITTERSWEET DAY AT ROAD AMERICA FOR MINARDI TEAM USA
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 12, 2007) - Minardi Team USA experienced a bittersweet victory with the second place finish of the dark horse, 'Speedy' Dan Clarke today at the Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America. Though it was a race finish that everyone knew was coming with the great drive by 'Speedy,' his teammate Doornbos did not fare as well, eventually being classified fourteenth.
'Speedy' didn't have the greatest start, falling back to eleventh from his eighth place starting position. He pitted under the full-course yellow conditions on the second lap and came back out to take the green in twelfth. He put on a fresh set of the black Bridgestone tires, and made his way through the field. He was consistently the fastest car on the track, and worked his way up to the fourth position. On lap twenty-five, Dan and slowing team mate Doornbos made contact going into turn five, which took off Doornbos' front wing. Dan continued in third place right behind Rahal. After assessing that his car wasn't damaged, he settled in and drove an amazing race. The Number 4 Crew had remarkable pit stops and gained a position in the pits to come out ahead of Rahal to put Dan in second place. He then put his head down and drove a clean, steady race to bring home his best Champ Car finish to date.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke 2nd Place
"I'm really happy with second place today, and at such a great circuit! We really needed this result after all the bad luck we have had so far this year, just threatening to have a podium finish, and it's been a long time coming, but now our luck seems to have changed. I have to thank all of my crew for sticking with me and persevering even when things weren't great, and I'm looking forward to going home to England for a bit and then racing in Europe. I guess the black sheep sometimes come through at the end!"
Robert Doornbos started third for the race today, and had a fantastic start to put him in second position. He had the pace to keep with leader, Bourdais and things were looking good for the young Dutchman until about lap twenty-three, when he was eight-tenths of a second off his previous pace. The tires were starting to go away and this upset the handling of the car, making it difficult to drive. Unfortunately, it was not Robert's day, and after making contact with Dan, he had to pit twice; once for a new front wing, and then again to repair suspension damage. Robert is still in second place in the Championship, now 37 points behind Bourdais, but as we have seen anything is possible, and going into Robert's home territory with his countrymen behind him should be an additional boost.
Robert Doornbos 14th Place
"I was really happy with my start today, and I felt we could keep up with Sebastien and go for the race win. Our second stint on used tires was not so competitive, and Rahal got around me fairly easily. I knew I could get him back so I wasn't too worried about it, but then my team mate got around me and braked in front of me going into turn five, and I lost all the down force on my car and took off the wing. It's unfortunate that we lost points in the Championship today, I would have been happy with a podium, but I'm looking forward to going home and racing in Europe."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"It was clear that in the race we had two very competitive cars and potential for a great result for both. Dan drove a great race and a great strategy gave him a tremendous result. Once again, Robert was very quick and consistent, but the end result for us as a team was clearly not what it should have been. Now we have to stay focused as a group to make up Championship points and get these kind of finishes for both drivers each time."