CART'S Team Green protests outcome of 86th Indianapolis 500. INDIANAPOLIS (May 26, 2002) - CART FedEx Championship Series competitors Team Green have filed a protest in response to the official finishing order of Sunday's 86th Indianapolis 500,...
CART'S Team Green protests outcome of 86th Indianapolis 500.
INDIANAPOLIS (May 26, 2002) - CART FedEx Championship Series competitors Team Green have filed a protest in response to the official finishing order of Sunday's 86th Indianapolis 500, which gave driver Helio Castroneves a second consecutive victory and Team Green driver Paul Tracy a second place finish in the event.
At issue is the sequence of events that took place on the 199th lap of the 200 lap event. With Castroneves desperately trying to stretch his fuel to the finish, Tracy dramatically swept around the outside of the Brazilian and into the lead in Turn 3 on the penultimate lap.
At that point, it appeared that Tracy would follow in the footsteps of 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Montoya and Castroneves as the third consecutive regular CART competitor to win the Indy 500.
However, Buddy Lazier and rookie Laurent Redon tangled with each other in Turn 2 at almost the exact moment that Tracy was moving past Castroneves, bringing out a caution flag. As a result, race officials inserted Castroneves back into the lead on the final lap and the Brazilian was awarded a second-consecutive Indy 500 victory one lap later.
After a lengthy review, continuing several hours after the race's conclusion., Castroneves was officially named as the winner at 7:40 p.m. EST. Team Green was given one hour to file a protest after the results were made official, and race officials announced that the team decided to formally protest the outcome shortly before 8:30 p.m. EST. The protest will be heard Monday.
"My interpretation of the rule is that when you are ahead of somebody when the yellow comes out, then that's your position," said Tracy. "A lot of the tracks we go to do not have timing lines and they don't know where the car is all the time, so you have to rely on spotters and track marshals to figure out a lot of times where the cars are. But I know this track has timing lines all the way around the track. We at Team Green feel that we were ahead. That's why we put a protest in."
Despite the uncertain finish, it was a strong showing for the CART contingent, as Tracy was joined inside the top 10 by Team Green technical partner Michael Andretti of Team Motorola, who also had a strong performance throughout the day before fading late in the race to a seventh place finish. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Kenny Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion, battled his car throughout the day but also managed to complete the 500 miles and came home with an 11th place result.
Tracy's Team Green teammate Dario Franchitti had a tough outing in his first attempt at Indianapolis 500 glory, but stayed in the fight throughout the day. The Scot finished three laps down in the 19th position. Also running at the finish, albeit four laps down to the winner, was CART regular Max Papis, who was credited with a 23rd place result.
The CART FedEx Championship Series was well-represented throughout the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500, as regular Champ Car competitor Bruno Junqueira rocketed into the lead from the pole position and led the first 33 laps prior to his first pit stop.
On a day when many former CART and IRL race winners and series champions encountered problems, however, Junqueira's day came to a premature end on Lap 89 after a cloud of smoke billowed from the rear of his car. Junqueira was credited with a 31st place finish.
With no yellow flag being shown, race leader Tony Kanaan-another CART FedEx Championship Series regular-spun in the oil left by Junqueira's car in Turn 3 one lap later and made hard impact with the wall at the exit of the turn. Kanaan escaped injury, but his strong run came to an unfortunate end after leading a total of 23 laps. Kanaan finished 28th.
Likewise, Rahal/Letterman Racing's Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART FedEx Championship Series champion, was poised for a strong run inside the top ten until he encountered gearbox problems on a Lap 88 restart. Vasser came home in the 30th spot.
The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series gets back underway at the legendary Milwaukee Mile next weekend with Round 4 of the 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series - the Miller Lite 250 (CBS, 12:30 p.m. ET), scheduled for Sunday, June 2.