Tora Slips and Slides His Way to 18th Place Finish at Rain-Soaked Portland Track Portland, Ore., June 24, 2001 - Walker Racing driver Tora Takagi and the rest of the CART FedEx Championship Series drivers suited up in their rain gear for...
Tora Slips and Slides His Way to 18th Place Finish at Rain-Soaked Portland Track
Portland, Ore., June 24, 2001 - Walker Racing driver Tora Takagi and the rest of the CART FedEx Championship Series drivers suited up in their rain gear for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco on the 1.969-mile permanent road course at Portland International Raceway.
This was Tora's first experience racing in the rain in CART, and with a total of nine caution flags, which flew during the race for multiple spins by multiple drivers, including Tora, the wet conditions kept all the drivers on their toes during the two-hour timed event.
Tora's first off in the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special/Toyota/Reynard/ Firestone car occurred on Lap 5. The track had just gone back to green after being yellow-flagged on the very first lap, when Michael Andretti tapped Tora, spinning him into the grass and stalling his car. The car was towed back to the pits and re-started, but by that time, he'd lost four valuable on-track laps, which he couldn't recover. Tora persevered, however, and stayed out for the duration of the race to bring the car safely home in 18th position.
"The early contact with Michael meant everything in this race," said Tora. "My rear wing got bent and made the car very difficult to drive during the rest of the race. But we just kept going the rest of the race, and finished it out."
Tora qualified 17th, and was 10th in the final warm-up in the rain.
"It was a pity that the race turned out the way that it did," said owner Derrick Walker. "The early incident with Michael set us back a bit, otherwise we had a very good car for the race. It was a fairly unusual race overall, and one of those when you look back at it and say that you are glad just to be able to finish."
The next round of the CART FedEx Championship Series will be held next Sunday, July 1 at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport. The race will be broadcast on ABC at 1 p.m. (ET).