MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 14, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti charged hard at the finish, chasing race winner Michael Andretti across the finish line in today's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi. Franchitti's runner-up finish was...
MOTEGI, JAPAN (May 14, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti charged hard at the finish, chasing race winner Michael Andretti across the finish line in today's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi. Franchitti's runner-up finish was his first podium this season and first since his victory in Australia in the second to last race last season. He started 17th today, but was only 0.546 seconds behind Andretti at the finish. Roberto Moreno came home in third.
Paul Tracy's strong climb from 20th to a sixth-place result also keeps Team KOOL Green firmly atop the championship standings. He collected eight points and now has 56 on the year, which gives Tracy a 14-point lead over Jimmy Vasser and Moreno with 42. Franchitti, meanwhile, jumped from 17th to ninth in the championship standings with 20 points.
With the time difference (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time), the race will be run at 11:00 p.m. ET on Friday and telecast on ABC-TV via tape-delay on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 20th / Finished 6th ; Currently 1st in the standings with 56 points)
"Considering where we started, sixth place is a fantastic result. It was a street fight out there. We fought and fought all day long and picked up eight valuable points to keep the lead in the championship. It was a team effort today. Great work by the engineers to get the car working better and once again the Team KOOL Green crew kicked butt in the pits.
"The start was pretty wild because my car was really loose. It was loose on all the re-starts. I couldn't commit to being right behind guys. That was our biggest problem of the day. I just couldn't get underneath guys and I couldn't stay close in the corners. Then I wasn't close enough to make a pass on the straight. The crew got the balance better throughout the race, but the car was always nervous when behind other guys."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 17th / Finished 2nd ; Currently 9th in the standings with 20 points)
"Second is not as good as first, but I'll take it. The guys did a great job with the KOOL car, dialing it in throughout the race. The Honda engine, I'll tell you what, that's the strongest I've ever seen it. That was brilliant. On the last re-start, I went a bit high to try to get away from Michael. I went too high, but it was close. I'm just happy, happy to be back on the podium. I'm happy that the team is back on track. I'm happy for my engineers Steve Challis, Tino Belli, my crew chief Kyle Moyer and all the crew guys. It was just an awesome race to come from that far back (started 17th)."