#55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard
June 30 to July 2, 2000 – Pre-Race Notes/Quotes
Round 9 of 20 on the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series
At Burke Lakefront Airport – Cleveland, Ohio (2.346-mile temporary street course)
“I’m so glad to be coming back to Cleveland. I was down in the dumps last year when they announced we weren’t going back. And then, this year, when my full-time ride situation went away, it looked like I wasn’t coming back after all. Like I said at Portland, these aren’t the circumstances you want to get you back in a race car (replacing injured regular Tony Kanaan). Tony’s doing really well and will be back before too long. But in the meantime, I want to do my part to keep the program rolling in the right direction. We had a rough weekend in Portland, but it got better as we went along. I even turned the fifth-fastest lap of the race by the time all was said and done. So that’s a good foundation to build on here in Cleveland. I love the track. It’s probably the funnest time we have all year because it’s wide-open, full-throttle racing. I felt very comfortable in my Hollywood/Mercedes by race’s end at Portland. So we’ll start fresh on Friday and be the contender we know deep down inside we are. Cleveland rocks!”
**Herta, who began substituting for the injured Tony Kanaan last weekend at Portland, owns four top-six finishes in six career starts at Burke Lakefront Airport, including podium results of second in 1995 and third in 1997. He also finished fifth in 1996 and sixth last year.
**Herta also competed here twice in Dayton Indy Lights competition, winning from the pole in 1993 on his way to the series championship, and finished second from the #2 spot on the grid in 1992.
**Last weekend at Portland, Herta started 20th and finished 16th, three laps down. Friday morning practice was his first time in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard, and it seemed all uphill from there. He got all of about 100 laps of practice and qualifying in before Sunday’s 112-lap race. By the race’s midpoint, Herta was turning competitive laps, clocking the fifth-fastest lap of the race on Lap 98. A pair of pit lane miscues – a stuck buckeye flap on the fuel filler on the first round of stops, and an entry line violation on the second round of stops – put him three laps down.
**Kanaan, meanwhile, is recovering from injuries sustained in a final qualifying session accident in Detroit two weekends ago. He fractured four ribs on his left side, and underwent surgery to repair a broken left forearm. He is expected to be back in four to six weeks. Last Monday, Kanaan flew to Indianapolis from his Miami home to begin several weeks of rehabilitation. He is staying with Hollywood-sponsored Indy Lights competitor and fellow Brazilian Felipe Giaffone.
**Kanaan will visit his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing teammates this weekend in Cleveland, expecting to arrive late Friday.
**Team owner Morris Nunn was technical director for the last four CART FedEx Championship Series champions while at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing – Juan Montoya last year, Alex Zanardi in 1998 and 1999, and Jimmy Vasser in 1996. He is on a three-race winning streak here, winning from the pole last year with Montoya, from the pole with Zanardi in 1997 and from the third spot with Zanardi in 1998. He also finished second here with Herta in 1995, and won here with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989 while with Patrick Racing.