CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Mercedes Race Notes

Race: Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami, Homestead, Fla. Date/Session: Sunday, Mar. 21, 1999 Race Results Moore and Mercedes Use Power and Fuel Mileage To Win Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Mercedes-Benz Leads 126 of 150 Laps En Route...

Race:           Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami, Homestead, Fla.
Date/Session:   Sunday, Mar. 21, 1999   Race Results

Moore and Mercedes Use Power and Fuel Mileage To Win Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami

Mercedes-Benz Leads 126 of 150 Laps En Route to Victory in CART Season Opener

Greg Moore used the power and fuel efficiency of his Mercedes-Benz IC108E V8 engine to win the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami today, the season-opening race of the CART FedEx Championship Series at the Homestead Motorsports Complex.

Canadian Moore took the win from his second-consecutive Miami Grand Prix pole position, holding off two-time Homestead winner Michael Andretti. He won by 1.11 seconds and avenged his narrow loss to Andretti in last year's contest. Moore led 96 of the 150 laps on the 1.502-mile Homestead speedway oval, with an average speed of 136.671 mph. The Player's/Forsythe driver now leads the Series PPG Cup race with 22 points, the maximum possible after earning the pole, the win and leading the most laps.

A well-planned pit strategy by Moore's team allowed them to make only two pit stops, while a majority of the field was forced to stop three times. The Mercedes-Benz IC108E V8's power and fuel efficiency were key to the team's success. The small, lightweight engine is designed to maximize power while conserving fuel. Mercedes now leads the Manufacturer's Championship race with 22 points.

Two other Mercedes-powered teams finished in the top 10 today. Moore's teammate, Patrick Carpentier, finished seventh after running up front with the leaders until a late-race, pit-lane violation set him back in the field. PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell finished eighth.

"A perfect start to the season," said Norbert Haug, head of motorsports for Mercedes-Benz. "Greg and the Forsythe team did a great job, won the pole, chose the right strategy and ran a very calculated race. The fact that two chassis builders and three engine manufacturers shared the winner's circle just shows how competitive Champ Car racing is these days. A big thank you goes to everybody involved in that great season kick-off."

Mercedes Engines Show Competitive Edge Mercedes engines proved their overall competitiveness by qualifying three cars in the first two rows and leading 126 of the 150 laps.

Hogan Racing's Helio Castro-Neves, the revelation of qualifying, started from the second row and led for 29 laps before dropping out on lap 138 with a mechanical problem.

PacWest Motorola Mercedes driver Mark Blundell started 13th and moved up to finish eighth, while teammate Mauricio Gugelmin had a rough pit stop with his Hollywood Mercedes on lap 62 and dropped back to finish 11th.

Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes driver Al Unser Jr., was knocked out of the race on lap one when he was collected in an incident with Naoki Hattori. Unser Jr., suffered a fractured right ankle and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for treatment, while Hattori suffered a broken left leg.

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (First)

"We gambled on fuel mileage and it paid off for us today. I thought I would have to pit close to the end for fuel, but they (his team) told me I could go the distance. I was real skeptical if we could make it, but that shows just how good the Mercedes engine is on fuel. The car didn't handle well at all in the beginning, but the team kept working on it and with every pit stop it got better, and it was the best it was all day at the end. We had some lucky breaks today and were where we needed to be at the end."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Seventh)

"We gave Greg a real run for his money. I think we had the fastest car today on fresh tires, but it just didn't work out. The penalty was a misunderstanding. If I had been able to stay up front I think we would have been right there at the end.

"Mercedes and Reynard got everything out of the car that they could. I fought hard today, I gave 100 percent and never lifted. I am disappointed but this was good for my confidence."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (Eighth)

"We had a good car and ran well today. The team did an excellent job in the pits. Alex (Barron) really screwed up our race and cost me two places. He should have gotten out of the way. We ran a top-six race today."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (11th)

"We were loose all day but we were not the only ones. I overshot on the first pit stop and that got the team out of synch. The wheels were tight and that cost me a lap and put us out of the race. The track was slippery but pretty much stayed consistent throughout the race."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (17th)

"What a car. What an engine. What a team. The car was great. It just started slowing down and I had to pull out of the race. We were right where we wanted to be. It was our race. I am so happy to perform so well. I expect to have a chance of winning in the next few races."

Results, Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Homestead, Florida March 21, 1999 Pos. Driver Engine Laps 1 Greg Moore Mercedes-Benz 150 2 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 150 3 Dario Franchitti Honda 150 4 Jimmy Vasser Honda 150 5 Max Papis Ford Cosworth 150 6 Gil de Ferran Honda 150 7 Patrick Carpentier Mercedes-Benz 150 8 Mark Blundell Mercedes-Benz 150 9 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 150 10 Juan Montoya (R) Honda 149 11 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 149 17 Helio Castro-Neves Mercedes-Benz 138 26 Al Unser, Jr. Mercedes-Benz 0

Driver's Championship:                  Manufacturer's Championship:
Greg Moore              22 Points       Mercedes-Benz   22
Michael Andretti        16              Ford Cosworth   16
Dario Franchitti        14              Honda           14

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Norbert Haug , Greg Moore , Al Unser
Teams Team Penske