CHAMPCAR/CART: Lola Motegi race notes

Brack gives Lola cars their 99th win int he CART series. Kenny Brack finally scored his first CART win in his 24th race for Team Rahal, bringing the ...

Brack gives Lola cars their 99th win int he CART series. Kenny Brack finally scored his first CART win in his 24th race for Team Rahal, bringing the #8 Shell Lola/Ford to the checkered flags 3.650 seconds in front of Helio Castroneves' Marlboro Team Penske Reynard/Honda. Theirs was a one-lap dash to the finish after only the second caution period of the 201-lap Firestone Firehawk 500 at the Honda-built Twin Ring Motegi oval circuit. Tony Kanaan finished third in another Reynard/Honda machine.

This fourth-annual Japanese contest was held under increasing clouds, as air temperatures dropped from 80 to 77 degrees during the race to 77 at the close, which track temps fell from 111 to 92 degrees. The skies erupted about half an hour after the checkered flags flew over the fastest of the four races held at this 1.549-mile egg-shaped oval, with the distance completed in just under an hour and 45 minutes.

"Fuel mileage was the key to this victory," Brack explained. "This was a pretty straightforward race with all the green flag laps. It makes it easier on strategy. I saved a lot of fuel, both alone and in traffic. It was a lot of fun," he grinned.

Christian Fittipaldi gave Newman-Haas Racing a fine fourth-place finish in the team's 300th Champ Car race, also lauding the fuel mileage of his racer, the #11 Kmart Blue Light Special Lola/Toyota. "I give Toyota a '10' for the mileage we achieved today," he declared. "My car was good on every stint except the second one and considering everything, this is like a victory today." Fittipaldi started the race in 14th position and said his Lola "had good balance throughout." A Japanese fan who waited for him to finish his debriefing with engineers during the rain showers ended up going home with Fittipaldi's racing underwear!

The rabid crowd of 72,000 was treated to a ribald race, with passing and dicing throughout. There were only two caution periods during the race, one for Bruno Junqueira's first lap spin in the #4 Team Target Lola/Toyota that collected the Lola/Toyota of former points leader Cristiano da Matta, lasting seven laps. The final yellow flew for Nicolas Minassian's clout of the turn four wall, just six laps from the close. With his win, Brack now leads the championship standings by two points over Castroneves, as the CART crowd take the weekend off before heading to the Milwaukee Mile and the Miller Lite 225.

-Lola

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske