Alex Zanardi, in the ...
Alex Zanardi, in the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard, finished 13th in today's Motorola 220 to cap a bizarre afternoon that included a 48-minute red-flag period to halt a river of water that was flowing across this legendary track near Turn 12. The race started under caution as a pre-race deluge left standing or rushing water at key places around the circuit, most notably at Turn 12. The race went green for the first time on Lap 4, when Zanardi mounted an initial charge to the front by picking up seven spots for 16th place. He was one of the first drivers to replace his rain tires with slicks on Lap 9. But it was a strategic move that turned out to be a moot point when CART red-flagged the race on Lap 14 and allowed all competitors, including the leaders at the time who were still on rain tires, to go to slicks. Once the race went back to green, Zanardi gradually worked his way to the front of the pack, finding himself in third place on Lap 41 with only four laps to go in what became a timed race. He fell back to 15th with that stop and made up two positions in the closing laps. The race was originally scheduled to go 55 laps, but only 45 could be covered in CART's two-hour time limit for races, which did not include the 48-minute red-flag period.
Teammate Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished one place ahead of Zanardi in 12th after starting 17rd. Rookie Bruno Junqueira won for the first time today, followed across the finish line by runner-up Michael Andretti and Adrian Fernandez, who finished third.
After a weekend off, the series resumes Sept. 2 with the Molson Indy Vancouver, Round 15 of 21 on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship.
"Well, it looked for a moment like we had a good strategy by going to slicks early, but then our advantage went away when everyone was allowed to go to slicks during the red flag period. Those are the rules and we have to live with that. We can't dwell on what might have been. It's easy to be a magician after the race by coming up with all the right answers. Unfortunately, we didn't finish well, but we made the most of a car that did not handle too well. I don't know what else to say."