LONG BEACH, Calif., April 16, 2000 - Driver Bryan Herta brought the ...
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 16, 2000 - Driver Bryan Herta brought the #5 Walker Racing avex/Honda/Reynard home in fifth place today during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Herta is substituting for regular driver Shinji Nakano while Nakano continues to recover from injuries sustained in a private testing accident in Milwaukee on March 31.
Herta started the race in fifth place and steadily moved up on the rest of the field up to and including his first scheduled pit stop on Lap 34. The team made no changes to the car during the pit stop, only changing tires and refueling. Herta reentered the racecourse and continued track until he entered turn one on lap number 46, where he spun, recovered control of the car and continued on.
"I went wide on the corner and had to recover the car and lost several spots due to that mistake," said Herta. "I don't know the car inside and out and I just misjudged it, but I'm getting there. I thought I could get in the corner a little deeper and it was a last minute I don't think I'm going to make it, and I couldn't."
Herta fought back the rest of the race and brought the car home in the points-paying fifth position for the Walker race team.
"I think our race strategy today was spot-on for the things that were under our control," said Derrick. "I think we had a podium car today without a doubt. We came back and finished well. With everything that has gone on with our situation with Shinji not being able to drive, it was a good finish." Herta had only tested a total of 65 laps in the Walker Racing car prior to this weekend's Grand Prix at Firebird Raceway on Tuesday, April 11 and Long Beach was his first race start in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship season.
"I had a great time today and I really want to thank Derrick and Gerry Forsythe and Honda and all the people who allowed me this opportunity," said Bryan. "For the circumstances surrounding this race, and coming together so late as a team, we had a top five finish today and I don't think you could have possibly expected any more, I'm really pleased and I'm definitely looking forward to Rio."
Round four of the CART FedEx Championship Series will be the Rio 200, which will be contested during the weekend of April 28-30 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. on April 30. Walker Racing's corporate sponsor partners are avex, Alpine, J. Communications, Mitsuba, SpeedWRX, NGK, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Honda, Reynard and Firestone.