Alex Zanardi and the ...
Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard scored their best finish and first championship points of the young season today in the form of a seventh-place finish in today's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi. Zanardi started eighth and worked his way into the top five several times during today's 201-lap event. He recorded the fastest lap of the race (26.715 seconds, 208.602 mph) and appeared headed for a podium finish alongside teammate Tony Kanaan when he had to pit for a late splash of fuel 15 laps from the finish.
Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard started fourth and brought the second-year team its first podium finish. He crossed the finish line third behind first-time CART winner Kenny Brack and runner-up Helio Castroneves. Kanaan led 40 laps on the day and moved into seventh place in the season driver points standings.
The next stop on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series tour is June 1-3 at the Milwaukee Mile for the Miller Lite 200.
"On one hand, I'm happy that we had a very good car that could have won the race, which makes it very frustrating that we had fuel meter problems that almost let us run out of fuel and cost us time in the pits late in the race. If we wouldn't have had that problem, I think we would have finished in the top three for sure. So, yes, we are a little frustrated. On the other hand, we are very happy to leave here with championship points. It was a very strong weekend, overall, for the Pioneer-WorldCom team. We just have to figure out our problem, and come back and have a smoother race next time. We definitely gained a lot of confidence this weekend that will benefit us as we head to Milwaukee. My biggest disappointment is that I didn't win the plasma (flat-screen) television from our sponsor, which they said they would give me if I won the race!"