DETROIT, MI., (June 18, 2000) â€“ Team KOOL Greenâ€™s Dario Franchitti has pulled himself back into championship contention by virtue of his fourth-place finish in todayâ€™s 84-lap Grand Pix of Detroit. Franchitti started second alongside pole ...
DETROIT, MI., (June 18, 2000) – Team KOOL Green’s Dario Franchitti has pulled himself back into championship contention by virtue of his fourth-place finish in today’s 84-lap Grand Pix of Detroit. Franchitti started second alongside pole winner Juan Montoya, but misfortune was the order of the day for most drivers and for a variety of reasons. All except for Helio Castroneves, who earned an emotional first career Champ Car victory by 4.415 seconds over Max Papis with Oriol Servia third.
Montoya, once again, dominated the race early, only to have a mechanical failure sideline him for a fourth time in seven races. He led the first 62 laps before pitting with a constant velocity joint failure, ending his day. Montoya handed the lead off briefly to Roberto Moreno, whose race would end later on lap 66 when he went nose first into the tire wall in Turn 4. Castroneves was already in the lead at that point, being challenged by Papis and Servia who could not catch the speedy Brazilian.
Misery loves company and both Team KOOL Green drivers had their own share of problems today. Franchitti’s troubles came first in the form of a broken right-front brake duct that affected the handling of his car. He dropped from third on lap 48 to sixth before his second pit stop on lap 56. The offending pieces of brake duct were removed and Franchitti joined the fray again. Tracy’s misfortune would come on the very next lap in the pit lane, as he hit his fueler Jeff Simon when forced into a steeper angle of entry into his pit to avoid Gil De Ferran exiting from the adjacent pit area. Tracy was called in for a stop-and-go penalty (for hitting a crew member) on lap 61 and eventually excluded from the event (lap 68) when it was discovered that Simon was injured with four broken toes (per CART rules).
Franchitti went on to pass Patrick Carpentier on a re-start to take over fourth position (lap 67). He would remain there and collected 12 points to total 40 on the season. He gained two spots in the standings, moving from 10th to eighth. Tracy keeps the overall lead with 59 points, followed by Jimmy Vasser with 54 and Moreno with 52.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 19th / Finished 20th ; Currently 1st overall with 59 points)
“I’m really sorry for Jeff [Simon, injured crew member]. He’s a very important part of Team KOOL Green and a big reason we’re so fast on our stops. It’s really tough to take especially when we were running such a great race in the KOOL car. 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.
“There’s still a long way to go in the championship. We just have a black cloud hanging over our heads the last three races. Hopefully, we can shake it next week in Portland.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 2nd / Finished 4th ; Currently 8th overall with 40 points)
“The car was fine up until the first stop. Then the problem started (right front brake duct broke and lodged in the suspension). 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. At first I thought it was a rear shock absorber, so I slowed down and lost a couple of positions. On the straight, the KOOL car was just trying to turn hard right. It would oversteer through right-hand turns and understeer through left ones. On my next stop, the crew pulled some of the brake duct pieces off the car, but it didn’t help the handling. I learned how to drive around the problem a little bit. We are very lucky to finish fourth because we could have ended up in the wall today.”