Felipe Giaffone and the ...
Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force finished third in tonight's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. He started 10th, picked up a spot on the very first lap, was eighth when the first of eight caution periods occurred on Lap 8, moved to fifth on the first round of pit stops, and continued his methodical move to the front.
Giaffone, despite the lack of front brakes the entire race, found himself in second place in the closing laps chasing polesitter Gil de Ferran for the lead. But the brake problem forced him to allow defending series champion Sam Hornish, Jr., by with just five laps to go. Hornish then got by de Ferran with just two laps to go to claim his third victory of the season.
Helio Castroneves kept his points lead over de Ferran despite an early-race accident by a 280-277 margin while Hornish, still third place in the points, widened his lead to a 256-237 margin over Giaffone, who remained in the fourth position in the standings.
The next race on the 2002 Indy Racing League schedule is next Sunday's Round 9, the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway. It will be televised live by ABC-TV beginning at 1 p.m EDT.
"If I didn't have the brake problem, I think I had the car that could have won tonight. We had the problem in the warm-up session, but it was still there when we started the race. So I couldn't really use my front brakes the whole race. It's not easy to do that on this racetrack because I have to use the brakes like I do on a road course. There are 22 cars on a track that is so small and so hard to pass on that there was a need to use the brakes a lot. This was the toughest race in my life, I think. I tried to save my brakes as long as I could in case I needed them for the final laps. I had to use them twice at the end when I was trying to get by Gil (de Ferran), and both times my pedal went all the way to the floor, so I decided it was best to just try and finish the race. All things considered, I am very happy with third place, and we are still fourth in the points. Actually, it was a fun race because I constantly had to be changing things on the car and we were able to go to the front from the 10th starting position. But it was really hard."