CHAMPCAR/CART: Tough day for Team Kool Green at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, OHIO (AUGUST 13, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy endured the same fate at today's Miller Lite 200 when they were forced to retire after contact with other drivers on laps 53 and ...

LEXINGTON, OHIO (AUGUST 13, 2000) -- Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy endured the same fate at today's Miller Lite 200 when they were forced to retire after contact with other drivers on laps 53 and 70 respectively.

Franchitti passed Kenny Brack for third with a superb inside move early in the race and was pressing for the lead when he encountered electrical problems that sent him into the pits on lap 19 and eventually put him two laps down before contact with Jimmy Vasser ended his race. Tracy had moved into 9th position from 14th on the grid when his car touched with rookie Alex Tagliani.

Helio Castroneves grabbed the lead from teammate and fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran after the first round of pit stops and held on for his second win of the season and second career triumph, edging de Ferran by 4.425 seconds. Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi was third.

De Ferran's second-place finish moved him into second place in the drivers' standings with 106 points, 19 behind Michael Andretti.

The Team KOOL Green drivers are back in action next weekend at the venerable Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the site of next Sunday's Road America 220.

(Started 14th / DNF - Classified 16th ; Currently 7th in the standings with 80 points)

We were having a pretty good race in spite of not qualifying well. We were just taking it easy, running the pace of the group we were with, trying to save fuel and making up ground where we could. We had two great pit stops and the KOOL car was handling okay. Then Tagliani got a run on me and I gave him the outside line and he just turned across in front of me. I think I could have continued but Kanaan came along, had no place to go and finished me off."

(Started 3rd / DNF - Classified 20th ; Currently 13th in the standings with 58 points

"The start was a bit crazy. You're supposed to wait for the start cones to accelerate but Gil (de Ferran) accelerated straight out of the Keyhole, so the start was pretty spread out. Kenny (Brack) got past me at the start but then was holding me up. I finally got by him at the end of the straight, which was nice because it's normally really difficult to make a pass here. The KOOL car was great and the Firestone tires were consistent the whole run. I was just waiting for the pit stop thinking 'This is great. Everything is just perfect'. Then the engine started to cut out on the straight. And it got worse and worse and worse. I radioed the pits to tell them I was coming in, but they didn't hear me so they weren't ready. At that point our race was pretty much done anyway. I went back out and had similar problems, so I headed back to the pits. It cut out in the pit lane and the guys pushed me. Kyle (Moyer, crew chief) went into the cockpit and fixed something. He took pliers out and cut some wires. That's pretty severe. After that I was a long way down and just trying to stay out of everybody's way because I didn't want to cause a hassle. The car was still great and I was just sitting behind Jimmy (Vasser). I didn't want to make a move on Jimmy because I didn't want to create a situation like I got into with him. He was two laps ahead and I didn't want to screw up his race. Jimmy made a mistake coming out of Turn One, dropping the curb, and I got close behind him. But again, I didn't want to do a dive down the inside of the Keyhole because I'm two laps down -- what's the point? I was so close to him I lost downforce (on the front wings) and then when I got on the brakes I locked them up and got into him. I feel really bad for Jimmy. We talked about it when we got out of our cars. He was saying "I know you didn't mean to do it", trying to make me feel better. It's the last thing I wanted to do. I feel really sorry for Jimmy. I feel really sorry for Team KOOL Green because we had a good car today, maybe good enough to win the race."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack