CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Honda Racing race report

Honda two out of three on Cleveland podium. Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti finished second in today's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland leading the way to a strong podium presence for Honda. Andretti, who started fifth, capped a weekend in...

Honda two out of three on Cleveland podium.

Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti finished second in today's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland leading the way to a strong podium presence for Honda. Andretti, who started fifth, capped a weekend in which he never fell out of the top ten in any practice session with his second podium finish of the season. After making changes to the Motorola Lola Honda between the Toronto race and today's event, the team has found a better handle on their road course set up.

Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy, who also had a strong weekend including leading the morning warm up session, scored his second podium finish of the season as well, finishing third. Tracy, who started 11th, and ran in the top ten all day, was able to avoid many of the mechanical failures which took a total of seven cars out of the running, including Tracy's team-mate, Dario Franchitti. Franchitti, who led laps 20 to 48, retired from competition on lap 69, while he was battling for the lead after he lost power in his Honda/Lola.

Tony Kanaan, who struggled with set-up in the morning, fought an ill-handling car as well as tires slow to come up to optimum temperatures, to capture his third top ten finish of the season. Kanaan, who ran as high as fourth early in the race, finished eighth after he spun on lap 107.

Shinji Nakano and team-mate Adrian Fernandez, both suffered set-up problems all weekend long, but did salvage points paying positions. It was Nakano's fourth straight finish in the points and his third straight top-ten finish.

Michael Andretti (#39 Motorola Honda) Started 5th , finished 2nd : "This was a tough one. The pace was phenomenal. We were doing 58 second laps during the race which is equal to the qualifying times. The g-forces you pull here make it very demanding. It was one of my toughest second place finishes. But we're finally finding a good handle on the Lola that suits my driving style. We made big changes the last week and the really seemed to work, so hats off to the Team Motorola engineers who gave me a good car this week. It feels good to be back on the podium."

Paul Tracy (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 11th , finished 3rd : "We had a good car all weekend but we made a lot of mistakes during our qualifying sessions. It was frustrating, since we were strong in practice, at the top of the list for most of the sessions. We made some changes last night that we got from Michael's car and the car was really good this morning. I had a good start, came in for the first stop, but lost three positions. If we had been able to pass Tony out of the pits, we could have chased up to the front sooner. Our second stop was good, but we struggled with the third set of tires and Michael was able to open up a good gap."

Tony Kanaan (##10 Pioneer-World Com/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 6th, finished 8th: "It was a long, long day today. I might have said this a few races ago, but today I really mean it when I say this was probably the most difficult race of my life. My car wasn't where it needed to be so that I could comfortably go fast so I had to drive every lap like a qualifying lap. We made changes after the morning warm-up but the car just wasn't where it needed to be. It was better but just not where it should have been.:

Shinji Nakano (#52 Alpine/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 18th , finished 10th : "We couldn't find the set up to go around this track quickly. The car was very difficult to drive, especially on full tanks. It had both understeer and oversteer. We have to improve the car for the road courses, especially with Mid-Ohio and Road America coming up. We're good on the street circuits and the ovals, but we need better set ups for these road courses.

Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Telmex/Quaker State Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 17th , finished 11th: "I'm very disappointed. I don't have much to comment. It was probably the worst race of my career, with the worst car I have driven, even worse than the Lola in the old days. I don't know what the problem is. We'll have to investigate it. We need to do something, because this is embarrassing."

Dario Franchitti (#26Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 3rd, finished 14th (not running-mechanical): We've had problems all weekend long so it's very disappointing to end the weekend this way after running at the front for much of the race. With da Matta not finishing we had a great opportunity to gain some ground this weekend."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Mo Nunn