Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, Laguna Seca Raceway SATURDAY AFTERNOON RACE: 3:40 p.m. Race starts under sunny and warm conditions...on opening lap, ...
Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, Laguna Seca Raceway
SATURDAY AFTERNOON RACE:
3:40 p.m. Race starts under sunny and warm conditions...on opening lap, #16 Sielsky runs off course, but rejoins field...#19 Gidley and #35 Pook make contact...#35 Pook runs off course at turn 11...rejoins field.
3:50 p.m. #65 Rice off course in turn 6, falling back from fourth place to seventh.
3:54 p.m. On lap 10, #41 Rondet passes #31 Mastronardi for fourth place...#41 Rondet slides off course at turn 6 into gravel...FULL COURSE YELLOW...under full course yellow, the top five drivers are #33 Bentham, #50 Wilden, #25 Lazzaro, #31 Mastronardi and #66 Tagliani...#11 Clayton spins and continues on course.
3:59 p.m. #12 Brooks off course in pit exit and rolled backwards into safe position.
4:07 p.m. GREEN FLAG on lap 18, #25 Lazzaro passes #50 Wilden for second place...#19 Gidley slows on track and pits with left rear toe link problems...#19 Gidley retires from race with suspension damage...#16 Sielsky spins at turn 5 and returns to field in last place.
4:14 p.m. On lap 21, #25 Lazzaro passes #33 Bentham at the top of the corkscrew turn for the lead...#35 Pook reports flat left rear tire...with 23 laps completed, the top five drivers are #25 Lazzaro, #33 Bentham, #50 Wilden, #31 Mastronardi and #66 Tagliani...#35 Pook pits and retires from race.
4:21 p.m. On lap 26, #65 Rice passes #31 Mastronardi for fifth place.
4:24 p.m. CHECKERED FLAG ends race as #25 Anthony Lazzaro takes his second victory of the season and his fifth top-five finish. #33 Lee Bentham finishes second and clinches the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship title with a total of 149 points. #50 Kenny Wilden rounds out the top three race finishers, his fourth top-five finish.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: .536 second WINNER'S AVERAGE SPEED: 85.073 mph TIME OF RACE: 44:11.726
With today's victory, #25 Anthony Lazzaro collects a total winner's purse of $20,000 from the guaranteed purse of $85,000.
By posting the fastest race lap of 1:20.097 , #66 Alex Tagliani earns $1,000 and the "MCI Fast Pace" award.
#25 Anthony Lazzaro also wins the "KOOL Move Of The Race" title, along with a $1,000 bonus. Additionally, he takes home another $1,000 and the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award.
#65 Buddy Rice captures the KOOL "Rookie Challenge Winner" award and takes home $1,000 as the highest-finishing rookie of the pack.
Driver Quotes Following Saturday Afternoon Race:
#33 Lee Bentham "I knew Anthony was quick in the corkscrew. You want to be smart when you're in this position. I would've looked pretty dumb not finishing this race. Race craft is almost always the key to a championship. Being champion hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm proud and happy for my team and especially for my sponsor Player's. This is fantastic! With this championship, I can assure you that I'm going for bigger and better things." (Francois Cartier)
#25 Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI Racing/Swift 008.a) "What a race! It's good to come from fourth and win and to pass everybody to get to that point. It was very satisfying from that aspect, but more importantly, for my team. Last week was a tough week for us and my team built us a brand new car. They delivered it Friday morning and it was very fast. It ran with no problems. We went a little backwards in qualifying, but we went back to Friday morning's set-up and it was a great race car. I just can't thank MCI enough and my team. I've got a great team. I love my guys."
#50 Kenny Wilden (Mike Shank Racing - TrizecHahn/Newcourt/Swift 008.a) "It was a pretty good race up until the yellow flag. We picked up a big push in the car and I didn't have a very hard brake pedal, so we struggled for the rest of the race. I just couldn't keep up with Anthony (Lazzaro) or Lee (Bentham). But overall, finishing third makes me very happy."
#14 Mike Conte (World Speed Motorsports - Microsoft/Compaq Swift 008.a) "The race was off to a great start until the yellow flags came out on the 10th lap. Shortly after the race went back to green, somewhere around the 17th or 18th lap, the car in front of me spun and I was hit from behind. The impact damaged the rear suspension and made it hard to handle throughout the race. Near the end, I wanted to pass the #78 car which was in front of me, but I had sustained too much damage earlier in the race to make the pass." (Becky Gavigan)
#41 Nicolas Rondet (World Speed Motorsports - HBC/CompUSA Swift 008.a) "I don't remember the last time I threw a race away like that. I was running behind Rino (Mastronardi) and got around him going into turn 4. I forgot to re-adjust the front bar and the car got a bit loose. I dropped a wheel, and went off into the gravel. It's a shame. The World Speed crew gave me a fantastic car all weekend and we definitely would have been in contention for the win. I really want to thank Chuck West and Bill Tichenor again for this terrific opportunity. I look forward to Houston." (Becky Gavigan)
#66 Alex Tagliani (Forsythe Racing - Player's/Indeck/Swift 008.a) "I had an excellent racing car. I was fast all over the track. The problem here is that the straights are short and the following turns are fast. It's difficult to take advantage of any draft. I had to be a little daring especially when I passed Buddy (Rice) on the outside in turn 1. I was proud of that one." (Francois Cartier)