VANCOUVER, B.C., (Sept. 6, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned his second consecutive Champ Car victory in today's running of the Molson Indy Vancouver, becoming the first driver to win from the pole position since Alex Zanardi in...
VANCOUVER, B.C., (Sept. 6, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti earned his second consecutive Champ Car victory in today's running of the Molson Indy Vancouver, becoming the first driver to win from the pole position since Alex Zanardi in Cleveland 21 races ago on July 13, 1997.
Franchitti won his first career Champ Car victory at Road America two weeks ago with Michael Andretti in hot pursuit before the veteran blew a tire.
This time, they reversed roles with Franchitti chasing down Andretti in the closing minutes of what became a timed race (2:00.37). On the 80th lap, Franchitti passed Andretti on the inside of Turn 9 and never looked back. He led 28 laps and enjoyed a comfortable 3.437-second margin of victory over Andretti and Scott Pruett.
By winning from the pole, Franchitti collects the Marlboro Pole Award of $330,000 and another $100,000 for winning the race. Franchitti has earned four pole positions this season, the most of any driver, winning the starting spot in Brazil, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Vancouver.
Paul Tracy, meanwhile, was running third in his KOOL Reynard-Honda when he was black-flagged for a safety inspection. Tracy made contact with Tony Kanaan on lap 68 in Turn 4, ending the Brazilian's race. The incident resulted in the seventh and final full course caution of the race. The race went green on lap 70, but Tracy was shown the black flag on lap 71 for an inspection of his nose cone. He pitted on lap 73 and returned to the race to finish 11th from hi seventh position on the grid.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 1st / Finished 1st ; Currently 5th in the PPG Cup standings with 110 points)
"The biggest worry the whole day was some smoke in the cockpit starting about 20 laps into the race. I could smell smoke, but I thought it wasn't me, it must be someone else. But when I stopped under the yellow, there was smoke everywhere. However, it never got any worse and didn't cause a problem.
"After the last pit stop, I had to deal with traffic and more yellows, which obviously helped Michael (Andretti) and his fuel strategy. I was thinking 'come on give me a break here' because I didn't think I could get past him. So, I just shadowed him, running as quick as I could.
"From the last yellow to the end of the race I was running the maximum fuel mixture. I tried to pass once, but it really wasn't on. Then I managed to get a better run on him off the last corner into the straight. I got alongside and that was it.
"I wasn't sure of the win there at the end when I was behind Michael. I was looking all the time for a way to pass. The brake pedal was going long again and was worrying me. But, then when I passed Michael I thought "All right!" It's a great feeling to win two in a row and to win on a street course after being so close.
"It was a great feeling. The Team KOOL Green guys kind of beat me up when I came into the victory circle. They're big guys and they were hitting me pretty hard - they were a bit happy!
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER on DARIO FRANCHITTI:
"The yellows made it a really tough race. And it was really good to see him out there battling and driving as well as he did. We had great pit stops from the boys and a fantastic drive by Dario."
BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER on PAUL TRACY:
"I understand there's a new black flag rule that a driver can be called into the pits for a safety inspection if he makes contact with another car.
But viewing Paul's car from the pits, we thought it was obvious the car was fine. He was turning the fastest laps out there when he was called in."
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (Started 7th / Finished 11th; Currently 13th in the PPG Cup standings with 56 points)
"The whole thing was caused when Pruett slowed suddenly. I didn't intentionally try to take Tony (Kanaan) out. He's a good driver and I'm sorry I cause his race to end. I'm disappointed we got 11th place when we should have been on the podium. The car was great. We had one of the fastest cars out there."