CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston: Rocketsports race report

BRAKE SYSTEM FAILURE MAKES FOR A SHORT NIGHT OUT FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING IN HOUSTON HOUSTON, Texas (May 13, 2006) - Shortly after Rocketsports Racing driver Nicky Pastorelli took the green flag to make his first Champ Car start, a brake problem...

BRAKE SYSTEM FAILURE MAKES FOR A SHORT NIGHT OUT FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING IN HOUSTON

HOUSTON, Texas (May 13, 2006) - Shortly after Rocketsports Racing driver Nicky Pastorelli took the green flag to make his first Champ Car start, a brake problem began to occur on the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, which would cause the rookie to end his race earlier than expected completing only 29 of 100 laps in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Houston.

Starting 16th, Pastorelli moved up three spots by Lap 15, just two laps before he radioed in to the Rocketsports team saying that he was experiencing braking problems. Still running quick times, he was able to run a few more laps before heading into the runoff with a brake failure. Despite this problem, the Italo-Dutch driver was able to get back on his way and run some more laps before another issue would occur. He headed into the pits on Lap 23 for fuel and tires, but mostly for the team to look into the brake issue.

The #8 Rocketsports crew worked quick in the pits to check out the problem, make some changes, and get Pastorelli back on his way. Pastorelli felt that things were going well, before contact with Jan Heylen was made as the brakes continued to cause problems for him. He came back into the pits as the team was concerned that a brake system failure issue was at hand, and called it quits on Lap 39.

"I am quite disappointed that our evening had to end early, but that is how racing goes," said Pastorelli. "It was amazing to make my first Champ Car start, this is a great track and there were a lot of fans out there tonight, so I was so excited to be here in Houston racing for Rocketsports Racing in the Champ Car World Series. I started experiencing issues w ith the brakes on Lap 17 as the pedal keep pushing to the floor. I did the best I could, but the problem kept re-occurring. When I was braking hard in the fast turns, the pedal would go completely to the floor. In the rest of the turns, the brakes were ok. So I thought it would be ok and we could make it to the end of the race. However, things were more serious than that, so we called it quits. It is a shame, but the team did a great job for me this weekend to give me a good race car, so I thank them. This is what happens sometimes, it is racing. I look forward to Monterrey, as it is a new race and a new chance for us to go out there and show everyone what we can do together as a team."

The team can only be proud of their new driver; he went out there and did the best he could do. He was running lap times that were quicker than the pack he was driving around with at the beginning of the evening.

"I am very proud of Nicky tonight," said team owner Paul Gentilozzi. "He went out there and gave it his best. Unfortunately he did not get to run many laps out there tonight to really demonstrate his talent, but that is ok, we have all season to do that. What is important is that he had a great first weekend driving for us, and we will move on to the next race with great anticipation as Nicky will show what he's got in a car that can take him all the way. That is the way it goes sometimes, it is a tough break, but we have plenty more races to go this season and we will move on and be ready to fight hard in Round Three."

The team will stay one day in Houston to prepare the cars for next weekend's race in Monterrey, Mexico before heading back to East Lansing, Michigan for a few days of rest as the Rocketsports truck travels south of the border to transport the car and its equipment for Round Three of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford at Fundidora Park.

- rsr -

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Nicky Pastorelli