CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Team Kool Green race report

Franchtti finishes 4th tn CART championship. MEXICO CITY - Dario Franchitti claimed fourth place in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series final standings today for Team KOOL Green, by virtue of his fifth-place finish in the series' season...

Franchtti finishes 4th tn CART championship.

MEXICO CITY - Dario Franchitti claimed fourth place in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series final standings today for Team KOOL Green, by virtue of his fifth-place finish in the series' season finale in Mexico City. It is Franchitti's third top-five championship finish during his five-year tenure with TKG.

Things looked promising for Franchitti to pick up his fourth win of the year, after excellent pit strategy put him in first place following the second round of pit stops. He stayed at the head of the field for 12 laps and built up a lead of over six seconds, until a full-course caution caused the field to pit en masse and a problematic pit stop put him in 5th. Franchitti's TKG teammate Paul Tracy didn't fare as well. Tracy fell one lap down after a first-turn incident on the start, and eventually retired with mechanical problems on lap 62. He ends the season 11th in the point standings.

Kenny Brack picked up his first winner's trophy of the year, followed by 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira. TKG technical partner Michael Andretti's day came to an abrupt end when he made contact with the wall on lap 51, and he ends the year ninth in the championship.

Today's race marked the end of an era, as it signalled the last event for Team KOOL Green, a mainstay on the CART circuit since being formed by Barry Green in 1997. Franchitti and Tracy have combined for 16 wins, including five 1-2 finishes, and their five years together as teammates is one of the longest and most successful driver pairings in CART history.

Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"We had a six-second lead before the yellow, but I overshot the pits on my last stop. I didn't know by how much, but it was enough to slow the stop down. I thought we might get passed by Christian (Fittipaldi) but when I saw the other guys going by I thought how the heck did they get past me. I guess it was a case of Team KOOL Green being quick on the track today but not as quick in the pits. It's been a weekend of mixed emotions, for sure, and I am going to miss a lot of things about CART. I think Christian summed it up best when he came up to me and said, ^ÑIt's been a pleasure racing against you.' I feel the same way about every guy out there."

Warm-up
Position: 6th
Speed: 113.904 mph
Time: 1:28.053

Race
Started: 3rd
Finished: 5th
Laps Completed: 73
Laps Led: 12
Points Earned: 10
Championship Standing: 4th

Kyle Moyer - Team KOOL Green Team Manager

"When everybody comes in the pits together, if the stop goes perfect you're OK. If it doesn't, you have a problem because everybody's within a half-second of each other coming into the pits. We didn't need the yellow. I think maybe it's just our luck. Last race Michael (Andretti) didn't need it, this week we didn't need it, that's just the way it goes with our luck this year. It looked like our strategy was going to work. We took a full load of fuel on the first stop and then we were only going to have to change tires on the rest. That's what put us up front but it just wasn't meant for us to stay there."

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I don't know what went wrong with the car but it was something in the rear suspension. The KOOL car was bouncing up and down off the ground. I kept catching (Michel) Jourdain but the car kept bouncing. It's a tough way to end the season and my run with Team KOOL Green. It was a bad way to start the race. I'm sorry for Jimmy (Vasser). I locked my brakes and that was it. I'm a little sad today. My crew really works hard for me and I'm going to miss that. "

Warm-up
Position: 3rd
Speed: 114.679 mph
Time: 1:27.534

Race
Started: 8th
Finished: 16th
Laps Completed: 61
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 0
Championship Standing: 11th

John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant

"There have been a lot of dramas and a lot of frustrations for Team KOOL Green this weekend. Paul was running some amazing laps out there, every lap was a bloody fast one. After losing a lap early you just hope to catch the yellows right. Then something went wrong with the back of the car and that was all she wrote."

-TKG -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Barry Green , John Anderson , Cristiano da Matta