The finish of Alex Zanardi and the ...
The finish of Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard in today's Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was in dispute immediately after the race. CART officials claimed Zanardi passed Christian Fittipaldi before the green flag flew on a Lap 76 restart. The move put Zanardi in ninth place, but CART officials did not score Zanardi's final two laps, relegating him to 19th position. He started 20th on the grid, picked up one position on the race start, and another on Lap 13 to move into 18th place. He held his position until the first round of pit stops that began on Lap 29, and found himself in 14th by Lap 30. Zanardi picked up four more positions to move into the top 10 by Lap 73 of the scheduled 83-lap race distance. Then came the call by CART officials that ended his bid for a second consecutive top-10 finish. The incident alleged by CART occurred on Lap 76. A CART official did not even arrive at Zanardi' s pit box until the better part of two laps later to begin asking the team to instruct Zanardi to let Fittipaldi by. The team attempted to communicate the message to Zanardi, and he let Fittipaldi back in front of him by Lap 80. But CART officials deemed that it was not soon enough and decided to stop scoring the car.
Meanwhile, teammate Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished fifth after starting seventh. Helio Castroneves was today's winner - his fourth victory of the season. Gil de Ferran finished second, with Patrick Carpentier in third.
The next stop on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series - Round 14 of 21 on the season - is the Motorola 220 next weekend (August 19) at Elkhart Lake, Wis.
"What exactly happened on the restart is this: As we were coming to the end of the yellow lap, Christian had to lock up his brakes to avoid hitting Cristiano (da Matta), who was right in front of him. So I had to get alongside, but not in front of, Christian to keep from hitting him. Then I heard Morris call 'green-green-green' on the radio, so I got on the gas. Christian had no momentum at that instant, so I went right on by him. That's all I am going to say."