CHAMPCAR/CART: Team KOOL Green has matching pit crew trophies

FONTANA, Calif. - Team KOOL Green No. 26 has a matching set of Waterford Crystal trophies as well as an extra $50,000 for post-season partying. The pit crew that services the car for driver Paul Tracy won its second Craftsman Pit Crew...

FONTANA, Calif. - Team KOOL Green No. 26 has a matching set of Waterford Crystal trophies as well as an extra $50,000 for post-season partying. The pit crew that services the car for driver Paul Tracy won its second Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge at Fontana's California Speedway Friday, proving again that it is the fastest pit crew in the CART FedEx Championship Series. It was the second victory for the team, which also claimed the inaugural Craftsman title in 1999. After qualifying for the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge shootout by accumulating points based on pit stop performance for the first 19 races of the season, the top five teams met prior to the CART season finale to determine the champion. Team KOOL Green barely made it to the contest, finishing the season fifth in qualifying points. At the shootout, however, the points were thrown out as the five teams went head-to-head to see who could perform the fastest four-tire pit stop. They had 15 minutes to make as many pits stops as they wished, with the average of the two best stops determining the winner. "We were a little off at the beginning," said crew chief Tony Cotman, who doubles as right front tire changer. "But we came back and did what we had to do. We got faster as we went along." Indeed, half way through the 15-minute competition, Team KOOL Green was in fourth place among the five teams. Then the group hit its stride. The final two pit stops - Team KOOL Green and most other teams made as many as eight tire changes in the time allotted - gave the defending champions the edge. Just as it had last year, Cotman's crew turned in the two fastest times of the contest, averaging almost a second faster than the runner-up. Team owner Barry Green was understandably proud of his over-the-wall crew, five out of six of whom were in the 1999 contest. "Thanks to Craftsman who put up the award, my guys worked awfully hard to win this, this year as they did last," Green said. "(Preparing for the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge) has to help on race day, as well. "The money is icing on the cake," Green said of the $50,000 prize that Craftsman awards to the winning team. "But if the money wasn't there they would work just as hard because that is what we're all about, trying to prove we're better than the rest. Today we proved that." Craftsman is the Official Tool of CART, and has been the sponsor of the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge since 1999.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Barry Green