Monterey Race Report - 2001
10/15/2001 1:17:27 PM
Honda Racing Report
Sunday, October 14, 2001
Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Race Report
Circuit: Laguna Seca Raceway (2.24-mile road course) Monterey, CA
2000 Winner: Helio Castroneves (Honda) 109.949 mph
Weather: Clear, warm, 88-degrees F
Fn. St. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Average Speed/Notes 1. 25. Max Papis Team Rahal Ford Cosworth 76 84.919 mph 2. 23. Memo Gidley Target Chip Ganassi Toyota 76 -0.794 seconds 3. 1. Gil de Ferran Team Penske Honda 76 -1.438 seconds 4. 3. Scott Dixon PacWest Racing Toyota 76 -1.801 seconds 5. 11. Jimmy Vasser Pat Patrick Racing Toyota 76 -2.469 seconds 6. 2. Helio Castroneves Marlboro Team Penske Honda 76 -4.433 seconds 7. 12. Bruno Junqueira Target Chip Ganassi Toyota 76 -5.627 seconds 8. 6. Tony Kanaan Mo Nunn Racing Honda 76 -6.092 seconds 9. 19. Cristiano da Matta Newman-Haas Racing Toyota 76 -6.593 seconds 10. 17. Adrian Fernandez Fernandez Racing Honda 76 -7.134 seconds 11. 18. Casey Mears Mo Nunn Racing Honda 76 -8.215 seconds 12. 26. Bryan Herta Forsythe Champ Racing Ford Cosworth 76 -8.842 seconds 14. 6. Michael Andretti Team Motorola Honda 75 Running 18. 5. Paul Tracy Team KOOL Green Honda 60 Not running-off course 19. 22. Dario Franchitti Team KOOL Green Honda 59 Not running-mechanical 21. 20. Shinji Nakano Fernandez Racing Honda 41 Not running-mechanical
Honda Clinches Manufacturer's Championship
A third place finish for defending series champion Gil de Ferran was more than enough today for Honda to clinch the 2001 CART Manufacturer's Championship. It is the company's fourth manufacturer's title since entering Champ Car competition at the start of the 1994 season, and the third in the last four years.
Today's Honda Grand Prix of Monterey turned into a battle of pit strategy as a large number of on-track incidents resulted in a race record eight caution periods. The Marlboro Team Penske duo of de Ferran and Helio Castroneves dominated the speed charts all weekend, but during the last third of the race de Ferran elected not to challenge for the lead, instead protecting his points advantage as he seeks to repeat his driver's championship. Castroneves was delayed by pit lane contact with Paul Tracy and the resulting damaged front suspension.
Tracy's day also ended due to damage from the contact with Castroneves, and KOOL Green teammate Dario Franchitti ended up out of the race after contact with Christian Fittipaldi. Tony Kanaan ran in the lead pack all day to finish 8th, while new teammate Casey Mears earned his first championship points for Mo Nunn Racing with an 11th place run.
Electrical failure ended Shinji Nakano's run after just 41 laps, while Adrian Fernandez rounded out the top 10 finishers today as one of those benefiting from good pit calls today. Finally, Michael Andretti ended up just outside of the points after a first lap spin. He finished 14th and was eliminated from title contention as a result.
Driver's Championship (after 19 of 21 races) Manufacturer's Championship 1. Gil de Ferran 179 points 1. Honda 316 points 2. Kenny Brack 153 2. Ford Cosworth 266 3. Helio Castroneves 141 3. Toyota 266 4. Michael Andretti 125 5. Dario Franchitti 105 6. Cristiano da Matta100 7. Scott Dixon 98 Rookie of the Year 8. Max Papis 86 1. Scott Dixon 98 points 9. Patrick Carpentier 86 2. Bruno Junqueira 50 10. Tony Kanaan 83 3. Tora Takagi 29 11. Paul Tracy 76 4. Max Wilson 12 12. Roberto Moreno 74 5. Nicolas Minassian 7 18. Adrian Fernandez 45 6. Casey Mears 2 23. Alex Zanardi 24 7. Townsend Bell 1 26. Shinji Nakano 10 28. Casey Mears 2
Gil de Ferran (#1 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 1st, finished 3rd: "The car was handling very well today, and I was definitely driving for the win at the beginning of the race. I've been saying all weekend that there will come a time when I have to drive for the Championship and the last few laps of the race proved to be that time. The thought of going for the win didn't even go through my mind because I needed the points. I knew Kenny (Brack) and Michael (Andretti) were out of contention, so at that point I was just trying as hard as I could to do my job and bring it home third. We had a good result today and it will be interesting to see where we stand after Australia."
Helio Castroneves (#3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 2nd, finished 6th: "We had a good start. We decided to pit on lap 18 when it went yellow given multiple cars were involved in the incident and there was a lot of debris so we thought it would take longer to go green; and we thought that more cars would follow us in. When the leaders made their first stop, we took the lead. We had a good second stop, but the exit to the pits isn't level and when I got side-by-side with (Paul) Tracy, my car swerved to the right causing me to bang wheels with him. It was a shame because I hurt my hand when the steering wheel snapped back, and it bent the right front upper wishbone. Luckily we were able to keep going. Then CART decided to close the pits on lap 51 which really hurt our strategy. We would have been in great shape if that hadn't happened. We need to move forward and think positively."
Tony Kanaan (#55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 6th, finished 8th: "It was another tough result for a driver and team that did everything that was asked of it. Next time I think I should try something different: I'll start dead last, pit seven times and win the race! It's all about strategy. Strategy, strategy, strategy. I don't mean to take anything away from Max (Papis). I'm really happy for Max, because he deserves another chance to make people notice and appreciate what he does out there. Actually, we did what we could. We had pretty good pit stops. The car ran great. It wasn't a race-winning car today, but it should have been at least in the top four. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter that you don't have the best car out there, and the cleanest pit stops. It's all about strategy. It's that competitive out there. Hey, I also want to say that I'm happy for my new teammate, Casey. He ran a smart race for the second time in a row and scored some points for us. That's just great for him and the Pioneer-WorldCom team."