VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 2, 2001) - Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing became the 10th different winner in 14 completed FedEx Championship Series events this season when he captured Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver before a crowd of...
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 2, 2001) - Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing became the 10th different winner in 14 completed FedEx Championship Series events this season when he captured Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver before a crowd of 65,385 at Concord Pacific Place.
With time running out on the scheduled two-hour, 10-minute event, Moreno (Visteon Toyota Reynard) passed defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran on the 90th of 98 laps and went on to a 4.687-second victory, the second of his FedEx Championship Series career. In so doing, he became the 10th different winner of the 2001 season, one shy of the FedEx Championship Series record of 11 different winners established last season.
De Ferran's (Marlboro Honda Reynard) runner-up result allowed him to take the FedEx Championship Series championship lead for the first time since last year's title-winning campaign. The 16 points de Ferran collected for his second-place performance moved him past Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves and Kenny Brack of Team Rahal, both of whom were in front of third-place de Ferran entering the event.
Brack earned five points for an eighth-place finish Sunday, while Castroneves finished 18th and scoreless. As a result, de Ferran enters the Sept. 15 German 500 at Eurospeedway with 115 points, followed by Brack and Castroneves with 110 each.
Moreno, who qualified seventh, kept his nose clean during a battle of attrition and was rewarded with his first victory since last year at Cleveland. The 20 points he collected for the victory moved him from 10th to eighth in the championship, with 74 points.
Moreno maintained a top-five position through most of the afternoon and was in a position to take advantage when pole-sitter Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing, who had led the first 68 laps in pursuit of his first career Champ Car victory, exited on Lap 69 due to a mechanical failure.
Moreno led Lap 69, then pitted on Lap 70, emerging in seventh place. He was fourth by Lap 73, then second on Lap 74, where he ran until taking the lead from de Ferran on Lap 90. He averaged 80.543 miles per hour en route to the victory.
Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) of Team Motorola finished third and improved his championship position as well. With 103 points, he trails Castroneves and Brack by two as the series prepares for its first-ever visit to Europe in two weeks.
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing finished fourth, his best result since third at Japan. Oriol Servia (Sigma Autsport Ford Lola) of Sigma Autosport finished a season-best fifth, his best result since taking fifth at Gateway International Raceway last year.
Sunday's crowd of 65,385 pushed the Molson Indy Vancouver's three-day attendance mark to 160,545.
The Molson Indy Vancouver was Round 15 of 21 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series. The series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday, Nov. 4 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership between Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the richest paydays in all of motorsports. Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing is the defending event champion. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series championship.
ROBERTO MORENO, Visteon Toyota Reynard: "This morning when we went out for warmup, we knew straightaway that we had a good car. We found something this morning that was important, and that was that the car was better on new tires, so we went out and did just one lap on the new tires to get the shine off. And then the weather cooperated, too. I told my engineer not to do too much to the car because it was good. We had a bit of an electrical problem and we couldn't finish qualifying, but it was quite fast. I'm just full of joy. My team has been growing every race. Gil was real strong, but I knew I could run with any of those guys. I was just trying to be patient and get to the end. On the restart, I chose the wrong side with Mauricio [Gugelmin], and I almost hit him in the back, and Gil was able to get by. But I knew that my car was real strong and once the tires came up to temperature I knew I would be able to challenge him, and I managed to get by him. Then, I almost did it again. With about five laps to go, I started crying in the car, and I started thinking about Greg [Moore]. I would like to dedicate this race for Greg. We all wish he was still here, and we think about him all the time when we're up here, so I'd like to dedicate this race for him."
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "I had a good day today. At the start of the race, I had lots of problems, and the engine shut off a couple of times. I passed him [Moreno] on the restart and then passed Mauricio, and I thought 'Hey, this is looking really good.' But I knew Moreno was really strong and I knew I had to pull away when the tires were cold. But he was really strong, and then I clipped the wall with the rear tires in Turn 6 and he went by in a flash. It would have been nice to win today, but Moreno was really strong. To come out of here with the championship lead is nice, but there are six races to go. There's a lot of hard work ahead."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Motorola Honda Reynard: "It was just a day of trying to stay out of trouble. There were a lot of people out there looking for a job for next year, so I knew there was going to be a lot of aggression out there. It was just a game of patience. Team Motorola did a great job in the pits, we gained a spot on each stop. We just kept the nose clean and I don't think there's a mark on the car. We're quietly trying to get ourselves back into this thing. We had a slide there for three races, but in the last two races we were quietly sneaking back into the championship battle. This team is capable of doing it. There's a lot of talented people on this team, and they're not going to give up. Neither am I."
* Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota Reynard) became the 10th different FedEx Championship Series winner in 14 completed events during the 2001 season. The others to date have been Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota Reynard) at Mexico; Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) at Long Beach, Detroit and Mid-Ohio; Scott Dixon (Nextel Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota) at Nazareth; Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) at Japan, Milwaukee and Chicago; Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Lola) at Portland; Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) at Cleveland; Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) at Toronto; Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) at Michigan and Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) at Road America. The FedEx Championship Series record for different winners in a season is 11, established last year.
* Roberto Moreno recorded his third podium finish of the season and his first since a runner-up effort at Portland in Round 8. His other podium result was third at Detroit. Moreno has scored championship points in 11 of 14 completed events this season, including eight of his last nine, dating to Round 7 at Detroit.
* Roberto Moreno became the sixth different race winner in the last six years of the Molson Indy Vancouver. His predecessors include Michael Andretti (1996), Mauricio Gugelmin (1997), Dario Franchitti (1998), Juan Montoya (1999) and Paul Tracy (2000).
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) became the third different FedEx Championship Series points leader in as many events following his runner-up effort. Kenny Brack had held the lead from Round 5 at Japan through Round 13 at Mid-Ohio before de Ferran's teammate, Helio Castroneves, assumed the lead for the first time in his four-year career following Round 14 at Road America. While de Ferran continues to search for his first victory of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season, he has finished fifth or better in each of his last four starts, including third at Chicago, second at Mid-Ohio and fifth at Road America.
* Michael Andretti's third-place finish was his fourth podium performance of the season and his second in a row, following fourth at Road America. He also earned a victory at Toronto and finished second at Milwaukee. Andretti also recorded his sixth podium finish in 11 career starts at Vancouver, including victories in 1991, '92 and '96; second in '98 and third in '94.
* Pole-sitter Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing collected the championship point for leading the most race laps (68). Tagliani had previously led only one lap this season, at Milwaukee in June.
* Roberto Moreno's victory allowed Toyota to break Honda's three-race winning streak at Vancouver, as well as its four-race winning streak on temporary street circuits. Honda's three-race run at Vancouver consisted of victories by Dario Franchitti (1998), Juan Montoya (1999) and Paul Tracy (2000). Its four street-course victories this season had come from Helio Castroneves at Long Beach and Detroit; Franchitti at Cleveland and Michael Andretti at Toronto. Honda continues to hold a 245-214 lead over Toyota in the race for the CART Manufacturer's Championship.
* When Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Toyota) of PacWest Racing led Laps 74-79 it marked the first time he had led a FedEx Championship Series event since leading eight laps of the 2000 season finale at California Speedway.
* Oriol Servia (Sigma Autosport Ford Lola) of Sigma Autosport finished a season-best fifth, exceeding his previous season-best result of ninth, at Nazareth, Portland and Mid-Ohio. The effort moved him from 22nd to 20th in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 27 points.
* CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel announced after the race that Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green and rookie Tora Takagi (Pioneer/DENSO Special Toyota Reynard) of Walker Racing had been removed from probation. Both had been disciplined for infractions that took place at the July 15 Molson Indy in Toronto. Takagi's probation lasted for five events, while Tracy was on probation for three road- or street-course events.
After a weekend off, the FedEx Championship Series resumes with its first-ever trip to Europe for back-to-back events, the Sept. 15 German 500 at Eurospeedway in Lausitz, Germany and the Sept. 22 Rockingham 500 at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England.