CHAMPCAR/CART: Molson Indy Toronto Begins Second Half of the Season

Molson Indy Kicks Off Second Half of Season by Marc Sproule Toronto, Ontario -- If past form is any indication of potential success, then you better have Michael Andretti as your fantasy league driver. In the 13 races at the temporary street...

Molson Indy Kicks Off Second Half of Season by Marc Sproule

Toronto, Ontario -- If past form is any indication of potential success, then you better have Michael Andretti as your fantasy league driver. In the 13 races at the temporary street circuit in Exposition Place, Andretti has won five times and has three other podium finishes. Winning once more here this weekend would make Toronto Michael's most winning venue. He's also won the Milwaukee Mile five times.

Adding fuel to his fire, Michael is currently second in the race for the championship, 18 points behind rookie sensation Juan Montoya. While Montoya has won the headlines this season, Andretti and his Newman/Haas team have been making a run on this year's title. They've finished in the top 10 four times and have been on the podium three times in the last five races: setting the pace for consistency.

Montoya will be looking for revenge. He suffered his first CART dnf last weekend when he fell out of the race with gearbox problems. He dominated the race but only received one point, for leading the most laps. Toronto is Montoya's kind of circuit. Earlier this season, he won on the streets of Long Beach for his first series victory. Street circuits demand an aggressive approach, and Montoya is known for nothing if not his aggression. Last weekend, he really needed to show it twice -- both starts to the race -- and then he left the rest behind.

Of course, there are a lot of other drivers who will have a voice in the results. Last weekend's winner Christian Fittipaldi has been the most consistent point scorer this year, finishing out of the points only once. He's also finished more laps and miles than any other driver has. His maiden victory obviously strengthened his confidence and, like his teammate Andretti, he is looking to keep his consistent record intact. Last year, Dario Franchitti looked like he had Toronto won until fading brakes hobbled him late in the race. Franchitti has been a consistent high finisher this season when not troubled by mechanical woes, and he will be looking to get back into the points battle. He went into last weekend third in the points and came out of it one spot further behind the leader, Montoya.

Others who have a good shot to show well this weekend should be -- in order of their points standings -- Gil de Ferran, Greg Moore, Adrian Fernandez and Paul Tracy, all of whom have won this year. Fernandez and Tracy have both won in Toronto in the past. And all have shown flashes of brilliance recently and any one of them could end up winning here. Perhaps we should add one other driver to the list: Helio Castro-Neves. Helio has been as quick or quicker than the rest of the pack this year only to be let down by mechanical woes. He may well be this weekend's dark horse.

OK, one more driver. When he takes the green flag Sunday, Al Unser, Jr. will be come the all-time CART career start leader, breaking a tie with Bobby Rahal. This will be Unser's 265th start. He is also the only current driver to have been in all the races here at Toronto. He has won here, too, in 1988 and '90. He's starting to come to grips with his Lola, and he's a master street fighter, having won 18 races on temporary circuits. Maybe he's the real dark horse this weekend.

No matter who wins, it'll be a hard-fought battle. Just like the race for the championship is shaping up to be.

Source: CART.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Bobby Rahal , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Al Unser Sr. , Greg Moore