Lexington, OH (August 9, 1998) - DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the pole by virtue of a record-shattering qualifying lap of 123.766 mph (1:05.679) on the last lap of the qualifying sessions of the weekend. In all, the first seven drivers on the...
Lexington, OH (August 9, 1998) -
DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the pole by virtue of a record-shattering qualifying lap of 123.766 mph (1:05.679) on the last lap of the qualifying sessions of the weekend. In all, the first seven drivers on the grid broke the record of 122.649 mph (1:06.277) set in the qualifying runs of the 1997 race by BRYAN HERTA. And the top seven accomplished that feat on a 130 degree F. track with air temperatures at 96 degrees F. This morning's weather is a bit different. Cloudy skies prevail with a much cooler track as the competitors line up for the final practice session of the weekend with a start scheduled at 10 a.m. The Green Flag for the Miller Lite 200 will be waved at 2 p.m.
GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the traditional 30-minute warm-up session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 96 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 81 degrees F. As the cars are leaving pit lane, #18 BLUNDELL stalls and the field moves around his car. CART safety workers push the car back to BLUNDELL's pit. BLUNDELL later returns to the practice session.
At 10:01 a.m., the crew of #10 HEARN reports a fuel leak on their car after HEARN leaves pit road. HEARN immediately pits the car.
At 10:05 a.m., five minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #77 MEIER with a lap of 110.360 mph (1:13.657), followed by #34 SALLES (103.957 mph; 1:18.194) and #16X CASTRO-NEVES (99.193 mph; 1:21.949).
At 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #8 HERTA with a lap of 117.807 mph (1:09.001), followed by teammates #26 TRACY (117.174 mph; 1:09.374) and #27 FRANCHITTI (117.160 mph; 1:09.382).
At 10:15 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #8 HERTA with a lap of 119.383 mph (1:08.090), followed by #1X ZANARDI (119.049 mph; 1:08.281) and #21 KANAAN (118.946 mph; 1:08.340).
At 10:17 a.m., #2 UNSER JR. logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 119.522 mph (1:08.011).
At 10:20 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI is now the quickest driver with a lap of 120.222 mph (1:07.615), followed by #2 UNSER JR. (119.522 mph; 1:08.011) and #12 VASSER (119.490 mph; 1:08.029).
At 10:25 a.m., #27 FRANCHITTI is still the fastest with his earlier lap of 120.222 (1:07.615), followed by #8 HERTA (119.784 mph; 1:07.862) and #2 UNSER JR. (119.522 mph; 1:08.011).
At 10:28 a.m., #12 VASSER spins off course at Turn 12 but continues on course to his pit area with no apparent damage to the car.
CHCKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. with #1X ZANARDI now the fastest driver with his last lap of the session, clocked at 120.995 mph (1:07.183), followed by #20X PRUETT (120.820 mph; 1:07.280) and #8 HERTA (120.418 mph; 1:07.505). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 28 cars to the track in this final practice session of the weekend with secondary cars utilized by #1X ZANARDI, #20X PRUETT, #17X GUGELMIN, #33X CARPENTIER, #7X RAHAL, and #16X CASTRO-NEVES. CART drivers logged a total of 241 laps during the 30-minute session.
Notable changes taking place in the session was the jump in speed positions for #26 TRACY and #9 LEHTO. TRACY, starting 21st on the grid, clocked a fourth-fastest speed of 120.291 mph (1:07.576) in the final session. LEHTO will be starting 17th on the grid but was ninth-fastest in the final session with a lap of 119.313 mph (1:08.130). Going in the other direction was #6 ANDRETTI. Starting 10th on the grid, ANDRETTI ran only four laps in the final session, logging a 25th-fastest speed of 116.636 mph (1:09.694).
Esther "Mimi" Woodward, BOBBY RAHAL's 93-year-old grandmother, attends her first CART race today as part of the "Rahal's Last Ride" celebration here for the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Ms. Woodward, now living in Florida, is originally from Medina, Ohio where she was a school teacher for many years. Rahal's mother, Barbara, grew up in Medina and met Bobby's father Michael, a Cleveland native, in the Cleveland area. Bobby was born in Medina but lived there just a year before the Rahals moved to the Chicago area (Glen Ellyn, III.). "At our facility in Florida, all of the ladies gather around the television to watch Bobby's races," said Ms. Woodward. "At first, they didn't believe I was Bobby's grandmother and, then, they didn't know much about racing. Now, they keep up on his racing as much as I do."
Also newsworthy in the Miller Lite camp this week; RAHAL, a past guest on his partner's "Late Show," returns to New York Tuesday for a special appearance on David Letterman's CBS-TV show. Letterman, an avid motorsports enthusiast, joined Team Rahal as a minority owner in 1996 and plans to give Bobby a nice send-oft as part of "Rahal's Last Ride." Both Rahal and Letterman will remain co-owners of the team when Bobby retires from the cockpit at the conclusion of this season. "I'm not sure what Dave has in mind for my Tuesday appearance but it will be good to see him again," said Rahal "He's been so busy with the show that he hasn't been able to make a race this year, but I think he's trying to make the Road America race next week." In addition, on Tuesday, Rahal will be the guest speaker at the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society luncheon at Sardi's in New York City scheduled for 12 noon.
At 1:46 p.m., the National Anthem is sung by Wendy Reiser.
At 1:58 p.m., the command "Daddy and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" is given by the honorary starters, the children of BOBBY RAHAL; Graham, Jarred, Samantha, and Michaela Rahal.
At 1:59 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins t o roll with the field of 28 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps.
At 2:03 p.m. and on the second pace lap, #98 JONES makes a pit stop to attempt to repair a defective radio. The crew rolls out the secondary car and JONES returns to his place in the grid with the secondary car.
GREEN FLAG waves at 2:05 p.m. to start the first of 83 laps of the Miller Lite 200. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 115 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 92 degrees F.
YELLOW FLAG waves almost immediately as #8 HERTA attempts a pass of #27 FRANCHITTI to the inside of Turn 7. As the cars enter Turn 8, HERTA and FRANCHITTI make side to side contact. HERTA spins into the middle of Turn 8 while FRANCHITTI slides to the outside of the turn and make contact with #12 VASSER. VASSER impacts the wall. Further back in the pack, #19 JOURDAIN JR. is hit in the rear of the car by #25 PAPIS and slides into the grass. HERTA attempts to restart his car and pulls back on the track, but spins at Turn 11. HERTA gets re-started and continues to his pit where HERTA's crew determines that the left side radiator has been punctured and the car is too damaged to continue. Though all drivers are uninjured in the incident, HERTA, VASSER, FRANCHITTI and JOURDAIN JR. withdraw from the race due to contact .
#17 GUGELMIN leads the first lap by .911 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 5 with #17 GUGUELMIN leading by .527seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER JR. and #6 ANDRETTI.
On Lap 6, #5 DE FERRAN passes #6 ANDRETTI to take over fifth place.
On Lap 10, #17s GUGUELMIN is leading by .608 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER aJR. and #5 DE FERRAN.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 14 after #77 MEIER spins at Turn 11 and stalls the car. CART safety workers get the car restarted and MEIERc continues on course. MEIER loses a lap to the leaders in the incident.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 15 to resume the race with #17 GUGUELMIN leading by .531 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER JR. and #5 DE FERRAN.
On Lap 20, #17 GUGUELMIN is leading by .830 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER JR. and #5 DE FERRAN.
On Lap 20, #17 GUGUELMIN is leading by .830 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER JR. and #5 DE FERRAN.
On Lap 22, #1 ZANARDI passes #33 CARPENTIER to take over seventh place.
On Lap 24, #20 PRUETT passes #33 CARPENTIER to take over eighth place.
Also on Lap 24, #1 ZANARDI runs off course exiting Turn 1 and takes a rough ride over the grass before he gets back on track. ZANARDI's car sustains slight damage to the left front wing and ZANARDI falls from seventh place to 16th.
On Lap 25, #17 GUGUELMIN is leading by .655 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #99 MOORE, #2 UNSER JR. and #5 DE FERRAN.
On Lap 26, #5 DE FERRAN runs off course at Turn 7 and drops from fifth to 22nd position before he can gather the car back in and continue on course. DE FERRAN immediately pits his car with slight front wing damage.
On Lap 27, #2 UNSER JR. pits and hands over fourth place to #20 PRUETT. UNSER JR. returns to the race in 19th position.
On Lap 30, #99 MOORE is leading by 2.632 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #20 PRUETT and #3 RIBEIRO.
Also on Lap 30, #40 FERNANDEZ and #17 GUGELMIN pit and hand second and third place respectively to #20 PRUETT and #3 RIBEIRO.
On Lap 31, leader #99 MOORE and second-place #20 PRUETT pit. MOORE retains first place and #3 RIBEIRO takes over second place, with PRUETT falling to eighth.
On Lap 35, #34 SALLES spins into the gravel pit at Turn 3.
On Lap 35, #99 MOORE is leading by 1.688 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #2 UNSER JR. and #20 PRUETT.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 36 in order for CART safety workers to retrieve #34 SALLES. SALLES subsequently withdraws from the race due to the incident.
On Lap 40, #99 MOORE leads by .788 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #2 UNSER JR. and #20 PRUETT.
On Lap 45, #99 MOORE leads by 2.614 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #2 UNSER JR. and #20 PRUETT.
On Lap 50, #99 MOORE leads by 6.119 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #17 GUGELMIN, #2 UNSER JR. and #20 PRUETT.
Also on Lap 50, #36 BARRON spins off course at Turn 14 and stalls the car.
YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 52 in order to allow CART safety workers to retrieve the car of #36 BARRON.
Also on Lap 52, the top eleven cars pit. As leader #99 MOORE leaves his pit, he makes contact with the right, rear tire of #3 RIBEIRO who is stopped in the Penske pit just in front of MOORE. MOORE's car becomes briefly airborne and lands hard, damaging the suspension. MOORE subsequently withdraws from the race. #5 DE FERRAN assumes the lead with #40 FERNANDEZ second, #17 GUGLEMIN third, #20 PRUETT fourth, and #7 RAHAL fifth.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 54 to resume the race.
On Lap 55, #5 DE FERRAN leads by 2.464 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, #20 PRUETT, #17 GUGELMIN, and #7 RAHAL.
On Lap 56 while entering Turn 7, #6 ANDRETTI attempts to pass #18 BLUNDELL and #98 JONES by splitting the two cars. Slight contact with the front of JONES sends ANDRETTI into hard contact with the outside wall. ANDRETTI 's car becomes airborne and flips four times into the gravel pit at Turn 7. BLUNDELL slides into the gravel pit as well with JONES sliding to a stop on track. All drivers exit their cars under their own power and walk back to the garage area.
On Lap 57, leader #5 DE FERRAN pits and hands the lead to #40 FERNANDEZ.
On Lap 60 and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the running order is #40 FERNANDEZ leading #20 PRUETT, #7 RAHAL, #17 GUGELMIN, and #26 TRACY.
GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 63 to resume the race.
BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 63 to #9 LEHTO for a pit road safety violation. LEHTO immediately pits the car for a drive through penalty.
On Lap 65, #40 FERNANDEZ leads #20 PRUETT by .933 seconds, followed by #7 RAHAL, #17 GUGLEMIN, and #26 TRACY.
On Lap 70, #40 FERNANDEZ leads #20 PRUETT by .415 seconds, followed by #7 RAHAL, #17 GUGLEMIN, and #26 TRACY.
On Lap 73, #18 BLUNDELL spins into the gravel pit and tire barrier at Turn 11. A local Yellow Flag is shown to warn drivers of the car deep in the gravel pit. BLUNDELL is uninjured in the incident and exits the car under his own power but withdraws from the race due to contact.
On Lap 75, #40 FERNANDEZ leads #20 PRUETT by .651 seconds, followed by #7 RAHAL, #17 GUGELMIN, and #26 TRACY.
On Lap 78 with 5 laps to go, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by .629 seconds over #20 PRUETT.
On Lap 79 with four laps to go, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by .438 seconds over #20 PRUETT.
On Lap 80 with three laps to go, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by .379 seconds over #20 PRUETT with #7 RAHAL third, #17 GUGELMIN fourth, and #26 TRACY.
On Lap 81 with two laps to go, #40 FERNANDEZ leads by .752 seconds over #20 PRUETT.
Also on Lap 81, #1 ZANARDI attempts a pass of #16 CASTRO-NEVES for 12th position as the cars enter Turn 7. ZANARDI and CASTRO-NEVES make side-to-side contact and CASTRO-NEVES then makes contact with the outside wall of Turn 8 while ZANARDI continues on course.
WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 82 with #40 FERNANDEZ leading by .882 seconds over #20 PRUETT.
CHECKERED FLAG waves on lap 83 for ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, the winner of the Miller Lite 200 by .247 seconds over teammate SCOTT PRUETT. Third place goes to BOBBY RAHAL, fourth goes to MAURICIO GUGELMIN, and fifth place to PAUL TRACY.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ averaged 98.428 mph in today's race while taking 1 hour, 53.39 seconds. There were four leaders during today's race with GUGELMIN leading the most laps with 29, followed by FERNANDEZ with 26, MOORE with 23 laps, and DE FERRAN with 5. There were five caution flags for a total of 17 laps. There were 17 cars running at the end of the race with 14 cars on the lead lap.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ wins the Miller Lite 200. This is FERNANDEZ's second win of the season and the third of his career. This is FERNANDEZ's first win on a permanent road course. FERNANDEZ's previous best finish on a permanent road course was a fourth in 1995.
SCOTT PRUETT finishes second today. This matches PRUETT's season-best finish, tying his second-place finish at Portland. Today also represents the fifth consecutive finish among the top six positions for PRUETT.
BOBBY RAHAL finishes third today in his last run at Mid-Ohio. This is RAHAL's season-best finish and his tenth consecutive finish in the points this season.
Today represents the third win of the season for Ford and their 300th victory in Champ Car history. It is also the 12th straight victory for Firestone.
ALEX ZANARDI leads the points chase for the PPG Cup after today's Miller Lite 200 with 191, with teammate JIMMY VASSER in second with 122, GREG MOORE third with 118, FERNANDEZ fourth with 110, and MICHAEL ANDRETTI and SCOTT PRUETT tied with 92 points.
Driver quotes from the top three finishers in today's Miller Lite 200 follow.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate/Quaker State/Labatt Reynard Ford: "The car was very good all day. I was trying to make a good start and get some space between Greg [Moore] and the cars in front of me. That really helped when I came upon the [first lap] accident and had some time to react. I managed to stay behind [Mauricio] Gugelmin until the first stop, when I got out ahead of him. Greg stayed out a lap longer and he was really strong on the second stint. Then he had a problem. I was able to get in front a few laps later and hold the lead until the end. It was a very, very difficult race. Scott was really determining the pace of the race. When he was pushing, I was pushing. It was a great team effort for Patrick racing and myself."
SCOTT PRUETT, Visteon Reynard Ford: "I got caught up on the high side [of the first-lap incident involving Dario Franchitti, Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta]. Ribeiro got underneath me and Zanardi got underneath me and I had to back off. After that, I felt like 'Gosh! It's going to be a long day.' But I just kept climbing back. The Ford engine did a great job. I kept beating that thing all day. I was trying the whole time. I had a little quicker car than he [Fernandez] did and I could catch up with him, but I couldn't do anything with him. Adrian never put a wheel wrong. I wanted to give him a run for his money, but this young man just did a great job on a very demanding race course."
BOBBY RAHAL, Miller Lite Reynard Ford: "As much as I've looked forward to this week, I've faced it with a little trepidation. I don't mean to say I'm not appreciative of everything, but if you let it, you can lose sight of the fact that you're here for a reason. I got in the car and said, 'Let's drive the best race we possibly can.' It's a way of saying thanks and a way of saying goodbye. As I've said all along, I'm going to very much miss driving this circuit. When you do well here, you know you're really accomplished something, and that's what I'm going to miss most. After that last restart, every lap was like qualifying. I think we had 20 laps to go, and I said 'Let's make them the best 20 we've ever had here' and I think we did that. I set my fastest lap with about three laps to go. I come away very satisfied with our drive today."
Source: CART Online