CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green wins Pit Crew Challenge at Fontana

Fontana, California (October 27, 2000) - Team KOOL Green captured its second consecutive Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge title today, and drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti posted the 5th and 7th fastest times in practice at California Speedway...

Fontana, California (October 27, 2000) - Team KOOL Green captured its second consecutive Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge title today, and drivers Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti posted the 5th and 7th fastest times in practice at California Speedway for Sunday's 500-mile CART FedEx season finale.

TKG remains undefeated in the Pit Crew Challenge, having won the inaugural competition last year. The No. 26 TKG team, with driver Paul Tracy and led by Tony Cotman, was one of five finalists narrowed from a field of 20 teams vying for the $50,000 prize, following a season-long series of events. Each team was required to run on-track for 15 minutes and make a minimum of three pit stops, changing four tires on each. The best two pit stop times were then averaged for a final score.

Earlier in the day, the Champ Cars took to the track for one 90-minute practice session, after morning showers cancelled the first scheduled practice of the day on the 2-mile super speedway. Paul Tracy posted the fifth best time of the session with a quick lap of 30.556 seconds (238.270 mph). Teammate Dario Franchitti came in seventh at 30.578 seconds (238.099 mph).

Juan Montoya set fast time of the day at 30.452 seconds (242.253 mph). Points leader Gil de Ferran was second with a lap of 30.537 seconds (239.198 mph) and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top three at 30.566 seconds (238.971).

The CART FedEx drivers have a final practice session Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Pacific. Single-car qualifying is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. Pacific. Sunday's 500-mile (250 laps) race will start at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. Live television coverage will be provided by ESPN at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA-REYNARD:
(5th with a lap time of 30.556 seconds / 238.270 mph)

"Our pit-stop competition car was good, and we're pretty happy with the KOOL race car, too. We had a little bit of understeer. We spent a lot of time trying to run in heavy traffic and getting used to the car in traffic. Everybody's getting a big tow to produce the speeds they're going. In qualifying, I think you'll probably have to run 236 or 237 (mph) by yourself. I wouldn't mind moving up a few spots, but fifth isn't a bad place to be. This is a 500-mile race and it's not where you start, it's where you finish. I've got everything to gain on Sunday, so I've got my focus on the race rather than the qualifying.

"To start the weekend by winning the pit crew contest is tremendous, and it just proves what I've said all along, I've got the best guys in the business on my team. I'm really happy for them and it builds a good momentum for the rest of the weekend. With great teamwork like the TKG team gives me at every race, it can mean picking up several positions in the race. That's a championship team."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA-REYNARD:
(7th with a lap time of 30.578 seconds / 238.099 mph)

"We're happy. We're still not perfect by any means for the race, but we're pretty good. I'm sure we could have made the KOOL car a lot quicker than it was, but we were really working on what we think we're going to need for the race. I probably only did two or three laps totally on my own. The rest of the time I was in traffic, but it was proper traffic - I was able to run behind some people and in front of others and really get a good feel for what the car will do. We're going to have to change the car a lot for qualifying and that's something we'll work on in the morning practice session if it doesn't rain."

TONY COTMAN, TEAM MANAGER/CREW CHIEF, #26 TKG PIT CREW CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS:

"Today we were quite lucky. We started off pretty shaggy and had a couple of bad stops and tried ruining some equipment, but we're very happy with the end result. I'm really proud of all the guys. It's tough competition. They came back from a rough start like they needed to and got the job done. That's what Team KOOL Green is all about. Sometimes those things happen in the race and the team that comes together the best wins, just like today."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti