Takagi takes third, lap 191 crash ends Giaffone's bid at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas (Saturday, June 7, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and the ...
Takagi takes third, lap 191 crash ends Giaffone's bid at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (Saturday, June 7, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force finished third in tonight's Bombardier 500 IRL IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
His teammate Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force was also headed for a potential top-five finish when an accident nine laps from the finish put him out of the race.
Takagi started from the third position, grabbed second place from Scott Dixon at the start, and stayed there until the first round of fuel-and-tire stops under yellow on Lap 45. He stayed in the top five until the second round of stops under yellow on Lap 91, when he fell back to seventh. He pitted a final time under green on Lap 154 of tonight's 200-lap event and resumed in seventh place. Takagi worked his way up to fifth with 10 laps to go when, working Lap 191, he had a run on Scott Sharp and his teammate Giaffone from behind. Sharp and Giaffone got two wide and closed off the high side of the track heading into Turn 3. That sent Takagi down low under Sharp and Giaffone to maintain his momentum. Sharp, who was in the middle at this point, made contact with Takagi and spun up the track into Giaffone, sending both into the wall while Takagi continued in third place. Takagi stayed there after the Lap 198 restart and finished behind race-winner Al Unser, Jr., and runner-up Tony Kanaan. The third-place finish follows up a solid month of May for Takagi at the Indy 500, where he qualified seventh and finished fifth to earn Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors.
For Giaffone, the Lap 191 incident brought a heartbreaking end to a promising race. He started third and stayed with the leaders along with Takagi throughout the race. Giaffone was running fourth when, on Lap 191, he was in the middle of a battle with Sharp for third place, going outside for a pass down the backstretch. But he got caught up in the aftermath of Sharp's contact with Takagi.
"I am happy with third place, but it is unfortunate what happened to Felipe (Giaffone) and Scott (Sharp on the Lap 191 incident). I had to go down inside because Felipe and Scott were up high. Scott came down on me and made me go to the white line to avoid a crash. I didn't have any more room and we hit each other. I got a little sideways but I was able to keep on going. We will have to talk about it and try to figure out what happened so we can avoid that kind of a result in the future."
"I don't know what happened on the track, but when I watched it on TV, I think Tora (Takagi) tried to make a move below Sharp, and there was nothing I could do. I'm a little sore, but I'll be okay in the morning. It's a shame because the Hollywood car definitely was capable of catching Tony (Kanaan) and Al (Unser, Jr.). That's what happens when three cars try to race where maybe there's only room for two."