CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Race Report

Greg Moore Win Season's First Race by David Reini9nger - Motorsport News International Homestead, FL (March 21, 1999) - Greg Moore won today's Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on the 1.502-mile oval at the Homestead Motorsports Complex. Moore ...

Greg Moore Win Season's First Race by David Reini9nger - Motorsport News International

Homestead, FL (March 21, 1999) - Greg Moore won today's Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on the 1.502-mile oval at the Homestead Motorsports Complex. Moore dominated today's race, leading 96 of the race's 150 laps.

"I wouldn't say we were dominant," said Moore. "We had the lucky breaks. Many many times, I've had the dominant car and not had the lucky breaks."

Second place finisher Michael Andretti, who stalled his engine on his second pit stop agreed with Moore's assesment. "I gave it away by stalling during my second stop," Andretti said. "Everything was going well after our first stop. The K-Mart/Texaco/Havoline crew did a great pit stop and gained me four positions. I pitted in sixth and went back to the race in second. Unfortunately I made a mistake on the second stop and it probably cost us the race. I would have left left in front of Greg and would of had a better track position."

With fourty laps to go in the race, Adrian Fernandez, who was running second at the time, lost his engine on the backstretch. The yellow flag was shown in order to perform clean up duties as Fernandez entered turn three. Rolling slowly through turn four, Fernandez lost control of his car, spinning in his own oil. The car went straight for the turn four wall, hitting hard enough to knock the suspension off one of the corners. Fernandez was uninjured.

The restart on lap 121 gave Andretti one last shot at Moore. Andretti pulled alongside but Moore decided to defend his position causing Andretti to back down. "I had a good run on him," Andretti said. "We went into turn one side by side, but he came down on me. I was forced to go down on the apron. It was close there. As it ended up, that was for the win so it turned out okay. But it was a hairy moment for me."

"My car actually handled well on the outside. I didn't think I came down that much," countered Moore in the post race press conference. "I knew I still had some area between us." Adding with grin, "I gave him half a car width down there."

Dario Franchitti finished third in his Team KOOL Green Honda-powered Reynard. Dario lined up eighth for the run to the checkered after he pitted during the final caution period. Most of the front runners decided to stay out. When racing resumed, Franchitti passed Carpentier and da Matta to take sixth place within six laps. Four laps later, Dario passed Blundell and Papis on succesive laps to take fourth.

Vasser was next in line. Franchiiti set his sights on the red Target/Ganassi car, reeling it in with less than ten laps to go. As the pair approached the lapped car of Mauricio Gugelmin in turn one, Vasser looked low but thought better of the move and dropped back into line. Franchitti kept his foot down, powering past both cars and into third place.

"We could have won this race," Franchitti said. "I talked all weekend with my engineer Don Halliday about being happy with a top-five finish. We were ninth last year so I'm pretty happy. At one point in the race, after my first pit stop we were pulling away and I thought we could win this thing. However, we may have played it too conservatively trying to make sure everything would be okay."

Vasser later remarked, "At the end there, we were running on fumes and my tires were wearing fast. Dario just had a better car than me at that point and he made a nice move to get by."

Franchitti set the race's fastest lap on the white flag lap chasing Andretti for second place. Many of the Firestone drivers set their fastest race lap in the last ten laps of the race, including Andretti, Montoya, and Herta.

A first lap race incident involving veteran driver Al Unser Jr. and rookie Naoki Hattori saw both drivers crash hard into the turn two wall. Both drivers were awake and alert when safety crews arrived on the scene. The preliminary on-site report was a broken right leg for Unser Jr. A post race update on Unser revealed his injury as a fracture of the right ankle. Unser is scheduled to be transfered to Methodist Hospital InIndianapolis tonight. Dr. Terry Trammell is scheduled to perform surgery on Unser at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Naoki Hattori was airlifted from the track to Jackson Memorial Hospital where, according to a hospital administrator, he suffered multiple fractures of the left leg. There were no further reports on Hattori at press time.

The CART FedEx Championship Series continues in three weeks time when the series moves to Japan. The Firestone Firehawk 500 will be held at the Twin Ring Motegi at Motegi, Japan on Saturday April 10, 1999. The series returns to the United States for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach held April 16-18. Visit CART.con online for more information.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Naoki Hattori , Greg Moore