HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 21, 2003) - An accident on Lap eight of the 300-lap New England 300 resulted in severe damage to the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac and relegated John Andretti to a 41st-place finish in his inaugural race with the NetZero HiSpeed...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 21, 2003) - An accident on Lap eight of the 300-lap New England 300 resulted in severe damage to the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac and relegated John Andretti to a 41st-place finish in his inaugural race with the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team at the Magic Mile Sunday.
Andretti and his 42 NASCAR Winston Cup competitors never had the opportunity to practice or qualify their cars on Friday due to inclement weather. The field was lined up based on owner points and he and the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac were set to start the event in 39th place.
Following two successful practice sessions Saturday morning, the green flag flew for the start of the event Sunday. Andretti picked up five spots in the first seven laps before misfortune reared its ugly head on Lap eight. While battling for position with Jimmy Spencer, Andretti and Spencer made contact, which sent the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac hard into the outside wall in Turn 1. The accident resulted in severe damage to the left front and rear of the car. The machine was loaded onto a wrecker and delivered to the awaiting crew in the garage area. The team went to work to fix the damage to the car and sent Andretti back out on the track in just under 100 laps. Several laps after his return to the race the left front tire blew and the team was forced to head to the garage again for additional repairs. Andretti returned to the track on Lap 129 and posted impressive lap times for the remainder of the event. The team was credited with a 41st-place finish.
"It drives me nuts to think that another guy would do that," said a disgruntled Andretti. "He hit me three or four times down here [in Turn 3 and 4] and I thought, 'well, he just got in deep.' I made a mistake trying to get around Dale Jarrett and got sideways, so he got a run on me, but I was still on the outside of him. When we went down into Turn 1, he hit me once and then a second time and got me all the way around. The last time he hit me, it was like it was to get me out of the way.
"It's really disappointing," continued Andretti. "He's got a full-time job. He's not making life any easier for me, I'll tell you that. I'm really, really disappointed for the NetZero HiSpeed team, disappointed for me, disappointed in the day. We had a good car and we got taken out for no reason. It's not right."
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series travels to Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for the second time this season this weekend for the running of the Pennsylvania 500. Qualifying for the event will take place Friday, July 25, with the drop of the green flag scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on TNT and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.