Nazareth, Pa. (May 27, 2000) - Rookie Norberto Fontana's day ended early at the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix after contacting the wall in Turn Two on Lap 115 of the 225-lap event. Fontana returns to action this weekend after missing the Firestone...
Nazareth, Pa. (May 27, 2000) - Rookie Norberto Fontana's day ended early at the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix after contacting the wall in Turn Two on Lap 115 of the 225-lap event. Fontana returns to action this weekend after missing the Firestone Firehawk 500 in Motegi Japan due to briefly losing consciousness after a practice crash on Friday morning (May 12). He is the first driver to utilize the HANS (head and neck system) device in a CART event.
"I had a problem with my neck this morning (after my accident in Japan)," Fontana said, "so I was just taking it easy focusing on my race, running consistent good laps. I started to get a little understeer in the corner, but other than that the car was good. I felt the car go low on the right rear and then move back up again like I'd run over something. Something broke in the rear, but we don't know what it was yet. We've had some very bad luck this year. It's difficult to get your confidence back up (after an incident like in Japan) when you hit again.
"The HANS device definitely did its job. I felt my head and body moving forward then the device pulled me back. It kept my muscles from being pulled again. It's a good thing I was wearing it."
Fontana qualified 22nd with a speed of 164.197 mph, circling the 0.946-mile oval in 29.741 seconds. He started the postponed event in 21st though after Takuya Kurosawa was withdrawn due to an accident during the morning warm up. Fontana picked up two positions on the start when Dario Franchise and Christian ad Mata had an incident on the front straight. He maintained 18th position until Lap 71 when Max Papist exited the race. On Lap 76 while under yellow, Fontana pitted for fuel and tires. The engine stalled during the stop, but the crew quickly got Fontana underway. He returned to the field in 18th place where he remained until the end of his race.