Detroit and Pikes Peak, June 17, 2001 -- It was another busy weekend for the Walker Racing CART and INDY Racing League teams with Tora ending up in 20th place in Detroit at the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on the 2.346-mile temporary...
Detroit and Pikes Peak, June 17, 2001 -- It was another busy weekend for the Walker Racing CART and INDY Racing League teams with Tora ending up in 20th place in Detroit at the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on the 2.346-mile temporary street course on Belle Isle and Sarah in 10th at the 1-mile oval track at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Tora started the race on Belle Isle in 25th position in the #5 Pioneer/DENSO/Toyota/Reynard/Firestone car and with the narrow racetrack making it difficult to pass during the race, pit strategy played an important part of moving up through the field. Tora made a strategic pit stop on lap #4 under a yellow flag and took on fuel only. Back on track, he was able to pass several cars on the narrow racecourse and moved quickly up through the field before making a scheduled pit stop on lap #35 for four tires and fuel. Tora was able to run laps consistent with those of the race leaders and had moved up to 12th position on the racecourse when he was forced to retire from the race on lap 40 with a mechanical problem.
"The car was good from the beginning of the race," said Tora. "We made a big adjustment during the final practice which made the car better before the race and our pit strategy during the race was quite right. We were saving fuel and moving up through the field. The track was good fun to drive and I was getting ready to come in for a final pit stop for fuel when the car stopped and I could do nothing about that. Sometimes that just happens."
Sarah started the Radisson Indy 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in 15th position and was working her way through the field in the Walker Racing/Kroger Special/Oldsmobile/Dallara Firestone car on the 1-mile oval track throughout the race.
"The Pikes Peak race was a good result for us," said Sarah. "Mike (Wright) did a great job of engineering the car to work well during the race to have an even push on every corner during the race. We held our own and were running with most of the leaders during the race. We only made two pit stops during the entire race, and the Firestone tires held up great the entire weekend. I've never run 80 laps in an Indy Car before without pitting and I think our last stint was 83 laps and Walker Racing and Comptech Engines did a great job on fuel mileage which allowed us to have the finish that we did."
"It was a busy weekend for both our CART and IRL teams," said owner Derrick Walker. "Detroit is a very difficult track to race at unless you qualify in the first couple of rows, and we weren't there. So that race requires as different a strategy as you can make it. It was unfortunate that we weren't able to go the distance, because Tora was driving smart and was running very good race laps, and we were headed to a solid finish before the mechanical problem shut us down early.
In Sarah's case at Pikes Peak, we had a better result at the end of the day, she and the team worked with the car the entire day and she drove a smart race."
Round 8 of the CART FedEx Championship Series will be contested on the permanent road course at Portland International Raceway on June 24. The IRL travels to Richmond International Raceway the following weekend for the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30, while CART will race at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport on July 1.