CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Jimmy Vasser race report

Vasser charges from last to sixth in team debut. Jimmy Vasser's fantastic performance places American Spirit Team Johansson among the privileged few to have scored a top-ten finish in the team's first Champ Car race. Vasser rolled off the grid...

Vasser charges from last to sixth in team debut.

Jimmy Vasser's fantastic performance places American Spirit Team Johansson among the privileged few to have scored a top-ten finish in the team's first Champ Car race.

Vasser rolled off the grid in eighth position, but he didn't stay there long. On the first pace lap, Vasser's #12 Reynard stalled. He re-fired the car and it stalled again. An apparent electrical problem was the cause of the incident. Finally, Vasser re-started the car and was joined the parade. He had to get back in his eighth starting position before the final pace lap to keep his earned spot on the grid. He ran out of time and had to start last, an unfortunate circumstance, but he did not remain there long.

As the green flag flew, Vasser picked off his competitors, two the first lap, one the third, two the fourth and by the tenth lap of the race, he was in ninth position. He made his first pit stop of the year on the 16th lap, flawless, he returned to the track in 10th position. Vasser consistently ran the pace of the leaders and was in seventh position by his second stop on lap 45. Battling the understeer issues that were reported up and down the pit lane, Vasser's crew made some adjustments to the car in addition to his four Bridgestone tires and 35 gallons of fuel.

His third stint was somewhat hindered by the lack of grip in the rear. The changes made to the car were not as effective as expected. Vasser still managed to work his way up to the top five, where he remained for twenty laps. While defending his position from Robert Moreno, Vasser went wide and lost the position. While he was disappointed to have lost the position, it was a great start to the new season for a brand new organization.

Jimmy Vasser, #12 American Spirit Team Johansson/Reynard
Qualified: 8th Started: 19th Finished: 6th

"I'm not sure what happened on the start, it just kept stalling and stalling, something in the electronics that we need to work out, I think. My first set of tires were really good, we were able to make up a lot of ground on that first stint. It was good to finish and collect some points here. It feels good to have our first race under our belt. It's been a long month on the guys and it's nice to walk out of here with some points. The car was really loose in the last stint; I just couldn't do anything with it. We worked on it in during the pit stops, but nothing was helping. We'll be a bit older and wiser by Mexico so I am looking forward to another good one there."

Stefan Johansson, Team Owner: "I am very pleased with Jimmy's finish. He gave it a good fight today. Our aim was to finish and to have collected those points is very important. Ryan did a fantastic job on his first race weekend. He was running very well, his times were strong and gave a good demonstration what is to come. I suspect there might have been something wrong with Jimmy's car, that is something we will look into. We're off to a good start and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

-astj-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Jimmy Vasser