Disappointing day for Team Kool Green at Laguna Seca. MONTEREY, Ca. - A series of unexpected challenges marred the way to victory for Team KOOL Green at Mazda Raceway today, forcing both Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti into early retirement and...
Disappointing day for Team Kool Green at Laguna Seca.
MONTEREY, Ca. - A series of unexpected challenges marred the way to victory for Team KOOL Green at Mazda Raceway today, forcing both Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti into early retirement and eliminating the duo's opportunity to earn much needed championship points in the CART FedEx Championship Series.
Brazilian Cristiano da Matta earned his second victory of the season, cruising to the checkered flag 19.087 seconds ahead of fellow countryman and teammate Christian Fittipaldi. Kenny Brack followed to round out the top three.
The end for Franchitti, who was scheduled to run his 100th career Champ Car race, came early. The Scotsman, who had started in the 14th spot, found himself caught up in a first lap incident with Adrian Fernandez, Townsend Bell and Michel Jourdain at Turn two. Franchitti was hit by Jourdain who was attempting to rejoin the race, and suffered race-ending damage to his Lola race car.
Tracy, who was also caught up in the first lap pileup, lost a winglet in the incident but was advised by Team KOOL Green race strategist John Anderson to remain on the track until his first scheduled pit stop. When Tracy pit on lap 15, a miscommunication caused his car to be dropped before the left rear wheel nut was properly secured, and the tire fell off as he made his way into the third corner of the race track.
Da Matta now leads the CART FedEx Championship Series points standings with 51 points. Michel Jourdain is second with 47 points and Christian Fittipaldi is third with 43 points. Franchitti is fifth with 35 points while Tracy is sixth with 32. TKG technical partner Michael Andretti is ninth with 30 points.
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"We came in to make our scheduled pit stop and to try to get out of the pack. When I left the pit I didn't know if the tire was loose, or whether it was just cold tires. The crew didn't know for sure that the tire wasn't on and they waved me out. I got down into the third corner and the back wheel just fell off. It was a disappointing day for Team KOOL Green. On the start, in the turn one incident, we got the left side winglet knocked off the car. We were just going to try to struggle around the track and work to get some points but it wasn't to be. That's just motor racing; you can't have it good all of the time. It's a long season and we'll try to come back next week."
Speed: 111.763 mph
Time: 1:12.088 seconds
Laps Completed: 15
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 0
Championship Standing: 6th with 32 points
Eric Haverson, Chief Mechanic #26 KOOL -Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"We brought Paul in because we thought if we could get out of sequence we could run quicker alone. It was a bit of a gamble, but we thought it would pay off. It's been a tough weekend. In the pit stop, we made a human error and dropped the car before the inside rear tire was completely tight. I sent Paul out and the wheel just worked its way loose."
Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"I was trying to stay out of trouble in the first corner. It slows down as it always does, and I guess that caught some of the other drivers by surprise. One guy hit Michel (Jourdain) and spun him around but I thought I was clear because I could see him behind me. I went to the outside as far as I could, but there were cars on the right. When Michel tried to rejoin, he spun it in reverse and hit me. You can't do much in this type of situation; you've got nowhere to go. It's unfortunate. We'll have to take what we learned about the KOOL car (Lola) this weekend and come back and get them at Portland next week."
Speed: 111.059 mph
Time: 1:12.545 seconds
Laps Completed: 0
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 0
Championship Standing: 5th with 35 points
Kyle Moyer - Team KOOL Green Team Manager
"It's a fitting end to the weekend we had here. Things weren't good in qualifying, but I think we were starting to get a handle on this place. The past couple of years at Laguna Seca have been a challenge to us. Dario didn't do anything wrong and I think the car would have been okay in the race. With the strategy we were running, I think we could have put the KOOL car up front. The Turn One incident was an absolute shame, we came here to earn championship points and we're leaving without them. We're going to have to make up some ground as we move into Portland."