FORT WORTH, Texas (Sunday, Sept. 15, 2002) -- Felipe Giaffone's bid to pick up one final spot in the 2002 Indy Racing League championship ended 14 laps from the end of today's 200-lap Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Giaffone, who locked up ...
FORT WORTH, Texas (Sunday, Sept. 15, 2002) -- Felipe Giaffone's bid to pick up one final spot in the 2002 Indy Racing League championship ended 14 laps from the end of today's 200-lap Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Giaffone, who locked up fourth place in the points last week at Chicagoland, could have passed Gil de Ferran for third place with a finish of sixth or better in today's IRL season finale. De Ferran did not compete in the aftermath of an accident at Chicagoland last weekend. Giaffone, the 2001 series Rookie of the Year, was running eighth today when the engine of his #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force let go on Lap 184. It relegated him to a 17th-place finish in the race and a solid fourth place in the standings with the Mo Nunn Racing team he joined for the first time this season, its first in the IRL.
Sam Hornish, Jr., successfully defending his IRL championship with a narrow victory of just 0.0096 of a second over series points runner-up Helio Castroneves. Polesitter Vitor Meira finished third.
Thus, the curtain falls on the 2002 Indy Racing League's 15-race campaign. The 2003 season begins in Homestead, Fla., on Sunday, March 2. It will be the first of 16 events.
"This is not the best way to finish a season that started out so well for our rookie team. I had a good car today and could have finished in the first seven spots, if I hadn't had the engine failure. I had a good start (he passed four cars in the first seven laps) and the team did a great job on my first pit stop (improving from 10th to fifth). But this was not our day. I drove over part of a car, maybe a nose, and had my right front wheel broken. I was lucky there was a caution flag right after that, so I could pit and come back in fourth place. I was still there when I did my second pit stop (on lap 160), but we had a problem changing a tire and that dropped us back to 13th, the same place we started the race. I could work my way to reach the eighth spot when my engine broke. It's a shame, as we could have finished third in the points. Unfortunately, two engine failures in the last three races really hurt us. But being fourth in the points is not that bad. I am so happy with this team, and I can't wait to start testing the 2003 package. We'll be back even stronger next year."