CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Kool Green race report

Tracy claims third in soggy Surfers Paradise. SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia - Paul Tracy earned a third-place finish for Team KOOL Green today in soggy Surfers Paradise, in what proved to be a six-lap race followed by 30 laps of pit ...

Tracy claims third in soggy Surfers Paradise.

SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia - Paul Tracy earned a third-place finish for Team KOOL Green today in soggy Surfers Paradise, in what proved to be a six-lap race followed by 30 laps of pit strategy under caution. TKG teammate Dario Franchitti came in seventh.

The race started in very wet conditions after heavy rain, but a multi-car incident involving nearly half the field on the front straight caused an immediate red flag. Drivers involved were allowed to switch to back-up cars and some 90 minutes later the race was started again. This time, following three race laps under yellow, six green laps were completed before the rains moved in again and the remainder of the race was run behind the pace car. CART officials reduced the event from 70 to 50 laps, and it appeared that due to conditions the race might be halted after 36 laps, as rules call for an event to be official after the halfway mark of the originally scheduled distance. However, on lap 35, it was announced that the event would be complete after 40 laps. Teams had employed a variety of pit strategies based on the anticipated 36-lap finish, and rookie Mario Dominguez came out the winner, literally, to score his first CART career victory. Patrick Carpentier finished second.

The finish advanced Tracy to eighth in the points with 101. Franchitti remains third (135) behind Bruno Junqueira (144) and Cristiano da Matta (219), who has already clinched the Champ Car driver's title. TKG technical partner Michael Andretti finished 9th and stands 9th in the points with 94 points.

Two races remain on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule, The 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, California, on November 3 and the Grand Prix of Mexico in Mexico City on November 17.

Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"Fortunately I was ahead of the problem on the first start. I didn't even get to third gear and I couldn't see the track, I couldn't see the walls, so I was planning to follow Shinji (Nakano), hoping he knew where he was going. The track certainly wasn't raceable. I've never seen anything like this in my life. To go out there and just follow the pace car around for 30 laps isn't racing, and after all the hard work the Team KOOL Green crew put in this weekend they deserved better. CART certainly doesn't control the weather, and honestly the track wasn't that bad when we started again, but it didn't take long to get worse and we shouldn't have been out there. The rules said the race would be complete at 36 laps, and given the conditions it should have been called."

Warm-up
Position: N/A
Speed: N/A
Time: N/A

Race
Started: 8th
Finished: 7th
Laps Completed: 40
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 6
Championship Standing: 3rd

Kyle Moyer - Team KOOL Green Team Manager

"I wouldn't call it a race, I'd call it a great disappointment. To travel 14 hours on a plane to do six laps of racing is incredible. Under the rules, it would have been an official race at 36 laps, that's half of the originally scheduled distance, and given the conditions that would have been the right thing to do. That's how people planned their strategy. All in all I'm not too happy right now."

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I've never seen anything like this. It's such a shame for CART and the teams and all of the Gold Coast fans who came out here. Mother Nature really dealt us a bad hand today. We started to get a bit of a race in after the restart but it got worse and worse. The worst thing for me was, I couldn't see at all toward the end. I had a dark visor on, thinking we'd be done by five o'clock. I could not see a thing. I guess CART was just trying to get everyone on the same page by making sure everybody made two pit stops and Team KOOL Green ended up third. I'll take it."

Warm-up
Position: N/A
Speed: N/A
Time: N/A

Race
Started: 5th
Finished: 3rd
Laps Completed: 40
Laps Led: 0
Points Earned: 14
Championship Standing: 8th

John Anderson, Team KOOL Green Race Consultant

"I've been doing this for 30 years and I think this is the worst bloody race I've ever been part of, third place or not. The conditions were terrible. I can understand CART's problems with the situation, but I don't think things were handled very well."

-TKG -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mario Dominguez , John Anderson , Cristiano da Matta