DARIO FRANCHITTI SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., (Aug. 16, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned his first career Champ Car victory today at Road America, winning the Texaco/Havoline 200 by a comfortable 7.102-second...
DARIO FRANCHITTI SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., (Aug. 16, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned his first career Champ Car victory today at Road America, winning the Texaco/Havoline 200 by a comfortable 7.102-second margin over runner-up Alex Zanardi.
Franchitti's 30th career start began from the sixth position on the grid. He seized the lead for the first time on lap 26. He gave up the lead when he pitted two laps later, but regained the lead on lap 30. Franchitti ran away with the race after the f inal round of pit stops, leading 23 of 50 laps.
For team owner Barry Green, today's victory was his first win in 51 races when Jacques Villeneuve won in Cleveland on July 23, 1995. Villeneuve won five races for Green, and like Franchitti, his first victory came at Road America on Sept. 11, 1994. Gree n's team now has six career CART victories, including three on the 4.048-mile Road America course. Villeneuve recorded a second victory here on July 9, 1995.
Paul Tracy, meanwhile, drove his KOOL-Reynard Honda from the 17th position on the grid to a sixth place finish. Today's race was more grueling than usual for Tracy, who ran without any water because of a broken dispenser and fought with an ill-handling car throughout the day.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
(Started 6th / Finished 1st ; Currently 7th in the PPG Cup standings with 88 points)
"The first win is great. I hope it is the first of many. When I looked at my pit board after the last stop and saw P1 and +10 to Michael (Andretti), I said 'I've seen this before? in Toronto'. And I just slowed it down. I was careful with the brakes a nd just took it easy. The Team KOOL Green guys gave me great pit stops and that enabled me to run away with it."
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER:
"This is a special race track and it has been a long time. It was just a matter of time with Dario. And what a perfect race he drove. The pit crew was perfect. And for Paul to finish sixth from where he had to start; it's just a great day for Team KO OL Green.
"I'm just emotionally drained. We've finally got the monkey off our back. To get that second win is going to be very, very hard. But, I think it will be easier than this one."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
(Started 17th / Finished 6th ; Currently 12th in the PPG Cup standings with 54 points)
"I was just hanging on the last 10 laps. My drink dispenser didn't work the whole race and the handling of the car wasn't that good. But, we finished sixth and picked up some points. And I'm really happy for Dario because he certainly deserves it."