CHAMPCAR/CART: Gateway next for Franchitti, Tracy

(September 12, 2000) -- It's the third race and third different type of race track in three weeks for Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti, as the duo head to the 1.27-mile oval at Gateway International Raceway for round 17 of...

(September 12, 2000) -- It's the third race and third different type of race track in three weeks for Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti, as the duo head to the 1.27-mile oval at Gateway International Raceway for round 17 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series.

Tracy led a TKG sweep as he and Franchitti finished one-two on the temporary street circuit in Vancouver two weeks ago. Last week on the natural-terrain road course of Laguna Seca Raceway, Franchitti was back on the podium, this time finishing third. Tracy overcame a 13th place starting position at Laguna Seca to move up two places and finished 11th on the day.

The egg-shaped oval at Gateway is up next and both TKG drivers have reason to be optimistic for a good result, as they both have had success on ovals this season. Tracy, who won at Gateway in 1997, finished third at Homestead and Rio de Janeiro and won the pole at Michigan Speedway. Franchitti, who was third last year at Gateway, finished second at Japan and third at Michigan earlier this season.

PAUL TRACY , #26 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard:
(Started 2nd / Did not finish at Gateway in 1999; Currently 3rd in the standings with 122 points)

"Even though Team KOOL Green has had a good run on the recent stretch of road- and street-course events, it's going to be fun to get back on an oval again. Gateway is a good track to race on, but, like any oval, you've got to have the car set-up right. We learned a lot at the test there last month and we had a great car there last year, so I'm optimistic. I won the first CART race at Gateway and I hope to win the last."

"We're in a position in the standings where we still control our own destiny in relation to winning the championship. It's great to be in contention with four races to go, but we're really not thinking too much about it. Our focus is on improving the car each time we go out. If we can do that, and have some racing luck, we should stay in the hunt right till the end. When you consider that there's less than 30 points separating the top seven drivers, you realize just how competitive this year's series is and the least little mistake can wind up costing you the championship. You have to keep driving aggressively, but you really have to concentrate and be smart."

DARIO FRANCHITTI , #27 Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard:
(Started 5th / Finished 3rd at Gateway in 1999; Currently 8th in the standings with 92 points)

"We've been quite competitive on the ovals this year, scoring a couple of podiums (Japan and Michigan), so I think we'll be in good shape at Gateway this weekend. Paul (Tracy) had a good test there last month and the Team KOOL Green engineers always seem to come up with good set-ups on this type of track."

"Being on the podium in the last two races has made me even more motivated to get my first win of the season. The Team KOOL Green car has run consistently strong recently and we just have to keep battling the way we have in the last few races and I'm convinced we can finish the season with a flourish. Even though there's only four races left, anything can happen. If you're able to win a race or two and be among the leaders in the others, you never know how far you can climb in the standings."

ABOUT GATEWAY INTERATIONAL RACEWAY:
The track had humble beginnings in 1967 when Wayne Meinert built an eighth-mile drag strip called St. Louis Raceway Park. A 2.6-mile road course was added in 1985 and the name of the facility was changed to Gateway International Speedway in 1988. In 1994, the track was purchased by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. Groundbreaking for the 1.27-mile banked oval began in the spring of 1996. The oval track hosted its first major event, Round 6 of the 1997 CART schedule. The egg-shaped layout has a 1,969-foot long front straightaway leading to 11-degree-banked Turn 1 (657 feet) and 2 (620 feet). The back straight measures 1,976 feet, with Turns 3 (856 feet) and 4 (871 feet) on a nine-degree bank.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti