CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Honda Racing race report

Franchitti finishes third in Portland. Dario Franchitti took advantage of typical opening-lap confusion at Portland International Raceway, jumping up to fourth place from his seventh starting position when the green flag waved to start today's...

Franchitti finishes third in Portland.

Dario Franchitti took advantage of typical opening-lap confusion at Portland International Raceway, jumping up to fourth place from his seventh starting position when the green flag waved to start today's GI Joe's 200. The Team KOOL Green driver then went on to battle first with Alex Tagliani and later rookie Townsend Bell to finish third in today's CART FedEx Championship Series event. The result equaled his best previous finishes this year, and moved the Scot back up to fourth in the championship standings.

Mo Nunn Racing's Tony Kanaan had his best finish of the season to date, running as high as sixth and finishing eighth, just ahead of Team Motorola's Michael Andretti. Andretti and fellow Honda drivers Adrian Fernandez and Shinji Nakano put on the best on-track battle of the day until Fernandez crashed without injury on lap 86. Nakano went on to finish 11th, his third points-scoring finish of the year.

Paul Tracy also saw a promising day end early when an attempted pass on Christian Fittipaldi ended with the Brazilian driver turning down into Tracy's Honda-powered machine. Tracy returned to pit lane after the incident, but was unable to continue due to damaged suspension.

Today's sixth round in the series ended a three race swing on consecutive weekends. The FedEx Championship Series now takes one week off before resuming with another three-in-a-row stretch starting June 30 at the Chicago Motor Speedway oval.

Honda Fast Facts

* This was Dario Franchitti's third podium (top three) finish of the season to-date

* Although this was his best race finish this season, Tony Kanaan has demonstrated plenty of speed this year, leading three of the six races held so far

Dario Franchitti (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) started 7th, finished 3rd:

"It's good to be on the podium, we had a really good start and moved up to fourth, that helped us a lot. The car was really good in the first part of the race but then seemed to lose a bit. We made a couple of changes, but never really got it back. I think we'll need to do some more homework before the next couple of road courses. The guys in front were in a different league than us today, but it certainly was a much better weekend than last week in Laguna."

Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) started 14th, finished 8th:

"I fought the car all day, it had a lot of oversteer. But we did okay, all things considered. We should have finished sixth, but made a bad call by coming into the pits one lap too early. Still, eighth is our best finish of the season and we are going to Chicago, a good track for me (Kanaan qualified on the pole last season). We're no longer last in (championship) points, so that's progress!"

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) started 12th, finished 9th:

"I had an awesome start and had gained quite a few positions but we ended up getting pushed wide in the first turn and that put me off in the dirt. I think our race might have been a lot different had we made it through that first corner without any drama. As it ended up I was pushed pretty far to the back of the field after the first corner. The car is getting better on each outing and that's really important. As we get a handle on the car we'll be able to improve our qualifying effort, which is really key at so many of these tracks. We'll just keep working at it."

Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Fernandez Racing Honda) started 15th, finished 14th (not running - contact):

"Last week I was the guy that started the trouble on the first lap, but this time it was somebody else and I got hit. The left front suspension was slightly damaged but the car wasn't that bad and I could continue. Then on our last pit stop, we put on sticker (brand new) tires and they were much more slippery than I thought. I was all over the place and just trying to stay in front of Cristiano (da Matta) and it caught me out. I made a mistake and put the car into the wall."

Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) started 9th, finished 17th (not running - contact):

"Alex Tagliani came out of the pits and was kind of slowing up Christian (Fittipaldi) and I think Christian was just focused on getting by "Tags". I had a good run going and when I came up alongside of Christian to take the corner, he just turned in on me. I had nowhere to go. I don't think that he saw me. It's too bad because the car was pretty good, now we'll just have to wait until Chicago."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Townsend Bell , Mo Nunn