Monterrey, Mexico- Michael Andretti and Team Motorola kicked off the 2001 CART FedEx Championship season and their first race as a team with a solid fourth place finish in Monterrey, Mexico Sunday afternoon. "It's great to get race one under...
Monterrey, Mexico- Michael Andretti and Team Motorola kicked off the 2001 CART FedEx Championship season and their first race as a team with a solid fourth place finish in Monterrey, Mexico Sunday afternoon.
"It's great to get race one under our belt," said Team Motorola general manager Kim Green. "Michael drove a great race, the crew had great pit stops and we've earned points towards the championship---not a bad day at all."
Andretti started the race in fifth position and with the Fundidora Park 2.1-mile track being a new road circuit the track was still very green at race time on Sunday. "Today's primary goal was to survive the first lap. It was a day where you didn't want to get off-line at all because you risked sliding right off track," explained Andretti. "I had a situation after my second pit stop and I had to back off so I didn't risk going off course and that's disappointing when the field is so tight. We were running top five all day and just the slightest moment off pace can cost you quite a bit."
Despite the slick track conditions, Andretti stayed on the lead pace throughout the 78-lap race with two solid pit stops. "The Team Motorola crew did a good job of getting me in and out of the pits clean and then I did my best to stay on line and out of trouble on the track." Andretti was running fourth at the completion of the race. "I'm pretty happy with fourth place today. I don't think this is the best race you will see out of this team but it was certainly good and now we're going to work on some things and get ready for Long Beach," Andretti said after the race. The race was called after the two-hour time limit had expired halting the race at 78 laps, rather than the scheduled 80 laps.
Crisitano DaMatta was the eventual race winner of the inaugural Tecate Telmex Grand Prix, with Gil De Ferran finishing second and Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy finishing third. Andretti and Team Motorola's fourth place finish earned them 12 points in the CART FedEx Championship battle.
Team Motorola has returned to Indianapolis to begin preparations on the No. 39 Honda-Reynard for their next race, April 8th in Long Beach, California.