CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake: Honda race report

Kanaan charges to fourth at Road America. Tony Kanaan and his Honda-powered Mo Nunn Racing team persevered through a variety of mechanical problems throughout practice and qualifying, then charged from a last-row starting position all the way up...

Kanaan charges to fourth at Road America.

Tony Kanaan and his Honda-powered Mo Nunn Racing team persevered through a variety of mechanical problems throughout practice and qualifying, then charged from a last-row starting position all the way up to fourth in today's Motorola 240 CART FedEx Championship Series race at Road America.

But other Honda-powered contenders had less luck today. After starting on the second row for today's 60-lap race, Paul Tracy powered his Team KOOL Green Honda into the lead halfway through the opening lap, then maintained that advantage until the first round of pit stops. The Canadian remained in contention for the victory until contact with Kenny Brack sent both out of the race on lap 39.

Michael Andretti had his effort hampered by problems with the gear-change software on his Team Motorola Honda, but held on for a 10th place finish, just ahead of Shinji Nakano, who survived a long pit stop to replace his rear wing and a late-race spin. But mechanical problems eliminated the runs of Dario Franchitti, who had run as high as fourth place, and Adrian Fernandez, who dropped out on the 26th lap.

Today's event was the second of four consecutive race weekends for the CART FedEx series. Next week the series moves up to Canada for the inaugural Molson Indy Montreal.

Honda Fast Facts

· Owner/driver Adrian Fernandez returned to the cockpit this weekend after suffering hip and leg injuries in a crash three weeks ago at the Molson Indy Vancouver. Max Papis, who drove last weekend for Fernandez at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, was on had as a possible replacement driver, but Fernandez ran the entire race weekend.

· This was Tony Kanaan's second top-four finish in the last three races. He finished third at the Molson Indy Vancouver.

Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 18th, finished 4th: "This is the crazy thing about racing. You're down one day and right back up up there the next. After all of our problems on Friday and Saturday, this almost feels like a win for us. We almost got a podium (top three) and that definitely gives us some momentum as we go into Montreal next week. This is what happens when you don't give up. The car can break as many times as you want, but this team never gives up. I do have to apologize to Michael Andretti for hitting him. I got inside of him, but bounced off a curb and hit him, causing him to spin. It was my fault and I feel really bad about that."

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 14th, finished 10th: "On the fist lap Tony (Kanaan) locked up his rears and hit me from behind. He and I talked and there's no problem there, those things happen in racing. I developed a problem with my shift switch (which allows shifting gears without lifting off the throttle) and had to shift manually. That was causing me to loose about a second on the straights. Today was one of those deals where you just had to hang in there and hope for the best. At least we managed to get some points out of the day."

Shinji Nakano (#52 Twin Ring Motegi/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 10th, finished 11th: "It was not my day. The car started to get really loose and the guys radioed me to come into the pits because the rear wing had come loose! We lost two laps putting on a new wing, but we were able to get back into the race, but then the brake pedal went to the floor and I spun. We still managed to bring the car home and earn some (championship) points."

Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 4th, finished 13th (not running - mechanical): " What can you say? (Kenny) Brack didn't have the room to make the pass but he had to try and make it anyway and took both of us out in the process. I don't know what he was thinking. Things like that don't do anyone any good - nobody goes home with any points with moves like that and we both could have used strong finishes this weekend. We had a good car all weekend long and I know that we could have gotten a podium finish out of today, that's what's the most frustrating in situations like this."

Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 8th, finished 18th (not running - mechanical): "The car was basically very strong, probably the best car I've had all year. It had the potential for winning the race. Everything was looking good and I was just coming out of the "Kink" and heading for Canada Corner (Turn 12) when I lost power and saw smoke behind me. Unfortunately, that was it for us today. But the good thing is that I am back and feeling good. My (injured) hip is not too bad, although I hit the curbs a few times and my hip reminded me not to do that again! I want to thank Max (Papis) very much for helping me out last week (as a replacement driver)."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Mo Nunn