CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Mercedes Benz Review

Despite Bad Luck, Moore Maintains Second Place In CART FedEx Points Several of the Mercedes-Benz powered drivers entered in Sunday's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway, predicted the 98 lap event would be tough...

Despite Bad Luck, Moore Maintains Second Place In CART FedEx Points

Several of the Mercedes-Benz powered drivers entered in Sunday's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway, predicted the 98 lap event would be tough and grueling. They were right.

Al Unser Jr. charged from eighteenth starting position to finish fifth as Alex Zanardi scored his second consecutive victory and extended his FedEx Championship Series driver points lead over Player's/Forsythe Team's Greg Moore.

Mercedes driver Moore's race ended in a first-turn, first-lap crash which also took Christian Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy out of the race. Marlboro Team Penske driver, Al Unser Jr. and Hollywood PacWest Team's Mauricio Gugelmin both steered clear of the cars spinning on lap one and began strong drives toward the front of the pack. For both Unser and Gugelmin, Portland represented important results for their teams' 1998 season fortunes.

Player's/Forsythe driver Patrick Carpentier struggled with handling problems at the beginning of the race but settled down to a good pace with the help of adjustments made during pit stops. Demonstrating perseverance, the young Canadian drove the fastest lap of the race.

Former Formula One driver, JJ Lehto suffered bad luck after a good start. He gained 11 positions after the first lap accident, but just three laps after the restart, a broken exhaust pipe forced his retirement.

Mercedes-Benz Driver Quotes

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone

"It was a tough race, but finally I had a car that stayed consistent the whole race. At the start, I was in that bad position, you know, the middle of the pack. So in these situations, especially when the first turn is followed by a left, like here, I like to stay to the outside. Then I saw the Greg (Moore) shoot to the inside and the next thing, I radioed in that I was by the mess and clear."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone

"I had problems early on -- too much sliding and not enough speed. Things improved a lot toward the end of the race -- Hey, I had the fastest lap of the race! I feel badly for Greg, he had such a tough weekend. But I really learned so much from him. Advice from Greg, watching Zanardi, and karting practice gave me new ideas that just came automatically to me during the race. I'm looking forward to Cleveland and Toronto."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 22, Team Alumax Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear

"This was a tough race. But thank God everything went well. On that first lap I saw Christian (Fittipaldi) get sideways. I saw a lot of crashing cars and I just took to the grass. Thank God the car was OK after that. Then on a pit stop, I ran over a hose and cut my right rear tire."

Andre Ribeiro, No. 3, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear

"The gearbox worked perfectly all day until lap 93 when we had a problem which ended our day. It's really too bad because we were having a good race and both Marlboro cars were improving. Each week we see more and more of the car's potential. Now we just need for our luck to change and we should be right there.."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 14th - 59.346 seconds

"I had a very good start, passing a couple of cars. The pack seemed loose, so I didn't think it would be too bad. I went down to the inside. It was just a big melee."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Mauricio Gugelmin , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore , JJ Lehto
Teams Team Penske