CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Honda race report

Andretti finishes third at Mid-Ohio. Michael Andretti persevered in hot and humid conditions today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to finish third at the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, moving him to sixth in the points. The former series ...

Andretti finishes third at Mid-Ohio.

Michael Andretti persevered in hot and humid conditions today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to finish third at the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, moving him to sixth in the points.

The former series champion started on the fourth row for the 92-lap race, but passed Bruno Junqueira on the first lap and was quick to capitalize on the misfortunes of others through the rest of the day. Further back, Shinji Nakano continued his string of points-earning races with a ninth place finish. It was the sixth consecutive points finish for the Fernandez Racing driver.

The "hard luck" award of the day again went to Tony Kanaan, who was robbed of a likely top three finish when transmission failure ended the day for the Mo Nunn Racing driver on the 78th lap. Separate mechanical problems eliminated the other Honda-powered entries of Dario Franchitti, Max Papis and Paul Tracy.

Today's event was the first of four consecutive race weekends for the CART FedEx Championship Series, with next weekend's event taking place at the four-mile long Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Honda Fast Facts

* This was the first Honda-powered Champ Car race for veteran driver Max Papis, who substituted this weekend for owner/driver Adrian Fernandez. Fernandez suffered hip and leg injuries in a crash two weeks ago at the Molson Indy Vancouver. He hopes to return to the cockpit for next weekend's race at Road America.

* This was Andretti's second podium finish in the last three races.

Quotes:

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 8th, finished 3rd: "This is such a physical race, and the race pace today was like we were qualifying. In fact, my fastest race lap today was three laps from the end. My guys did a great job in the pits today and when you have a race like this, with a decent car, you can get on the (victory) podium and that's what we did today. Hopefully, we'll continue to do that the rest of the year."

Shinji Nakano (#52 Twin Ring Motegi/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 17th, finished 9th: " At the beginning of the race the car was loose and I was struggling a lot. On the first stop we made changes to the tire pressures and the car was better, but still not comfortable, so I had no choice but to keep on pushing it to stay in the race. This was such a hard race, the pace was very fast and everyone was running lap times so similar that you never got a break. I understand now how really important qualifying is here. If we had been up near the front I think we have been even higher up at the finish."

Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 5th, finished 14th (not running - mechanical): "I don't know what exactly happened, but something major went wrong in the back of the car (transmission). All of the sudden the whole rear just locked up as I went through the carousel. I don't know what to say really other than it's a real shame because we could have easily had a third place finish today, but it was again, like it has been so many times this season, not our day."

Max Papis (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 14th, finished 15th (not running - mechanical): " I'm not sure what happened to be honest. I was very happy with the car and my plan was to take it easy at the start of the race. I know how physically demanding this race is and I knew that by the middle a lot of guys would be getting worn out and I might have an opportunity to make a move when guys started to show some fatigue. I'm very glad to be able to have this opportunity to drive for Adrian this weekend and wish him all the best for a speedy recovery."

Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 11th, finished 17th (not running - mechanical): "The car was pretty good in race trim and we were able to run close to the cars in front of us and keep the pressure on. I was on the radio discussing the upcoming pit stop and the engine cut out. I don't know what it was, there were no strange noises, it just stopped like something electrical failed. It's a shame, this could have been a great opportunity to make up ground on (Cristiano) da Matta."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Mo Nunn
Teams ART Grand Prix