ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 19, 2001) - Rookie Bruno Junqueira of Target Chip Ganassi Racing used a perfectly timed splash-and-go pit stop on the 42nd of 45 laps to drive to his first career FedEx Championship Series victory Sunday in the Motorola...
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 19, 2001) - Rookie Bruno Junqueira of Target Chip Ganassi Racing used a perfectly timed splash-and-go pit stop on the 42nd of 45 laps to drive to his first career FedEx Championship Series victory Sunday in the Motorola 220 at Road America.
Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) took the lead on the 36th lap of the timed event and held it through Lap 42, when he pitted for the final time with a 24-second lead. That gave Junqueira enough time to take on several seconds of fuel and rejoin the event just ahead of second-place Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda Reynard).
Junqueira went on to a 2.687-second victory over Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) to become the ninth different winner in 13 completed FedEx Championship Series events this season. It was his first race victory since recording a Formula 3000 win at Budapest, Hungary last August en route to that series crown.
The nine different winners stands two shy of the CART record of 11 established last year. Junqueira, who averaged 90.721 miles per hour also became the record-19th different driver to finish on the podium during the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season.
A significant downpour soaked the track roughly an hour prior to the green flag, and the race was run under caution for the first four laps. Although most of the 4.048-mile track continued to dry under sunlight once the race went green on Lap 5, a portion of the circuit in Turn 11 continued to drain slowly.
After 14 laps, the race was red-flagged, with reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske in the lead. The event was restarted after a delay of 47 minutes and 52 seconds to effect the necessary repairs in Turn 11, and continued from there until it had reached the two-hour mark, per CART rules calling for a two-hour time limit on road or street course events.
Castroneves ended up leading a race-high 24 laps en route to a seventh-place finish. The seven championship points he earned for his day's work moved him into the lead in the FedEx Championship Series championship for the first time in his career, with 110 points.
Polesitter Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal, who entered the weekend with a 104-103 championship lead over Castroneves, finished 14th and scoreless Sunday. Brack now stands second to Castroneves with 105 points, including the point he earned for winning the pole on Saturday.
Andretti's runner-up result was his third podium finish of the season, including a victory at Toronto. It was also his seventh podium performance in 17 career Champ Car starts at Road America. He moved from fifth to fourth in the championship chase, with 89 points.
Fernandez finished third, equaling a season-best established at Toronto. He recorded a spectacular drive from the 26th and final spot on the starting grid to record his second podium finish of the season.
Rookie Scott Dixon (Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota) of the PacWest Racing Group finished fourth to extend his scoring streak to five events and six in the last seven. Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske finished fifth, his third consecutive top-five finish, and strengthened his hold on third place in the championship, with 99 points.
The Motorola 220 was Round 14 of 21 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series. The series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday, Nov. 4 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership between Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the richest paydays in all of motorsports. Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing is the defending event champion. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series championship.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, Target Toyota Lola: "I'm really happy. This was a really difficult race with all of the things that happened. I think the race was really difficult for me. At the restart, I had an incident with Christian Fittipaldi and lost a lot of positions, but then the Team Target Toyota/Lola was really good. When I had clear track ahead of me, I just pushed and pushed. I just drove as fast as I could on my 'in' lap, and I built up enough of a lead that I got in for a splash-and-go, and that was it. I'm very happy to win."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Motorola Honda Reynard: "It was an unbelievable day. There were tough conditions at the start, and I'm glad I wasn't [CART Chief Steward] Chris Kneifel. I don't know what I would have done, probably the same thing. It was just too wet for slicks, and it was just a tough sitiuation. At the start, Scott Dixon knocked me to the back again, and I thought that might be a good omen, because that's what happened in Toronto [where Andretti drove from the rear of the field to victory after an early spin]. It almost happened again, but Christian Fittipaldi basically ruined the race for me. We banged wheels, and that's when Bruno got by, and that was it. But after the way this day went, I'll take second. It's good to move up another spot in the championship."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda Reynard: "It was difficult because the track conditions were changing constantly. After the red flag, I was very happy because my car was very good. It took the last pit stop there to get third. [Engineer] John [Ward] didn't know if it was going to be a timed race, but once we found out it was going to be a timed race, we couldn't race with Michael and Bruno because we had to save fuel. I ran out in Turn 2, so we just made it. The car ran really good all day. I take my hat off to CART for making a great decision [on the red flag]. There was so much water, and it was unfortunate."
* Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) became the third driver in the past four years to claim his first career FedEx Championship Series victory at Road America. He joined Dario Franchitti, who logged his first career triumph at Elkhart Lake in 1998 and Christian Fittipaldi, who scored his first career triumph in 1999. All told, six different drivers have scored their first Champ Car victories at Road America during the event's 20-year history, including Hector Rebaque in 1982; Jacques Villeneuve (uncle of the 1995 CART champion) in 1985, and Jacques Villeneuve (the 1995 CART champion) in 1995.
* Bruno Junqueira's victory was the third of the season for Toyota and its first since rookie Scott Dixon's triumph at Nazareth in May. Sunday's triumph allowed Toyota to move past Ford and into second place in the CART Manufacturer's Championship. Through 13 events, Honda leads with 229 points, followed by Toyota with 194 and Ford with 191.
* With Bruno Junqueira's victory, 19 of the 26 active drivers in this year's championship have won at least one event in their FedEx Championship Series careers.
* Bruno Junqueira's victory was the sixth of the season for Lola, allowing it to pull within 250-213 of Reynard in the battle for the CART Constructor's Championship.
* Michael Andretti's (Motorola Honda Reynard) runner-up result was his seventh podium finish in 17 career starts at Road America, including victories 1990, '91 and '96. He also finished second in 1985, '86 and '99 and has scored championship points in 11 of 17 career starts at Elkhart Lake.
* Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda Reynard) has finished fifth or better in five of his past seven career starts at Road America. The run includes finishes of second in 2000, third in 1999, and fifth in 1994 and '98 in addition to Sunday's third-place finish.
* Rookie Scott Dixon (Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota) finished fifth and collected championship points for the fifth consecutive event. Three of those have been top-five results, including fifth at Toronto and fourth at Chicago. The run also includes finishes of 10th at Michigan and 12th at Mid-Ohio. With 82 points, Dixon moved into fifth place in the FedEx Championship Series championship. He continues to hold an 82-47 lead over Bruno Junqueira in the race for the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year Award. Dixon also leads the FedEx Championship Series in laps completed, with 1,711 of a possible 1,757, and miles completed, with 2,774.447 of a possible 2,877.674.
* Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing finished eighth to extend his FedEx Championship Series scoring streak to seven events, the top active streak in the series. The streak, which dates to a 12th-place finish at Portland, also includes a career-best runner-up finish at Toronto. Thanks to the run, Tagliani has moved from 25th to 14th place in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 49 points.
* Memo Gidley (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was transported by ground to St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan for precautionary x-rays and a CAT scan following a single-car accident at Station 13 on Lap 21 of Sunday's event. According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, Gidley was awake and alert at the scene of the accident and was being treated for possible soft tissue damage to his knees. According to a team spokesman, Gidley was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday night.
* The Motorola 220 will be rebroadcast in its entirety 1 a.m. ET Monday on ESPN2.
After a week off, the FedEx Championship Series continues with the Molson Indy Vancouver, Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver, B.C.