Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway Bryan Herta ...
Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200
Portland International Raceway
Bryan Herta #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe/Ford-Cosworth/Reynard
Started: 12th 58.432 sec. - 121.310 mph
Highest Race Position: 5th
Race Result: 14th
Herta on the Race:
"It was an absolutely crazy race. It was really slick out there, not a lot of fun. We were running really well in the beginning and I was able to gain some positions and stay clear of all of the other melee around me. Wilson hit me pretty hard from behind and that really set us back. I was actually hit from behind a few times. After that, we were out of sequence on our stops and we were hoping the other guys would have to stop again, and they didn’t."
Zakspeed/Forsythe Lap-to-Lap Report
Under wet and wild conditions, Bryan Herta and the Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Team managed to finish the race, a respectful feat in the yellow-plagued Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.
Herta started the race from 12th position on a soaked race track with heavy showers continuing, and gained one position on the first lap as Memo Gidley, Tony Kanaan, and Alex Zanardi all made contact after taking the green flag. "It's crazy out here," commented Herta.
The race re-started on lap five, but went yellow again on the sixth lap when Tora Takagi and Shinji Nakano spun. Herta remained in 11th position when the track when green again on eighth lap and gained a position when Cristiano da Matta spun on lap 10 under yellow conditions, which were brought out by Adrian Fernandez's spin.
Herta took the re-start on the 13th lap in 10th position, but was hit from behind on the same lap by Max Wilson, sending Herta into the Gravel trap and bringing out another full course caution. The CART Safety Crew retrieved Herta, and the Zakspeed/Forsythe crew made their first pit stop of the day on the 13th lap, taking fuel only.
The track went green again on the 15th lap, with Herta in 18th condition. Finally getting the opportunity to complete a few green laps, Herta passed Oriol Servia on the 18th lap and remained in 17th position until the track went yellow again due to a spin by Tora Takagi, placing Herta in 16th position.
The race re-started on the 23rd lap, but remained green less than one lap, due to Michel Jourdain Jr.'s spin, pushing Herta up to 15th position. Michael Andretti passed Herta on the re-start on lap 25, but it was deemed illegal by CART and Andretti was served a black flag, drive through penalty. Andretti served the penalty on the 27th lap and Herta was back in 15th position.
With eight green laps, Herta was setting times as fast as the leaders. Fernandez spun again on the 33rd lap, causing the seventh caution period of the day, bringing in the leaders for service.
Herta remained on the track, and took the re-start from fifth position. Herta was bumped from behind by Dario Franchitti on the re-start and was forced to short cut the course alongside Roberto Moreno, in effort to save his race position. Herta re-joined the race in fourth position ahead of Moreno, but was forced by CART to let Moreno by, as it is illegal to gain position on the shortcut.
Nakano spun on the 40th lap, bringing out another full course yellow, enabling the Zakspeed/Forsythe crew to make their second stop of the day under yellow conditions. "It's been a heck of a day already," commented Herta as he was given four fresh tires, a wing adjustment and a full tank of fuel. Herta took the green flag on the 43rd lap from 16th position, with plenty of fuel to finish the race; he would not have to stop again.
The final caution of the day was displayed just two laps later, Mauricio Gugelmin and Paul Tracy made contact, retiring both cars. Herta gained to positions due to the contact, and took the final green flag on the 48th lap in 14th position. Herta was passed by Alex Tagliani on lap 49, placing him 15th, but not for long as Herta passed Jimmy Vasser four laps later for 14th position.
With the two-hour time limit quickly approaching, the Zakspeed/Forsythe crew was hoping there would be enough green track time to force the leaders to pit, as Herta would be able to remain on the track and gain back his positions. The time limit expired and the checkered flag fell on the 76th lap, just in time for the top-seven cars to finish the race without having to stop for fuel. Herta finished the race in 14th position.