TORONTO, ON (July 16, 2000) -- Much to the delight of the Canadian crowd, Paul Tracy drove a strong race in his hometown with some timely passing and fuel conservation to finish third at the Molson Indy. He started 12th on the grid, but could...
TORONTO, ON (July 16, 2000) -- Much to the delight of the Canadian crowd, Paul Tracy drove a strong race in his hometown with some timely passing and fuel conservation to finish third at the Molson Indy. He started 12th on the grid, but could not out-maneuver today's runner-up Adrian Fernandez or Michael Andretti, who won the 112-lap race. Andretti's margin of victory was 6.627 seconds, marking his sixth career win in Toronto.
Opening lap mishaps continued today, as the CART FedEx Championship Series has had the start of several races spoiled by contact between cars recently. Turn 1 has usually been the place where incidents occur, but this time it was Turn 3 where Dario Franchitti's #27 KOOL Honda-Reynard spun trying to avoid another car that had locked its brakes. Franchitti then collected Juan Montoya, taking both drivers from the race. After the first lap, Cristiano da Matta led followed by pole winner Helio Castroneves and Michael Andretti.
Da Matta picked up the single point for most laps led (72), having dominated the early portion of the race. Tracy was charging hard early as well, moving up to the sixth by lap 40 with a pass of Kenny Brack. He moved up another position when Oriol Servia found a tire barrier in Turn 5 four laps later. Tracy moved up to fourth when Castroneves retired from the race with a mechanical failure on lap 45. Da Matta lost the lead on pit lane after the second round of stops, as Michael Andretti took over the lead of the race with Fernandez in pursuit. Tracy then relegated da Matta to fourth with a pass on lap 80. Tracy had been conserving fuel throughout much of the race while holding off other cars, but turned up his mixture to make a charge to the finish. He came up a little short, but managed his 40th career podium appearance.
Roberto Moreno did not finish the race, but he did keep the championship lead with 90 points. Andretti closed the gap to a couple of points with 88, followed by Gil de Ferran with 75. Tracy moved from fifth overall to fourth with 73 points, while Brack dropped to fifth with 66. Franchitti, meanwhile, remains 13th with 44 points.
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 12th / Finished 3rd ; Currently 4th in the standings with 73 points)
"It was great race and we needed that good finish. My car wasn't very good all day because I brushed the wall passing Gil [de Ferran] early on. We had damage to the front (right front) and the steering wheel was a little askew, not to mention some debris clinging to the suspension. I told myself 'you've got to keep going'. It's fantastic we were able to get a podium here in Toronto with how our weekend had been going. I couldn't be happier for the entire crew on Team KOOL Green. We got the monkey off our back finally after four races. To score a podium from starting 12th is pretty awesome, especially on a tough street track like this.
"I think what makes me most happy is being able to wear Greg Moore's helmet in the race. It made a lot of drivers feel good. I want to thank Greg's father Ric for allowing me to do that. It was a tremendous honor for me in front of the Canadian fans."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:
(Started 5th / Finished 25th ; Currently 13th in the standings with 44 points)
"I don't know what happened down in Turn 3. Helio [Castroneves] locked it up ahead of me and Juan [Monotya],Michael [Andretti] and myself were all kind of together. I got on the brakes pretty hard and the back end swung around on me. I'm disappointed that we got tangled up. Then the nose of the KOOL car was lodged under with Juan's car. I feel bad for Juan... bad for us both."