Good Morning from beautiful Vancouver, B.C., for Race Day! Though Sunday morning's temperatures are marginally warmer than Saturday's, the thick cloud cover that has greeted the competitors each morning is here again. But the forecast calls...
Good Morning from beautiful Vancouver, B.C., for Race Day! Though Sunday morning's temperatures are marginally warmer than Saturday's, the thick cloud cover that has greeted the competitors each morning is here again. But the forecast calls for clearing skies and by the Green Flag for the Molson Indy Vancouver, sunshine should prevail. Sunday's CART on-track action starts with the traditional 30-minute morning warm-up taking the Green at 9 a.m., followed by the start of the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver at 1 p.m.
#10 MEMO GIDLEY will have to serve an eight-minute delay-of-session penalty at the end of this morning's warm-up for causing a delay in the Sunday morning warm-up at the last venue, Road America.
GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 58 degrees F. (14 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 63 degrees F. (17 degrees C.) at the start of the session. Though the ambient temperature is slightly up, the track temperature is the coolest measurement of the weekend.
At 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 100.272 mph (1:03.942), followed by #11X FITTIPALDI (96.306 mph; 1:06.575) and #7 PAPIS (94.252 mph; 1:08.026).
At 9:11 a.m., #32 CARPENTIER slides into the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.
RED FLAG waves at 9:12 a.m. after #5 NAKANO spins at Turn 11 and makes hard contact against the wall with the nose of the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains damage to the front wings and nose. CART safety drivers pull the car off track to await the end of the session, while NAKANO's crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.
GREEN FLAG waves at 9:18 a.m. to resume the session.
At 9:19 a.m., #3 CASTRONEVES slides into the run-off at Turn 6 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car restarted and CASTRONEVES continues on course without apparent damage to the car.
At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #26 TRACY with a lap of 101.123 mph (1:03.404), followed by #1 MONTOYA (101.027 mph; 1:03.464) and #3 CASTRONEVES (100.707 mph; 1:03.666).
At 9:23 a.m., CART course observers report nose-to-tail contact between #10 GIDLEY (nose) and #8 BRACK (tail) at Turn 10. Both cars continue on course without apparent damage.
At 9:25 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI again goes to the top of the speed board with a lap of 102.933 mph (1:02.289) on his ninth circuit.
At 9:27 a.m., #97 DA MATTA logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 103.441 mph (1:01.983) on his 14th circuit.
At 9:29 a.m., #5X NAKANO slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.
CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with #97 DA MATTA remaining the fastest driver with his earlier lap of 103.441 mph ( 166.437 kph; 1:01.983), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (102.933 mph; 165.619 kph; 1:02.289) and #3 CASTRONEVES (102.819 mph; 165.436 kph; 1:02.358). At the end of the session, the top 10 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times, with the top 16 drivers separated by less than two seconds. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 cars to the track in this morning's session, with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI, #20X MORENO, #32X CARPENTIER, and #5X NAKANO. CART drivers logged 366 laps during the session.
At 12:58 p.m. the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by Honorary Starter, Wayne Gretzky.
At 1 p.m., the CART Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 25 cars in tow for the first of four Parade/Pace laps.
On the third Parade/Pace lap, #5 pits but rejoins the field before the start of the race.
Starter Jim Swintal waves off the start at 1:09 p.m. with a Yellow Flag after #26 TRACY beats Pole-sitter #27 FRANCHITTI to the Start/Finish line.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 1 with #27 FRANCHITTI leading #26 TRACY.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 5 after #32 CARPENTIER and #33 TAGLIANI make side-to-side contact at Turn 10. CARPENTIER slides off course into the tire barrier while TAGLIANI continues on course. #18 BLUNDELL slides into the rear of CARPENTIER's stalled car. Both CARPENTIER and BLUNDELL retire from the race due to contact.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 10 to resume the race with #27 FRANCHITTI leading #26 TRACY.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 12 after #16 JOURDAIN JR. and #55 KANAAN make nose-to-tail contact at turn 1. JOURDAIN JR. slides to a stop, but the car has sustained suspension damage and the driver retires from the race due to contact.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 14 to resume the race.
On Lap 15, #33 TAGLIANI makes contact with the rear of the car of #34 MARQUES, who then makes contact with the rear of #17 GUGELMIN's car at Turn 6. Both MARQUES and GUGELMIN then slide into the run-off at Turn 6 and both drivers subsequently retire from the race due to contact.
On Lap 16, #33 TAGLIANI slides into the tire barrier at Turn 1 and makes contact with the nose of the car against the barrier.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 17 to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the stalled car of #33 TAGLIANI at Turn 1. CART safety workers pull the car from the tire barrier, restart the car and TAGLIANI continues on course.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 19 to resume the race.
On Lap 20, the running order is #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 1.244 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #2 DE FERRAN (6.910 seconds further back), #3 CASTRONEVES, and #1 MONTOYA.
On Lap 25, #12 VASSER brushes the wall at Turn 11 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.
On Lap 30, the running order is #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 5.656 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #2 DE FERRAN (11.691 second further back), #3 CASTRONEVES, and #1 MONTOYA.
From Lap 30 to Lap 33, a furious battle for fourth erupts between fourth-place #3 CASTRONEVES and fifth-place #1 MONTOYA with MONTOYA trying hard to pass on the outside at Turn 6 each lap. CASTRONEVES holds off the challenge and hold his position.
On Lap 35, the running order is #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 6.988 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #2 DE FERRAN (17.864 seconds further back), #3 CASTRONEVES, and #1 MONTOYA.
On Lap 37, #27 FRANCHITTI makes nose-to-tail contact with the lapped car of #19 BARRON at Turn 10, but both cars continue without apparent damage to either car. FRANCHITTI subsequently completes the pass of BARRON.
On Lap 40, #27 FRANCHITTI pits but still leads #26 TRACY by 1.345 seconds as he crosses the Start/Finish line while traveling down Pit Road. #7 PAPIS and #3 CASTRONEVES also Pit on this lap.
On Lap 41, #26 TRACY pits while leading by 8.231 seconds, and #2 DE FERRAN takes over the lead.
On Lap 42, #2 DE FERRAN pits and hands the lead back to #27 FRANCHITTI. As DE FERRAN returns to the track, the driver gets four wheels over the Yellow Line at Pit Out, a violation of Pit Exit blend-line rules.
BLACK FLAG is shown to #2 DE FERRAN for the Blend Line violation and DE FERRAN subsequently pits his car on Lap 46 to comply with the drive-thru penalty.
On Lap 45, #3 CASTRONEVES breaks a right front wheel at speed entering Turn 6. The car veers wildly before making hard contact into the tire barrier in the run-off. The driver exits the car under his own power and is uninjured in the incident, but the car is retired from the race due to contact.
On Lap 50, the running order is #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 4.763 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (10.943 seconds further back), #1 MONTOYA, and #97 DA MATTA.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 52 after #5 NAKANO makes hard contact against the outside wall exiting Turn 7. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car is retired from the race due to contact.
On Lap 52, #27 FRANCHITTI and #26 TRACY both pit. FRANCHITTI stalls leaving his Pit box and TRACY takes the lead out of the pits.
On Lap 57, #33 TAGLIANI slides off course at Turn 4 and stalls the car. CART safety workers pull the car from tire barrier and TAGLIANI continues on course. TAGLIANI's car has evidently sustained damage to the front suspension as the driver is having trouble steering the car. TAGLAINI again makes contact, sliding into the tire barrier at Turn 6. CART safety workers again retrieve the stalled car of TAGLIANI, and the driver continues for a lap before finally pitting the car and retiring from the race.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 59 with #26 TRACY leading #27 FRANCHITTI. A battle for eighth place breaks out between #2 DE FERRAN and #6 ANDRETTI heading into Turn 6, with ANDRETTI losing traction and nearly contacting the wall at Turn 6. ANDRETTI falls all the way to 12th before he can regain control.
On Lap 60, the running order is #26 TRACY leading by .914 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #1 MONTOYA (2.670 seconds further back), #97 DA MATTA, and #40 FERNANDEZ.
On Lap 65, the running order is #26 TRACY leading by 1.631 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #1 MONTOYA (2.904 seconds further back), #97 DA MATTA, and #40 FERNANDEZ.
On Lap 67, #19 BARRON holds up both #26 TRACY and #27 FRANCHITTI for more than three-quarters of a lap before both cars can get around BARRON. As a result, third-place #1 MONTOYA closes the gap to 1.492 seconds behind leader TRACY.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 69 after #1 MONTOYA runs out of fuel and stalls at the exit of Turn 10. CART safety workers retrieve the car by rolling it back to the opening at Turn 9. MONTOYA retires from the race.
On Lap 70 and under the Yellow Flag the running order is #26 TRACY leading, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #97 DA MATTA, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #11 FITTIPALDI. DA MATTA and 10th-place #6 ANDRETTI will have to pit for fuel as both drivers' fuel windows are approximately three laps shy of completing the race.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 71 to resume the race.
On Lap 72, #8 BRACK and #12 VASSER make side-to-side contact at Turn 6, but both cars continue on course without apparent damage.
On Lap 80, the running order is #26 TRACY leading #27 FRANCHITTI by .638 seconds, followed by #97 DA MATTA (11.996 seconds further back), #40 FERNANDEZ, and #11 FITTIPALDI.
On Lap 85, the running order is #26 TRACY leading #27 FRANCHITTI by .584 seconds, followed by #97 DA MATTA (6.887 seconds further back), #40 FERNANDEZ, and #11 FITTIPALDI.
On Lap 86, #97 DA MATTA pits for fuel and falls from third to seventh position before the driver can return to the race. #40 FERNANDEZ moves into third.
On Lap 87, #26 TRACY leads by .605 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (15.187 seconds further back), #11 FITTIPALDI, and #2 DE FERRAN.
On Lap 88, #26 TRACY leads by .434 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #40 FERNANDEZ (17.216 seconds further back), #11 FITTIPALDI, and #2 DE FERRAN.
WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 89 for leader #26 TRACY, leading by .493 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI. Also on Lap 89, #6 ANDRETTI runs out of fuel at Turn 9 and stalls off course, retiring from the race and falling to 12th position.
CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 90 for the winner of the Molson Indy Vancouver, PAUL TRACY! TRACY wins by .384 seconds over DARIO FRANCHITTI. ADRIAN FERNANDEZ comes home third, CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI fourth, and GIL DE FERRAN fifth. There were three different leaders exchanging the lead three times. FRANCHITTI led the most laps with 50, followed by TRACY with 38 and DE FERRAN with 2. The Yellow flag flew six times with 22 laps run under caution. There were 14 cars running at the end of the race.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI retains the CART Championship Points lead with 126, followed by TRACY with 120, FERNANDEZ with 117, DE FERRAN with 116, and MORENO with 115.
PAUL TRACY logs his series-leading third win of the year in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard. This is also his second victory in a row and the 18th of his CART career. This allows TRACY to gain sole possession of seventh on the CART career win list, breaking a tie with Danny Sullivan. This is the first win by a Canadian driver in the 11-year history of the Molson Indy Vancouver. The previous best finish by a Canadian was a runner-up finish by PATRICK CARPENTIER last year. This is also the first 1-2 sweep by Team KOOL Green since Houston last year. Sunday also represents a series-leading seventh win by Honda, as well as the third victory in a row for the manufacturer.
DARIO FRANCHITTI comes home second Sunday in his Team KOOL green Honda/Reynard, matching his season-best performance. FRANCHITTI also finished second at Japan. This is also FRANCHITTI's third podium of the season, as he was third at Michigan Speedway.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ is third after the dust settles Sunday in Vancouver, logging his career-best finish at Vancouver. FERNANDEZ's previous best finish here was an eighth in 1996. This is also FERNANDEZ's eighth consecutive points-paying finish, dating back to Cleveland. Sunday's victory is the 38th for a graduate of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship in the FedEx Championship Series, and the fourth straight for a series grad this year. CRISTIANO DA MATTA (Chicago) HELIO CASTRONEVES (Mid-Ohio) and PAUL TRACY (Road America & Vancouver) produced the consecutive win streak and have placed series grads in a position to tie next weekend at Laguna Seca the record of five CART Champ Car wins a row set in 1997. That year, TRACY won consecutive races at Nazareth, Rio and Gateway while Greg Moore won the next two races at Milwaukee and Detroit.
Molstar has announced an attendance of 63,677 Champ Car fans attending Sunday's race (up from 60,938 last year. The three-day weekend total was announced as 155,937, up from 152,929 last year. The 11-year total attendance is now 1,776,376 fans here at the Molson Indy Vancouver.
Quotes from the top three finishers in Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver follow:
PAUL TRACY: "It was a fantastic day for everybody on Team KOOL Green. I don't know if I had the outright speed to beat Dario, but I stayed close to him and when he had a problem in the pits I was able to get into the lead. I was happy, but at the same time I was disappointed for Dario because he really was the measure of us today. I'm not emotional sad, but emotional happy. It was a great, festival atmosphere all week here and I'm glad to get a win here. I think Dario and I are going to have quite a celebration tonight. We've got to look at it as a team effort. To win races at this stage, you've got to have everything go right, no mistakes. At the end, I think I could've probably pushed harder if I had to, but I didn't need to do that. I think to win the championship, and to beat people like Michael Andretti, you're going to have to win. You're going to have to take the bull by the horns and get after it. You're not going to be able to just cruise around and collect points. Now that we've gotten back in the championship, we're not going to change the way we're doing things."
DARIO FRANCHITTI: "It really was a strong effort from the team all weekend. We were on the pole on Friday, on the pole on Saturday, and we were second-fastest in the warm-up this morning. Things were looking good until I came into the pits and I stalled it. We have an agreement in the team that whoever is leading, it's his race unless you're getting pressure from behind, and that wasn't the case today. I was playing with Paul a little bit, and I think he was getting a little heated for a little bit, but he knew that I wasn't allowed to pass him. I'm a little disappointed because I really wanted to win this one today, but it's better to have a 1-2 finish for Team KOOL Green than to have another Chicago incident. The atmosphere on the parade lap was unbelievable. People were going crazy, and I'm not even from here. They really went crazy when Paul came around. I think it was an appropriate tribute to Greg [Moore]. It was a party atmosphere, and let's face it, Greg was a party guy. I'm going to take Mr. Tracy out tonight and show him a party."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: "It was just fantastic today. I'm very happy for the guys. We didn't have the car all weekend, we were struggling to get grip at the back of the car. But we did what we always do, just be patient and wait for the car to develop. At the start, Michel Jourdain was very strong, and I just stayed right there. Then, [engineer] John Ward made a key decision. He brought me into the pits at just the right time and it was perfect. I knew Cristiano da Matta was going to have to pit at the end, so we just waited for the opportunity. I'm just happy to finish today and not make any mistakes. That was difficult today, because -- at least for us -- the conditions were very cool and it was hard to get temperature into the tires. It's not just me or John Ward, it's the whole thing. The team is making the right decisions. I think what it will take to win the championship is just to keep scoring. We've just got to keep finishing in the top five. Paul is on a roll right now, but we've just got to stay close and we'll see what happens."
This concludes the Pit Notes for the Molson Indy Vancouver. The FedEx Championship Series next travels to the rolling hills of Monterey and Laguna Seca Raceway for the running of Round 16 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300 on Sept. 10. Keep up with the comings and goings in CART through the official CART Web site, CART.com. Have a safe week and thanks for your interest in the FedEx Championship Series! -CART-