IRL: Indy 500: Michael Andretti race report

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (May 26, 2002)---Michael Andretti and the Motorola/Archipelago crew once again had an event filled Indianapolis 500.  After starting 25th, Andretti had worked his way into 16th position by the time the window had opened for...

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (May 26, 2002)---Michael Andretti and the Motorola/Archipelago crew once again had an event filled Indianapolis 500.  After starting 25th, Andretti had worked his way into 16th position by the time the window had opened for the first round of pit stops.  But it was apparent when a late yellow, or early depending on your view, caught Andretti just as he was about to pit and unfortunately, the pits were closed.  "We got hurt by the yellow because the pits were closed and we were running out of fuel and we were forced to pit before the pits were actually open," explained Kim Green, general manager.   "The rule is that you can come in and put in a splash of fuel but you must then complete a full pit stop with tires and fuel once the pits are open.  And as Michael was leaving the pit after his second stop he ran over a wheel nut on pit lane and we were worried about a tire puncture so we brought him back in on the next lap to change the tires as a precaution."  Michael was able to recover from his early round of extra pit stops and by lap 150 he had worked his way into second place. "We had a great car today," said Andretti.  "I was able to work my way through the field but beginning with our second-to-last stint I think we had a problem with the car.  It got really hard to handle and I'm not sure exactly why."  After Andretti worked his way into second place, he remained in the top five through his last pit stop on lap 175.  After encountering handling problems he managed to hang on to seventh place, which is where he finished the 500-mile race.  "I really thought today might be the day to change the record books," Michael remarked after the conclusion of his 13th Indy 500.  "But somehow it didn't happen again.  I guess that's Indy."   Although the team was disappointed with their final result today, Michael did post the second fastest lap of the race with a speed of 226.384 mph (39.7555 seconds).

The team will now return to their shop in Indianapolis to finish preparations for round four of the CART FedEx Championship Series that will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Sunday, June 3.

Michael Andretti -- #39 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone "You come to Indianapolis to win so even though the car was really great at some points, I have to admit that I'm disappointed with our finish.  On our second to last set of tires, something in the car just changed.  I don't know if there was something wrong with our car or what, but it just got really difficult to handle and I started going backwards.  Each time I started to make some progress it seemed like something would happen that would send us farther back.  It was just one of those races, we played catch up most of the day and we just couldn't get things going our way.  The competition was very fierce today."  

Kim Green --General Manager

"We got caught out early in the race on a yellow with the pits closed but we had no choice but to stop for fuel.  So the rule in that situation is that you can come in and get a splash of fuel but as soon as the pits are open you must pit again and do a complete stop and then rejoin the back of the field.  Unfortunately, when Michael left our pit and was about two stalls down he ran over a wheel nut on pit lane and we were worried about a puncture so we brought him back in to change the tires on the next lap.  I don't think we can blame that early situation though because Michael charged back through the field.  Certainly in the middle part of the race we had the fastest car on the racetrack but we had some issues today in the pits and we certainly didn't help ourselves during our pit stops.  It was disappointing but everyone on team Motorola/Archipelago was working hard and Michael did his share by working his way through the field several times.  After our last two pit stops Michael was saying the car didn't feel as good and I'm not sure if we knocked a wheel weight off, or a wheel was slightly out of balance but the handling of the car definitely changed.  Overall, I think everyone did on the team did a great job and Michael drove a heads up race."

RACE DAY NOTES

Motorola/Archipelago technical partner Paul Tracy finished second in today's event.  Tracy started in 29th position and was challenging Helio Castroneves for the win when an accident brought out the caution flag with two laps to run.   Dario Franchitti, also a technical partner, started 28th and finished 19th.  Dario, like Michael, was hampered by extra pit stops after he ran over debris during the first caution period and punctured a tire that required a second pit stop.

Helio Castroneves captured his second Indianapolis 500 victory today, Paul Tracy finished second and Felipe Giaffone third.

Race Day--May 26, 2002 <pre> Start 25th Finish 7th Laps Completed 200 Laps Led 0 Status Running

-tg/ma-

Contact:  Jana Griffith, (317) 501-3055 Cell, (317) 872-2700 ext. 239 Office

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kim Green