CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Race Day Track Report

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes August 16, 1998 Good Morning from beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Race Day at Road America! The weather is perfect, with cool breezes and no threat of rain. The grid is set and the teams are ready. The...

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes August 16, 1998

Good Morning from beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Race Day at Road America! The weather is perfect, with cool breezes and no threat of rain. The grid is set and the teams are ready. The Green Flag to start Round 14 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Texaco/Havoline 200, will fly at 2:30 p.m. Today's CART on-track activities will start with the traditional 30-minute warm-up at 10:30 a.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 91 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 75 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 10:35 a.m., five minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #9 LEHTO with a lap of 134.172 mph (1:48.613), followed by #6 ANDRETTI (129.759 mph; 1:52.307) and #34 SALLES (127.622 mph; 1:54.187).

At 10:40 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #9 LEHTO with a lap of 138.173 mph (1:45.468), followed by #34 SALLES (137.026 mph; 1:46.351) and #10X HEARN (136.631 mph; 1:46.658).

At 10:45 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #99X MOORE with a lap of 140.575 mph (1:43.666), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (140.514 mph; 1:43.711) and #5X DE FERRAN (139.315 mph; 1:44.603).

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #17 GUGLEMIN with a lap of 140.770 mph (1:43.522), followed by #99X MOORE (140.575 mph; 1:43.666) and #33 CARPENTIER (140.514 mph; 1:43.711).

At 10:52 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL spins at Turn 5 but continues on course to his pit area.

At 10:55 a.m., #12 VASSER with a lap of 141.654 mph (1:42.876), followed by #17 GUGELMIN (140.770 mph; 1:43.522) and #99X MOORE (140.575 mph; 1:43.666).

At 10:57 a.m., #21 KANAAN spins at Turn 5 but continues on course to his pit area.

At 10:58 a.m., #77 MEIER runs off course at Turn 13 but gains control of the car and continues on course to his pit area.

At 10:59 a.m., #16 CASTRO-NEVES spins off course at Turn 5 but continues on course t his pit area.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11 a.m. to end the session with #19X JOURDAIN JR. the fastest driver with a lap of 142.506 mph (1:42.261), followed by #34 SALLES (142.416 mph; 1:42.326) and #20 PRUETT (142.371 mph; 1:42.358). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 28 cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #19X JOURDAIN JR., #5X DE FERRAN, #99X MOORE, #27X FRANCHITTI, #10X HEARN, and #3X RIBEIRO.

At 2:27 p.m., the National Anthem is sung by Barb Schmirer.

At 2:29 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by the honorary starter, Peter Bijur, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Texaco, Inc.

At 2:30 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 28 cars in tow for the first of two pace laps.

At 2:36 p.m., #18 BLUNDELL pits his car with an electrical problem. BLUNELL rejoins the parade lap at the back of the field.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:38 p.m. to start Round 14 of the FedEx Championship Series, the 50-lap Texaco/Havoline 200. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 114 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 83 degrees F. at the start of the race.

#6 ANDRETTI leads the first lap, followed by #8 HERTA, and #7 RAHAL. As the field exits Turn 2, 12th-place #1 ZANARDI makes contact with the rear of #2 UNSER JR., spinning UNSER JR into the gravel pit at Turn 3. #33 CARPENTIER also spins into the gravel pit and makes contact with UNSER JR. Thought both drivers are uninjured in the incident, both cars are withdrawn from the race due to contact. ZANARDI continues on course, moving from 12th to seventh in the melee. #20 PRUETT falls from fourth on the grid to 11th on the first lap.

On lap 2, #16 CASTRO-NEVES pits with an exhaust header problem. A brief fire breaks out at the rear of the car as he pits, and CART safety workers quickly extinguish it. CASTRO-NEVES subsequently withdraws from the race.

On Lap 5, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by 7.938 seconds over #8 HERTA, followed by #7 RAHAL, #5 DE FERRAN, and #27 FRANCHITTI.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 9 as #3 RIBEIRO stalls on course at Turn 11. Leader #6 ANDRETTI and fifth-place #5 DE FERRAN pit. #8 HERTA takes over the lead, followed by #7 RAHAL. ANDRETTI returns to the race in fifth place and DE FERRAN comes back in eighth. RIBEIRO subsequently withdraws from the race with an engine problem.

On Lap 10, the running order is #8 HERTA leading by .157 seconds over teammate #7 RAHAL, followed by #99 MOORE, #9 LEHTO, and #6 ANDRETTI. RAHAL passes HERTA as they enter Turn 1. HERTA rides in second as they enter Turn 5. HERTA makes light contact with the rear of RAHAL's car as they enter Turn 5 and HERTA spins into the wall at the outside of Turn 5. Four seconds later, #36 BARRON makes contact with the outside wall and slides into HERTA, coming to rest on top of HERTA's car. Both drivers are uninjured in the incident but both cars are withdrawn from the race due to contact.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 11 to slow the field down. Leader #7 RAHAL pits under the full-course Yellow Flag and #99 MOORE assumes the lead, followed by #6 ANDRETTI and #34 SALLES. Fifth-place #9 LEHTO also pits. RAHAL returns to the race in 20th place and #9 LEHTO returns in 21st.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 14 to resume the race with #99 MOORE leading #6 ANDRETTI, #34 SALLES, #27 FRANCHITTI, and #5 DE FERRAN. This is the first time MOORE has led a street/road course this season since Detroit. MOORE and SALLES are the only two front-runners to have not made a pit stop at this point.

On Lap 15, #99 MOORE leads #6 ANDRETTI, #27 FRANCHITTI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On Lap 17, #6 ANDRETTI passes #99 MOORE to take the lead on the front stretch.

On Lap 18, second-place #99 MOORE pits and as he attempts to leave the pit, he encounters a gear box problem. MOORE subsequently withdraws from the race with a gearbox problem.

On Lap 20, #6 ANDRETTI leads by .592 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #5 DE FERRAN, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #1 ZANARDI.

On Lap 21, #6 ANDRETTI has now led 14 laps in the race, which surpasses the total number of street/road course laps that he has led this season.

On Lap 24, #20 PRUETT pulls off course with an engine problem between Turns 1 and 3. PRUETT subsequently withdraws from the race.

On Lap 25, halfway through the race, the running order is #6 ANDRETTI leading by .898 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, #5 DE FERRAN, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #1 ZANARDI. ZANARDI pits for the second time as the field comes up the front straight and returns to the race in 16th place. #21 KANAAN rides in sixth place, #20 PRUETT in seventh, #26 TRACY in eighth, #11 FITTIPALDI in ninth, and #12 VASSER in tenth.

On Lap 26, #6 ANDRETTI pits for the second time and hands the lead to #27 FRANCHITTI. ANDRETTI returns to the race in 11th place.

On Lap 27, #27 FRANCHITTI, #5 DE FERRAN, #40 FERNANDEZ, #21 KANAAN, and #26 TRACY all pit. #9 LEHTO takes the lead followed by #7 RAHAL, #27 FRANCHITTI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 29, #9 LEHTO pits and hands the lead to #7 RAHAL, followed by #5 DE FERRAN.

On Lap 30, #7 RAHAL pits for the third time and hands the lead to #27 FRANCHITTI, leading by .480 seconds over #7 RAHAL (who crossed the timing line in second just before entering pit road), #5 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, and #40 FERNANDEZ. RAHAL returns to the race in ninth place.

On Lap 35, the running order is #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 2.29 seconds over #5 DE FERRAN, #6 ANDRETTI, #1 ZANARDI, and #40 FERNANDEZ.

On lap 37, second-place #5 DE FERRAN pits and hands second to #6 ANDRETTI. DE FERRAN returns to the race in ninth place.

On Lap 40, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 11.858 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #1 ZANARDI, #40 FERNANDEZ, and #21 KANAAN. ANDRETTI and #1 ZANARDI pit just after crossing the timing line, allowing FRANCHITTI to build the nearly 12-second lead. ANDRETTI and ZANARDI return to the race in fifth and seventh place respectively.

On lap 41, fourth-place #21 KANAAN pits and hands fourth to #6 ANDRETTI. KANAAN returns to the race in seventh place.

On Lap 42, leader #27 FRANCHITTI, second-place #40 FERNANDEZ, and third place #11 FITTIPALDI all pit. FRANCHITTI's crew pulls off an unofficial 10.7 second stop and retains the lead as he re-enters the race.

Also on Lap 42, #12 VASSER spins at Turn 5 but continues on course to his pit area.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #40 FERNANDEZ for a pit road speed violation. FERNANDEZ pits for a drive-through penalty on the next lap, falling from second to eighth spot.

On lap 43, #5 DE FERRAN dramatically slows coming up the hill to the start/finish line with smoke trailing from the car. DE FERRAN pulls the car off course just past the line and subsequently withdraws from the race.

On Lap 45, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 10.285 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN.

Also on Lap 45, #21 KANAAN runs off course at Turn 8 but regains control of the car and continues on course.

On Lap 46, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 9.721 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 47, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 9.269 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 48, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 7.295 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN.

On Lap 48, #27 FRANCHITTI leads by 7.295 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 49 for #27 FRANCHITTI leading by 6.028 seconds over #6 ANDRETTI, #1 ZANARDI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #21 KANAAN. As second-place ANDRETTI enters Turn 5, the left rear tire blows and ANDRETTI makes hard contact with the outside wall at Turn 5. The car comes to a stop at the Turn 5 tire barrier. ANDRETTI exits the car under his own power uninjured. ZANARDI takes over second place.

CHECKERED FLAG waves for #27 FRANCHITTI, winner of the Texaco/Havoline 200, by 7.102 seconds over second place #1 ZANARDI. Third place goes to #11 FITTIPALDI, fourth to #21 KANAAN, and #40 FERNANDEZ comes home in fifth. FRANCHITTI averaged 127.145 mph in today's victory with the time of race at one hour, 35 minutes and 30.767 seconds. There were seven lead changes in the race with FRANCHITTI leading the most with 23, followed by ANDRETTI with 18, MOORE with 6, and HERTA, RAHAL, and LEHTO each with 1 lap. Two caution flags were waved today for a total of four laps.

Today represents the first career win for DARIO FRANCHITTI in FedEx Championship Series competition. FRANCHITTI led a race-high 23 laps. This also is the first win for Team Kool Green owner Barry Green since Jacques Villeneuve won at Cleveland in 1995. FRANCHITTI is the first Scotsman to win a Champ Car race since Jim Clark at Indy in 1965.

ALEX ZANARDI finishes second in today's race. This is ZANARDI's 11th podium in 14 events this season and his 12th consecutive finish that earns PPG Cup points.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI finishes third today. This is FITTIPALDI's best finish in the 1998 season. FITTIPALDI had previously finished fourth at Homestead earlier this year. This also represents FITTIPALDI's best effort since a second-place finish at Detroit in 1996.

Today represents the series-best ninth victory for Honda and the first Honda win for a team sponsored by a company other than Target since ANDRE RIBEIRO's victory at Michigan in 1996.

Driver quotes from today's top three finishers follow.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "It was very difficult to pass anybody on track, so I just concentrated on good stops and quick 'out' laps. After the last stop, I saw 'plus-10' on the pit board, and that kind of worried me, because that's exactly what it said in Toronto before I went off. I was slowing it down and being cautious on the brakes the last couple of laps and cruising it home. I could really run fast after the last stop because of the fuel mileage we were getting. The guys at Team KOOL Green are going to have a party tonight. They did a great job. The stops were awesome. And I hope this is the first of many."

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "Congratulations to Christian [Fittipaldi], he's had some tough luck and it's about time that he gets a good result. I'm really happy for both him and Dario [Franchitti]. They're both good guys and they deserve good results. It was a great race after Lap 1. That was very unfortunate. In the short chute between Turns 1 and 2, I saw a puff of smoke. Everybody stopped, and that wasn't even the braking point. The first thing I did was hit the brake, but it wasn't soon enough. After that, we had to take and aggressive strategy, and thanks to my boys, it paid off. I'm happy for the way I raced, although I'm disappointed for what happened on Lap 1. It's exactly what I wouldn't need after what happened last week."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Kmart Swift Ford: "I honestly don't know what happened [to create his sore neck]. This has never happened before. This morning, I went out and did five laps and after I came in, I could hardly turn my head. I took a shot and I took a couple of Advils, but when we went out to do the parade laps, I thought I was done. Then my neck started getting hot and I started feeling better. Other than that, the race was fine. We had a good day. We've had a hard time getting back here since the last time. We have five more races to go, and hopefully, I can visit you guys again and we can get ready for next year."

CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach announced following Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200 that no action will be taken against Alex Zanardi, who currently is on probation and was involved in an opening-lap incident with Al Unser Jr. "After reviewing the tapes and interviewing several drivers, it was apparent that Alex took evasive action to avoid this incident, which was triggered by nose-to-tail contact between the No. 5 [nose of Gil de Ferran] and 20 [tail of Scott Pruett] cars in front of them," Dallenbach said. "Alex's wheels were locked up before the contact. It was deemed a racing incident." Zanardi was placed on probation for "unjustifiable risk" following last week's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Dallenbach said that the incident involving Alex Barron remains under review pending further information, and no decision will be reached today. Barron went off course and made contact with the disabled car of Bryan Herta on Lap 11.

Dallenbach also announced that Paul Tracy was removed from probation prior to Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200. Tracy had been on probation following the June 7 ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix for "unjustifiable risk." "I have been pleased with Paul's driving in the last couple of races and I decided that he would be removed from his probationary status prior to Sunday's race," Dallenbach said.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Al Unser Jr. , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Scott Pruett , Alex Barron , Jim Clark , Barry Green