by David Reininger - Motorsport.com Cleveland, Ohio (July 2, 2000) - Roberto Moreno scored his first CART FedEx Championship Series victory driving the Visteon Ford-powered Reynard this afternoon, leading all but 9 laps in the 100-lap Marconi...
by David Reininger - Motorsport.com
Cleveland, Ohio (July 2, 2000) - Roberto Moreno scored his first CART FedEx Championship Series victory driving the Visteon Ford-powered Reynard this afternoon, leading all but 9 laps in the 100-lap Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland.
Prior to today's race, Moreno had only led 106 laps in 69 starts. Moreno's win marks the first time two Patrick drivers have scored wins in the same season since Kevin Cogan and Emerson Fittipaldi accomplished that feat in 1986. Adrian Fernandez won the Rio 200 at Rio de Janeiro in April.
"Fantastic. Fantastic. It's just a feeling I can not describe," said Moreno, who extends his points lead 90-68 over Michael Andretti. "Almost as good as when my daughters were born. Fantastic."
Moreno scored four wins on his way to the 1988 Formula 3000, his last coming at Birmingham, England. "It's fantastic to be a part of this team. That's what happens when they give you a good race car. The setup we did in qualifying yesterday did the work. We kept the same. We did a little fine tuning and that's all we did today. I have a mile long list of people to thank for getting me here for the first time since 1988 when it was the last time I had such a competitive car to race and it such good condition."
Kenny Brack drove his Team Rahal Shell Ford-powered Reynard to a second place finish this afternoon, his fifth top-six finish in the last six races. Brack qualified third on Friday but was unable to improve upon his provisional qualifying time, slipping to 15th on the final grid.
"It was a weird weekend for us," Brack said. "We started off being very fast here on Friday. We wheeled the car into the transporter thinking that we'd wheel it out again Saturday morning and continue. We thought we'd have a good car and it just didn't work on Saturday for us. Yesterday the car was all over the place and we couldn't straighten it out for qualifying. We ended up going from the front of the grid to 15th position before it was said and done."
"The whole setup was changed overnight. We wheeled the car back onto the track this morning and it was fast. We were lucky in the first corner because that was just a big mess down there. I don't know what happened. I just tried to get through there. I managed to get through without getting hit or hitting anything. I guess it was more luck than anything."
"We had a fast car and managed to overtake a few cars. In the middle of the race, they started scaling me down. I was dicing with Montoya a lot, trying to keep him behind me. But it wasn't easy because I had no fuel. I called Scott (Roembke, Team Rahal general manager) a few things over the radio, but he didn't let me have anymore anyway. I had to let Montoya go. Then we got him back in the end. I guess Scott was right overall, but I didn't like it at the time."
Brack closed the gap to Moreno late in the race, but wasn't able to challenge for the lead. "We managed to catch up to Roberto a little bit but we were running pretty lean at the end too. Obviously we didn't have enough fuel to go full rich. I tried to push to get close to him but I just couldn't get to him. I had to settle with where I was."
Cristiano da Matta finished third in the Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota-powered Reynard after being involved in a first lap incident in Turn one. "It was a very eventful race for me. After I was tagged on the start, I spun and was almost last. I think there were only two cars behind me. I knew I had a good car, a good chance for a podium or even a race win. I was very, very mad so the cars came on the radio and said, 'Cool down Cristiano, it's okay, there are still 99 laps left'. But of course, I was still mad."
"I am happy with the third place because it is my best result, of course I should be happy. But in the big picture, I think I could have done better if I didn't have such an eventful race. But I'm happy anyway, third is not too bad, it's another 14 points."
Da Matta has four top-five finishes this season.
Michael Andretti scored 12 valuable points for his fourth place finish this afternoon. He claims second place in the championship by one point over Gil de Ferran. After running as high as second place, Andretti's Big Kmart Lola lost power in the final laps jeopardizing his fourth place finish. "The guys in the pits knew I was losing power about eight or nine laps to go. The (exhaust) header went and caused the engine to lose power and the car wasn't handling well. I didn't know what the problem was until they told me. At least he car worked long enough to finish the race. It was close though."
Patrick Carpentier drove from the 19th starting position to finish fifth, earning the Budweiser Hard Charger Award, for making the greatest improvement in track position from start to finish.
NOTES: Alex Zanardi will test for Mo Nunn Racing next week at Sebring. Mo Nunn's regular driver, Tony Kanaan, was injured in a qualifying incident at Detroit two weeks ago. Bryan Herta has filled in for Kanaan, who is expected to return at the Michigan 500. Zanardi is eyeing a return to the CART FedEx Championship Series in 2001.