Felipe Giaffone and the ...
Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force finished sixth in today's Yamaha Indy 400 at California Speedway. Giaffone, the 2001 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year, started from the eighth position and dueled in the closing laps with Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran before settling for his final finishing position. Giaffone qualified 10th yesterday but moved up two spots on the starting grid - to eighth - as two cars that qualified ahead of him were moved to the back. The finish moved Giaffone from 10th to seventh in the latest driver points standings with 65.
The car of Robbie Buhl, who turned the fifth-fastest qualifying lap yesterday before suffering a concussion in an accident one lap later, was moved to the back with replacement driver Memo Gidley. Likewise, Jeff Ward, who qualified sixth, crashed in final practice this morning and had to switch to his backup car, necessitating his starting from the back of the grid.
Defending series champion Sam Hornish won for the second time this season, beating runner-up Jaques Lazier across the finish line by a mere 0.0281 of a second, the second-closest finish in IRL history. Rookie Laurent Redon finished third.
The next event on the 2002 Indy Racing League schedule is the Firestone Firehawk 220 at Nazareth, Pa., on April 21.
"It was a long race for everybody, and a great race. I started from the eighth position and finished sixth, and had some good fights during the 200 laps today race - mainly in the final laps, when I was fighting for the fourth position with my Brazilian friends from Team Penske ... Gil (de Ferran) and Helio (Castroneves). My car had some oversteer, which made it difficult to overtake. The biggest problem in the race was some electronic failure that I had every time I tried to accelerate after a pit stop, which cost me some important seconds. Today, we didn't have enough power to fight for the win. But I'm happy, anyway, after moving up from 10th to seventh in the points."