CHAMPCAR/CART: Molson Indy Toronto race day track notes

Good Morning from Toronto, Ontario for Race Day in Canada! The early arrivals to the track this morning have been greeted with weather conditions reminiscent of Laguna Seca. Thick clouds hang over the downtown area with the CN Tower...

Good Morning from Toronto, Ontario for Race Day in Canada! The early arrivals to the track this morning have been greeted with weather conditions reminiscent of Laguna Seca. Thick clouds hang over the downtown area with the CN Tower disappearing into roiling banks halfway up. Drizzle punctuated the early morning hours up to 9 a.m., finally withdrawing after cleaning the racecourse of yesterday's rubber. So it's another guessing game for the teams of the FedEx Championship Series. What wing settings will give the most grip on the ever-changing asphalt/concrete construction of the Exhibition Place track is the challenge. And the drivers and crewmen have a 30-minute session at 10 a.m. to sort it out, because at 2 p.m., the guessing is over, and the Molson Indy is on!

Gail Truess will be piloting the CART Pace Car for today's Molson Indy. This is Gail's seventh year as an active driver on the pace car team. Ms. Truess was 1999 SCCA National Production GT Pro Rally Champion. Pro Rally is a motor sport based on the FIA World Rally Championship. Competing since 1984, this last season became her career best. With several wins and podium finishes she earned her first championship as well as a coveted seed 1 driver rating, which is based on driver performance. Pro Rally features flat out racing against the clock on closed public roads, with events lasting several days in all weather conditions. Gail has also competed in numerous other forms of racing including the PPG Celebrity Challenge races and has been the factory driver for Subaru and the BMW/Skip Barber team.

CART's own Elizabeth "Lizzy" Fornal will belt out the U.S. National Anthem for today's Molson Indy. The wispy Ms. Fornal is a well-known singer in the hot Detroit-area rock scene and has performed numerous times in pre-race ceremonies while on break from her daytime gig in CART's Marketing Department. Patty Janette will sing the Canadian National Anthem.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the final session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track and ambient temperature of 74 degrees F. (23 degrees C.) at the start of the session. Most all drivers have started the session on rain tires as the track is still damp in most areas of the racing line.

At 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #8 BRACK with a lap of 93.197 mph (1:07.792), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (92.248 mph; 1:08.489) and #32 CARPENTIER(92.003 mph; 1:08.672). Most drivers have now switched to slicks as the 10 minutes of practice has already dried out the racing groove.

At 10:11 a.m., #34 MARQUES brushes the tire barrier at Turn 3 but continues on course to his Pit Box without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:16 a.m. to #7 PAPIS for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 10:13 a.m. PAPIS subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:18 a.m. to #25 GARCIA Jr. for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In. GARCIA Jr. subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive thru penalty.

At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #32 CARPENTIER with a lap of 102.485 mph (1:01.648), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (101.936 mph; 1:01.990) and #5 NAKANO (101.805 mph; 1:02.060).

At 10:23 a.m., #26X TRACY stalls at the entrance to the Turn 3 run-off. CART safety workers get the car restarted and TRACY continues to his Pit.

At 10:26 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

BLACK FLAG is shown at 10:27 a.m. to #2 de FERRAN for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit In. De FERRAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

BLACK FLAG is shown to 10:29 a.m. to #96 SERVIA for a Pit Road speed violation at Pit Out. SERVIA subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with the fastest driver #18 BLUNDELL, logging the top time on the last lap of the session with a clocking of 104.651 mph (168.384 kph; 1:00.372). BLUNDELL is followed by #8 BRACK (104.571 mph; 168.256 kph; 1:00.418) and #27 FRANCHITTI (104.290 mph; 167.803 kph; 1:00.581).

Dressed in race trim, the field has tightened up as the top 17 drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #33X CARPENTIER, #26X TRACY, and #34X MARQUES.

Race track notes

At 1:52 p.m., the U.S. and Canadian National Anthems are sung.

At 2:03 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by Sun Contest winners Cam Jackson and Molson Joe.

At 2:04 p.m., the CART Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 25 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:10 p.m. to start the 112-lap Molson Indy! #3 CASTRONEVES grabs the lead into Turn 1. The top seven cars break loose from the rest of the pack as the field streams out of Turn 2. As leader CASTRONEVES brakes for Turn 3, the car briefly loses traction and skates to the outside of the right-hand corner. #97 DA MATTA takes advantage of the miscue and grabs the lead to the inside of the corner. #27 FRANCHITTI heavily brakes and begins to spins, making contact with the right side of #1 MONTOYA, nose to sidepod. Both cars slide to a stop at the outside of the corner. #27 FRANCHITTI retires from the race due to contact while CART safety crews hook up MONTOYA and tow him back to his pit. MONTOYA subsequently retires from the race due to contact.

YELLOW FLAG flies on Lap 1 for the incident in Turn 3. The running order is #97 DA MATTA leading, followed by #3 CASTRONEVES, #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 4 to resume the race. CART course observers report side-to-side contact between #96 SERVIA and #26 TRACY at Turn 1 and again between TRACY and #2 DE FERRAN at Turn 2. TRACY has picked up three spots since the start of the race and now rides in ninth.

On Lap 5, #97 DA MATTA leads by 1.224 seconds over #3 CASTRONEVES.

On Lap 10, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by 1.120 seconds over #3 CASTRONEVES, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

On Lap 10, #19 KUROSAWA pits and subsequently retires from the race due to a mechanical problem.

Also on Lap 10, #26 TRACY has now climbed to seventh.

On Lap 14, #26 TRACY picks up a paper bag in the suspension on the right front tire, but the bag is far away enough from the brake cooler intake that it should not have an effect on the braking of the car.

On Lap 20, #18 BLUNDELL pulls to the outside of the corner at Turn 2 with a mechanical problem. BLUNDELL subsequently retires from the race after CART safety workers fail to get the car restarted.

On Lap 20, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by 1.640 seconds over #3 CASTRONEVES, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

On Lap 23, #96 SERVIA passes #26 TRACY to the inside of Turn 3 and retakes seventh place but not until after #26 TRACY bumps the rear of SERVIA's car exiting the corner.

On Lap 25, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by 1.727 seconds over #3 CASTRONEVES, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

On Lap 30, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by 3.087 seconds over #3 CASTRONEVES, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 BRACK.

On Lap 34, #10 FONTANA and #34 MARQUES spin into the tire barrier at Turn 8, both cars sustaining enough damage to retire from the race due to contact.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 35 for the Turn 8 incident. As the track is going Yellow, #20 MORENO spins after being bumped by #33 TAGLIANI at Turn 1. MORENO rights the car and continues on course to his Pit Area.

On Lap 36 the lead lap cars all pit, with #40 FERANDNEZ leading the 36th lap as he crosses the Start/Finish line in the pits. #97 DA MATTA retakes the lead, winning the race off Pit Road. #55 HERTA has a fire erupt while fueling and subsequently retires from the race. As #2 DE FERRAN is seeking his pit, #11 FITTIPALDI is exiting his pit and makes contact with the rear of #2 DE FERRAN, ripping off his front wing. FITTIPALDI subsequently retires from the race due to contact.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 39 to resume the race.

On Lap 40, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #3 CASTRONEVES, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 43, #33 TAGLIANI passes #7 PAPIS at Turn 3 to take 10th.

On Lap 44, #96 SERVIA and #40 FERNANDEZ wage a side-to-side battle for fourth through Turns 3 and 4 with SERVIA losing the battle on the outside of Turn 5, sliding into the tire barrier. SERVIA loses two laps to the leaders before CART safety workers can get the car restarted and SERVIA heads to his pit.

On Lap 46, #3 CASTRONEVES pits with smoke showing from the rear of the car. CASTRONEVES subsequently retires from the race due to a mechanical problem.

Also on Lap 46, #17 GUGELMIN slows on the backstretch and pulls off course at Turn 3, out of the race with a mechanical problem.

On Lap 50, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by .796 seconds, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, #26 TRACY, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 55, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by .803 seconds, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, #26 TRACY, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 60, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by .646 seconds, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, #26 TRACY, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 65, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by .546 seconds, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, #26 TRACY, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 70, the running order is #97 DA MATTA leading by .416 seconds, followed by #6 ANDRETTI, #40 FERNANDEZ, #26 TRACY, and #96 SERVIA.

On Lap 74, #97 DA MATTA and #7 PAPIS pit. DA MATTA returns to the race in third place. #6 ANDRETTI takes over the lead, followed by #40 FERNANDNEZ and #26 TRACY.

On Lap 75, #6 ANDRETTI pits along with #33 TAGLIANI. #40 FERNANDEZ takes over the lead, followed by #26 TRACY and #12 VASSER.

On Lap 76, #12 VASSER and #26 TRACY both pit. TRACY beats VASSER off Pit Road as ANDRETTI and the rest of the cars in the lead lap pit sequence approach Turn 1. TRACY enters the course just ahead of ANDRETTI and brakes at Turn 1. ANDRETTI flashes by to the inside exiting the corner as TRACY swings wide trying to maintain acceleration. DA MATTA is next behind ANDRETTI and rides against the outside wall leaving Turn 2 to squeeze past TRACY on the backstretch. #40 FERNANDEZ still leads with #20 MORENO and #32 CARPENTIER, but all three drivers still have to pit.

On Lap 78, #40 FERNANDEZ pits and #20 MORENO takes the lead.

On Lap 79, #20 MORENO pits and #40 FERNANDEZ takes the lead. #6 ANDRETTI passes FERNANDEZ on the outside at Turn 3 to take the lead. #26 TRACY also passes #97 DA MATTA to take third at Turn 3.

On Lap 80, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 2.398 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, followed by #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA and #20 MORENO.

On Lap 88, #8 BRACK slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 90, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 3.888 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, followed by #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #20 MORENO.

On Lap 94, #20 MORENO starts to encounter transmission problems and begins to show smoke from the rear of the car.

On Lap 95, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 3.899 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, followed by #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #20 MORENO.

On Lap 100, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 3.840 seconds over #40 FERNANDEZ, followed by #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #20 MORENO.

On Lap 101, #20 MORENO pulls off course at Turn 5 and retires from the race due to a mechanical problem.

On Lap 105, #25 GARCIA JR. slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 105, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 4.851 seconds, followed by #40 FERANDNEZ, #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #33 TAGLIANI.

On Lap 108, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 5.189 seconds, followed by #40 FERANDNEZ, #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #33 TAGLIANI.

On Lap 109, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 5.502 seconds, followed by #40 FERANDNEZ, #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA and #33 TAGLIANI.

On Lap 110, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 5.302 seconds, followed by #40 FERANDNEZ, #26 TRACY, #97 DA MATTA, and #33 TAGLIANI.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 111 for #6 ANDRETTI.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 112 for the winner of the Molson Indy 2000, MICHAEL ANDRETTI! ANDRETTI comes home 6.527 seconds ahead of ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, followed by PAUL TRACY, CRISTIANO DA MATTA, and ALEX TAGLIANI. ANDRETTI took two hours, and 2.313 seconds to log his second victory of the season, averaging 98.248 mph (158.111 kph) in his win Sunday. There four lead changes in Sunday's race involving four different drivers with DA MATTA leading the most with 73, followed by ANDRETTI with 34, FERNANDEZ with three, and MORENO with two. There were 11 cars running at the end of the race with 10 cars on the lead lap. The Yellow Flag flew twice for a total of seven laps.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI logs his second victory of the season today in his Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford/Lola, his other coming at Japan. This is also ANDRETTI's 40th career victory, first place in CART history for total wins. This is ANDRETTI's first street/road course victory since Vancouver in 1996. This is also ANDRETTI's sixth career win in Toronto (1989, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1995), the most at a single venue in his career. ANDRETTI's second most successful venue is Milwaukee, where the American has won five.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ comes home second Sunday in his Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford/Reynard, logging his second podium of the season, the other being a win at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. FERNANDEZ has finished among the top nine five of his six appearances here at Toronto.

PAUL TRACY logs his fourth podium of the season Sunday in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard. He has a victory at Long Beach and third-place finishes at Rio de Janeiro and Homestead. This is also the Mexican's seventh top-10 finish in nine career starts here at Toronto.

It obviously pays to work your way up the CART Ladder System as the top five finishers in Sunday's race are all products of the Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantics.

Molson Indy officials report a record attendance for Sunday's race. There were 72,976 Champ Car fans here at Exhibition Place Sunday for ANDRETTI's victory. This also pushed the three-day total to a new weekend record: a total of 168,353 coming through the gates. Congratulations to the entire Molson Indy staff!

With a fifth-place finish in the Molson Indy, ALEX TAGLIANI earned the Budweiser Hard Charger Award. The award is presented to the driver who makes the greatest improvement in track position from the beginning to the end of the race. TAGLIANI jumped from 19th on the grid to a fifth-place finish.

Quotes from Sunday's top three finishers:

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "It was just perfect timing to make up some ground on [points leader] Roberto [Moreno]. He had some problems and you need to make up some ground when that happens. I think I said yesterday that [the races at] Michigan and Fontana [Calif.] are going to be the key to the championship. The guy who's the best there is going to have a good shot at the championship. As for today, I was trying to keep pressure on Helio [Castroneves] in the early part of the race. I was trying to fill his mirrors and get him to make a mistake, and he made a few small ones but not enough for me to get around him. At that point I decided I'd count on my guys in the pits and we did it. Then, I did the same thing with Mr. [Cristiano] da Matta. I was trying to fill his mirrors and force a mistake. He made a few small ones but not enough to do anything and then he pitted before me. That had to be my fastest lap of the race. I was running a qualifying lap right before my stop. I knew when I was racing Adrian, he would race me clean and I was able to get around him going into Turn 3. From there, it was just a matter of trying not to make a mistake, and I was able to do it. I'm really happy to get my 40th win here in Toronto, the fans here are so great."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: "For us it was a good race. We gained two positions at the start when [Juan] Montoya and [Dario] Franchitti got together, and I got by [Gil] de Ferran on the restart. Then, I saw Paul coming and I said, 'Here we go again.' He did the same thing at Cleveland. I really had to concentrate. I had kind of a big moment with Oriol Servia, and after that, there were really no yellows. My brakes started to fade towards the end and I had to be careful not to completely kill them before the end of the race. We made up a lot of positions on fuel. After the last stop, I got out ahead of Michael, but he had more temperature in his tires and he was able to get past. But it was a great result for Patrick Racing today."

PAUL TRACY: "It was an up-and-down weekend with the weather and various problems we had. I'm very happy with the way things turned out. It was almost disastrous at the start. I hit the wall and bent the suspension, and I had a problem with the right front tire. It would build up too much pressure, so I had to be really careful. It was a handful all day, and I'm glad we were able to come home in third." (On paying tribute to Greg Moore with his helmet design this weekend): "It's not too emotional. I mean, we're all sad about what happened, but now it's time to pay tribute to Greg's life. It was an honor wearing his helmet today; I think it was a little push from behind today. I want to thank Ric [Moore, Greg's father], his wife, and his whole family for letting me do this here this weekend. We've been able to do some really great things for the Greg Moore Foundation."

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Skip Barber , Greg Moore