- Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi drove from his seventh place start to a sixth place finish in the 100-lap Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. He held seventh place from the start until lap 47 when race leader and pole sitter...
- Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi drove from his seventh place start to a sixth place finish in the 100-lap Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. He held seventh place from the start until lap 47 when race leader and pole sitter Gil de Ferran made his first stop and he moved into sixth. Fittipaldi made his first stop on the following lap and returned to the race in ninth place but moved back into seventh by lap 55 before his second stop on lap 56 to be topped off with fuel during a caution period to remove the crashed car of Cristiano da Matta. At this time, I was possible that the top six cars might need to pit for a splash of fuel before the race was over, thus moving Fittipaldi up in the finishing order. He held seventh place until lap 74 when fourth place runner Tony Kanaan pit and returned to the track after a slightly slow stop. He held sixth place until the checkered flag and scored eighth points but remained in 14th place in the CART FedEx standings. Following are Fittipaldi's post race comments:
"The car was only okay. We couldn't attack today. I was on the defense all of the time. That was all we had in the car. It was pretty rough out there. We came here pretty confident but we weren't as competitive as we hoped we would be. Australia has typically been one of our strong races and I hope it will be again this year. We were hoping to be the Texaco/Havoline sponsored drivers in Winner's Circle today Jimmy and Juan (who have Texaco/Havoline associate sponsorship) represented them there."
- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti ran as high as fourth place and was in eighth when he was hit from behind by rookie Alex Tagliani. He finished 13th and out of the points to drop him from third place in the CART FedEx Championship point standings to fourth, 26 points back from points leader Gil de Ferran. The highlight of Andretti's race was when he drove the fastest lap of the race on 92 of 100 laps although that was not much of a consolation because there were no points awarded for the feat. Andretti started in fifth place but was passed by sixth place starter Juan Montoya on the first lap and then a few turns later by ninth place starter Paul Tracy. He held sixth place until lap 47 when he moved into fifth place when race leader Gil de Ferran made his first stop. He held fifth place for three laps and then moved into fourth place on lap 50 after previous third place runner Helio Castroneves made his stop. Andretti pitted immediately after that and returned to the race in sixth place but was actually running fourth as current third place Roberto Moreno and fifth place Adrian Fernandez were out of sequence. During the caution period to remove the crashed car of Cristiano da Matta, Andretti pitted to top off his fuel on lap 56 and be able to drive until the end of the race. He returned to the race in 10th place but moved into ninth when Roberto Moreno pit on lap 64. He held ninth place until lap 75 when he moved into eighth when previous fourth place runner Tony Kanaan made a slow pit stop. He held eighth place until lap 78 when rookie Alex Tagliani ran into the back of Andretti's car and spun him around on the track in turn 7. Kenny Brack, Oriol Servia and da Matta ran into the stalled cars in the tight turn as well. Andretti was the last of the group to be restarted and dropped two laps down to the leader. After being restarted, Andretti pitted so the team could check the damage. Based on the status of the race thus far, there was a likely chance that more cars would crash and Andretti would move into the top-12 points-paying range therefore the decision was made to continue. When he came into the pits, his flatspotted tires were replaced but the team decided not to make the lengthy change of the front nose. Andretti returned to the race in 14th place but moved up to 13th by lap 80. He reported to the team that he ran over a large metal chunk of debris on the track so the team called him back to the pits to make sure there was no damage as well as change the front nose. He ran in 13th place until the checkered flag on lap 100 and did not collect any Championship points. Following are Andretti's post race comments:
"This is a tough track for me. (Alex) Tagliani drilled me in the back and then it set off a traffic jam. I was the last guy to be started and it dropped us a few laps back. I was turning in (the corner) and boom! He drove right into the back of me. He probably hit that bump and locked his brakes and drove into me. I had to come in to check out the suspension and everything. Then I had to come back in a second time because I drove over a big chunk of metal and we had to check for damage and change the front wing. This definitely hurt us in the Championship. The front runners will need to run into some trouble in the last two races. I'm not going to make any predictions on our chances in the last two races at this point. At some point though, our luck has to turn around."
- Next on the Schedule Round 19 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship takes place in two weeks in Surfer's Paradise, Queensland, Australia at the Honda IndyCarnival.
- CART FedEx Cup Point Standings (after the Texaco/Havoline GP) Driver Team Points 1. Gil de Ferran Marlboro Honda-Reynard 153 2. Paul Tracy Team Kool Green Honda-Reynard 134 3. Roberto Moreno Visteon Ford-Reynard 131 4. Michael Andretti Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Lola 127 (-26 points to the leader) 5. Adrian Fernandez Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Reynard 127
14. Christian Fittipaldi Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Lola 76