MOTEGI, JAPAN . . . Kenny Brack led 75 laps, including the last 52 of the race, en route to capturing his first CART win in the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi Raceway in Japan. Brack's victory is his third top-five result of the 2001...
MOTEGI, JAPAN . . . Kenny Brack led 75 laps, including the last 52 of the race, en route to capturing his first CART win in the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi Raceway in Japan. Brack's victory is his third top-five result of the 2001 season and pushes Team Rahal's Shell driver into the lead for the CART Championship with 49 points after four races.
Brack started sixth, his first non-front row start of the 2001 season, but he quickly moved into the lead pack and ran there all race long. Brack took the lead for good on lap 149 when Helio Castroneves pitted. Brack pitted four laps later, but a stellar pit stop by the Shell pit crew got Brack back on track in the lead. Over the last 48 laps Brack held off a furious challenge from Tony Kanaan and from Castroneves.
"My knuckles have been blue from banging on the door to victory," said Brack. "Now that the door is open it would be nice to keep it open for a while. The team gave me a great car today and considering how we struggled over the course of the weekend this is a great ending. The Ford-Cosworth/Lola combo proved again what a great package it is and now the challenge is there for us to keep the momentum going at Milwaukee."
The win is Brack's first as a member of Team Rahal and his first since winning the Indianapolis 500 in May of 1999. Brack, the 1998 IRL Champion, has posted six podiums and 12 top-five results in 24 races with Team Rahal and his victory gives Ford Racing wins in all four CART events held at Twin Ring Motegi Raceway, Honda's home track.
The day was also productive for Team Rahal's other entry. Miller Genuine Draft driver Max Papis drove a steady race finishing a season best sixth after starting 17th. It was Papis second points paying finish of 2001 and his highest result since a fourth place finish at Mid-Ohio in the Miller Lite 200.
Team Rahal and the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series will resume with the Miller Lite 225 at the famed Milwaukee Mile in West Allies, Wisconsin in two weeks (June 1-3).
The tape delayed US broadcast of the Firestone Firehawk 500 will be Saturday, May 19th from 1 :00 - 3:00 PM on ABC.