CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Mercedes Race Report

Race: U.S. 500, Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. Date/Session: Sunday, July 25, 1999 Race Results Carpentier 10th for Mercedes at Michigan The 1999 U.S. 500 featured a thrilling, dramatic finish, with...

Race: U.S. 500, Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. Date/Session: Sunday, July 25, 1999 Race Results

Carpentier 10th for Mercedes at Michigan

The 1999 U.S. 500 featured a thrilling, dramatic finish, with Tony Kanaan besting rookie sensation and CART points leader Juan Montoya by inches as last-lap leader Max Papis ran out of fuel on his final run down the back straight. It was the first win of Kanaan's career.

Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz drivers did not figure prominently in the photo finish. Player's/Forsythe Racing pilot Patrick Carpentier's top-10 effort was the sole bright spot in an otherwise disappointing day for the three-pointed star.

By the end of the 250-lap contest, Carpentier's Champ Car was competitive with the leaders, but a handling problem that developed early in the race put him two laps down -- a deficit he could never make up during the event -- and he finally settled for 10th.

Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes driver Al Unser Jr. started 17th on the grid, but quickly sliced his way forward to race in the top five for much of the contest. Roger Penske's crafty veteran driver endured late-race handling problems before withdrawing on the final stages with a loss of power. Unser was credited with 13th place.

Roberto Moreno's impressive tenure with the PacWest Racing team ended today with a 19th place finish. Moreno, substituting once again for the injured Mark Blundell, struggled fruitlessly to handle his car's oversteer before retiring at the halfway point. In his role as "Super Sub," Moreno earned points in six of his eight appearances in the PacWest Motorola Mercedes.

Alex Barron, making his first appearance in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes, retired in 18th place at the halfway point when he over-revved the engine, resulting in damage to the powerplant.

Moreno's teammate, Mauricio Gugelmin was the unfortunate victim of Gil de Ferran's shunt into the Turn Two wall on lap 60. Mo's car collected debris in its radiator from de Ferran's wreck, causing his PacWest Hollywood Mercedes to overheat. Gugelmin was awarded 22nd place.

Defending race winner Greg Moore started 21st, but ran as high as second position during the first pit-stop sequence. The Canadian's day ended early when, after stalling his Champ Car on two-consecutive pit stops, the gearbox broke as he was attempting to exit the Player's/Forsythe pit. Moore finished 23rd. Meanwhile, Hogan Racing driver Helio Castro-Neves exited the race with a cut wiring loom in the early stages of the race.

Mercedes Quotes Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (10th/248 laps) "This was not the race I was expecting. I'm very disappointed. I didn't want to lose laps to the leaders, but we had a push early on and it took us most of the race to fix it. By the end, we were very competitive, but we were already two laps down."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes/Goodyear (13th/206 laps) "We lost power. We had a really good race car all day today. We almost spoiled it by changing the rear wing, but we got the lap back. We'll just keep trying. If I'd have been at the front, I could have run away."

Alex Barron, No. 3, Marlboro Mercedes Penske Mercedes/Goodyear (18th/120 laps) "The car was really hooked up today, but we over-revved the engine early, and the effects of that caught up with us later. It was just unfortunate that it had to end this way."

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (19th /113 laps) "Unfortunately, this was not the way I wanted to finish with the PacWest team. The car was very loose all day. We tried some things, but we lost so many laps that it became pointless to continue. It's a real shame."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (22nd/64 laps) "I got a report from my spotter that Gil de Ferran was wide in Turn One. When I got there, all I saw was debris in the air, and I had to pick my way through. I collected something in the radiator. The temperatures got too high, and we couldn't continue. The car was well balanced yesterday, but it was sliding around a bit today. The heat kept the pace about 10 mph slower than we expected, which meant we had much less downforce on the car."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (23rd/63 laps) "Something happened to the gearbox. I don't know if it had something to do with the early pit stop when we stalled, or not. I am very disappointed. We had a hard time during the first pit stop. We had a car to win this race, but it was not our day."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (25th/47 laps) "It's tough to handle this all the time. We've been working really hard, and my guys are doing a fantastic job. We had a problem in the beginning of the race with a loom that had to be replaced, and then when I went back out and really started running, the car had horrible oversteer. I don't understand what happened because at the beginning of the race, the car was great and then it just went away. It's frustrating, but I know that I've got a great team and a good car behind me. We just need some luck, and all the pieces will fall into place."

Race Results, U.S. 500 Brooklyn, Michigan July 25, 1999 Pos. Driver Engine Laps 1 Tony Kanaan Honda 250 2 Juan Montoya Honda 250 3 Paul Tracy Honda 250 4 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 250 5 Dario Franchitti Honda 250 6 Adrian Fernandez Ford Cosworth 250 7 Max Papis Ford Cosworth 250 8 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 250 9 Jimmy Vasser Honda 249 10 Patrick Carpentier Mercedes-Benz 248 13 Al Unser Jr. Mercedes-Benz 206 18 Alex Barron Mercedes-Benz 120 19 Roberto Moreno Mercedes-Benz 113 22 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 64 23 Greg Moore Mercedes-Benz 63 25 Helio Castro-Neves Mercedes-Benz 47

Driver's Championship: Manufacturer's Championship

Juan Montoya 129 points Honda 228 Dario Franchitti 116 Ford Cosworth 187 Michael Andretti 107 Mercedes-Benz 124 Christian Fittipaldi 101 Toyota 39

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Alex Barron , Roger Penske , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske