CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Rio GP Race Report

DARIO FRANCHITTI FINISHES SECOND & PAUL TRACY 15TH RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (May 15, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti started and finished second in today's running of the 108-lap GP Telemar Rio 200. Franchitti finished only 1.736...

DARIO FRANCHITTI FINISHES SECOND & PAUL TRACY 15TH

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (May 15, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti started and finished second in today's running of the 108-lap GP Telemar Rio 200. Franchitti finished only 1.736 seconds behind Juan Montoya, the winner, who claimed his third consecutive victory. Franchitti's teammate, Paul Tracy, had a problem on his first pit stop, but brought the #26 Team KOOL Green car home in 15th place.

Franchitti and Tracy waited out a one-hour rain delay before the race began. Once the green flag fell, however, both Team KOOL Green cars were running strong. Tracy moved up from 12th to ninth position on the opening lap, while Franchitti dropped to third. The first round of pit stops came on lap 31, following the first of four cautions in the race.

Franchitti's crew helped him pick up a position with a quick stop, but Tracy's race began to unravel when he started to leave the pit before taking on all of his fuel. His mistake required another visit to pitlane for fuel and then he came back to the pits a third time on lap 38 for a drive-through penalty for attempting to leave the pits before the fuel hose was disconnected. When he returned to racing, Tracy was in 16th place. He was now out of sequence with the leaders on pit stops, moving to as high as second when Montoya, Franchitti and Christian Fittipaldi made their second stops. He never really recovered, finishing 15th.

Montoya was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 73, allowing Fittipaldi to lead a single lap before he too pitted. Franchitti inherited the lead for three laps before making his second stop on lap 77. Franchitti's stop was as strong as his first, permitting him to gain a position on Montoya. Montoya, however, was able to pass Franchitti who was on cold tires and to lead the remainder of the race.

Franchitti is currently second overall in the PPG Cup standings with 51 points, trailing Montoya's 66 points by 15. Fittipaldi, who finished third today, is also third overall with 49 points. Greg Moore is fourth with 45 points, while Adrian Fernandez is fifth with 43. Tracy is 12th overall with 16 points.

Today's race will be broadcast via tape-delay on ABC-TV this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (Started 2nd / Finished 2nd ; Currently 2nd in the PPG Cup standings with 51 points) "It's another podium finish for Team KOOL Green. From the start we had a little problem because Juan passed both of us (he and Christian Fittipaldi). I was trying to pass Christian around the outside and Juan got up behind Christian and got a tow off of him to get both of us. After the first stop I got back by Juan, but his tires were warmer and he got around me. I'm a little disappointed we still didn't get that first win of the year. The Team KOOL Green guys gave me a great car - the fastest car out there at times. But track position was the most important thing today.

"The Brazilian drivers did a great job today and the crowd was fantastic. They really supported their drivers. Christian was pushing me and I could see Tony back there charging. It's great for the event that Christian ended up on the podium, but I'd have been happier to be on the top step of the podium."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (Started 12th / Finished 15th ; Currently 12th in the PPG Cup standings with 16 points) "First thing I've got to say is what a great job the Team KOOL Green guys did all weekend. They had a tough couple of days here in Brazil, starting with having to get the spare car ready in just one hour for qualifying. They gave me a great car today, but I kind of let them down. We had one of the fastest cars out there for a while. But track position is everything and after that first stop, we were playing catch-up the rest of the race. On the first stop, I put the car in gear and started revving it, then the car started creeping away on me. It was my mistake. I think my foot slipped off the clutch. I'm just glad nobody got hurt. We'll bounce back at the next race in St. Louis."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Greg Moore