CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Lola Cars race report

Tough day for Lola troops at Cleveland; Andretti leads Lola runners to second through fourth. This Bastille Day race, the 21st Marconi Grand Prix at Burke Lakefront Airport, belonged to French Canadian Patrick Carpentier, who was challenged over...

Tough day for Lola troops at Cleveland; Andretti leads Lola runners to second through fourth.

This Bastille Day race, the 21st Marconi Grand Prix at Burke Lakefront Airport, belonged to French Canadian Patrick Carpentier, who was challenged over the grueling 115-lap distance by #39 Motorola Lola/Honda driver Michael Andretti and #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda pilot Paul Tracy, the duo taking second and third places. Kenny Brack was fourth in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota.

After his fourth and final pit stop, Andretti was foiled in his pursuit effort by a soft engine, which he said was "going south the last few laps. I was lucky to finish." Despite a loose winglet in front of his left rear wheel and resulting loss of 400 pounds of downforce, Andretti persevered. "We're getting a good hold on the Lola and finally setting it up to suit my style." The pace of this race, which had a single, three-lap caution near the start, "was phenomenal," Andretti declared.

Tracy's slow first pit stop cost him three or four positions, but "during the middle and later parts of the race, we made up that ground. The car was really fast," Tracy stated. "We've had a good car all weekend. We changed the car last night to Michael's setup and it was really good this morning (he was quickest in the warm-up). I'm just glad we didn't have problems like the other guys."

Brack ran midfield during the first portions of this event, held on a warm, breezy afternoon. Track temps were between 102-112 degrees, while air temps remained in the 80-84-degree range. The Swede shadowed Tracy through much of the middle and latter sessions of the race. "This was a very physical race. The car was awesome today and I turned the 3rd fastest lap and ran laps similar to the leaders all day," Brack said.

Point leader Cristiano da Matta retired his #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota after 21 laps when he heard a strange noise from the engine. Bruno Junqueira also cited an engine problem, retiring his #4 Target Lola/Toyota after 87 laps. That duo, along with Dario Franchitti, who led 29 laps around the 2.106-mile airport circuit in the #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda and retired with an engine problem, retain top spots in the season-long point tally. Da Matta is first with 120, Junqueira owns 70 points and Franchitti keeps third with 64. Behind them, the chase is tight, with 4th through 6th separated by two points.

The Champ Cars take a weekend's respite and reconvene July 26-28 at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Cristiano da Matta