CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Sunday Track Notes

Good Morning from foggy Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California for Race Day! The weather is predictable, fog hovering about 100 feet over the raceway, expected to clear by mid-morning and giving way to blue skies and warm sunshine. Today's...

Good Morning from foggy Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California for Race Day! The weather is predictable, fog hovering about 100 feet over the raceway, expected to clear by mid-morning and giving way to blue skies and warm sunshine. Today's CART on-track activities begin with the traditional 30-minute warm-up beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the Green Flag for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring the Shell 300 at 12 p.m. CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach announced Sunday morning that he has revoked the license of Bettenhausen Motorsports rookie driver Shigeaki Hattori for the remainder of the FedEx Championship Series season. Dallenbach revoked Hattori's license because the driver's performance did not meet the standards of a Champ Car competitor. At this time, no replacement driver has been named for today's event or for the remainder of the season.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 72 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F. at the start of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 9:03 a.m. after #40 FERNANDEZ spins into the gravel pit at Turn 4 and makes light contact against the tire barrier with the rear of the car. The driver is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains some damage to the rear of the car. The Patrick Racing crew readies the secondary car for FERNANDEZ to use in the remainder of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:09 a.m. to resume the practice session.

At 9:12 a.m., 12 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #44 KANAAN with a lap of 106.417 (1:15.710), followed by #9 CASTRO-NEVES (101.447 mph; 1:19.419) and #27X FRANCHITTI (99.593 mph; 1:20.897).

BLACK FLAG is shown at 9:15 a.m. to #26 TRACY for a Pit Road speed violation. TRACY subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

At 9:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #4 MONTOYA with a lap of 112.607 mph (1:11.548), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (112.442 mph; 1:11.653) and #24 PRUETT (111.783 mph; 1:12.127).

At 9:25 a.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #44 KANAAN with a lap of 114.573 mph (1:10.320), followed by #8 HERTA (114.146 mph; 1:10.583) and #22 GORDON (113.885 mph; 1:10.745).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:30 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with the fastest driver #8 HERTA with a lap of 115.915 mph (109.506), followed teammate #7 PAPIS (115.420 mph; 1:09.804) and #44 KANAAN (115.199 mph; 1:09.938). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #27X FRANCHITTI and #40 X FERNANDEZ. CART drivers logged a total of 196 laps in the morning session.

This weekend the CART Ladder System is definitely showing the promise to stardom for the younger drivers in open wheel racing. This is the first time in CART history that former Indy Lights champions have shared a Champ Car front row. Pole sitter BRYAN HERTA won the Indy Lights Championship in 1993 and outside pole winner TONY KANAAN snagged the Championship in 1997. This is also the third time in CART history that a race presents an all-Indy Lights front row. The other tow instances were the Miami Grand Prix in 1998 with GREG MOORE and ANDRE RIBEIRO, and again at Miami in 1999 with GREG MOORE and ADRIAN FERNANDEZ. Three of the top four starters today are former Indy Lights Champs. Finally, this is BRYAN HERTA's third straight pole at Laguna Seca. The only other time an Indy Lights graduate has won the Champ Car pole at a track three times in a row was PAUL TRACY at Road America in 1992, 1993, and 1994. All of these nuggets are courtesy of the outstanding work of Indy Lights Pit Note Specialist Arley Dealy! Thanks Arley!

At 11:57 a.m., the National Anthem is sung by Joey Gian.

At 11:59:30 a.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given.

At 12 p.m., the PPG Pace Cars begin to roll with the field of 26 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps.

On the first Pace Lap, #10 HEARN pits his car and rejoins the field at his last-place starting position.

GREEN FLAG waves to start the 83-lap Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300! Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 108 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 70 degrees F. at the start of the race. #8 HERTA holds the lead as the field streams into Turn 1 and opens a two-car length over #44 KANAAN as the field enters Turn 2. #9 CASTRO-NEVES and #24 PRUETT make wheel-to-wheel contact as the cars exit Turn 2 but both drivers continue without apparent damage. #5 De FERRAN and #27 FRANCHITTI also make wheel to wheel contact at Turn 8 but both cars continue without apparent damage to the cars. #26 TRACY makes an inside move on the start, aiding the driver in picking up four spots on the first lap, moving from 11th to seventh. #6 ANDRETTI passes #99 MOORE to take over fourth place.

On Lap 5, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 1.037 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 6, #15 HATTORI spins off Turn 3 but gathers it back in and continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 10, #18 BLUNDELL and #25 da MATTA spin at Turn 3. Both cars continue without apparent damage but BLUNDELL falls from 20th to 24th while da MATTA falls from 19th to 26th position.

On Lap 10, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 1.037 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 14, #5 de FERRAN slows at Turn 5 and loses 10th place to #24 PRUETT. De FERRAN comes back up to speed but falls to 15th place.

On Lap 15, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 1.865 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 20, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 2.720 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #99 MOORE.

On Lap 23, #12 VASSER and #9 CASTRO-NEVES have nose to tail contact at Turn 1, but both cars continue on course.

On Lap 24, #9 CASTRO-NEVES stalls on course at the Start/Finish line with a boost problem.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 25 to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the stalled car of #9 CASTRO-NEVES. The car is escorted to Pit Out by CART safety and then rolled back to the Pit Stall for the crew. All of the lead lap cars pit with no changes to the top six spots. #12 VASSER moves up from 11th to seventh, while #26 TRACY falls from seventh to ninth. CASTRO-NEVES returns to the race five laps down to the leaders.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 27 to resume the race. #40 FERNANDEZ passes #99 MOORE to the inside at Turn 1 to take fifth place. #27 FRANCHITTI contacts the rear of #17 GUGLEMIN as the cars exit Turn 3 and GUGELMIN spins a 360-degree loop before regaining control. Both cars continue on course without apparent damage to either car. FRANCHITTI takes over eighth while GUGELMIN falls to 20th place after the incident.

On Lap 30, #36 MONTERMINI spins into the gravel pit at Turn 2 and makes light contact against the wall with the left rear of the car. MONTERMINI continues on course to his Pit with a broken left rear suspension and subsequently retires from the race.

On Lap 32, #27 FRANCHITTI attempts to pass #99 MOORE, makes contact, and slides into the gravel pit, stalling the car. The incident is handled with a Local Yellow Flag as CART safety workers pulls the car to safety. FRANCHITTI subsequently retires from the race due to contact.

Also on Lap 32, #99 MOORE retires from the race with a transmission problem.

On Lap 35, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 1.119 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 37, #21 GARCIA Jr. spins off course at Turn 2 and pulls to the back of the gravel trap. GARCIA Jr. finally drives back on course but loses a lap to the leaders.

On Lap 38, #71 GIDLEY and #33 CARPENTIER make side to side contact with GIDLEY briefly getting the car airborne before sliding to a stop in Turn 11. Both cars continue on course without apparent damage.

On Lap 40, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 2.044 seconds over #44 KANAAN, followed by #7 PAPIS, #6 ANDRETTI, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 44, #44 KANAAN slows on course exiting Turn 9 and pits his car. KANAAN subsequently retires from the race with a transmission problem. #7 PAPIS takes over second place.

On Lap 45, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 7.881 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 50, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 6.654 seconds over #7 PAPIS, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 52, #26 TRACY pits and hands fifth to #12 VASSER. TRACY re-enters the race in 11th place.

On Lap 54, #22 GORDON spins at Turn 8 and stalls at the outside of the track.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 55 to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the stalled car of #22 GORDON. CART safety workers get the car restarted and GORDON continues on course, but loses two laps to the leaders in the process. The lead lap cars pit with #8 HERTA winning the race off Pit Road, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #7 PAPIS, #11 MORENO, and #12 VASSER.

On Lap 58 and under the Yellow Flag, #15 HATTORI spins exiting Turn 2 and stalls in the middle of the track. CART safety workers get the car restarted and HATTORI joins the field.

On Lap 59, #22 GORDON spins into the gravel pit at Turn 6 and stalls the car. CART safety workers pulls the car out of the gravel pit and GORDON subsequently retires from the race.

On Lap 60 and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the running order is #8 HERTA leading, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #7 PAPIS, #11 MORENO, and #12 VASSER.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 61 with #8 HERTA leading, followed by #6 ANDRETTI. As the cars come up to speed, ANDRETTI gets on the brakes to avoid HERTA and subsequently gets passed by #7 PAPIS. #12 VASSER gets by ANDRETTI as the leaders pour into Turn 2. As the field enters Turn 3, #6 ANDRETTI gets underneath #12 VASSER, and the cars make side-to-side contact, resulting in ANDRETTI spinning sideways in the turn, while VASSER takes over the third position. As VASSER heads up the hill, VASSER spins into the gravel pit at Turn 5, damaging the suspension. VASSER gets the car restarted and continues to his pit area where VASSER subsequently retires from the race. #11 MORENO takes over second place, followed by #7 PAPIS.

On Lap 62, #10 HEARN is penalized with a stop in the Pits for 70 seconds by CART Race Control for pitting after being passed around the Pace Car. HEARN subsequently pits the car to serve the penalty.

On Lap 65, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by .862 seconds over #11 MORENO, followed by #7 PAPIS, #26 TRACY, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 67, #20 MAGNUSSEN makes contact with the rear of #24 PRUETT at Turn 2 and snaps off the front wing. PREUTT continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 68, #20 MAGNUSSEN slows on course and pits his car. The driver subsequently retires from the race with a transmission shifter problem.

On Lap 70, the running order is ##8 HERTA leading by .768 seconds over #11 MORENO, followed by #7 PAPIS, #26 TRACY, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 75, the running order is ##8 HERTA leading by .768 seconds over #11 MORENO, followed by #7 PAPIS, #26 TRACY, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 79, #8 HERTA leads by 1.491 seconds over second-place #11 MORENO.

On Lap 80, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by 1.914 seconds over #11 MORENO, followed by #7 PAPIS, #26 TRACY, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 81, #8 HERTA leads by 1.778 seconds over #11 MORENO.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 82 with #8 HERTA leading by 2.236 seconds over #11 MORENO.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 83 for the winner of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300, BRYAN HERTA! HERTA wins by 1.825 seconds and ADRIAN FERNANDEZ comes home in fifth. There were no lead changes with HERTA leading all 83 laps. HERTA averaged 101.924 mph in today's victory, taking one hour, 49 minutes and 20.898 seconds to accomplish his feat. There were 16 cars running at the end of the race with 14 cars on the lead lap. The Yellow Flag flew twice for a total of 10 laps.

Today represents BRYAN HERTA's second career victory as well as his second in a row from the pole here at Laguna Seca. HERTA is the first driver to lead all 83 laps in this race since MICHAEL ANDRETTI accomplished the feat in 1992. HERTA is the 10th-different winner in the 17 races of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season, establishing a new CART record. The previous record was nine different winners, established in 1985 and tied in 1995.

ROBERTO MORENO logs a career-best second place finish today. MORENO's previous best finish was a third, logged at Michigan in the 1996 U.S. 500. MORENO also has scored points in the eight races of the 13 races that he has competed in this year.

MAX PAPIS scores his best finish in his CART career with his third-place run today. PAPIS' previous best finish was a fourth, which he logged at both Rio de Janeiro and Chicago this year. This is also PAPIS' eighth top-five finish of the season.

JUAN MONTOYA widens his lead in the chase for the PPG Cup with his eighth-place finish today as the second place driver, DARIO FRANCHITTI failed to score any points. MONTOYA now leads with a total of 199 points to FRANCHITTI's 171. PAUL TRACY moves into third with 134, followed by MICHAEL ANDRETTI with 127, and ADRIAN FERNANDEZ with 105.

Ford swept the podium in today's race, winning the top three positions. This also represents the 16th win this year for Firestone.

Honda today clinched its third CART Manufacturer's Championship in the last four seasons, with three races still remaining in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season. Honda-powered drivers have won 12 races this season, including four 1-2-3 podium sweeps.

Indy Lights Update: BRYAN HERTA's victory represents the 29th victory for Indy Lights graduates extending back to Paul Tracy's victory in the 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Indy Lights graduates earned three of the top five positions in today's Champ Car race with HERTA winning, 1990 Indy Lights Champ PAUL TRACY finishing fourth, and 1992 Indy Lights Rookie of the Year ADRIAN FERNANDEZ finished fifth.

BRYAN HERTA, Shell Ford Reynard: "The only trouble I had was toward the end of the second stint. I started to slide around a lot. But we came in and put a new set of Firestones on and the car was great the rest of the way. Roberto was pushing me at the end, but I felt I had an answer for whatever he had for me. [Regarding his recent dominance at Laguna Seca] I'm not telling. If there is a reason, I don't know what it is, and I don't really care. I'm just happy to have a place like this where I've experienced some success, and I hope it will continue."

ROBERTO MORENO, Big Kmart Ford Swift: "It's been a great day for us, my best result in CART, and I thank everybody who made it possible. All I can say is that my pit crew did a great job all day, and because of that, we were able to make a short fuel stop at the end, which allowed us to make up a number of positions. The next race [Sept. 26 at Houston], Christian Fittipaldi is scheduled to come back, so it's nice to finish up with a golden key, and if they still need me, I'd be happy to return."

MAX PAPIS, Miller Lite Ford Reynard: "It was a very hard race. We were racing on fuel and trying to conserve tires. During the first pit stop, we had no problem, but during the second, I had a bit of a problem with the clutch. It was a great weekend for all of us, but at the same time very sad because of what happened to Gonzalo [Rodriguez, who lost his life in an accident during race practice Saturday]. I found myself thinking of him often today. It was a fantastic day for me, my best finish, but we have to remind ourselves that there are many values in life, and Gonzalo was achieving his values. Our passion for our sport is our best tribute to him."

This concludes the Pit Notes for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300. The FedEx Championship next travels to Houston, Texas for the running of Round 18 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston on September 26,1999.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Paul Tracy