TORONTO, Ontario (July 18, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned the fourth Champ Car victory of his career today in leading all 95 laps of the Molson Indy Toronto. His win was made all the more sweet with his teammate Paul Tracy ...
TORONTO, Ontario (July 18, 1999) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned the fourth Champ Car victory of his career today in leading all 95 laps of the Molson Indy Toronto. His win was made all the more sweet with his teammate Paul Tracy finishing second, crossing the finish line 2.624 seconds behind Franchitti.
Franchitti started on the outside of pole winner Gil de Ferran, but he did not remain there long even after being bumped from behind in the first corner. Franchitti passed de Ferran in Turn 3, while still on the opening lap and never relinquished the lead again. He was in command of the race for the rest of the way, even as Tracy climbed through the field to tighten the gap.
Tracy did close on Franchitti, but he chose to protect the one-two finish for the team. Starting sixth, he moved to fifth after the opening lap and slotted into position looking to pick off cars one by one. On lap 29, Tracy did just that when he passed Jimmy Vasser for fourth in Turn 3. He gained another position thanks to his crew's work during his second stop on lap 60 (under yellow because of contact between Juan Montoya & Michel Jourdain Jr.), passing Christian Fittipaldi at the pit out. De Ferran, who was running second before the stop, was dropped to the back of the field for making contact with a tire in Fittipaldi's pit box. The penalty allowed Tracy to move into third before the green flag and behind Patrick Carpentier, who was out of pit sequence for the re-start. Tracy powered past Carpentier in the first corner and was never pressured by Fittipaldi, who finished third.
Team KOOL Green's one-two finish tightens the fight for the driver's championship, as Montoya leads Franchitti 113-106. Fittipaldi moves in front of his teammate Michael Andretti for third overall by a single point, 96-95. De Ferran is fifth overall with 88 points, one better than Adrian Fernandez with 87. Greg Moore hangs on to seventh with 81 points, while Tracy has clawed his way back into contention in eight with 76.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (Started 2nd / Finished 1st ; Currently 2nd overall in the PPG Cup standings with 106 points)
"The start was a little bit of a worry for me because someone hit me. I don 't know who it was. I was going to say thanks very much for that. It was a bit tight in the first corner. I managed to get past Gil (de Ferran) in Turn 3 on the first lap and after that the car was really awesome all day. It was the best car out there all day. We did as competitive lap-times as quickly as we needed to go really. On the pit stops, the Team KOOL Green guys did a fantastic job -- a one-two finish, what more could you ask for?
"It means a lot to win here. It's such a fantastic crowd because they give me so much support. To finally win the race in front of them is pretty awesome. It's nice to win and when your teammate is second the entire team - both crews - can enjoy the moment. That's why we're here racing. That's why Team KOOL Green is a two-car team."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE: (Started 6th / Finished 2nd ; Currently 8th overall in the PPG Cup standings with 76 points)
"What a great day for Team KOOL Green! It's a great victory for Dario; it was his day. He led the whole race and when I moved into second, Barry said it's Dario's day. Unless he has a problem, the day is his. It's a great feeling for me too because it's my wife Liisa's birthday, it's Barry Green's birthday and besides, Dario and I finished one-two. You couldn't ask for a better finish here at home in Canada.
"The KOOL car was really good. I was stuck back there in the pack in the early-going. We got good pit stops and we were aggressive on the track like we wanted to be, picking guys off at the end of the straightaway. That's what it's all about. We got good points (16) and some other guys had problems, so I'm sure we gained some ground in the championship.
"It was a great team effort. This kind of finish is what we have been working towards for the last year and a half. Team KOOL Green - the team we have here - we may be showing the Ganassi boys around the track pretty soon."
PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship - RACE
Team KOOL Green's Jonny Kane held on to an ill-handling car to enjoy his best result of the season, a fifth-place performance in today's 43-lap race at Exhibition Place. Kane started seventh, but moved up one position when Mario Dominguez stalled on course before the green flag. He gained another spot when Airton Dare hit the wall in the Turn 7 on the fifth lap. He battled with Derek Higgins, passing him for fifth on lap 23 where he finished.
Geoff Boss, today's winner, led all 43 laps from the pole for his first ever Indy Lights victory. Boss crossed the finish line by a comfortable 1.305 seconds in front of runner-up Oriol Servia, while Didier Andre finished third. Felipe Giaffone was fourth ahead of Kane.
JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (7th with a lap-time of 1:04.852 seconds / 97.422 mph)
"I lost a spot on the start to Higgins when he moved up to my row to take Dominguez's place alongside me (after Dominguez fell out on the pace lap due to a transmission problem). Then I made a good move on Higgins at Turn 3 - I nearly went off -- and got my position back. Derek (Higgins) and I raced together in Europe, so I knew I could go wheel-to-wheel with him. After that, it was just a matter of trying to keep the car under me. We still had a problem with oversteer on the entry to corners and it got worse throughout the race. I could go quick for a few laps and then the oversteer would come in and I would start making some mistakes and the lap times would go up. So I'd have to back off of it a little bit. I just held my breath the last 10 laps. The result wasn't quite what we'd hoped for coming here this weekend, but we'll take it. It was our best finish of the season and we moved up a couple of spots in the points."