CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Team Motorola race report

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (July 28, 2002)-- Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti had a long day on the 1.781-mile street circuit in downtown Vancouver during the 100-lap Molson Indy.  A first turn incident with Christian Fittipaldi looked...

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (July 28, 2002)-- Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti had a long day on the 1.781-mile street circuit in downtown Vancouver during the 100-lap Molson Indy.  A first turn incident with Christian Fittipaldi looked like it might end the day when contact knocked Andretti off course but a quick bump start by the safety crew and Michael was back in action without losing a lap.  "I think we still would have been okay after our deal with Christian because we kept topping off our fuel and not losing track position," explained Andretti.  "But once Takagi got into us, I knew we had a little more damage."  Michael was referring to a mid-race incident where Takagi tried to make a pass on Michael and couldn't quite get the job done and in the process made contact with Michael sending him into the tire wall.  "There was a lot of action on the track today," said Kim Green.  "People were getting desperate on the pit stops and restarts so despite making 10 pit stops, we decided to keep Michael out on the track and earn some points."  The team's strategy paid off with Michael finally bringing the car home in sixth place and collecting eight championship points in the process.

It was an exciting day for Team Motorola none-the-less with Michael's technical partners, Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy, taking the top two spots on the podium today with Dario finishing first and Paul finishing second.  Tony Kanaan rounded out the podium with his third place finish.  Cristiano daMatta retired early in the race but maintained his lead in the championship with 122 points while Dario is now in second place with 85 points and Bruno Junqueira is in third with 74.  Paul Tracy is now in sixth place in the championship with 68 points.  Today's sixth place finish and 8 championship points moved Michael into seventh place in the championship with 60 total points.

Team Motorola will now return to their shop in Indianapolis and begin preparations for the CART Grand Prix of Mid- Ohio to be held on August 11.

Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"It was a long day today!  I felt like a pinball out there for a while.  I guess Christian came in a little hot on the first turn and bumped me off but I think we still would have been okay even after that because we kept topping off our fuel and not losing any track position so I thought we were looking pretty good.  But then Takagi tried to get a run on me and couldn't quite pull it off and I got into the tires and that one did some damage.  I thought we were done but they got me going and we made about a million pit stops (10 total) and the Team Motorola guys kept putting band aids on the car and we finally brought it home sixth.  The way everything was going today I thought we would end up 18th but hey, we'll take our sixth place and the championship points too."

Start: 5th
Finish: 6TH
Status: Running
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 94 of 100
Points Earned: 8 for 60 total, 7th in Championship

Today was Michael's 300th start of his career.
In 2001, Michael started 11th and finished 3rd in this race.
Michael has won in Vancouver on three occasions, 1991, '92 and 1996.
Michael leads all active Champ Car drivers with 300 race starts, 42 wins, 32 poles and 6,564 laps led.

Kim Green -- General Manager

"At the start we got hit by Christian (Fittipaldi) going into Turn 1, which was unfortunate, and put us at the back.  Later in the race, Takagi tried to take us out as well and we got a lot of damage to the race car.  We changed the rear wing and changed tires a bunch of times and made a whole bunch of pit stops today.  There was a lot of action on the track today.  On the restarts and after the pit stops people were getting pretty desperate and there were a lot of incidents and we're still in the championship hunt so we hung there today to gain some points.  At one point when we were back in 13th position I thought 'hold on, this is going to be a long day'.  But the Team Motorola guys and Michael stayed with it and we earned some points."

-tgr-

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Series INDYCAR