NAZARETH, PA., (May 27, 2000) -- Solid pit stops by Team KOOL Green's ...
NAZARETH, PA., (May 27, 2000) -- Solid pit stops by Team KOOL Green's #26 crew had Paul Tracy battling for the lead (led 8 laps) in today's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, but a black-flag penalty eventually resulted in a 10th place finish. His teammate Franchitti was less fortunate, ending his race on the first lap when he spun on cold tires.
Today's race winner was Gil de Ferran, who earned his fourth career Champ Car victory by a slim 0.815 seconds over runner-up Mauricio Gugelmin. De Ferran's victory was also Team Penske's 100th in CART and first since Paul Tracy won for Penske at St. Louis in 1997. Rookie Kenny Brack finished third, making his first visit to the podium this year.
The race was a war of attrition with eight cautions in the race for 80 laps and only 14 cars left running at the finish. The fifth caution on lap 129 involved Tracy when Michel Jourdain Jr. spun in front of the #26 KOOL car as the race was about to go green. Tracy also spun, dropping him down the line and forcing the team to employ a new strategy. Tracy pitted on lap 136 to get fuel to go the distance. However, Tracy was dropped further back after the sixth caution when he was black-flagged for passing Luiz Garcia Jr. before the green flag flew on lap 186. He fell back to 13th, but finished 10th as more cars fell out of the race.
Despite his problems today, Tracy collected three points to total 59 for the season and keeps the championship lead with an 11-point advantage over Jimmy Vasser (48). De Ferran is third with 42 in a tie with Roberto Moreno due to his win today. Adrian Fernandez rounds out the top five with 33 points.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 4th / Finished 10th ; Currently 1st in the standings with 59 points)
"We had a car that was capable of winning today. When I was behind Montoya, I was just pacing myself. I figured that we could get ahead of him on pit stops. The #26 KOOL crew kicked butt in the pits again. But, Montoya was being super-aggressive on re-starts and I just let him have it. On the first couple of stops, we beat him off pit lane. It wasn't going to be an issue until the end of the race. I'm extremely disappointed with how everything turned out, but lapped cars cost us our race."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 14th / Finished 23rd ; Currently 11th in the standings with 20 points)
"It was definitely cold tires. There was no contact at all. Initially when we got on the power, everybody was really nervous. Then when we were all getting up to speed, I thought everything would settle down. But when I got on the power a bit hard the KOOL car swapped ends on me. I was running the car backwards and I managed to spin it, but I didn't get the car all the way around. I ended up the wall, which caused enough damage to end my day. I'm very disappointed."