Surfers Paradise, Australia (October 27, 2002) --Â Team Motorola rolled the dice in Surfers Paradise and it came up craps. Â Rain at the start of the Honda Indy 300 caused a multi-car incident on the front straightaway on the first lap, and...
Surfers Paradise, Australia (October 27, 2002) -- Team Motorola rolled the dice in Surfers Paradise and it came up craps. Rain at the start of the Honda Indy 300 caused a multi-car incident on the front straightaway on the first lap, and Michael Andretti got into the back of Alex Tagliani, forcing him to go to his backup car for the restart of the race. After only six laps of green flag racing, intermittent heavy rain forced the rest of the race to finish under yellow. Team Motorola thought they had the pit strategy to win the race by pitting on Lap 16 with the thought that, due to the conditions, the race would end after it became official on Lap 36. Instead, Andretti was forced to pit on the 36th lap after it was announced the race would consist of 40 laps, moving him to his finishing position of ninth place.
Mario Dominguez earned his first career CART win on the rain-soaked streets of Surfers Paradise. Patrick Carpentier was second while Andretti's technical partner Paul Tracy was third. Andretti's other technical partner Dario Franchitti was seventh. 2002 CART Champion Cristiano da Matta's remains on top of the standings with 219 points. Bruno Junqueira is second with 144 points. Franchitti is third with 135 points and Paul Tracy is now eighth with 101 points. Andretti is ninth with 94 points.
Team Motorola will now head straight to California and begin preparations for The 500 to be held on Sunday, November 3, at California Speedway in Fontana.
Michael Andretti -- #39 Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"This is a real disappointment. It looks like it became political out there. The conditions were horrible. I could barely see the car in front of me. I thought Team Motorola made the right call bringing me in on Lap 16 because then I would not have had to pit before the race became official. This is just terribly disappointing." On the First Lap incident: I saw nothing. I didn't see anything until I got underneath Tag, you couldn't see anything out there. It was totally unbelievable, I'm just glad I got out of it okay."
Today marked Michael's 307th CART Champ Car start
Michael leads all active Champ Car drivers with 307 race starts, 42 wins, 32 poles and 6564 laps led. <pre> Sunday Warm-up Race Results Position: 11th Finish: 9th Speed: No Speed Start: 16th Time: No Time Status: Running Points/Position: 94/9th
Kim Green -- General Manager
"Obviously terrible weather conditions out there today. We had a very bad incident on the first lap and luckily none of the drivers got hurt and we were able to restart the race. We were told at the restart that the race would be a 50-lap race and the maximum pit window would stay the same. They did say the halfway distance (to make the race official) would remain at 36 laps. We changed our strategy during the event to capitalize on that possibility and when 36 laps came up we were on the race track in the lead. There is no doubt the race should have been called at that point. We are certainly mystified as to why it was not. We were never ever told anything about having to do two pit stops and we are very disappointed. I think it is very poor officiating."