Michigan Tough day for Team KOOL Green Indy Lights drivers

BROOKLYN, MI., (July 22, 2000) – Team KOOL Green drivers Jonny Kane and Jeff Simmons took turns fighting their way to the front, but both had their races ruined by contact in today’s 50-lap Indy Lights event at Michigan Speedway. Felipe ...

BROOKLYN, MI., (July 22, 2000) – Team KOOL Green drivers Jonny Kane and Jeff Simmons took turns fighting their way to the front, but both had their races ruined by contact in today’s 50-lap Indy Lights event at Michigan Speedway. Felipe Giaffone by contrast led every lap of the race from pole, winning under yellow ahead of Casey Mears and Tony Renna in third.

Simmons and Jason Bright had contact on lap 20, sending the TKG rookie driver to the pit lane for a new right front and left rear tire under a caution flag. Simmons returned to action on the lead lap in 16th position. On lap 26, Kane and Chris Menninga came together. Kane had been fighting understeer and drifted up into Meninnga’s car, taking both drivers from the race. Kane was placed 17th. Simmons, meanwhile, had recovered with some daring passes to move to fourth by lap 34. He was dicing with Townsend Bell when the two made contact on lap 37. Simmons pitted again under green for a change of nose cone, but lost a lap to the leaders. He finished 16th.

Giaffone scored a maximum 22 points this weekend – a point for the pole, another for most laps led and 20 for the victory. He jumps from ninth in the standings to fourth overall with 53 points, just three behind a three-way tie for the championship lead. Scott Dixon, Bright and Mears are tied atop the standings with 56 points. Simmons is seventh with 36 points and Kane eighth with 32.

JEFF SIMMONS, #26 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20:

(Started 12th / Finished 16th ; Currently 7th in the standings with 36 points)

“I was going around the outside of (Jason) Bright when he drifted up into me and cut my left rear tire. I had a bit of a moment in Turn 4 when he hit me. Fortunately, the Team KOOL Green crew did a great job to change the left rear and right front tires and get me back out on the lead lap. The car wasn’t quite as good when I went back out because the new tires were cold. It just didn’t seem quite right; Bright might have knocked something off the rear. We were still working our way up to the front again and making good moves. I got as high as fourth and was just trying to hold my place. We had some understeer though and I was not able to stay tucked up under guys in the corners and that let (Townsend) Bell get back by me. I waited a little bit, got a good run on him, popped to the outside and it seemed like he just moved over. He took out my front wing and sent me up into the wall. I came in for a new wing, but then I was pretty much out of it. I feel bad for the crew. We’d worked our way to the front and it looked like we were going to have a chance at a good finish. But we’re leaving Michigan with no points – that really hurts us in the championship.”

JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20:

(Started 7th / Finished 17th ; Currently 8th in the standings with 32 points)

“It’s very difficult running that close to people. The only way anyone could pass today was to go around the outside in a corner and hope a gap will open up when they all file out on the straight. I’d used that strategy a couple of times in the race and Chris (Menninga) was trying to do that. He was on the outside and I was trying to stay as close as I could to the cars in front. The front end just washed out and I tried to keep away from him, but there was too much understeer in the KOOL car and unfortunately I hit the outside of him and put us both out. I’m looking forward to moving on to Chicago and getting back into the championship hunt.”

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Chris Menninga , Townsend Bell , Jonny Kane , Tony Renna , Jason Bright , Jeff Simmons