CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Sunday Fontana notes

RACE WILL RESTART MONDAY MORNING AT 10:00 AM - The final round of the CART FedEx Championship Series will resume at 10:00 AM on Monday morning due to rain. After Paul Tracy brought out the yellow on lap 23 with a mechanical problem, spewing debris...

RACE WILL RESTART MONDAY MORNING AT 10:00 AM - The final round of the CART FedEx Championship Series will resume at 10:00 AM on Monday morning due to rain. After Paul Tracy brought out the yellow on lap 23 with a mechanical problem, spewing debris on the track which collected Cristiano da Matta, course observers reported light rain falling on lap 30. The rain continued to fall in a steady drizzle for several hours before CART officially postponed the race until Monday morning. Cars will line-up in the order they were when the red flag was thrown with Juan Montoya in the lead, followed by Dario Franchitti, Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser. Kenny Brack was in sixth place when the race was stopped while Adrian Fernandez was in ninth.

BRUCE WOOD (CART Program Manager - Cosworth Racing) - "In terms of the race we were somewhat surprised to see the two Penske cars drive off quite like they did. We were speculating as to whether they knew something we didn't, like maybe that the race would be called at halfway. We thought they had decided that the race would only be 250 miles and were going to run a different strategy to what we were going to run for 500 miles. We have a back up plan for that scenario as well, but our plan wasn't going to come into play until about 200 miles. Having said that, we discovered quite quickly during the race that Michael Andretti, who had been able to stay with the two Penskes, had a boost problem. From roughly lap five, his boost was trailing off and he was down to about 38 inches, so we think we've been able to fix that problem and whenever we end up running the race Michael will be back up to full speed. I spoke to Kenny (Brack) and Max (Papis) afterwards and both of them were pretty happy with their cars. Both managed to make up a couple of positions during the pitstop, so I guess the only guy who was struggling from our standpoint was Adrian (Fernandez). With the race being stopped, they've made a few adjustments to the car that they feel will hopefully free it up a little bit tomorrow. I guess for the championship, (Paul) Tracy is out so that's one less guy that can go for the championship and from our point of view it's one less Honda out there. So all things considered we were reasonably happy with the way things were going. I guess it's going to be a shame for the fans because I think we were going to put on a good race."

WHAT EFFECT WILL THE WEATHER HAVE ON WHAT YOU DO? "The thing it does change is the race strategy. If we felt rain was going to come at halfway then we would change the way we would 'play' the race. Obviously if you run 500 miles you tend to baby the engine quit a lot, but if we were confident that it was going to rain and that the race would be called at 250 miles, then certainly we would have run the engine a little harder. However even if you have a rain strategy it's very difficult to know when to bring that into play."

WITH THAT IN MIND, HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PLOTTING STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW? "As we hear that it might rain tomorrow and perhaps Tuesday, it doesn't really matter to us when they restart the race from a technical standpoint. But from a personnel point of view it begins to get pretty difficult rather quickly. It's been such a long season that several of our guys have plane tickets - one of them has a ticket to go to Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday. In that case, what do we do? And I'm sure that's true up and down the pit lane because it's such a long, hard season and everybody's just waiting for Tuesday to get away. So I think CART has the biggest problem of anybody here today. I don't know what they can do if we can't run the race tomorrow or Tuesday because I'm not sure there's going to be people around to run it on Wednesday. Do you put it off until next weekend? I don't know, but I think Bobby Rahal and Hal Whiteford have perhaps the biggest headache tonight of anybody."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Cristiano da Matta