Tracy trundles home third in Australia. After two days of sunshine and warm temperatures, rains came in with a vengeance today to an otherwise drought-plagued Australian Gold Coast, wreaking havoc on the Honda Indy 300 FedEx Championship Series...
Tracy trundles home third in Australia.
After two days of sunshine and warm temperatures, rains came in with a vengeance today to an otherwise drought-plagued Australian Gold Coast, wreaking havoc on the Honda Indy 300 FedEx Championship Series race in Surfers Paradise. In the end, CART race officials elected to run all but seven laps under the caution flag, then ended the race after 40 of 70 scheduled laps to hand the victory to first-time winner Mario Dominguez.
If the race had been called at half-distance, as many observers expected, then Honda-powered Michael Andretti would have won his second Champ Car race of the season. Instead, officials decided on the 40-lap distance that required Andretti and several other competitors to make a second pit stop and dropped the Team Motorola driver down to ninth at the finish.
Andretti's bad fortune in turn benefited Paul Tracy, who then became the top finishing Honda driver with a third place run today for Team KOOL Green. Mo Nunn Racing's Tony Kanaan also moved up in the closing laps to finish fifth, with Dario Franchitti seventh.
Shinji Nakano, who ran third in the opening laps, was on the same strategy as Andretti and had to pit in the final laps, dropping the Team Fernandez driver down the order to 13th. The race also was marred by an eight-car crash at the start that sent two drivers - Adrian Fernandez and Tora Takagi - to the hospital for further examination and treatment.
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Following the multi-car first start crash, Adrian Fernandez was transported to Gold Coast Regional Hospital for a precautionary CAT scan. The initial results were negative and Fernandez was expected to be released later Sunday night. Tora Takagi was being treated for a possible hip injury.
Dario Franchitti's seventh-place finish today allowed him to close to within nine points of Bruno Junqueira for second in the CART driver's points standings, with two races remaining.
Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 5th, finished 3rd: "If you've ever been in a plane flying through clouds or fog, that's what you could see today: nothing. It started raining and just got worse and worse. The track was flooding and it was no one's fault. It was just Mother Nature. Green flag racing simply wasn't an option today, so the race came down to pit strategy and luck of the draw. We got lucky today. I feel sorry for all the fans, because due to the conditions we simply weren't able to put on a show like we normally do here."
Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 3rd, finished 5th: "What a day, I've never experienced anything like that in my life. I don't know what to think, other than that if the race would have gone 50 laps and we would have continued under yellow, I would have been the winner. It wouldn't have felt like any other win I've had, but on paper, at least, it's always good to have a win in the record books. Unfortunately, they decided to stop the race when they did and we had to settle for fifth. All four cars that finished ahead of us would have had to pit before Lap 50. How they came up with Lap 40, I'll never be able to understand that. I guess somebody spun the roulette wheel and that's the lap number that came up. I feel really bad for the fans because that had to be a tough thing to sit through. Let's pack up and go to Fontana."
Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 8th, finished 7th: ""Fortunately I was ahead of the problem on the first start. I didn't even get to third gear and I couldn't see the track, I couldn't see the walls, so I was planning to follow Shinji (Nakano), hoping he knew where he was going The track certainly wasn't raceable. I've never seen anything like this in my life. To go out there and just follow the pace car around for 30 laps isn't racing, and after all the hard work the Team KOOL Green crew put in this weekend they deserved better. CART certainly doesn't control the weather, and honestly the track wasn't that bad when we started again, but it didn't take long to get worse and we shouldn't have been out there. I think they perhaps cheated Michael (Andretti) out of a victory today. The rules said the race would be complete at 36 laps, and given the conditions it should have been called."
Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 16th, finished 9th: "This is a real disappointment. It looks like it became political out there. The conditions were horrible. I could barely see the car in front of me. I thought Team Motorola made the right call bringing me in on Lap 16 because then I would not have had to pit before the race became official. This is just terribly disappointing."