Harrah's Michigan 500 Race Report - 2001

7/23/2001 2:01:50 AM

Honda Racing Report
Sunday, July 22, 2001

Harrah's Michigan 500 Race Report
Circuit: Michigan International Speedway (2.0 mile oval), Brooklyn, MI
2000 Winner: Juan Montoya (Toyota) 177.694 mph average speed
Weather: Partly cloudy, hot, 89-degrees F

Race Results:

Fn.  St.	Driver	       	Manufacturer	Laps	Average Speed/Notes	
1.   21.   Patrick Carpentier	Ford Cosworth	250	171.498 mph average speed
2.   25.   Dario Franchitti	Honda 		250	-0.243 seconds
3.    6.   Michele Jourdain	Ford Cosworth	250	-0.243 seconds
4.    7.   Bryan Herta		Ford Cosworth	250	-0.445 seconds
5.   13.   Cristiano da Matta	Toyota		250	-0.516 seconds
6.   24.   Alex Tagliani	Ford Cosworth	249	Running
7.    4.   Paul Tracy		Honda 		249	Running
8.   19.   Helio Castroneves	Honda		249	Running
9.   22.   Bruno Junqueira	Toyota		249	Running
10.  12.   Scott Dixon		Toyota		248	Running
11.  23.   Oriol Servia		Ford Cosworth	248	Running
12.  17.   Roberto Moreno	Toyota		248	Running
19.  18.   Michael Andretti	Honda 		185	Not running - mechanical
20.  14.   Alex Zanardi		Honda 		179	Not running - electrical
21.   5.   Tony Kanaan		Honda 		174	Not running - electrical
22.   8.   Shinji Nakano	Honda 		151	Not running - mechanical
24.  11.   Gil de Ferran	Honda 		97	Not running - mechanical
25.  20.  Adrian Fernandez	Honda 		15	Not running- mechanical
Franchitti Finishes a Fighting Second at Michigan 500

A fight to the finish among five CART FedEx Championship Series drivers saw Honda-powered Dario Franchitti cross the line in second place in today's Harrah's 500 at Michigan International Speedway. After leading at least part of each of the final seven laps, the Team KOOL Green driver took the checkered flag literally inches ahead of third-place Michel Jourdain, and just 24 hundredths of a second behind first-time winner Patrick Carpentier.

The podium finish for Franchitti, his third in the last five races, moved the Scot up to second in the mid-season championship standings, just three points behind leader Kenny Brack.

Franchitti's teammate, Paul Tracy, lost three laps to the leaders due to a malfunctioning fuel nozzle during his first pit stop. But the Canadian charged back throughout the rest of the event, regaining two of those laps and then more positions after the final restart to finish seventh.

Just behind Tracy at the finish was Helio Castroneves, who lost a lap early in the race due to handling problems. But chassis adjustments made by his Marlboro Team Penske crew improved his car dramatically, and Castroneves rallied for an eighth place finish.

Mo Nunn Racing's Tony Kanaan also contended for the lead before dropping out with electrical problems, which also claimed teammate Alex Zanardi. Toronto race winner Michael Andretti ran in the lead pack for the first 180 laps, but then dropped out with mechanical problems. Mechanical ills, coupled with the high heat and humidity today at Michigan International Speedway, also eliminated Gil de Ferran, Adrian Fernandez and Shinji Nakano.

Driver's Championship (after 11 of 21 races) 	Manufacturer's Championship
 1.  Kenny Brack	  84 points		1.  Honda		174 points
 2.  Dario Franchitti	  81			2.  Toyota		154
 3.  Helio Castroneves	  75			3.  Ford Cosworth	151
 4.  Michael Andretti	  73
 5.  Cristiano da Matta	  67
 6.  Gil de Ferran	  58
 7.  Scott Dixon	  57			Rookie of the Year
 8.  Paul Tracy		  52			1.  Scott Dixon		57 points
 9.  Jimmy Vasser	  50			2.  Bruno Junqueira	27
10.  Christian Fittipaldi 49			3.  Max Wilson		12
11.  Max Papis		  44			4.  Nicholas Minassian	 7
12.  Roberto Moreno	  44			5.  Tora Takagi		 1
13.  Tony Kanaan	  37
18.  Adrian Fernandez	  25
19.  Alex Zanardi	  20
24.  Shinji Nakano	  10
Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 25th, finished 2nd: "It was an eventful day. After the rain yesterday, it was the first time in my career that I've started last. I had to be reasonably aggressive during the first stint to keep from going a lap down. Memo (Gidley) got all the way alongside me once while he was leading and the yellow came out just in time. But we made the car better with every stop and it all came down to that last segment. Michel (Jourdain) and I got away a little bit as we kept passing and re-passing each other. That was the plan and it seemed to be working. Then Pat (Carpentier) made a good move and Tag (Alex Tagliani) played spoiler for him...it was close coming up to the finish. But I'm very happy for Pat. We came into the series together and he's been so close to winning several times before. Meanwhile, we're now second in the points and in good shape for the rest of the season."

Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 4th, finished 7th: "After going three laps down, we were lucky to finish as well as we did. I had the best car on the track of anybody, but our refueling problem on the first stop killed us. It's frustrating. I didn't have to work that hard, the car was so good I could just drive to the front. I could come through the field any time, but I couldn't pull away from anybody once I was up there to get my laps back. We had the fastest car out there today, it just didn't show in the results."

Helio Castroneves (#3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 19th, finished 8th: "The start was a little bit rough for us, but as soon as the team added some downforce the car was much, much better. It was almost perfect. If we'd added that for the beginning of the race...But we now we've learned from that, right? We had a good finish, move up a little bit in the points and we'll go on from here."

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 18th, finished 19th (not running - mechanical): "We were in pretty good shape today, I thought we were headed for a top three finish but unfortunately we broke. I'm not sure what happened but the car just lost power. It was tough out there today, very hot and real close racing. I'm disappointed, but now we go on to Chicago and try to stay in the points hunt."