SURFERS PARADISE,Â Queensland, AustraliaÂ (Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002) -- Tony Kanaan and the ...
SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia (Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002) -- Tony Kanaan and the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Lola finished fifth in a bizarre, rain-shortened Honda Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Kanaan started third for the race which was originally scheduled for 70 laps. It was green-flagged for the first time under rainy conditions, but red-flagged before the leaders could complete even one lap after a nine-car pile-up on the front straight. The race was re-started under yellow after a 90-minute delay to clean up the debris and to attempt to dry the track, and it was shortened to 50 laps. Three laps were run under yellow before the green flag was thrown on Lap 4. Rain began falling once again as Kanaan fell back to fourth on that first green-flag lap. The race stayed green only until Lap 10, when it was yellow-flagged due to heavy rain, and it never went back to green again as rain continued to pass through the area the rest of the day.
Kanaan and several other leaders pitted on Lap 10, halfway through this weekend's mandatory 20-lap maximum per fuel-and-tire run. As the field continued to follow the pace car lap after lap, the race turned into a guessing game about which lap officials would decide to end it under the rainy conditions. The race needed to go at least 36 laps -- one more than half the originally scheduled 70-lap distance -- for it to be declared official. As the field was working Lap 36, CART finally announced that the checkered flag would come out on Lap 41. Kanaan was running 11th at the time. But six cars running ahead of him, which were on a pit strategy based on a 36-lap race distance, all needed to pit before the newly declared last lap. That final flurry of pit stops saw Kanaan move up to fifth, where he stayed until the race turned out to be called on Lap 40.
Rookie Mario Dominguez, who started last on the grid, happened to be in first on Lap 40 and was declared the winner. Patrick Carpentier took second with Paul Tracy third and Kenny Brack fourth.
Then series resumes in one week with The 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. It will be the penultimate stop on the 19-event CART FedEx Championship Series tour for 2002. The series finishes in Mexico City the weekend of Nov. 15-17.
"What a day. I've never experienced anything like that in my life. I don't know what to think, other than that if the race would have gone 50 laps and we would have continued under yellow, I would have been the winner. It wouldn't have felt like any other win I've had, but on paper, at least, it's always good to have a win in the record books. Unfortunately, they decided to stop the race when they did and we had to settle for fifth. All four cars that finished ahead of us would have had to pit before Lap 50. How they came up with Lap 40, I'll never be able to understand that. I guess somebody spun the roulette wheel and that's the lap number that came up. That was a total joke. I feel really bad for the fans because that had to be a tough thing to sit through -- the ones that stuck around, anyway. Let's pack up and go to Fontana."