Felipe Giaffone and the ...
Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force finished seventh in today's Indy Racing League 2002 season opener at Homestead Miami Speedway.
It was the first IRL event in the three-year history of Mo Nunn Racing and the first of the veteran Brazilian driver's sophomore season in the all-oval open-wheel series. Giaffone was last year's IRL Rookie of the Year driving for Treadway/Hubbard Racing.
Giaffone started 17th today after a frustrating day of qualifying on Friday, during which his car developed major oversteer. But he steadily made his way through the field today, working his way up to 11th by Lap 25 of the 200-lap, 300-mile race. He was eighth by Lap 50, and stayed in the top 10 the rest of the day, running as high as sixth on Lap 125.
Defending series champion Sam Hornish won from the pole today, beating CART transplants Gil de Ferran (runner-up) and Helio Castroneves (third-place finisher) to the checkered flag. Hornish and the Penske Racing teammates were the only finishers on the lead lap.
Round Two of the 2002 IRL season is in two weeks at Phoenix International Raceway. Mo Nunn Racing next takes to the track next weekend to begin its third CART FedEx Championship Series season with driver Tony Kanaan and the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard.
"I think the race was pretty hard for everybody. We made some big changes for the race. My car was pushing for the whole race, and the wind upset the rear. But it was a really tough weekend for us. Fortunately, we got to the end of the race. After the really hard weekend we had, I'm kind of happy that I could finish the race, but I think we could improve a lot."