CHAMPCAR/CART: Honda Nazareth race notes

Tracy Heads Honda Drivers with Podium Finish at Nazareth. Paul Tracy moved into a tie for the early points lead in the CART FedEx Championship Series today with a third place finish here a1 Nazareth Speedway, his second podium finish in the ...

Tracy Heads Honda Drivers with Podium Finish at Nazareth. Paul Tracy moved into a tie for the early points lead in the CART FedEx Championship Series today with a third place finish here a1 Nazareth Speedway, his second podium finish in the three races so far this season.

The Team KOOL Green driver moved up three places from his fourth-row starting position early in the contest, but then lost ground during the first round of pi1 stops, dropping back to 10th in the running order. While 20-year-old rookie Scott Dixon went on to become the youngest winner in CART history - and the first-ever rookie to post his inaugural win at his first oval race. Tracy fought back past rivals including Jimmy Vasser and Christian Fittipaldi. Today's third place finish ties the Canadian with Mexico winner Cristiano da Matta for the early-season points lead.

Michael Andretti had another top-ten finish for Team Motorola along with Dario Franchitti, who ran as high as second before being shuffled back in the order following hi3 final pit stop. Helio Castroneves recovered from an early spin to finish 11th today while Tony Kanaan led a total of 54 laps before also falling back in the order with a late-race pit stop for fuel. Shinji Nakano followed up his strong Texas Motor Speedway qualifying effort by running second and challenging Kanaan for the lead at mid-race. But then he too was forced to make a late stop for fuel and finished 15th.

Alex Zanardi's run of bad luck continued today, dropping out after 167 laps with gearbox failure, Adrian Fernandez was another to suffer mechanical problems, while Gil de Ferran crashed out of the contest, fortunately without injury, on lap 120.

The FedEx Championship Series now heads across the Pacific Ocean to the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi@ Circuit north of Tokyo for the second of three consecutive oval track races, the May 19 Firestone Firehawk 500.

<pre> Driver's Championship Manufacturer's Championship 1. Cristiano da Matta 40 points 1. Toyota 57 points Paul Tracy 40 2. Honda 52 3. GI1 de Ferran 30 3. Ford Cosworth 31 Jimmy Vasser 30 4. Phoenix Ilmor 0 5. Hello Castroneves 29 6. Kenny Brack 28 7. Scott Dixon 20 Rookie of the Year Michael Andretti 20 1. Scott Dixon 20 points 9. Dario Franchitti 17 2. Bruno Junqueiro 11 10. Tony Kanaan 12 3. Nicholas Minasaian 7 11. Bruno Junqueiro 11 12. Christian Fittipaldi 10

{TV}Paul Tracy [#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 8th finished 3rd, his second 3rd place finish of the season: "I had to let (Kenny) Brack and (Scott) Dixon go by me. We knew Brack was going to make it to the finish and was running strong today, but we didn't think Scot1 would. We thought he'd have to come in one more time. I had a couple of close calls today, a couple of guys spun In front of me in Turn 3, but I passed two or three guys as well. I got a little angry on the (third) restart, got the fire in my eyes and got by a couple of guys."

Michael Andretti (839 Motorola Honda) Started 13th, finished 6th:  "It was just a total roll of the
dice with the yellows and different pit strategies today.  Otherwise you just more-or-less lined up
and ran around in the pack.  You could get close to guys, but it was just real difficult to pass with
all the turbulence.  Every time you got close to someone in traffic you would lose the front end."

Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 12th, finished 8th: "I had a great car today, the best car I've had all year. It was really good in traffic, and very good at putting the power down, the best car I`ve ever had at Nazareth. But today was a race of pit strategy and timing of the yellows. A little different and we'd have been much higher up the order, but the breaks didn't go totally our way today."

Hello Castroneves (#3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 5th, finished 15: "Overall, The car was pretty good, but this is always a tough race. I spun in turn three and managed to continue, but lost confidence. Turn three is usually a good place to pass here but after my spin I was being extra cautious. The good newsis that I was able to finish in the points for the first time at this track."

Shinji Nakano (#53 Avex/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started l9th, finished 15th: "I had a good car this morning and I had good confidence for the race. But trying to conserve fuel did not help me a lot. Two or three times I had a chance to pass Tony Kanaan for first, but I had to worry about fuel and I could not overtake him. The team gave me a goad car and if I had a little more luck, we would have done better. I have to say the team keeps on getting better and better and that helps us going to Motegi."

-Honda

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske