TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE GRAND PRIX OF DETROIT CONTINUES GRUELING RUN FOR FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES DETROIT (August 3, 1999) - Baseball has its dog days of summer, a time during which the season becomes more an endurance test than anything else and...
TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE GRAND PRIX OF DETROIT CONTINUES GRUELING RUN FOR FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
DETROIT (August 3, 1999) - Baseball has its dog days of summer, a time during which the season becomes more an endurance test than anything else and division championships are won by teams which refuse to wilt in the oppressive heat.
The FedEx Championship Series has its equivalent of the "dog days" in the current grind of six races in seven weeks which continues with this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit at The Raceway on Belle Isle (4 p.m. ET Sunday, one-hour tape delay, ABC-TV). With events scheduled on each of the next three weekends, and five of the next six, the championship race should come into much clearer focus by the time the checkered flag falls following the 17th of 20 rounds at Laguna Seca Raceway on the afternoon of Sept. 12.
Currently, the series is enjoying an ultra-competitive run which has produced nine different winners in the season's first 12 events, tying a series record established in 1985 (in 14 events) and matched in 1995 (17 events). As a result, even though rookie Juan Montoya has spent nine consecutive events atop the FedEx Championship Series point standings, the chase for the PPG Cup, and the $1 million bonus which accompanies it, includes as many as six other viable candidates.
Montoya (Target Honda Reynard), the only driver to have won multiple events this season, has parlayed four victories and an equal number of pole positions into a series-leading 129 points. He has performed on every type of circuit, with a victory from the pole on the short oval at Nazareth, a runner-up effort on the superspeedway at Michigan, victories on the temporary street circuits at Long Beach and Cleveland - the latter coming from the pole - and a runner-up effort from the pole on the permanent road course at Portland.
Montoya's runner-up performance in the most recent FedEx Championship Series event at Michigan allowed him to extend his championship lead over second-place Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) from seven to 13 points (129-116). Franchitti owns podium finishes in two of three starts on temporary street circuits this season with a victory at Toronto and runner-up effort at Long Beach. He has been on the podium in six of his last eight starts on temporary street circuits dating to Cleveland last year.
Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) stands third in the championship with 107 points. A two-time winner at Detroit (1990, '96), his fourth-place finish at Michigan allowed him to top the 100 PPG Cup-point mark for the 14th time in his 16 years in the series.
Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift), Andretti's teammate, rounds out the roster of 100-point scorers to date. He stands fourth with 101 points, however, Fittipaldi is sidelined from FedEx Championship Series competition as the result of a subdural hematoma sustained in a testing accident Monday at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis. Roberto Moreno will be Fittipaldi's replacement at Detroit.
Other drivers who remain contenders for the championship include fifth-place Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Reynard Ford), fifth with 95 points; Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard), sixth with 90, and Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard), seventh with 88.
Andretti is one of four previous winners on The Raceway at Belle Isle in this weekend's field. The others are Tracy, who won in 1994; Robby Gordon (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift), who won in 1995, and Greg Moore (Player's Forsythe Racing Ltd. Mercedes Reynard), who won in 1997.
The Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit kicks off another skein of three FedEx Championship Series events in as many weeks. The series continues with the Miller Lite 200 on August 15 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) has collected top-five finishes in five of his last six starts to vault from 13th to sixth in the FedEx Championship Series points race. With 90 points, he remains well within striking distance of series leader Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard), who leads the championship with 129 points. Tracy's run of recent success began with a victory in Milwaukee and also includes finishes of fifth at Portland, fourth at Cleveland, second at Toronto and third at Michigan. He also finished 11th at Road America, giving him a streak of six consecutive points-paying efforts, the longest active streak among FedEx Championship Series drivers.
* Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), Tracy's teammate at Team KOOL Green, has finished on the podium in six of his past eight starts on temporary street circuits, dating to a third-place finish at Cleveland last year. Also included are victories at Vancouver and Houston last year, a runner-up effort at Australia last year, and finishes of second at Long Beach and first at Toronto this year. Franchitti has also qualified on the front row for seven of those eight starts, including poles last year at Toronto, Vancouver and Australia.
* Montoya, the FedEx Championship Series points leader, has won two of the three FedEx Championship Series events contested on temporary street circuits during his rookie season. The victories have come at Long Beach and Cleveland, where he won from the pole. Montoya has scored PPG Cup points in nine of 12 starts during his rookie season and owns victories at Nazareth and Rio de Janeiro in addition to his two triumphs on temporary street circuits.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) owns top-five finishes in five of six career starts at The Raceway on Belle Isle, which began hosting the Detroit Grand Prix in 1992. The streak includes a victory in 1996 as well as finishes of second in '97, fourth in '92 and '95 and fifth in '94. He also won the pole position for the first FedEx Championship Series event ever contested on Belle Isle in 1992.
* Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard) has finished third in each of his past three starts at The Raceway on Belle Isle (1996-98). His third-place finish in 1997, when he also won the pole, started him on a run of six podium finishes in eight events that season.
* Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) has scored PPG Cup points in four of six starts at Detroit, topped by last year's runner-up effort. Also included are finishes of seventh in 1993, sixth in '95 and fourth in '96.
* Honda-powered drivers have won the past 10 FedEx Championship Series events contested on temporary street circuits, dating to the start of the 1998 season. The streak includes victories last year by Alex Zanardi at Long Beach, Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto and Australia; Dario Franchitti at Vancouver and Houston; and this year by Juan Montoya at Long Beach and Cleveland, and Franchitti at Toronto. The last non-Honda-powered driver to win a FedEx Championship Series street race was Mauricio Gugelmin, who piloted a Mercedes to victory at Vancouver in 1997.
* The last three FedEx Championship Series events contested on The Raceway on Belle Isle have produced victories for three different engine manufacturers. Michael Andretti drove a Ford to victory n 1996, Greg Moore guided a Mercedes to victory in '97 and Zanardi was first to the checkered flag in a Honda last year.
* Firestone has won 11 of 12 FedEx Championship Series events contested this season and 28 of 29 overall dating to Adrian Fernandez' victory at Japan last year.
* The Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will see a significant number of changes to the entry list, with three drivers making their first starts of the season for their respective teams and two more returning to competition following lengthy absences. The change which figures to have the biggest impact on the FedEx Championship Series points race finds Roberto Moreno stepping in for the injured Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift) at Newman/Haas Racing. Fittipaldi was enjoying the finest season of his five-year career - including his first career victory and pole position, at Road America and Rio de Janeiro, respectively - and stood fourth in the championship with 101 points prior to sustaining a subdural hematoma during a testing accident at Gateway International Raceway Monday. Moreno is well acquainted with the Newman/Haas operation, having made six starts as a substitute driver for Fittipaldi in 1997 after Fittipaldi sustained a broken right leg in Australia. Moreno also substituted for Fittipaldi at Milwaukee last year after Fittipaldi sustained a concussion in a practice accident. Moreno comes off an eight-race stint subbing for Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), who has completed his recovery from a small fracture of the seventh cervical vertebra sustained in a May 4 testing accident at Gateway. Blundell is due to make his first FedEx Championship Series start this weekend since finishing 17th at Nazareth on May 2. Also returning to competition is Naoki Hattori (Alpine Honda Reynard) of Walker Racing, who will make his first series appearance since sustaining a double compound fracture of the left leg during an opening-lap accident in the season opener at Homestead on March 21.
* Other changes in the driver lineup find Jan Magnussen (Visteon Ford Reynard) stepping in for PJ Jones at Patrick Racing and Gonzalo Rodriguez (Marlboro Mercedes Lola) making the first start of his FedEx Championship Series career with Marlboro Team Penske. Magnussen most recently competed in the FedEx Championship Series in 1996 when he started the final four events of the season, one for Marlboro Team Penske and three for Hogan-Penske Racing. He recorded his career-best finish of eighth at Laguna Seca. Magnussen is currently competing in the American Le Mans Series, where he is tied for fifth place in the championship with 65 points. He spent the 1997 season and part of 1998 competing for the Stewart Grand Prix team in Formula One. Magnussen tested for Patrick Racing at Mid-Ohio last week and Gateway International Raceway early this week. Rodriguez, a Uruguayan, currently stands second in the Formula 3000 championship. His season has been highlighted by a victory at Monaco and a runner-up effort at Barcelona. He recorded two victories and four podium finishes en route to a runner-up finish in last year's Formula 3000 championship. He is also a veteran of British Formula 3, British Formula Renault and Formula Ford competition.
* FedEx Championship Series drivers Greg Moore (Player's Forsythe Racing Mercedes Reynard) and Adrian Fernandez will make a quick exit from The Raceway on Belle Isle on Friday and will be flown to Indianapolis, where they will compete in Friday afternoon's fourth and final round of the International Race of Champions (IROC) series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IROC series brings together 12 of the world's top drivers, representing different forms of auto racing, to compete against each other in identically prepared cars. Fernandez will start fourth and Moore fifth in Friday's season finale, in which cars will be gridded in reverse order of the IROC point standings. Moore stands eighth in the championship and Fernandez ninth heading into Friday's event.
* Early returns through the first two weeks of voting for the inaugural MCI Most Popular Driver Award find Michael Andretti in the lead, followed by rookie Juan Montoya, Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola), Adrian Fernandez and Greg Moore, respectively. More than 5,000 votes have been received via mail and the Internet. Fans can register their votes on both the CART and MCI WorldCom Internet websites ( www.cart.com or www.mciracing.com ) or by completing the official entry forms found in Champ Car magazine, Championship Racing magazine, National Speed Sport News, Racer magazine, and all FedEx Championship Series event programs through the Sept. 12 Champ Car event at Laguna Seca. Voting continues through Sept. 15 and one voter will be selected to receive a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Oct. 31, as well as the FedEx Championship Series awards banquet the following evening, where the contest winner will present a $25,000 check in the name of the winning driver to the driver's charity of choice.
* Qualifying for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will air 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ABC-TV's tape-delayed race broadcast beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The race will also air on the CART Radio Network and both qualifying and the race will be broadcast on the CART website, at www.cart.com .
TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE GRAND PRIX OF DETROIT "QUOTEBOARD"
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), on teammate Christian Fittipaldi's testing accident Monday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway: "I am really disappointed for Christian. He was running so strong this season and was really going to be a contender at the end of the year. It is a shame that Christian won't be racing here [at Detroit] because he would have been really quick, as he was at most tracks this season. I am really looking forward to the Detroit race. It is always an important race for us because it is Kmart and Ford's hometown. We have been working hard to get our cars working well on street courses and were competitive at the last street race in Toronto. My two race wins in Detroit were very different. The 1990 win was like a dream race because we almost lapped second place. That was very different from my win in 1996 when I really shouldn't have won the race. I was in second place behind Christian and he got a little wide on the last restart and I got by him. He rightly should have won the race. Qualifying will be very important in Detroit because it is tight, as most street courses are. Passing will be at a premium. We need to really focus on finishing the remainder of the races. If we can be consistent like Christian had been and can be there at the end of the race, everything else will just fall into place. It would really be nice to win the championship after all that the team has been through this year."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on Monday's testing accident at Gateway International Raceway, which resulted in subdural hematoma which will sideline him indefinitely: "I don't remember the accident but I remember everything right up until the accident. I can remember everything ... including what the car was doing. The first thing that I remember after the accident is waking up in the ambulance. It may come to me later like it did after my accident in Milwaukee (1998; mild concussion). [On missing the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit] "Right now, I am very happy that the accident wasn't worse. Of course, I am very disappointed to miss the Detroit race and any other race that I miss. Having a good run in Detroit was important for the team and my sponsor, Kmart. Roberto [Moreno] will do a good job for the team. The clot is getting smaller and that is good news. My season was going great until the accident but I am certain we can pick up where we left off."
ROBERTO MORENO (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on replacing Fittipaldi at Detroit: "I feel very badly for Christian, he was having such a good year. But I'm happy Carl [Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing] still has my number. I am in much better shape than I was the last time I drove for the team and will try to do my best for Carl and the entire team once again. I have more experience in CART than I did when I first drove for Newman/Haas Racing and have proven myself."
PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on his recent run of success in the FedEx Championship Series: "Everything is going good at Team KOOL Green right now. All of the elements are there - great engines and tires from Honda and Firestone, Tony Cicale and the rest of the team have a good handle on the chassis setup, and I'm driving as good as I've ever driven. Now we need to take maximum advantage of the current situation and score another win. The Detroit circuit certainly offers a challenge, especially since we don't get to test there prior to the race. But Team KOOL Green has shown we're the team to beat on the temporary circuits. We've been fast at all of them and finished one-two a couple of weeks ago on the streets of Toronto. Another finish like that would be just fine with me, although I'd like to be on the top step of the podium this time. I've won in the Motor City before  and I'm aiming to do it again."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on his success on temporary street circuits in the FedEx Championship Series: "I've had great success on the temporary circuits like Detroit, having won at Vancouver, Houston and Toronto. And we didn't do too bad here [at Detroit] last year, finishing fourth. Team KOOL Green obviously has a good setup for these types of circuits, and when the car is right I really enjoy driving them. But we can't rest on our past results - no one else is - and we've got to score maximum points if we want to stay in close contention for the championship.
"The Belle Isle track is unique. It has characteristics of both temporary and permanent circuits. It's close to the city and run on regular roads like a temporary circuit. But it's not all 90-degree turns, rather you've got a good mix of fast and slow corners like you'd find at a good permanent track. I know I can get around this track quickly with a clear path in front of me. As a rookie, I led this race for four laps and I had the fastest lap of the race by over a second."
GREG MOORE (Player's Forsythe Racing Mercedes Reynard) "This will be my fourth appearance at the Detroit Grand Prix and I experienced many memorable moments at The Raceway on Belle Isle. My victory in 1997 was quite exceptional as I roared past Mauricio [Gugelmin] and Mark [Blundell] after they both ran out of fuel on the final lap. It was very satisfying because we led that race for quite a long time and it allowed us to record back-to-back victories. I expect a good result again this year because the Player's team always runs well in Detroit and we qualified on the pole last year."
AL UNSER JR. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola), on the importance of starting up front at Belle Isle: "Although the improvements made to Belle Isle last year created another passing area, it's still a tight circuit, so qualifying will be key. We're going to run the Marlboro Mercedes Lola, which had top-10 finishes in its last three races, so we're hoping for good results in Detroit. The team is really giving it their all. We were able to run up front at Michigan Speedway a couple of weeks ago, and we just need to maintain our momentum and put some points on the board."
MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard, on overcoming the disappointment of the July 25 U.S. 500, where he ran out of fuel while leading the final lap: "I am proud of what the Miller Lite team and I were able to accomplish at Michigan. After the race, [team owner] Bobby [Rahal] told me it had been a long time since he had seen someone able to dominate at Michigan like we did. The performance of the car and my crew just confirms everything I have said this year that we have the potential to be a dominant team in this series. Getting a taste of running up front has just made me hungrier and increased my desire to win. Running at Detroit will be very different from the last race at Michigan. The course at Detroit is fast and it is a place where the driver can make a big difference in the performance of the car. It is one of the tracks that I like best. Last year I was able to hold the provisional pole [for Arciero-Wells Racing] in the developmental car. This year, I am looking forward to attacking this course in the proven package we have at Team Rahal."
MARK BLUNDELL (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), on returning to FedEx Championship Series competition following an eight-race absence due to a small fracture of the seventh cervical vertebra sustained in a May 4 testing accident at Gateway International Raceway: "I feel fine. I've got no problems or pain - no issues whatsoever. I've lost a bit of height because of the vertebra collapsing, so I'm a bit more aerodynamic in the cockpit. It was all intentional, as you can believe! I just need to get my neck muscles back up to speed, and the only way to do that is to get back in the race car. Two and a half months with no physical exercise is a long time. I'm working out, but it won't happen overnight. I'm as fired up and determined as ever. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm like a bulldog. I'll keep tussling with something as long as it's there. Detroit's not the easiest place to come back, but what I may lack in physical fitness I'll make up for in determination. I'm all set and ready to return. Plus, I'm out from under my wife's feet, so she's pretty happy about that!"
TONY KANAAN (McDonald's Championship Racing Team), on the challenges of Detroit, and his success there: "I am looking forward to going back to Detroit. I had a lot of success there in Indy Lights in 1996 and 1997 [winning both events from the pole], and had a strong run in both qualifying and the race last year. It's one of my favorite circuits, and we have a good setup for the street courses. I am going to Detroit with the same frame of mind that I went to Michigan -- to give 100 percent and hope that pays off on the track."
ROBBY GORDON (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift), on his fond memories of Detroit: "Obviously, I only have good things to say about Detroit - I won there in 1995 from the pole and probably drove one of the best races of my life in doing so. I named my dog, 'Phoenix,' after the first win of my career, and now that she's pregnant, I'm thinking the first puppy will probably be named, 'Detroit!' Actually, I need to get on it, it's going to be a big litter and I need some more names. [It would] Be great to have 'Detroit,' 'Detroit2,' 'Mid-Ohio,' and 'Chicago' all barking in the backyard! [On the importance of consistency at Detroit] Detroit is a tight track, most street circuits are, they made some improvements for last year to give us another area to pass, and those helped the racing quite a bit. It's the kind of place where you need to be consistent in the race and not make mistakes because track position is so important. The guys are so hungry out there to make a pass that with the slightest bobble you have someone sticking a nose in to push you aside. All this as you're bumping and sliding between the concrete walls. It's a tough place, but it's fun, I always look forward to Detroit."
HELIO CASTRO-NEVES (Hogan Motor Leasing, Inc. Mercedes Lola), on the unique challenges of The Raceway on Belle Isle: "Passing is without a doubt the biggest obstacle to overcome at Detroit. In order to pass on Belle Isle you really need to have your car working well all the way around. There's one really good spot for overtaking, coming off of the high speed corners, but you really need to have everything working together coming off of the high speed turns in order to get the jump on pass. When you are able to come out of those well, then overtaking should be easier. I think that the re-design of the circuit last year helped. The track is still very bumpy-like Cleveland- so that's another avenue where you have to be on the ball and make sure that the car isn't dancing around on you."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Mercedes Reynard), on the importance of qualifying at Detroit: "It's important to qualifying in the top-10 on road courses and that's especially true in Detroit because the track in very tight and there aren't many passing opportunities. You want to make sure you're in a good position to move up quickly in the race. Even though we struggled a bit in the past at Belle Isle Raceway, I know we can put in a good finish because everyone on the Player's team is committed winning and we know that a podium finish is within our grasp."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes), on his bittersweet memories of Champ Car racing at Detroit: "First, I'd like to welcome back Mark [Blundell, Gugelmin's PacWest Racing Group teammate]. The team has always had its ups and downs at Detroit. The race was an important turning point for us in 1997 [when both Gugelmin and Blundell led the race until running out of fuel consecutively on the final lap]. The track is a bit different now. The changes they made in 1998 helped make another passing zone at the end of the long straightaway. It's very important to qualify well at Detroit. It's also a track where you need a lot of mechanical grip and good front end direction in order to place the car tidily in the corners. I enjoy street circuits, and I particularly enjoy racing in Detroit. With the water and the park, it's a very scenic course. I'm looking forward to going there."
BRYAN HERTA (Shell Ford Reynard), on the challenges of competing at Belle Isle: "The biggest challenge to Belle Isle is passing. The course is fast but it is fairly narrow, which makes passing very difficult. Therefore qualifying is critical to a successful weekend. The best plan at Detroit is to start up front and let everybody else worry about trying to pass you."
GONZALO RODRIGUEZ (Marlboro Mercedes Lola), on making his FedEx Championship Series debut this weekend: "Detroit will be quite a challenge for me since I have only spent one day in the Marlboro Mercedes Lola [during a July 27 test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course]. I was pleasantly surprised at my test at Mid-Ohio because I think we ran well for our first time. I was comfortable in the car and the team was patient with me. Pit stops will also be a challenge because in all the different series I've raced in, we've never had pit stops, so I will go to [Marlboro Team Penske headquarters in] Reading, [Pa.] this week and practice with my crew. With all these factors, I must say I am a bit nervous about my debut. It's the fulfillment of one of my biggest dreams to drive in CART, and to drive for a team like Marlboro Team Penske, which is the winningest team in the sport, makes it even more exciting."
FAST FACTS FOR THE TENNECO AUTOMOTIVE GRAND PRIX OF DETROIT
WHAT: Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. WHERE: The Raceway on Belle Isle, Detroit, Mich. WHEN: Friday-Sunday, August 6-8. SUPPORT EVENTS: PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship, BF Goodrich Tires Trans-Am Championship, Neon Charity Challenge, Barber Dodge Pro Series. SCHEDULE (All times Eastern): FRIDAY, AUGUST 6 - Indy Lights practice, 9:30-10:10 a.m.; Champ Car practice, 10:30 a.m.-Noon; Indy Lights qualifying, 12:55-1:25 p.m.; Champ Car qualifying (2 groups/30 minutes each), 2:30-3:45 p.m. SATURDAY, AUGUST 7 - Indy Lights practice, 8-8:40 a.m.; Champ Car practice, 9-10:15 a.m.; Indy Lights qualifying, 11:15 a.m.-11:45 p.m.; Champ Car qualifying (2 groups/30 minutes each), 12:45-2 p.m. SUNDAY, AUGUST 8 - Indy Lights warm-up 8:15-8:30 a.m.; Champ Car warm-up, 11-11:30 a.m.; Indy Lights race, 12:30 p.m.; Grid Champ Cars, 2:15 p.m.; Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, 3 p.m. BROADCAST: TV-ABC (Tape delay, 4 p.m., ET), and in 195 countries worldwide. RADIO-CART Radio Network (WWJ 950 AM). PRE-RACE PROGRAMMING: Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit pole qualifying, 6 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2; CART 2Day, 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN2. 1998 CHAMPION: Alex Zanardi. DEFENDING POLESITTER: Greg Moore. TRACK LAYOUT: 2.346-mile temporary street circuit. RACE LENGTH: 75 laps, 175.95 miles. TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) - 1998, Greg Moore, 114.859 miles per hour (1 minute, 13.530 seconds). Race - 1998, Alex Zanardi, 100.052 mph. RACE ROUND: 13 of 20 in the FedEx Championship Series. FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS LEADERS FOR THE PPG CUP: 1, Juan Montoya, 129 points; 2, Dario Franchitti, 116; 3, Michael Andretti, 107; 4, Christian Fittipaldi, 101; 5, Adrian Fernandez, 105. NEXT EVENT: August 15, Miller Lite 200, Lexington, Oh.
Alex Zanardi (Target Honda Reynard) extended his FedEx Championship Series lead with a dominant performance en route to victory in the 1998 ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix on The Raceway at Belle Isle. Zanardi led 50 of the final 72 laps and averaged a race-record 100.052 miles per hour while recording the 11th victory of his FedEx Championship Series career. He finished 6.624 seconds ahead of runner-up Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Labatt Ford Reynard) while Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard) rounded out the podium with his third consecutive third-place finish at Detroit. Pole-sitter Greg Moore (Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard) led the first 22 laps before relinquishing the lead to Zanardi during a pit stop on Lap 23. Zanardi remained in front for the balance of the event. His victory, which was followed by triumphs at Portland, Cleveland and Toronto, started him on a streak of four consecutive wins, tying the CART record established by Al Unser Jr. in 1990. Zanardi exited Detroit with 113 points and the FedEx Championship Series lead, followed by Moore with 96 and Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) with 80.
Vital Race Statistics
Time of Race: 1 hour, 41 minutes, 17.673 seconds. Average Speed: 100.052 mph. Margin of Victory: 6.624 seconds. Caution Flags: 2 for 7 laps. Lap Leaders: Alex Zanardi, 50 laps; Greg Moore, 22.
DETROIT RACE HISTORY (10 Events) Year Race Winner Pole Winner 1989 Emerson Fittipaldi Michael Andretti 1990 Michael Andretti Michael Andretti 1991 Emerson Fittipaldi Michael Andretti 1992 Bobby Rahal Michael Andretti 1993 Danny Sullivan Nigel Mansell 1994 Paul Tracy Nigel Mansell 1995 Robby Gordon Robby Gordon 1996 Michael Andretti Scott Pruett 1997 Greg Moore Gil de Ferran 1998 Alex Zanardi Greg Moore
Emerson Fittipaldi 2 Michael Andretti 2 Bobby Rahal 1 Danny Sullivan 1 Paul Tracy 1 Robby Gordon 1 Greg Moore 1 Alex Zanardi 1
Total Pole Positions
Michael Andretti 4 Nigel Mansell 2 Robby Gordon 1 Scott Pruett 1 Gil de Ferran 1 Greg Moore 1