Houston (October 1, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy started ninth but drove a savvy race to come home fourth in today's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston and move into second place in the CART FedEx Championship. His TKG teammate Dario...
Houston (October 1, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy started ninth but drove a savvy race to come home fourth in today's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston and move into second place in the CART FedEx Championship. His TKG teammate Dario Franchitti wasn't as fortunate, as his day ended early after a first lap incident.
Tracy's fourth-place finish moves him from fourth to second in the standings, just 19 points behind Gil de Ferran with two races to go. The next race is in two weeks on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia, where Tracy hopes to continue his recent success on temporary circuits. He has won twice on the streets already this year -- at Long Beach and Vancouver.
Franchitti's day ended before it really began. After starting second, he was passed by Jimmy Vasser who had qualified third. Franchitti then was caught on the outside of the line of cars coming through behind Vasser. In the narrow confines of the Houston street circuit, Franchitti brushed the wall, bending his suspension, which broke under braking five turns later.
Jimmy Vasser won today's race, his first since the 1998 season-ending race in Fontana, Calif., by 1.914 seconds over teammate Juan Montoya. Points leader Gil de Ferran came home third.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA-REYNARD: (Started 9th / Finished 4th / Second in standings with 134 points)
"We had a good car, not a great car. To do it on one stop you've got to get the fuel mileage and we were able to do that with the Honda engine. When I came out after my pit stop, Helio (Castroneves) was right there. I don't know if we touched, but I wasn't going to give it up. On that last yellow when Gil (de Ferran) pitted I went lean right away and I didn't think about the fact that he might pit. We didn't realize that he was in the pits and I kind of loafed around for half a lap and then the Team KOOL Green engineers told me to go for it, but Gil beat me out of the pits by a hair. We're still in the hunt, and second's better than fourth (in the standings). There are still two races to go and I'm looking forward to it."
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER: "It was a great drive on Paul's part. I'm just sick I let him down in the pits. We were in the save-fuel mode and that was the first reaction I had was 'get off the gas and save as much as you can.' It turned out to be the wrong call and I realized what I'd done, but it was several seconds later and we just missed it. If we hadn't slowed him up we would have jumped in front of (Gil) de Ferran and I'm sure we could have held him off. What can I say? A little slip in the strategy today, but a great effort from Paul, great pit stops, just a great team effort. We're still in it."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA-REYNARD: (Started 2nd / Finished 25th / 11th in standings with 92 points))
"I guess Jimmy (Vasser) got a pretty good start. He got up inside of me and once one person gets up inside there it's like a freight train coming through and I couldn't get the KOOL car back down on the line. I was on the outside of what was the second corner after the start (turn six) and just caught the wall with the rear tire coming off the turn trying to make up some ground. The back hit then it came around and the front hit. Then I came down here into turn one and something broke and off it went."