Cicero, IL. July 30, 2000 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano did some good driving today and had some great work in the pits by his crew on the ...
Cicero, IL. July 30, 2000 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Shinji Nakano did some good driving today and had some great work in the pits by his crew on the #5 avex/Honda/Reynard/Firestone car -until his gearbox broke on Lap 168. Shinji is competing in only his fifth oval track race ever, and had taken advantage of a well-handling car and some good pit strategy at Chicago Motor Speedway to move up to 8th place before the mechanical failure near the end of the race. He finished in 13th position.
"The car suddenly lost fifth and sixth gear and there was nothing we could do about it," said Shinji. "The car was not bad at all on the track and in traffic and we were able to run with the leaders. We would have had a good result if we could have finished the race."
The former Formula one driver started the race in 22nd place, and took advantage of some early yellows on the racetrack and some great work in the pits by the Walker Racing crew to move up to 11th position by Lap 38.
The crew did their usual stellar job for Shinji in the pits, consistently getting him back out on the track in better position than when he came in.
On Lap 155, due to good pit strategy and communications Shinji was able to move up to eighth place on the racetrack. The race leaders had to pit under the green flag while Shinji was able to stay out on the track. Things were looking good for the Walker Race team until the unfortunate mechanical failure just a few short laps later.
"A disappointing end to a promising day," said team manager Rob Edwards. "The guys did great pit stops today and that helped us move up through the field from our starting position. Shinji was able to run as quickly as the leaders when he was on his own and was learning how to work with traffic on a one-mile oval. If we had not had the problem with the gearbox, we were headed for a top-ten finish for sure and our best finish of the year since the race at Homestead."