CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana Sunday final race notes

Marlboro 500 -- Sunday's Final Race Notes CART Online (September 28) -- Sunday's Final Race Notes from the Marlboro 500 Presented By Toyota at California Speedway. ...

Marlboro 500 -- Sunday's Final Race Notes

CART Online (September 28) -- Sunday's Final Race Notes from the Marlboro 500 Presented By Toyota at California Speedway.

#1 VASSER takes over the lead on Lap 88 after the leader, #31 RIBEIRO and second-place #5 DE FERRAN pit their cars.

#1 VASSER pits on Lap 89, and #31 RIBEIRO again takes over the lead followed by #6 ANDRETTI, and #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 100, the running order is #31 RIBEIRO leading by .753 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #17 GUGELMIN, #99 MOORE, and #18 BLUNDELL.

On Lap 101, #6 ANDRETTI begins to slow on track and falls a lap down to the leaders.

On Lap 104, #6 ANDRETTI pits again and subsequently retires from the race with an overheating problem.

On Lap 110, third-place #99 MOORE pits and #18 BLUNDELL takes over third place. MOORE returns to the race in ninth place.

On Lap 115, second-place #17 GUGELMIN pits and returns to the race in seventh place. #32 FERNANDEZ takes over second place followed by #1 VASSER and #5 DE FERRAN.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 119 for debris in Turn 1.

The lead pack of cars pits on Lap 121 with #31 RIBEIRO leading. #31 RIBEIRO returns to the race in first place followed by #32 FERNANDEZ, #5 DE FERRAN, and #1 VASSER.

On Lap 125, halfway through the race, the running order is #31 RIBEIRO leading by .206 seconds over #32 FERNANDEZ, #5 DE FERRAN, #1 VASSER, and #17 GUGELMIN, #99 MOORE, #18 BLUNDELL, #7 RAHAL, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #19 JOURDAIN JR. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 134 degrees F. with an ambient temperature of 106 degrees F. Seven cars remain on the lead lap with 18 cars still in the race.

On Lap 126, #1 VASSER passes #5 DE FERRAN to take over third place. But on Lap 127, #5 DE FERRAN re-passes VASSER to retake third.

On Lap 133, #5 DE FERRAN passes #32 FERNANDEZ to take over second place.

On Lap 138, #1 VASSER passes #32 FERNANDEZ to take third place.

On Lap 150, the running order is #31 RIBEIRO leads by 3.561 seconds over second-place #5 DE FERRAN, followed by #1 VASSER, #18 BLUNDELL, and #99 MOORE.

Also on Lap 150, #99 MOORE pits and #7 RAHAL takes over fifth place.

By leading this afternoon's Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota, ANDRE RIBEIRO continues a streak, which has seen him lead each of the past five 500-mile races in which he has competed. He previously led 68 laps at the 1995 Marlboro 500, 33 laps at the 1996 Inaugural U.S. 500, 114 laps en route to victory in the 1996 Marlboro 500 and 21 laps at this year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. All of his previous four leads in 500-mile events have taken place at Michigan Speedway.

On Lap 154, #18 BLUNDELL pits and #7 RAHAL takes over fourth place with #11 FITTIPALDI running fifth, both one lap down to the leaders. BLUNDELL returns to the race in seventh, one lap down.

On Lap 158, #11 FITTIPALDI pits and #17 GUGELMIN takes over fifth place. FITTIPALDI returns to the race in seventh.

On Lap 161, #7 RAHAL pits and #17 GUGELMIN takes over fourth place. RAHAL returns to the race in seventh place.

On Lap 162, the leader #31 RIBEIRO and third-place #1 VASSER pit and #5 DE FERRAN takes over first place. VASSER returns to the race in second with RIBEIRO in third.

On Lap 163, #5 DE FERRAN pits and #31 RIBEIRO retakes the lead. DE FERRAN returns to the race in second.

On Lap 168, #1 VASSER falls to seventh from third, and loses one lap to the leaders.

On Lap 173, #17 GUGELMIN pits and returns to he race in sixth place. Also on Lap 173, #1 VASSER moves back into third place.

On Lap 175, the running order is #31 RIBEIRO leading by 2.875 seconds over #5 DE FERRAN, #1 VASSER, #18 BLUNDELL, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 186, #18 BLUNDELL passes #1 VASSER to take over third place.

On Lap 187, fifth-place #99 MOORE pits and #17 GUGELMIN takes over fifth.

On Lap 190, third-place #1 VASSER pits, and #17 GUGELMIN takes over takes over third. VASSER returns to the race in seventh.

On Lap 200, the running order is #31 RIBEIRO, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #17 GUGELMIN, #7 RAHAL, and #18 BLUNDELL.

On Lap 202, #31 RIBEIRO pits and #5 DE FERRAN takes over the lead. RIBEIRO returns to the race in sixth place.

On Lap 204, #5 DE FERRAN pits and #17 GUGELMIN takes over the lead. DE FERRAN returns to the race in fifth place.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 209 after #31 RIBEIRO spins on the backstretch and slides to the inside of the track. The car makes contact with the wall. RIBEIRO exits the car under his own power but the car sustains some damage to the rear wing. RIBEIRO subsequently retires from the race. The top five cars pit during this caution with #5 DE FERRAN getting out of the pits first and assuming the lead. There are five cars on the lead lap at this point of the race.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 214 with #5 DE FERRAN leading #17 GUGELMIN.

On Lap 215, #17 GUGELMIN passes DE FERRAN to take over the lead.

On Lap 220, #99 MOORE passes #1 VASSER to take over third place.

On Lap 225, the running order is #17 GUGELMIN, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #99 MOORE, #1 VASSER, and #18 BLUNDELL

On Lap 226, #99 MOORE passes #5 DE FERRAN to take over second place.

On Lap 232, #17 GUGELMIN pits, and #99 MOORE takes over first place. GUGELMIN returns to the race in fourth place.

On Lap 233, #17 GUGELMIN falls to eighth place as #5 DE FERRAN moves to fourth and #7 RAHAL goes into fifth.

On lap 239, #99 MOORE loses power and pulls into his pit with engine problems. #18 BLUNDELL takes over the lead after passing #1 VASSER. #7 RAHAL is running third, with #5 DE FERRAN fourth.

On Lap 245, third-place #7 RAHAL pits and #5 DE FERRAN takes over third place. DE FERRAN is one lap down. RAHAL falls to sixth place. There are only two cars on the lead lap at this point. #18 BLUNDELL leads by 1.866 seconds over second-place #1 VASSER.

On Lap 246, BLUNDELL leads VASSER by 1.883 seconds.

On Lap 247, #5 DE FERRAN falls from third to fifth, with #32 FERNANDEZ taking over third place and #17 GUGELMIN in fourth. BLUNDELL now leads VASSER by 1.650 seconds.

On Lap 248, BLUNDELL leads by 1.448 seconds over VASSER.

WHITE FLAG waves for #18 BLUNDELL, leading by .963 seconds over VASSER.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 250 for the winner of the Marlboro 500, MARK BLUNDELL. BLUNDELL averaged 166.575 mph in taking today's victory. The margin of victory was .847 seconds. Second place goes to #1 JIMMY VASSER; third to #32 ADRIAN FERNANDEZ; fourth, to #17 MAURICIO GUGELMIN; and fifth, to #7 BOBBY RAHAL.

There were 15 cars running at the end of the race with two cars on the lead lap. There were eight different leaders during the race with ANDRE RIBEIRO leading the most laps with 114. GREG MOORE ran the fastest lap of the race with a speed of 236.388 mph on his 83rd circuit. The time of race was 3 hours, 2 minutes, and 42 seconds.

MARK BLUNDELL, Motorola PacWest Mercedes: "I think basically we still had a very good car underneath us, like at Michigan. We were waiting until the end to make our move. I saw Greg's engine spit some flames coming out of [Turn] 1. Jimmy backed out and so did I. Coming out of [Turn] 2, I assessed the situation very quickly and saw there were no yellows. I decided to go for it and got a run on Jimmy. Unfortunately, we turned the tables a little on Greg [Moore] for Detroit, but that's the way it goes. I've raced in high humidity before but never for this length of time. Obviously, it pays to be in shape on a day like today, and I think all of us who were hanging around pit lane today were in good shape."

JIMMY VASSER, Target Reynard Honda: "The conditions were typical for a 500-mile event. I was a little dizzy when I got out of the car because I was holding my breath and driving as hard as I could the last 10 laps trying to catch Mark [Blundell]. I always do that a little bit at a new circuit. Overall, though, it was just like other 500-mile races. I didn't get fatigued at all during the race."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate/Quaker State Lola Honda: "Coming into the race, it was the same old story [with the Lola chassis]. The guys from Lola came with new pieces, as they have all year, and nothing seemed to work until today. The main thing for me was that the car was very good in traffic. The way we set the car up was just perfect. It was a great car for my team. We had great pit stops. The heat underneath my feet was so hot I had to put my feet away from the floor. You needed to fully concentrate 100 percent in order not to make mistakes."

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Series IndyCar