CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Mo Nunn Racing race report

Tony Kanaan and his ...

Tony Kanaan and his #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard saw a promising run end 121 laps into today's 201-lap Bridgestone Potenza 500 with a mechanical failure.

Kanaan was leading the race when he reported heavy smoke in the cockpit on Lap 118. He pitted on Lap 121 and retired with a mechanical failure. Kanaan started second and took the lead at the start, staying in front until the first round of pit stops on Lap 38. He resumed just behind Paul Tracy and stayed in the second position until shortly after the second round of pit stops began on Lap 75. Kanaan retook the lead on Lap 84, and stayed there for all but one lap until his Lap 121 retirement.

Kanaan, who finished third here from the fifth starting position last year for Mo Nunn Racing's first-ever podium, led 72 laps in all today and earned his first championship point of the season. Kanaan also recorded the fastest lap of the race, a 26.425-second (210.891-mph) tour of the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval on Lap 31. His front-row starting spot this weekend was the fourth of his career.

Polesitter Bruno Junqueira scored the victory today with Alex Tagliani second and Dario Franchitti third.

Speed Channel's showing of its first tape-delayed broadcast of today's race is at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Round Four of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series schedule is the Miller Lite 250 on June 2 at the Milwaukee Mile. Next up for Mo Nunn Racing is the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, where Kanaan will team with Indy Racing League regular Felipe Giaffone in identical Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force entries. Practice opens next Sunday (May 5) with Pole Day qualifying set for Saturday, May 11.

Tony Kanaan
"What can you possibly say after that ... another day in paradise? Three DNFs in a row is definitely a bad trend that we have to get over before we get into the meat of our schedule in June. I did my part. The team did its part. Once again, we have to leave here trying to believe that there is still a long, long way to go in the season and we can get over this bad streak and back into the points race. That's life ... things happen."

"But it's really tough to take, especially when you have a weekend as good as we had until the problem in the race. We definitely had the car to win today. It just wasn't meant to happen, for some reason. What that reason is, we'll find out someday. But for right now, we can only go home and be thankful that we are in one piece, and remember that it could have been a lot worse."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mo Nunn