Hogan Racing CART Re-Cap Target Grand Prix Circuit: 1-Mile Oval Driver: Helio Castro-Neves, No.9 Hogan/Mercedes/Lola/firestone Started: 5th Finished: 5th Qualitying Time: 22.832 seconds Driver: Luiz Garcia, Jr., No. 21 ...
Hogan Racing CART Re-Cap Target Grand Prix Circuit: 1-Mile Oval Driver: Helio Castro-Neves, No.9 Hogan/Mercedes/Lola/firestone Started: 5th Finished: 5th Qualitying Time: 22.832 seconds Driver: Luiz Garcia, Jr., No. 21 Hogan/Mercedes/Lola/Firestone Started: Did Not Start
CASTRO-NEVES SCORES THIRD TOP-TEN IN A ROW - GARCIA UNINJURED IN QUALIFYING ACCIDENT
Cicero, IL (Sunday, August 22nd) - The inaugural Target Grand Prix at the brand new Chicago Motor Speedway set the stage for Helio Castro-Neves to recapture his short oval success and for Luiz Garcia, Jr. to capitalize on his new ride with the proven short-oval strength of the Lola chassis.
Both Hogan drivers began the weekend strong during the Thursday practice sessions, added by CART to allow teams and drivers a chance to familiarize themselves with the 1.029-mile oval. Castro-Neves turned the fastest lap of the morning at 24.439 seconds, and Garcia, Jr. was 12th quickest with a time of 25.476 seconds. Castro-Neves never fell lower than eighth on the timing charts. He again posted the quickest lap on Friday afternoon, at 22.968 seconds. Garcia struggled with set-up and engine problems, which resulted in an engine change just prior to qualifying on Saturday.
Final qualifying was fun of highs and lows for Hogan as Garcia crashed prior to taking the green flag in turn four. He was uninjured in the accident, but due to neck and back soreness he was not able to start the 225-lap event. Castro-Neves turned in a strong qualifying effort, lapping the track in 22.832 seconds. His time was enough to start him fifth on the grid. Today's start was his sixth top-five start of the season.
Sunday morning warm-up was business as usual as Castro-Neves posted the fourth fastest time in the 26-car field.
Castro-Neves weathered the multiple yellow flag starts well, not having his focus shifted. He ran strong in the top-five for the first stint of the race, saying that the car was performing very well on a full tank of fuel. After the first pit stop the Brazilian was in 8th place - the lowest position he ran in all day.
He worked his way backup to fifth position by the end of the 225-lap event, scoring his fifth top-ten finish of the season. Today's finish is his third straight top-ten finish and his best finish since his second place podium finish in St. Louis. His top-five finish today, moves him from 14th to 12th in championship points.
The team now heads home to prepare for a two-day test at the California Speedway, August 27-25, before heading to Vancouver, British Columbia for round 16 of the CART FedEx Championship Series, the Molson Indy Vancouver. The race, which is scheduled for Sunday, September 5, will be broadcast on ABC-TV beginning at 4:00 p.m. EDT.