TORONTO, CANADA - SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2001 -- Round ...
TORONTO, CANADA - SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2001 -- Round #10 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing had one of its toughest days of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season as Roberto Moreno finished 11th and Jimmy Vasser placed 26th at today's Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.
Moreno, piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, started ninth and was running in eighth place when on lap five he was tapped from behind and spun. Although the car was undamaged, by the time he got restarted, entered the pits for a cursory inspection and rejoined the race he was in 25th place and a lap down. Never one to give up, Moreno and the Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to soldier on despite the long odds. Moreno had worked his way into 20th place, still a lap off the pace, when the racing gods decided to deal him another blow. On lap 49, he had an incident with Tora Takagi, Takagi's third of the day, but, once again escaped unscathed. The lost time did however cost him one position. Remaining true to form, Moreno continued to battle and as other competitors fell by the wayside he suddenly found himself in 11th place and in the points.
"I tell you, I will treasure these points forever," Moreno said. "The points the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team scored today were hard earned. It just shows that if you have a reliable car and good teamwork you can always come from the back of the field. We had every reason to quit in this race, but we never gave up," Moreno noted.
Moreno continued saying, "The #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a good start to the race. We were moving up. Then I got hit from behind and ended up spinning. That almost put an end to my day, and unfortunately, I took a couple of guys with me because I was in a place where you couldn't avoid hitting me. Fortunately, there was no damage to the car so we were able to continue racing. Later, I had another incident, but again we were lucky and didn't have any damage. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team fought hard today and made up a lot of places. We had good teamwork and we earned some valuable championship points."
This is the second time Moreno has finished in the points in five starts at Toronto.
The talented and personable Brazilian has now finished in the points in seven of his last eight starts and in seven of the nine races this season (Long Beach - 11th; Nazareth - 12th; Japan - 10th; Detroit - third; Portland - second; Cleveland - eighth; Toronto - 11th). The Weston, Florida resident is tied for 11th in the championship standings with 43 points.
Moreno has now finished in the points in 16 of his last 25 CART road/street course starts with 12 top-10 placements, seven top five showings and five podiums including one victory. He has finished in the top-10 in 22 of his last 42 starts and in the points 29 times.
Vasser, who was behind the wheel of the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, did not fair as well as his teammate. Starting 16th he was running in 15th place when he became entangled in the melee that insured when Moreno spun. Unfortunately, his car was damaged beyond repair putting an end to his day.
"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard seemed like a good car for the short period of time I was out there," Vasser said. "With the way things started out it looked like we were going to have some opportunities to move up fairly quickly. Then I came around the corner and saw that Roberto (teammate Roberto Moreno) was sideways on the track. I tried to take the car around the outside of the pile up, but just didn't make it through. It's one of those things. It's kind of unfortunate. I feel bad for the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew, they did a good job this weekend, but what are you going to do," Vasser concluded.
This was Vasser's lowest finish in ten races at Toronto and his worst showing of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season. The 35-year-old former CART Champion has placed in the top-six in five of the nine races this year (Mexico - sixth; Long Beach - fifth; Nazareth - fourth; Japan - fifth; Cleveland - fifth) and is currently eight in the championship standings with 50 points.
The resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, has now started 95 CART road/street races placing in the points 56 times with 49 top-10 finishes including 25 top-five showings, 14 podium appearances and four victories. He has finished 91 of his last 112 races placing in the points 86 times (dating to Milwaukee in 1995). HeHe
Next up for Patrick Racing is the Michigan 500, July 20-22 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.