CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Diary, Sunday, Day Six

Honda Indy Insider Diary By Ron Richards, CART Surfers Paradise, AUS. - Sunday (October 18, 1998) Day Six Ah, yes. Showtime. Finally. And what a show it was at Honda Indy Sunday from Surfers Paradise on Queensland Australia's Gold...

Honda Indy Insider Diary By Ron Richards, CART

Surfers Paradise, AUS. - Sunday (October 18, 1998)

Day Six

Ah, yes. Showtime.


And what a show it was at Honda Indy Sunday from Surfers Paradise on Queensland Australia's Gold Coast.

If it wasn't the Champ Car drivers putting on a great show nipping at one another throughout the two hours of racing, it was the spectacular pre-race activities that occurred at a dizzying pace leading up to Round 18 of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series.

CART's eighth-annual run on the streets of Surfers Paradise was a memorable one as polesitter Dario Franchitti led early-on before second-place starter Alex Zanardi passed him during the first pit stop and battled to keep the red-hot Scotsman behind him. Aided by a late yellow flag, he was able to do so.

The racing wasn't good only at the front. It was close throughout the field. And that resulted in some bumping and banging. Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy came together about midway through the race, prompting each to spend unwanted time in the pits for repairs. Jimmy Vasser and Helio Castro-Neves ran out of racing room in the final half of the race, putting Vasser (he was OK) hard into the concrete and out of the race. And Alex Barron, Richie Hearn and Andretti got involved in an incident at the end of the race that brought out the final yellow.

But for those 95,000-plus in attendance, the pre-race festivities weren't far behind the on-track battles on the excitement meter. It started with the No Fear Air Show and an F-18 fighter plane screaming over the main straightaway at speeds of more than 400 miles per hour. At times, it appeared the plane was below some of the taller high-rise apartment buildings. Our CART advertising line of "Feel the Speed," took on a new meaning with this jet making turns and speeding past at just 600 feet.

When that ended, a much slower but just as entertaining event occurred on track with the Movieworld Stunt Show - two police cars chasing a street rod with maneuvers that would have been difficult to do well on wide open streets, let alone on a concrete-barrier-lined straightaway.

Then there were a couple motorcycle stuntmen who cruised around the track to the delight of the Aussie fans.

Suffice it to say, there was more going on than we have at most events. And the fans went away very well entertained. If you can swing it, this is one you want to put on your personal schedule of events to attend at least once. The Australian people are wonderful - pleasant, funny, helpful and always ready to have a good time. We have to take a moment to thank those who helped us in the media center - particularly Ray, Tracy, Linda, Bob and many more - throughout the race weekend.

As this is being written early Sunday evening, the pack-up is well underway to get everything back to the U.S. All of the CART Community's equipment is being containerized while the cars are going back on our specially-designed pallets. The load-up will commence Sunday night and the three FedEx MD-11s will leave Monday afternoon from Brisbane, stopping in Honolulu along the way for fuel and arriving in Indianapolis late Monday night.

The final chapter of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series season is about to be written. Round 19. California Speedway. The Marlboro 500 Presented By Toyota. Nov. 1. The world's fastest race track. The world's fastest race cars. And driver talent that is second to none.

Showtime. One more time.

It will be another great weekend when we all get back together in Fontana. Rahal's Last Ride concludes. Zanardi runs his last Champ Car race. Franchitti looks to continue his newly established leading man role in the FedEx Championship Series. Runway Madness on Friday night at Ontario Airport. The season-ending banquet hosted by Roy Firestone in Century City on Monday.

Surfers Paradise has provided a great lead-in.

Hope you enjoyed the diary. Until next time, G'Day from Down Under.

Source: CART Online

------------------------ Internet Access Australia------------------------ --- IAA is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Gold Coast Indy --- ---- Melbourne -- Tel. 03 9686 6677 -- Fax 03 9686 6644 ----- ------------------ ---------------------

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Richie Hearn