Alex Zanardi and the ...
Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard saw a solid bid for a podium finish in today's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland spoiled just past the midway point in the race and had to settle for 13th place. Zanardi, who started 13th, was chasing the car of second-place Kenny Brack when he pitted for the second time on Lap 59. Upon rejoining the race, he was holding off the car of Max Wilson heading into Turn 7 when Wilson's right-front wing touched Zanardi's left-rear tire and punctured it. Zanardi then was forced to pit for a new left-rear tire, a stop that dropped him back to 19th. He made up six positions in the latter part of the race.
Zanardi's teammate Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard also encountered some bad luck and had to settle for 16th place after starting fifth. Kanaan was pushed off the track in a multi-car pileup on the very first turn of the race and had to pit early to repair damage to the nose of his car and to the right-side bodywork. Dario Franchitti won today's race, finishing just ahead of Memo Gidley and Bryan Herta.
The next race on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series tour is in two weeks for Round 10 at the Molson Indy Toronto (July 13-15).
"The car was running pretty well today. The best it had all weekend, which is very encouraging after the way things have been going. I did something unusual last night: I left my engineers all alone after telling them all the things I was feeling in the car on Friday and Saturday. I came back this morning and found they made some significant changes to the car, and they were all for the better. I've got to say it was very energizing to be running for the lead like we were until our misfortunes with Max Wilson. It 's one of those things that happen. He was trying to make a move on me when I'm not sure he had a move to make. When you make a move, there has to be a move. You can't just settle for getting close. He made contact, but I didn 't feel a thing. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, when you don't feel something, it doesn't do any damage. But it punctured my tire and the rest is history. I'm disappointed, of course. But to have the car that I had today and to fight for the lead the way we were, we leave here very, very encouraged. I'm keeping my feet on the ground, but I can't help but feel this is the turning point to our season."