Houston Track Notes

Houston, Texas No. 14 The CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship Press Notes - Sunday October 1, 2000 Good morning from beautiful downtown Houston, Texas for Round 11 of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Today's track activities include...

Houston, Texas No. 14

The CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship Press Notes - Sunday October 1, 2000

Good morning from beautiful downtown Houston, Texas for Round 11 of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Today's track activities include a 15-minute warm up session starting at 8:30 a.m. followed by the 50-lap race starting at 12:30 p.m. The weather this morning is once again perfect with a light breeze blowing from the north up the front straight. The temperatures are forecasted to climb back up into the high 80's as it was yesterday. There is no threat of rain. Dayton Tire engineers report a track temperature of 77 degrees at the start of the session with an ambient temperature of 70 degrees.

At your service today are Adam Saal (Director of Public Relations), and Brian Tate (Pit Notes Specialist). Feel free to contact either Adam or Brian for questions regarding the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship.

The track in downtown Houston is a 1.527-mile temporary street course. The CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship race will consist of 50 laps (76.35 miles).

GREEN FLAG waves at 8:30 a.m. to start the 15-minute warm up session.

At 8:32 a.m. #64 QUINTANILLA runs into the runoff area in Turn 5 and continues on under power.

At 8:36 a.m. #1 BELL pits the car for the carryover penalty from Laguna Seca.

At 8:37 a.m. #7 DOMINGUEZ runs into the runoff area in Turn 1 and continues on under power.

At 8:39 a.m. #5 G.BOSS runs into the runoff area in Turn 1 and continues on under power.

At 8:40 a.m. #4 A.BOSS runs into the runoff area in Turn 5 and continues on under power.

At 8:40 a.m., 10 minutes in the session the fastest driver so far is #2 MEARS with a time of 1:05.792 seconds (83.554 mph), followed by #27 KANE at 1:05.888 seconds (83.432 mph), and #3 BRIGHT at 1:06.045 seconds (83.234 mph). 5 minutes remain in the session.

At 8:41 a.m. #11 MENNINGA runs into the runoff area in Turn 1 and continues on under power.

At 8:42 a.m. #21 GIAFFONE runs into the runoff area in Turn 5 and continues on under power.

At 8:42 a.m. #26 SIMMONS runs into the runoff area in Turn 5 and continues on under power.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 8:45 a.m. bringing an end to the 15-minute warm up session. The session was run incident free.

The top five drivers of the session are:

#3 Jason Bright 1:05.624 seconds (83.768 mph) Lap 12 of 12

#2 Casey Mears 1:05.788 seconds (83.559 mph) Lap 11 of 12

#21 Felipe Giaffone 1:05.858 seconds (83.470 mph) Lap 10 of 10

#27 Jonny Kane 1:05.888 seconds (83.432 mph) Lap 6 of 11

#16 Derek Higgins 1:05.898 seconds (83.420 mph) Lap 9 of 10

As Round 11 of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship is about to begin, the weather continues to be warm and dry. The winds have died down since this morning's warm up session and are now still. Dayton Tire engineers report a track temperature of 106 degrees at the start of the race with an ambient temperature of 82 degrees.

At 12:25 p.m. the command "Gentlemen, Start your Engines!" is given.

At 12:26 p.m. the Dayton Ford Mustang pace car leads the field out of the pits and onto the track for the first of three pace laps.

GREEN FLAG waves at 12:30 p.m. to start Round 11 of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship. #2 MEARS leads the field into the first turn followed by #1 BELL, #16 HIGGINS, #27 KANE, and #17 DIXON.

On Lap 1, #15 JUNCO goes into Turn 5 deep and makes contact with the left side of #18 RENNA and then spins. #15 JUNCO continues on under power but has a flat right front tire. #15 JUNCO pits the car to change the tire.

The running order after 1 Lap complete shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #16 HIGGINS, #27 KANE, and #17 DIXON. The lead margin is .451 seconds.

On Lap 3, #4 A.BOSS spins in at the exit of Turn 4 and continues on under power. #4 A.BOSS falls to 16th place.

The running order after 5 Laps complete still shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #16 HIGGINS, #27 KANE, and #17 DIXON. The lead margin is up to 1.571 seconds and 2.911 seconds back to third. 45 laps remain in the race.

On Lap 9, course observers report the side pod of #18 RENNA may be coming loose.

On Lap 10, #15 JUNCO makes contact with the Turn 10 wall with the right rear of the car. The car sustains suspension damage to the right rear. #15 JUNCO pulls off course in the Turn 1 runoff area and retires from the session due to contact.

The running order after 10 Laps complete still shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #16 HIGGINS, #27 KANE, and #17 DIXON. The lead margin is up to 1.771 seconds and 3.955 seconds back to third. 40 laps remain in the race.

On Lap 13, #3 BRIGHT brushes the wall in Turn 2 with the left front wheel. The tire goes flat and #3 BRIGHT pits the car the following lap to change the tire.

On Lap 14, #27 KANE passes #16 HIGGINS for fourth place.

The running order after 15 Laps complete still shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #27 KANE, #16 HIGGINS, and #17 DIXON. The lead margin is 1.487 seconds and 7.111 seconds back to third. 35 laps remain in the race.

On Lap 17, #18 RENNA pits to repair the damage to the side pod. #18 RENNA loses a lap and drops to 16th place.

On Lap 18, #10 LAVIN brushes the wall in Turn 6 and continues on under power.

On Lap 19, #18 RENNA pits the car and retires from the race due to contact.

The running order after 20 Laps complete still shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #27 KANE, #16 HIGGINS, and #17 DIXON. The lead margin is down to 1:102 seconds and 6.657 seconds back to third place. 30 laps remain in the race.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 21 when #27 KANE has a gearbox failure entering Turn 7 and spins. #27 KANE comes to a stop at the outside of Turn 7. #16 HIGGINS loses traction in the fluid left from #27 KANE and makes contact with left rear of #27 KANE and the tire wall in Turn 7. #3 BRIGHT also loses traction and makes contact to the left rear of #27 KANE with the front of his car. #17 DIXON also loses traction and makes contact with the Turn 7 tire wall. All drivers exit their cars under their own power and are uninjured in the incident. All four drivers retire from the race due to contact.

On Lap 21, #21 GIAFFONE moves up to third place, #7 DOMINGUEZ to fourth and #26 SIMMONS to fifth.

On Lap 22, #18 RENNA returns to the race after making repairs to the car.

The running order after 25 Laps complete and under Yellow Flag conditions shows #2 MEARS still leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #7 DOMINGUEZ, and #26 SIMMONS. 25 laps remain in the race.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 28 to resume the race. #2 MEARS leads going into Turn 1.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 28 when #7 DOMINGUEZ makes contact with his left front wheel to the right rear wheel of #21 GIAFFONE going down the front straight. #7 DOMINGUEZ car gets temporarily airborne and hits the outside wall on the front straight. The car slides along the wall into the Turn 1 runoff area and makes hard contact with the tire barrier in the runoff area. The car sustains heavy damage to the front of the car. #7 DOMINGUEZ exits the car under his own power and is uninjured in the incident. #7 DOMINGUEZ retires from the race due to contact.

On Lap 28, #5 G.BOSS moves up to fourth place and #11 MENNINGA moves up to fifth.

The running order after 30 Laps complete and under Yellow Flag conditions still shows #2 MEARS leading the race followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #5 G.BOSS, and #11 MENNINGA. 20 laps remain in the race.

On Lap 31, #26 SIMMONS pits to make repairs after hitting debris from the earlier incident.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 33 to resume the race. #2 MEARS leads the field into Turn 1.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 33 when #26 SIMMONS makes contact to the pit exit wall when leaving the pits with the left front of the car. The car sustains major damage to left front suspension. #26 SIMMONS gets out of the car under his own power and is uninjured in the incident. #26 SIMMONS retires from the race due to contact.

The running order after 35 Laps complete and under Yellow Flag conditions still shows the leader as #2 MEARS followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #5 G.BOSS, and #11 MENNINGA. 15 laps remain in the race.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 37 to resume the race. #2 MEARS leads the field into Turn 1.

On Lap 37, the event is turned into timed race and will not run the full 50 laps that were scheduled.

After 38 Laps complete, #2 MEARS leads the race by 1.073 seconds over #1 BELL. It is 2.345 seconds back to third.

On Lap 40, #4 A.BOSS is running slow on course. #4 A.BOSS makes it back to the pits and retires from the race due to mechanical failure.

The running order after 40 Laps complete still shows the leader as #2 MEARS followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #5 G.BOSS, and #11 MENNINGA. The lead margin is 1.027 seconds and 2.791 seconds back to third place.

The running order after 41 Laps complete is still the same. The lead margin is .511 seconds and 2.260 seconds back to third place.

On Lap 42, #64 QUINTANILLA is slow on the course and comes to a stop between Turn 2 and Turn 3. A waving Yellow Flag is displayed on the corner and the race stays green. #64 QUINTANILLA exits the car and corner workers remove the car from the course. #64 QUINTANILLA retires from the race due to mechanical failure.

The running order after 42 Laps complete is still the same with the lead margin at .775 seconds.

The running order after 43 Laps complete is still the same with the lead margin at .738 seconds.

The running order after 44 Laps complete is still the same with the lead margin at .821 seconds.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 45 to #2 MEARS followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #5 G.BOSS, and #11 MENNINGA. The lead margin is .821 seconds.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at the conclusion of Lap 45 to #2 MEARS followed by #1 BELL, #21 GIAFFONE, #5 G.BOSS, and #11 MENNINGA. The margin of victory is 1.241 seconds.

Casey Mears in the #2 Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola wins Round 11 of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship at Houston. Mears led every lap of the shortened timed race on his way to a 1.241 second victory of Townsend Bell (#1 Dorricott Racing/DirecPC). This is Mears first career Dayton Indy Lights win and fifth podium finish of the season. Mears led the most laps earning the bonus championship point. Mears total is now 129 points, just six behind Scott Dixon (#17 PacWest Lights/Invensys/Powerware) who has 134 points. Bell stands in second place just four points behind Dixon with 130 points. This is the second straight race that American drivers have finished one/two.

Casey Mears set the fastest race lap with a time of 1:05.525 seconds (83.895 mph) on his 11th lap of the race.

The next CART Dayton Indy Lights event will be the final race of the season at the California Speedway in Fontana California.

Race Statistics

Margin of victory: 1.241 seconds

Average Speed: 68.017 mph

Lap Leaders: Mears 1-45

Fastest Lap: Casey Mears - 1:05.525 seconds (83.895 mph) on lap 11

Cautions: 3 for 14 laps (Contact 3,16,17.27 - Contact 7 - Contact 26)

Houston, Texas No. 20

The CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship Press Notes - Sunday October 1, 2000

Unofficial Race Results Unofficial Championship Standings

1. Casey Mears Scott Dixon 134

2. Townsend Bell (R) Townsend Bell (R) 130

3. Felipe Giaffone Casey Mears 129

4. Geoff Boss Felipe Giaffone 111

5. Chris Menninga Jason Bright (R) 91

Special Awards

Dayton Tire Awards: Luis Diaz receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Diaz improved nine positions to finish seventh. Townsend Bell receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Casey Mears receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier.

MCI WORLDCOM Fast Pace Award: Casey Mears receives the $1,000 MCI WORLDCOM Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 1:05.525 seconds (83.895 mph) on lap 11.

Nation's Cup: The United States clinches The Nation's Cup with Casey Mears win in at Houston. New Zealand failed to score any points after Scott Dixon's contact incident.

1. USA 184

2. New Zealand 134

3. Brazil 111

4. Australia 91

5. Mexico 88

6. Ireland 58

7. France 0

8. Argentina 0

Racing for Kids Award: Casey Mears wins the Racing for Kids Award of $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to a local children's hospital in Casey's name.

Race Winner - Casey Mears

Casey Mears (#2 Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer) - "I don't have the words to describe how this feels. It's been a while since I've won a race. My first couple of years in Lights were tough. Things started to come together last year when I joined Dorricott Racing. We did well last year in finishing second place in the championship but we went into this season looking to win a race and the championship."

"Things have gone our way for the better part of the season. It's been a lot of little things that haven't worked against us that have helped me with consistent finishes. We have great engineers but I tip my hat to Gerald Tyler, who engineers Jason Bright's car. Their pre-race testing was the difference in all of the team's success at Houston. Gerald found a new set-up worked well on this circuit."

"We didn't have a particular strategy entering the race other to run as hard and smart as we could. It was a shame the way Scott Dixon left the race but it has happened to all of us who have raced a long time. Timing can be everything."

"Joining Dorricott Racing has been a career maker. Bob Dorricott is so supportive and provides the best of everything to give us the best chance as drivers to succeed. I think it shows. Our drivers run up front. We test hard and learn from it. I learned more about racing Indy Lights last year than my first two years. There is something to be said for being around talented, competent people who have a will to win."

"The protest filed against us was absolutely ridiculous. The allegations were groundless. It was about the use of fuel regulators. The fuel regulators are stamped out pieces that everybody uses in Indy Lights and provided by the series. There are no set rules or numbers on these pieces. There are no ways to adjust the pieces. We found the one's we liked the best and used them. There we no rules broken. There was a big uproar about it that was pushed way out of shape. We got back to our camp knowing we didn't do anything wrong or illegal. We decided to focus on the race and forget about those who were upset about it. The CART protest judges didn't find any merit to the protest so they through it out."

2nd Place - Townsend Bell

Townsend Bell (#1 Dorricott Racing/DirecPC) - "I'm tired of hitting the walls. At Laguna Seca, I hit the wall in warm-up when the radiator hose came loose and spilled fluid everywhere. Then Derek Higgins took us out of the race. This weekend, Renna took me out on an outlap in practice and launched me into a wall. I just don't like it. After the race today, my suspension let go. It broke earlier in the race when I tapped a wall on a re-start. I caught up with Casey and wanted to celebrate. I kicked the throttle up to kick the rear end around a little bit and the suspension let go. I can't believe the luck we have."

"I was very lucky to cross the finish line in second place. We had problems most of the weekend. It was one of those races where you're happy to score points and leave knowing you're still in the championship hunt.

Maybe we can go to Fontana and win this thing. Once again, Bob Dorricott has been so supportive. I really wanted a good result for Bob but also for my chief mechanic, Kerry Dunn, who had a very tough weekend and problems in the family that required him to leave before the race today."

3rd Place - Felipe Giaffone

Felipe Giaffone - (#21 Conquest Racing/Hollywood) - (On Kane's incident) "Looking at it from far away, it looked kind of stupid with everybody in the oil at the same time. It was like something was wrong there. I got slowed down and it was still really slippery. I almost hit Scott (Dixon). I was really lucky there."

"My car was pushing more than it has been because we made a change before the race. I could of tried to drive the car harder but did not want to put it in the wall."

6th Place - Rodolfo Lavin

Rodolfo Lavin (#10 Brian Stewart Racing/Corona/Modelo/SportsYA.com) - "We had a good car at the start. I was able to pass Chris Menninga but he gained back his position and made it very hard for me to pass him even if I was quicker then him for most of the race. I was consistent and able to stay out of trouble and it paid off in the end."

"Although I suffered brake problems all weekend, the pace of the race worked in my favor. Even during the race, my brakes had a tendency to overheat but the number of yellow flags gave me a chance to cool them off and then I was good for a few green laps before they started to overheat again."

"I think I must have brushed the wall a few times but it was not enough to upset the car. I am very happy with my 6th place finish."

"The weekend did not start on a good note for us. On Friday, while we were out for practice, people got into our team's transporter and took off with another team member's wallets and mine. So today's turn of event make up for some of this."

15th Place - Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon (#17 PacWest Lights/Invensys/Powerware) - "There was oil all over the track from Kane's car and no caution flags were flying in that corner at all so we didn't know there was a problem. We just skidded right through and into the tires and each other. Basically my car wasn't very good to begin with. We were loose all day. It's too bad that we have to go to Fontana to decide the championship, but we're up for the challenge."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Chris Menninga , Townsend Bell , Luis Diaz , Derek Higgins , Jonny Kane , Rodolfo Lavin , Jason Bright , Geoff Boss
Teams Conquest Racing