MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2001 -- Round ...
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2001 -- Round #19 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing's Jimmy Vasser finished fifth today at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring the Shell 300 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Teammate Roberto Moreno had an early race mishap and finished 22nd.
Vasser finished in the top-five for the fifth time this year. He has now scored points in three consecutive races for the first time since the start of the season. The strong showing also allowed Vasser to continue his late season charge in the championship standings. The talented and determined native of California earned 10 points for his efforts today and is now 13th in the championship race with 68 points, just 15 points out of tenth place. The resident of Las Vegas, Nevada has now scored points in seven of his ten, and six of his last seven, races at Laguna Seca.
"I am happy that the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team scored points for the third consecutive race, but it just seems like we cannot get a break," Vasser said. "We had a good car, good strategy and were in a position for a podium finish. Who would have though that half the race would have been run under the yellow at the end. I guess that just the way the ball bounces," Vasser concluded.
Moreno, who qualified a season high fourth, was running in sixth place when he saw an opportunity to move up a position. On lap 17 of the scheduled 83-lap event (shortened to 76 laps because of time constraints) he saw an opportunity to pass Paul Tracy. Unfortunately, just as he was moved into position he got into some bad air from Tracy's car and lost his downforce. The #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reyanrd slipped to the side putting a tire in the dirt and that was it as he spun off into the tire barrier. Moreno dropped one position in the championship standings to 12th with 74 points.
"Basically, I was saving fuel and running behind Paul Tracy. Then I realized that out of Turn #4 he was quite slow. A couple of times I got a run on him, so I decided to turn up the mixture of the fuel on the next lap. I came out of Turn #3 well, then, I came out of Turn #4 right behind him and lost my downforce. At that point the power was a bit too much and the wheels started spinning. I went into the dirt and the car spun," Moreno explained. "It was my mistake. I just want to say to all my supporters and my sponsor Visteon, I am sorry," he concluded.