Giaffone comes home 16th, Takagi 18th at Toyota Indy 400 FONTANA, Calif. (Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi battled handling problems brought on, in part, by temperatures in the high 90s, and ...
Giaffone comes home 16th, Takagi 18th at Toyota Indy 400
FONTANA, Calif. (Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi battled handling problems brought on, in part, by temperatures in the high 90s, and struggled to finish today's Toyota Indy 400 in 16th and 18th place, respectively, on the 2-mile California Speedway tri-oval.
Giaffone started eighth and lost 14 places in the first 10 laps while fighting severe understeer on his #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force. He came in early -- on Lap 37 -- for his first scheduled fuel-and-tire stop to try and remedy the problem. Giaffone picked up three positions by his second pit stop under yellow on Lap 77, rejoining the race in 18th place. He was up to 16th by Lap 88 and stayed in that relative position for the remainder of the race.
Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force started 11th and also began losing ground during the first stint, due to heavy oversteer. Takagi was back to 19th by Lap 10 and re-emerged after his first pit stop on Lap 37 in 21st place. He picked up three more positions before the checkered flag.
Two-time-defending series champion Sam Hornish, Jr., was the winner today, beating runner-up Scott Dixon and third-place-finishing Tony Kanaan across the finish line.
The IRL IndyCar Series takes the next two weekends off before the 2003 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Oct. 12.
"Well, we did the best we could with what we gave ourselves to work with. Unfortunately, I think we weren't conservative enough with our downforce. It was exactly the same problem for Tora (Takagi) and me. We decided to go with low downforce and we went backward for the whole first part of the race. I had a big push coming out of Turn 2 and Turn 4, and it was all I could do to just finish my first two stints. By then, we were too far behind to be able to make up much ground. It looked like cars were either really hooked up today, or really not. There was no in-between. Unfortunately, we weren't hooked up and it made it a very long day for us. I don't want any more days like that."
"That was definitely our longest day of the year. We made some setup decisions that obviously were not the right way to go. Unfortunately there was very little we could do to completely fix the problem once the race started, so we knew we were going to have a long day. It's very frustrating to keep running out there when you don't have a good car. I thought we would do a lot better here because we had a good car at Michigan. The weather was much hotter here, today, and we had very little grip. I think it was much hotter today than we believed it would be even yesterday. We have one more race to go, so hopefully we will be able to finish the season in a good way."