CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Team Kool Green Race Report

BAD LUCK STRIKES TEAM KOOL GREEN TORONTO, Ont., (July 19, 1998) - After leading the first 79 laps of the Molson Indy, disaster struck when Dario Franchitti suffered a brake failure with 16 laps remaining. He spun and stalled at the exit of ...

BAD LUCK STRIKES TEAM KOOL GREEN

TORONTO, Ont., (July 19, 1998) - After leading the first 79 laps of the Molson Indy, disaster struck when Dario Franchitti suffered a brake failure with 16 laps remaining. He spun and stalled at the exit of the first turn, ending a race he started from t he pole.

Michael Andretti inherited the lead, squeezing past Franchitti's stalled car on the inside. Jimmy Vasser rolled over the top of Franchitti's nose and Alex Zanardi also managed to avoid contact. Unfortunately, Paul Tracy was not able to make it past his teammate. He came to a stop just in front of Franchitti, while running in sixth position. Tracy was able to continue and had worked his way from 13th to 10th when he spun after contact with Adrian Fernandez with four laps remaining. Tracy finished 14th , while Franchitti was credited with 20th.

With two laps to go, Alex Zanardi did it again. The winner of the last three races made a bold move to pass Michael Andretti for the lead in Turn 3. Andretti's brakes locked up and Zanardi dove to the inside, bumping tires with Andretti as he completed the pass. Zanardi crossed the finish line 1.921 seconds ahead of Andretti, while Zanardi's teammate Jimmy Vasser was third.

Zanardi extends his lead in the overall standings with 175 points to 106 of his teammate, Vasser. Greg Moore slips to third with 98 points, followed by Adrian Fernandez with 89 points and Michael Andretti with 84 points. Franchitti remains in sixth over all with 66 points, while Tracy is 14th with 32 points.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 1st / DNF - 20th ; Currently 6th in the PPG Cup standings with 66 points)

"What can I say? I just can't believe it. The brakes were a worry all day. We had similar problems in qualifying yesterday. We thought the pads were low, so we swapped rotors and discs on the car. The brake pedal was going long in the longer runs. Wh en I spun in Turn 1, I caught the throttle as I was braking. It's really disappointing because the Team KOOL Green guys did a great job in the pits."

KIM GREEN, GENERAL MANAGER on #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN:

"I feel like jumping off the CN Tower. The brake pedal went to the floor and Dario spun in Turn 1. We were fantastic in the pits. I guess the satisfaction is that we were competitive and we know it's only a matter of time before we win."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 10th / Finished 14th ; Currently 14th in the PPG Cup standings with 32 points)

"Team KOOL Green qualified on the pole yesterday and we experienced the highest of all highs. And today, we were snake-bit again. I can't describe how disappointed the whole team is; nothing seems to go right for us.

"We had a car today that was definitely top-five material. It was taking me quite a bit of time to get my tires up to temperature and I was getting passed on the re-starts. You know it's just bad luck with what happened to Dario. The marshalls weren't really giving me an indication of what was going on in Turn 1. When I got there, Dario was lying across the track sideways and I had nowhere to go. It's a frustrating day because Dario had the race locked up and we could have been in the top-five.

"We were able to make up a couple of positions after what happened to Dario. I got together with (Adrian) Fernandez and I spun. I was on the inside of him and I don't think he saw me. It was a real frustrating day for Team KOOL Green."

PPG-DAYTON INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP:

Rookie Guy Smith won today's 43-lap race from the pole, crossing the finish line 1.411 seconds in front of Team KOOL Green's Naoki Hattori. Smith's victory is his second of the season, having also won from the pole in Portland.

Hattori's second-place finish is his best in the Indy Lights series, stepping up one spot on the podium from a third at Long Beach earlier this season. He was putting pressure on Smith throughout the race, especially in Turn 3 at the end of the Lakeshore straightaway. Hattori did complete a daring pass of Chris Simmons on the outside of Turn 3 on the eighth lap. Simmons, who receives sponsorship assistance from KOOL, eventually finished third.

Cristiano da Matta finished 14th and out of the points, but still maintains the overall series lead with 92 points. Smith's victory has helped close the gap, as he trails by 10 with 82 points. Didier Andre is third overall with 67 points, followed by Fe lipe Giaffone with 66 and Airton Dare with 62. Hattori moves from 15th to 11th in the standings with 42 points.

NAOKI HATTORI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN LOLA: (Started 3rd / Finished 2nd ; Currently 11th in the championship with 42 points) "I'm very happy to finish second. The car was almost perfect, especially under braking. I made a good start and was able to pass Chris (Simmons) at Turn 3 on the outside. I tried very hard, but I could not get by Guy (Smith)." - 30 -

-------------------------- NetAxis -------------------------- --- NetAxis is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Molson Indy --- ---- Toronto -- Montreal -- 514-482-8989 -- 888-482-8989 ---- ----------------- http://www.netaxis.ca/ --------------------

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Didier André , Airton Daré , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Naoki Hattori , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta