Australia Unkind To Team Kool Green SURFERS PARADISE, Australia - Following their best team qualifying effort of the season, Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti couldn't convert the good starting spots into tangible race ...
Australia Unkind To Team Kool Green
SURFERS PARADISE, Australia - Following their best team qualifying effort of the season, Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti couldn't convert the good starting spots into tangible race results, as both had their races end with mechanical problems and no points.
Franchitti was the first to encounter trouble when he had a fuel pressure problem requiring him to make his first pit stop on lap 21, three laps earlier than he'd planned. Then, in his bid to make up the lost ground, Franchitti clipped the Turn Four barrier and spun, coming to rest with the car pointed into the wall. He was unable to get reverse gear and the car overheated as he waited for the CART Safety Team to get him restarted. But the damage was already done and his engine quit on lap 36.
Tracy started fourth, ran in the top five all day and was running fourth as he began the 65th and final lap. But with the checkered flag in sight, Tracy's engine suddenly let go and he came to a stop on the front straight.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD:
(Started 4th / Finished 14th / 13th in championship standings with 73 points)
"Days don't get much more frustrating than this one. Team KOOL Green gave me a great car and great pit stops and I think I drove a hell of a race. We were looking at scoring some good points, but the racing gods had other ideas, I guess. There was no warning and the engine let go with the finish line in sight."
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER: "It's too bad. Paul drove a heck of a race. I think he even smelled victory after the second stop when he saw Moreno having his problems and his car was really working well for him and we gave him some quick pit stops. There was no warning at all when his engine quit. It's a shame. He ran it hard today and just didn't quite make it."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD:
(Started 5th / Finished 23rd / 6th in championship standings with 105 points)
"The start was rather uneventful, as uneventful as it can be when you're running side-by-side down that little gap there. Michael (Andretti) and I were running side-by-side and I had the inside line. He could have made life very difficult but he gave me the room I needed. That's what I like about racing him. If he's got a move on you, he's going to push it. But if he knows you have it, he gives you the room. That helped everybody get through the first corner. Then I was just cruising around behind Paul (Tracy) and saving fuel. The KOOL car was quite good and I was happy with the way things were going. I knew the leaders were getting away from me, but I couldn't get around Paul and, honestly, I couldn't go much quicker. That was fine but then I started getting a fuel pressure problem down the backstretch that was causing the engine to almost cut out. We elected to pit early - way early because we were making good fuel mileage. That was very frustrating. I went back out and was trying to make things happen because I knew I had some ground to make up on the other guys and I had to charge a bit harder and take a few more risks. I clipped the wall on the inside of Turn Four and it spun me around. The car was nose into the barrier, I couldn't get reverse and the safety team took a while to get the car around. Then it wouldn't fire because it was so warm. As a result of sitting there for two minutes, the temperatures were massive. And unfortunately that damaged the engine and that's what put us out."
- TKG -