CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland race day track notes

Good Morning from the City of Lights, Cleveland Ohio for Race Day! The grandstands are crowded with early arrivals to the track here at Burke Lakefront Airport, awaiting Round Nine of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marconi Grand Prix...

Good Morning from the City of Lights, Cleveland Ohio for Race Day! The grandstands are crowded with early arrivals to the track here at Burke Lakefront Airport, awaiting Round Nine of the FedEx Championship Series, the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar. Today’s weather promises more of the same that has greeted the fans and competitors all week here by the Lake Erie racecourse, warm temperatures and light breezes from the west, definitely no snow in the forecast! First up this morning on the CART on-track schedule is the traditional 30-minute morning warm-up taking the Green Flag at 9 a.m. followed by the start of the race at 1 p.m.

Retired Philadelphia Flyer National League Hockey player Tim Kerr is a guest of Newman/Haas Racing and MICHAEL ANDRETTI this weekend. Kerr is one of the all-time leading scorers for the Flyers. ANDRETTI, an avid hockey fan, is a partial owner of the Lehigh Valley Extreme (UHL) in Lehigh Valley, Pa. and is a Flyers fan.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 86 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 79 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #3 CASTRONEVES with a lap of 125.134 mph (1:00.580), followed by #20 MORENO (124.989 mph; 1:00.650) and #17X GUGELMIN (124.948 mph; 1:00.670).

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #2X de FERRAN with a lap of 128.137 mph (59.168 seconds), followed by #3 CASTRONEVES (127.701 mph; 59.370 seconds) and #8 BRACK (127.619 mph; 59.408 seconds).

RED FLAG waves at 9:21 p.m. after #7 PAPIS spins at Turn 6 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car restarted and PAPIS continues to this Pit Area without apparent damage to the car.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:23 a.m. to resume the session.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:25 a.m. to #5 NAKANO for a Pit Road speed violation. NAKANO subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with #3 CASTRONEVES the fastest driver with a lap of 128.768 mph (58.878 seconds), followed by #97 da MATTA (128.347 mph; 59.071 seconds) and #2X de FERRAN (128.137 mph; 59.168 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 cars to the track in this morning’s session with secondary cars utilized by #2X de FERRAN, #17X GUGELMIN, #55X HERTA, #12X VASSER, #26X TRACY, #16X JOURDAIN Jr., #25X GARCIA Jr., and #11X FITTIPALDI. The top 13 cars are separated by less than one second in lap times in this final session. CART drivers logged 401 laps during the session.

Race trace notes At 12:53 p.m., the National Anthem is sung by Marilyn Cordial.

At 12:55 p.m. the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by the CEO of Marconi, Mike Donovan.

At 12:58 p.m., the CART Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 25 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps. Pole-sitter ROBERTO MORENO has elected to start the race from the right side of the grid. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 113 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 87 degrees F. at the start of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:05 p.m. to start the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar! #20 MORENO grabs the lead as the field streams into Turn 1.

YELLOW FLAG waves immediately as #55 HERTA makes contact with the rear of #97 DA MATTA's car. DA MATTA spins around in the middle of track and the ensuing evasive actions of the bulk of the field results in multiple contacts involving the cars of #3 CASTRONEVES, #27 FRANCHITTI, #7 PAPIS, #34 MARQUES, #5 NAKANO, #16 JOURDAIN JR., #19 KUROSAWA, and #96 SERVIA. When the dust clears, #16 JOURDAIN JR., #3 CASTRONEVES, #19 KUROSAWA, and #96 SERVIA are out of the race due to contact. All drivers are uninjured in the incident.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #55 HERTA for a Pit Road speed violation incurred as HERTA came in on Lap 1. HERTA is moved to the back of the lead lap cars by CART Race Control.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 6 to resume the race. The running order is #20 MORENO leading, followed by #17 GUGELMIN, #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, and #40 FERNANDEZ. At Turn 3, #2 DE FERRAN passes second-place #17 GUGELMIN to take the spot. #6 ANDRETTI later passes #17 GUGELMIN to take third.

On Lap 10, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 1.895 seconds, followed by #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 12 after #18 BLUNDELL slides nose-first into the tire barrier at Turn 6 after losing his racing line to #27 FRANCHITTI. CART safety workers quickly pull the car from the tire barrier and get BLUNDELL restarted. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains damage to the nose and front wing.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 14 to resume the race with #20 MORENO leading, followed by #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

Also on Lap 14, #17 GUGELMIN and #1 MONTOYA make side-to-side contact at Turn 2, but both drivers continue without apparent damage.

Again, on Lap 14, #7 PAPIS runs off course between Turns 7 and 8 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 15, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by .625 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 18 to #25 GARCIA JR. as CART course observers report smoke trailing from the right rear tire of his car. GARCIA JR. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag.

On Lap 19, #5 NAKANO spins at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 20, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 2.029 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 25, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 2.003 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 30, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 1.385 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 31, #40 FERNANDEZ spins at Turn 3 and slides off course. FERNANDEZ regains control and continues to his Pit Box with slight damage to the brake duct. FERNANDEZ falls from fourth to 14th position as a result of the incident.

On Lap 34, leader #20 MORENO pits and #2 DE FERRAN takes over the lead.

On Lap 35, the running order is #2 DE FERRAN leading by 6.666 seconds over #26 TRACY, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI and #12 VASSER. #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #1 MONTOYA all pit.

On Lap 36, #2 DE FERRAN pits and hands the lead to #12 VASSER, who leads his first lap since Rio de Janeiro.

On Lap 40, the running order is #12 VASSER leading by 2.516 seconds over #55 HERTA, #20 MORENO, #2 DE FERRAN, and #10 FONTANA. VASSER, HERTA, and FONTANA had all pitted on Lap 13 and were therefore able to take advantage of being out of Pit sequence with the faster cars.

On Lap 41, #26 TRACY pulls off course at Turn 1 with a gearbox problem. TRACY subsequently retires from the race due to a mechanical problem.

On Lap 42, leader #12 VASSER pits and hands the lead to #55 HERTA. VASSER returns to the race in 13th position.

On Lap 43, #55 HERTA pits and hands the lead to #20 MORENO. HERTA has a very slow 23-second stop and finally returns to the race in 16th position.

On Lap 45, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 5.708 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

Also on Lap 45, #10 FONTANA runs off course at Turn 6 but regains control and continues without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 50, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 10.147 seconds over #2 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

Also on Lap 50, #7 PAPIS pulls off course on the back straight and subsequently retires from the race due to a mechanical problem.

On Lap 54, #6 ANDRETTI passes #2 DE FERRAN to take second place. DE FERRAN has radioed his crew that his brakes are starting to fade.

On Lap 55, #11 FITTIPALDI passes #2 DE FERRAN to take third place.

On Lap 55, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 12.188 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #2 DE FERRAN, and #8 BRACK.

On Lap 56, #8 BRACK passes #2 DE FERRAN to take fourth place.

On Lap 59, smoke erupts from the rear of the car of #11 FITTIPALDI as the driver enters Turn 8. FITTIPALDI subsequently retires from the race with a mechanical problem.

On Lap 60, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 12.612 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #8 BRACK, #1 MONTOYA, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 65, #1 MONTOYA pits and falls from fourth place to out of the top 10 positions.

On Lap 66, #8 BRACK pits and falls from second to sixth position. #97 DA MATTA also pits and falls from fifth to eighth place. #40 FERNANDEZ pits and stalls his car upon dropping from the airjack. FERNANDEZ falls from 10th to 14th as a result.

On Lap 67, leader #20 MORENO pits and keeps the lead.

On Lap 68, #6 ANDRETTI and #27 FRANCHITTI both pit.

On Lap 70, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 12.562 seconds over #8 BRACK, followed by #1 MONTOYA, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 74, a furious battle begins as #1 MONTOYA attempts an inside pass of #8 BRACK at Turn 1. BRACK re-passes MONTOYA to take the position as MONTOYA swings high going into Turn 2. The cars run side-to-side before MONTOYA finally takes the spot.

On Lap 75, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 2.047 seconds over #8 BRACK, followed by #1 MONTOYA, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 78 after #33 TAGLIANI stalls on course at Turn 6. CART safety workers quickly push the car to safety. Under the Yellow Flag, #1 MONTOYA pits, stopping for 6.8 seconds and hangs onto second place.

On Lap 80, the running order is #20 MORENO leading, followed by #1 MONTOYA, followed by #8 BRACK, #6 ANDRETTI, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 81 to resume the race.

On Lap 82, #27 FRANCHITTI passes #6 ANDRETTI to take fourth place.

On Lap 84, #5 NAKANO spins at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 85, the running order is #20 MORENO leading, followed by #8 BRACK, #27 FRANCHITTI, #97 DA MATTA, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 87, #2 DE FERRAN and #17 GUGELMIN make side-to-side contact at Turn 3. Both cars continue on course, but DE FERRAN subsequently retires from the race due to contact.

On Lap 90, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 2.047 seconds followed by #8 BRACK, #27 FRANCHITTI, #97 DA MATTA, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 91, #97 DA MATTA passes #27 FRANCHITTI to take third place. FRANCHITTI has radioed his crew, complaining of a gearbox problem.

On Lap 95, #27 FRANCHITTI pulls through the runoff at Turn 3 and loses a lap, falling all the way to 10th position.

On Lap 95, the running order is #20 MORENO leading by 2.900 seconds followed by #8 BRACK, #97 DA MATTA, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 96, MORENO's lead over #8 BRACK is 1.181 seconds.

On Lap 97, MORENO's lead over #8 BRACK is 1.063 seconds.

On Lap 98, MORENO's lead over #8 BRACK is 1.268 seconds.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 99 with MORENO's lead over #8 BRACK at 1.181 seconds.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 100 for the winner of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, ROBERTO MORENO. MORENO wins by .826 seconds over a fast-closing KENNY BRACK. Third place goes to CRISTIANO DA MATTA, fourth to MICHAEL ANDRETTI, and fifth to PATRICK CARPENTIER.

ROBERETO MORENO wins his first career victory in his 70th start in the FedEx Championship Series on Sunday, bringing his Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford/Reynard home .826 seconds ahead of KENNY BRACK. MORENO's previous career-best finish was a second at Laguna Seca in 1999 and seconds at both Homestead and Portland this year. MORENO's last competitive win was 1988 when he won the F3000 championship. He won four times that year, the last coming at Birmingham, England.

Also, the last time that Patrick Racing had two drivers win in the same season was 1986, with Kevin Cogan and Emerson Fittipaldi. ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, MORENO's teammate, won earlier this year at Rio de Janeiro.

KENNY BRACK finishes second Sunday in his Shell/Team Rahal Ford/Reynard. This represents BRACK's career-best finish as he previously finished third at Nazareth. BRACK has now logged five top-six finishes in the past six races.

CRISTIANO DA MATTA finishes third Sunday in his Pioneer/MCI Worldcom Toyota/Reynard. This also represents DA MATTA's career-best finish as DA MATTA previously finished fourth at Rio de Janeiro and Japan this year. Sunday also represents DA MATTA's fourth top-five finish of the season.

The last street course win for Ford before Sunday was at Surfers Paradise, Australia, in 1997 when Scott Pruett pulled off the victory. Sunday's victory by MORENO broke a 16-consecutive-race streak of street course wins for Honda in CART competition.

Sunday finds the eighth different winner in nine events of the 2000 season. The record is 10 different winners, set in the 1999 season.

Quotes from Sunday's top three finishers follow:

ROBERTO MORENO: "Imagine as a comparison you dream about getting to the moon, and people say, 'Are you crazy?' But you believe and you push, and you push, and you push, and finally you get there and it's just incredible. There were a lot of times that I was the only one who believed I could do it. It's what I do, and it's what I love. I love this sport. Qualifying went really well, everything was great with the car and the Ford engine the whole weekend. The car was very competitive from the word go."

(On allowing Brack to close in late in the race): "It looked like I had a good lead to the finish, so I started thinking about things I shouldn't. You can't imagine the emotion I was going through. It was just a case of it being a bit too early. When Kenny got close it dried up and I got going again."

KENNY BRACK: "It was a weird weekend for us. We started off fast on Friday, put the car in the transporter and thought we'd be all right on Saturday, but we couldn't get the car sorted out and we slipped to 15th. [Engineer] Don [Halliday] completely changed the car last night and when we wheeled it out today it was fast. We were lucky on the first lap because it was a big mess [in Turn 1]. I was conserving fuel for a lot of the race, and we managed to catch up to Roberto in the end, but we were still running pretty lean. I tried to push it, but I couldn't get to him because I had to save fuel, and also Cristiano was really quick behind me. It's good to know I'm not too rusty [on road courses]."

CRISTIANO DA MATTA: "It was a very eventful day indeed. After I was tagged at the start, we had to go all the way to the back. I thought, 'I couldn't do anything from here, I'm in last place.' I was very mad, but the guys said, 'Don't worry, there's still 99 laps left.' I had to run pretty hard in traffic, but I spent a lot of time behind [Alex] Tagliani or [Patrick] Carpentier, so I was able to save fuel. At the end I was able to run a little more rich. I was able to catch Kenny, but I couldn't get close enough to make a move. I'm happy because it's my best finish and I should be happy, but I'm a little disappointed because I thought I could win today. But 14 points are good, and it must have moved me higher than 14th [place in the point standings], where I was when I came here."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Pruett , Emerson Fittipaldi , Kevin Cogan , Mike Donovan