David Reininger - motorsport.com Detroit, Mich. (June 18, 2000) - Helio Castroneves won the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit today, his first career victory in the CART FedEx Championship Series. Castroneves' win marks the first...
David Reininger - motorsport.com
Detroit, Mich. (June 18, 2000) - Helio Castroneves won the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit today, his first career victory in the CART FedEx Championship Series. Castroneves' win marks the first win at the Belle Isle circuit for Marlboro Team Penske since Paul Tracy in 1994. It also marked the team's first win on a road course since Al Unser Jr. won in a Marlboro Penske at Vancouver in 1995.
Castroneves assumed the lead on lap 61 when Juan Montoya broke a CV joint on his Target Ganassi Racing Toyota-powered Lola. Montoya dominated the first 60 laps of the race, relinquishing the lead once, during his second pit stop. Once the second round of pit stops were complete, Montoya led the field for one lap before being sidelined by equipment failure.
"The car was great," said Montoya. "Everything was going according to plan. When things like this happen, it's out of our hands, but these things do happen in racing. I didn't have any warning - the Toyota and Firestones were great and everything was so smooth. The whole package was working beautifully so I was really surprised."
Montoya earned the bonus point for most laps led for the fourth consecutive race.
"I would like to have some race out there," Castroneves said regarding Montoya's retirement. "I knew I would catch him. When I saw him slowing down, I thought first of all, there was a yellow flag, but when I was passing him I didn't see any yellow flags."
"I don't feel sorry for him because I've been in that situation several times. I know how it feels."
Max Papis scored his second podium finish this season driving the Miller Lite Ford-powered Reynard. Papis, who won the season opener at Homestead, finished second today, 4.415 seconds behind the winner.
Oriol Servia, driver of the Telfonica Toyota-powered Reynard, finished third. It was the rookie driver's best finish this season and the first podium finish for Cal Wells' Precision Preparation Inc, team. Servia's previous best was a sixth place finish at Long Beach.
"I knew we had a good car," said Servia, who won the Indy Lights championship last season. "We just had to push hard and not make mistakes. I'm very proud to get the team's first podium. They've had chances before but something always happens."
Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti salvaged a fourth place finish today after pressuring Montoya for the lead during the early part of the race. Franchitti's car went loose when the right front brake duct broke on his Kool Honda-Reynard. "The car was fine until the first stop," said Franchitti, who trailed Montoya by two seconds before making his stop. "Then the problem started. I didn't know what happened and I couldn't see the broken part. I saw the temperatures go up because the piece was blocking the radiator. The car was terrible and I was just hanging on."
Patrick Carpentier managed a fifth place finish in the Players/Indeck Ford-powered Reynard despite being unhappy with the handling of his car. "We had a good Sunday drive today. We had good power but the car was so loose at the end of the day, we had so much tire build up at the end, I couldn't do anything with the car. I went extremely loose and I couldn't get the fats on the restarts and every time I would lose a few positions."
Paul Tracy, who continues to lead the points battle, hit a crew member in the pits. CART stopped scoring his Team Kool Green Honda-powered Reynard after 57 laps. He was credited with a 20th place finish. "I'm really sorry for Jeff (Simon, injured crew member). He's a very important part of Team Kool Green and big reason we're so fast on our stops. It's really tough to take especially when we were running such a great race. We probably would have been third or fourth in the end result."
"When I was coming into the pits it looked to me like Gil (De Ferran) would pull out in front of me. I tried to avoid him getting into the pits and then couldn't stop in the box, running into my crew guy. That's what excluded us from the event."
The CART FedEx series moves to Portland International Raceway next week for round eight.
Notes: Mo Nunn Racing driver Tony Kanaan underwent a successful operation for the compound fracture of his left forearm Saturday evening at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Kanaan, who broke both bones in his forearm in a single-car incident during qualifying, had two plates and 14 screws inserted during the 2 hour, 15 minute operation. Kanaan is expected to be released Monday.
Filming continued for a feature film starring Sylvester Stallone as the driver of the Nextel Champ car. A track 150 feet long, used for a camera dolly, was set up parallel to the pit lane guardrail, extending from the PacWest pits to the Players team pits. Stallone was acting in a scene wearing a Nextel driver's suit while Til Schweiger wore Target colors and Kip Perdue was dressed in a Motorola suit.
The Cleveland Grand Prix, held July 2 at the Burke Lakefront Airport, on the shore of Lake Erie, will be sponsored by Marconi plc, a global communications and information technology company. Marconi will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first international automobile race at the Cleveland Grand Prix this year. Alexander G. Winton, a Cleveland automobile manufacturer competed in the race, held on public roads between Paris and Lyon, France. Michael J. Donovan, chief executive officer of Marconi plc, and former Formula Three driver, will present a ceremonial checkered flag to descendants of the Winton family and the Crawford Auto Museum. The Crawford Auto Museum, located in Cleveland, houses a collection of Winton automobiles.
The fourth annual "Taste of CART" will take place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday, August 11, at 6:00 pm. The team chefs, in competition for a trophy and cash prize, will prepare appetizers, soups, salads, main course and desserts. Guests are invited to sample each of the team's specialties. Tickets are available at the event or by contacting the CARA Charities office at (317)-299-2277
PHotos (C) Pitstop/Joao Alcino Martins