CHAMPCAR/CART: Nakano Vancouver pit strategy almost pays off

Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Sept. 3, 2000 - Walker Racing driver Shinji Nakano in the ...

Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Sept. 3, 2000 - Walker Racing driver Shinji Nakano in the #5 avex/Honda/Reynard/Firestone car was on his way to a very good finish in today's Molson Indy Vancouver race on the streets of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada today, until his day ended early on Lap 51 of the 90 lap race. Shinji started the race in 22nd place, and had moved up to 14th place by the 50th lap of the race in the beautiful Canadian city. Temperatures were unseasonably cool at the start of the race, so CART race officials added an extra pace lap in advance to give the drivers an opportunity to get their tires fully warmed up by the time the green flag flew. The Walker Racing strategy team consisting of owner Derrick Walker, Team Manager Rob Edwards and Race Engineer Al Bodey decided before the race to take advantage of that additional pace lap on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit and brought Shinji in before the green to top off his fuel, therefore giving him more methanol than every other driver at the start of the race. The Walker team utilized that smart fuel strategy again when yellow flags were flown for incidents involving other drivers during the early laps of the race. Owner Derrick Walker called Shinji in to top off his fuel on Laps 12 and 17 and thus gave him the advantage of being able to stay out on the racetrack and move up in position when the race leaders began to pit for their scheduled stops on Lap 40. "The team had planned a very good strategy at the start of the race," said Shinji, "and I was able to stay out and race longer than the leaders, but I pushed too hard going into the turn and the car got away from me. The car was (handling) very good during the race, and it was very comfortable for me to drive, much better than the morning warm-up." Shinji lost control of the car after going into turn seven and hit the inside wall between turns seven and eight. The car sustained moderate to heavy damage on the left side, which was enough to put him out of the race. He was uninjured. In the unseasonably cool Sunday morning warm-up Shinji made contact with the outside wall of turn 11, and went nose-first into the wall, damaging the nose cone and wing. He finished the warm-up in his back-up car, but the Walker Racing team swiftly made all necessary repairs to the car allowing him to start the race in his primary car. Round 16 of the CART FedEx Championship Series will be contended next weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring the Shell 300 on the permanent road course at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Shinji Nakano