PORTLAND, Ore. - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti survived a wet and caution-filled race to finish sixth in today's rain-shortened Freightliner / G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. Franchitti, who ran as high as third, managed...
PORTLAND, Ore. - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti survived a wet and caution-filled race to finish sixth in today's rain-shortened Freightliner / G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.
Franchitti, who ran as high as third, managed to avoid most of the trouble that befell other drivers, as there were nine full-course caution periods for drivers sliding off the slick racetrack. His one mistake occurred on lap 38 when the spray from cars he was following caused him to lose sight of his braking point for the Festival Curves and he spun, hitting Bryan Herta's car in the back. Both were able to continue, though the incident dropped Franchitti from sixth to tenth. He was able make up five positions by the time the race was stopped on lap 76 at the two-hour time limit.
Tracy's day began with several bold passes on the first lap that moved him from his 13th-place starting position all the way up to 6th. He kept moving forward, passing drivers on the numerous restarts and was up to second place when he pitted on lap 34. Exiting the pits, Tracy made contact with Bruno Junqueira, bending his left front suspension. The Team KOOL Green crew made a quick repair and Tracy rejoined the race in 19th place, one lap down. On lap 44, Tracy spun on the slick track and was hit by Mauricio Gugelmin, ending his day.
Max Papis, who started from the pole, won the race by 1.472 seconds over Roberto Moreno.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD:
(Started 13th / Finished 21st / Ninth in championship with 40 points)
"We had a great start and were up to sixth after the first lap. It was one of the most exciting laps I've ever driven. Then it was caution, caution, caution. I was able to pick up spots on most of the restarts and the race was going according to plan for Team KOOL Green with Dario and me running together. Then I had the incident on pit lane. I got waved out of the box - I can't see what's behind me - and I hit Junqueira and that smashed my front left suspension. When I went back out after the repair, I was trying to move up and make something of the race when I spun. Gugelmin clipped me and that ended my day."
JOHN ANDERSON, RACE STRATEGY FOR PAUL TRACY: "Paul did an awesome job to get up to second place after starting 13th. Unfortunately, he had to swing around a wheel on pit road and just got a bit too far out in the pit lane. We had some damage to the toe-link and brought him back in and repaired it. He went back out with the bit between his teeth. That's one thing about Paul Tracy: he never gives up."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD:
(Started 5th / Finished 6th / 6th in championship with 45 points)
"It was a long day out there for Team KOOL Green. I made the one mistake when I spun and ran into the back of Herta. I couldn't see a thing down there from the spray. I pulled out of the spray and I realized I was a hundred meters too late for my braking point. The car wasn't exactly to my liking, but it was really slick out there and everyone was slipping and sliding. It was one of those days when you just hung on for points. You just can't imagine how difficult it was today. There was so little grip you really couldn't get into any kind of rhythm. And not only did I have the spray to contend with, but I had a problem with my visor steaming up. I couldn't see a thing."