Grand Prix of Long Beach - Round ...
Grand Prix of Long Beach - Round #2 - Sunday, April 8, 2001
Michel Jourdain Jr. - Car #16, Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Firestone
82-laps, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit
Start: 7th Finish: 13th
Sunday was an "up and down" day for Michel Jourdain Jr. and the Herdez Bettenhausen team. After starting in 7th position on the grid, Jourdain passed Dario Franchitti on the first lap to move into 6th position and was running lap times within a fraction of the leaders through his first pit stop on lap 30. However, an engine stall as he was exiting the pits destroyed the team's plans to gain positions on track by short-filling the fuel tank, dropping the car to position 12 on track.
A series of personal-best laps followed as Jourdain rose to 9th place leading up to his second and final fuel stop of the day on lap 50. The stop for four tires and a full load of fuel went smoothly but CART's pit lane speed monitors clocked the exiting car at 51 mph, one mile per hour over the posted limit. The subsequent drive-through penalty dropped Jourdain down a lap on the leaders and out of contention for the day's top honors.
A combination of full course yellow caution periods and hard driving by the 24-year old Mexican brought him back onto the lead lap and into 13th place by the end of the race, just one position shy of earning a point for the weekend's hard work.
Michel Jourdain, Jr.
"In a way, I am very happy and in a way, I am very unhappy. Our strategy for the day was to be fast, be smart, stay with the leaders, and see how the race came to us - but it didn't work out that way. We had everything we needed to be on the podium today - except a little bit of luck. On the first stop when I went to put the car in first gear, the engine just died. And on the second, I am sure I was under the pit lane speed limit because the dash said 49 mph. In the end, we had a good weekend - the car was perfect all day and the team did a great job."
Tom Brown - Chief Engineer
"We believe the pit lane speed was 49 mph. We've been at 49 mph all weekend and our telemetry computers showed 49 mph on the second pit stop as well. We are very, very surprised and disappointed that the CART spotters showed our speed as 51mph, especially when we were clocked at 49 mph again when we came in for the drive through penalty."