Giaffone 6th at Chicagoland; locks up at least 4th in Championship.. JOLIET, Ill. (Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002) -- Felipe Giaffone and the ...
Giaffone 6th at Chicagoland; locks up at least 4th in Championship..
JOLIET, Ill. (Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002) -- Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force finished sixth in today's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Giaffone started 10th and ran as high as third during various stages of the race. He was dicing with the leaders in the dramatic closing laps, moving up and back from third to fifth as cars ran side-by side in several rows. He was eventually shuffled back to sixth on the final lap.
That finish, coupled with the victory by Sam Hornish, Jr., mathematically eliminated Giaffone from the series points championship with just next weekend's season finale at Texas Motor Speedway remaining on the schedule. Defending series champion Hornish edged Al Unser, Jr., by 0.0024 of a second at the finish line to move into a 12-point lead in the title chase. Buddy Lazier finished third, with Helio Castroneves fourth and Eddie Cheever, Jr., fifth. Hornish was third in the standings before the race, one spot ahead of Giaffone, but now leads the championship with 481 points. Castroneves, who is second with 469 points, lost the one-point lead he held going into the race. His teammate Gil de Ferran, who crashed out of the race on Lap 59 of today's 200-lap event, fell from second to third with 443 points. Giaffone now has 419 points and can finish no lower than fourth in the championship as fifth-place Alex Barron is 83 points behind him with 336 points. IRL race winners earn 50 points, plus bonus points for winning the pole and leading the most laps.
Next weekend's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is the 15th and final round of the 2002 IRL season. It will be televised live on ABC-TV at 3 p.m. EDT.
"For me, it was a long day and a long weekend all around. First, we had a crash in the first practice on Friday. We changed cars and it seemed like we were going to be alright in the backup car. Then, yesterday, I felt a strange vibration in the final practice, so we changed engines. For sure, it was down on power. Today, my gears were all too long. At the end, we finished sixth, which was maybe a little better than I expected considering everything that wasn't right. We're going to put the other engine in for Texas and see what happens there. Overall, it's been a very smooth season for me. Unfortunately, at Gateway, I was running third and we had an engine problem, so that hurt us quite a bit in the championship. But I still think for the first year with Mo Nunn Racing, everything is going better for the team than a lot of people might have expected."