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Gil de Ferran gives Roger Penske win No. 102
by Mark Cipolloni


1st Gil de Ferran

            
2nd Roberto Moreno  3rd
Christian Fittipaldi
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It was an all-Brazilian Podium in Portland.  Here Fittipaldi and Moreno celebrate
(Click on any photo to see enlargement)

PORTLAND (June 25, 2000) - Gil de Ferran led a 1-2-3 Brazilian sweep at the Portland International Raceway, winning today's Freightliner G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco. Roberto Moreno finished second and took over the points lead. Christian Fittipaldi was third. Michael Andretti and Cristiano da Matta rounded out the top 5. 

Gil de Ferran gave Roger Penske's team its third victory in the last four races, holding off Roberto Moreno at the end Sunday to win the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.  This is the same team that went just over three years without a victory until de Ferran broke through this year in Nazareth, Pa., finally giving Penske his 100th open-wheel win.


2nd place finisher Roberto Moreno runs hard to stay ahead of Christian Fittipaldi, Juan Montoya and Cristiano da Matta in the early going ( All photos courtesy of MSI except as noted)

De Ferran, who started on the outside pole, took the lead for good on Lap 105 when teammate Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), the pole sitter who led a race-high 85 laps, had to make a third and final fuel stop. He went on to a 2.625-second victory, the fifth of his six-year career, en route to becoming the first repeat winner at Portland International Raceway since Al Unser Jr. in 1994-95. He won last season's event while driving for Walker Racing.

From the outset, Castroneves, who claimed his first career victory last Sunday at Detroit, sprinted to the front, leading 70 of the first 71 laps. Moreno, who led the other lap among the first 71, then took over from Laps 72-74 during the second round of pit stops. When Moreno pitted on Lap 75, de Ferran took his first lead, which he held until making a splash-and-go stop on Lap 89.

Castroneves reassumed the lead at that point, holding it for 15 more laps (90-104) until needing to make his final stop. De Ferran, able to go the distance, took over to bring Honda power its fourth victory of the season and third in four events, dating to de Ferran's win at Nazareth.


Christian Fittipaldi drove a hard race and was rewarded with a podium finish.  Here he leads Alex Tagliani and teammate Michael Andretti

In scoring his seventh top-10 finish in eight events to date, Moreno moved to 68 points, one ahead of de Ferran, who stands second with 67. Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, whose 59 points entering the weekend led all drivers, went scoreless for the third straight event and fell to third. See AutoRacing1.com's Point Standing page

Fittipaldi's third-place result was a season best, eclipsing fifth at Rio de Janeiro. Rounding out the top five finishers were Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) of Newman Haas Racing, who was fourth and Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard), who finished fifth. Both drivers recorded their third top-five finishes of the campaign.


Michael Andretti made the biggest improvement in the race moving up to 4th at the finish after starting 11th.  Here he pits for service from his Kmart/Havoline crew

Pit stops by all the leaders late in the race were the determining factor..  "This one was mostly due to Roger's strategy," de Ferran said. "He told me to go all out after the second stop. After that stop, the car was fantastic. I knew what I had to do. I put my head down and went as fast as I could."  De Ferran was faced with making one more quick stop for fuel before the checkered flag. 

Moreno, easily getting the best mileage among the leaders, made only two fuel stops in the race lengthened from 98 laps last year. The strategy looked perfect until the fueler on his Patrick Racing car failed to open the valve and it took about five seconds too long to get the tank filled with methanol when he pitted for the final time on lap 75.  De Ferran had to make one more quick stop for a splash of fuel on lap 89 and raced back onto the track just ahead of Moreno, pretty much sealing the fifth victory of his career.  Had Moreno gotten around him, perhaps he would have been the winner.

Despite his fueling problem, it almost worked for Moreno when de Ferran had trouble passing the lapped car of Patrick Carpentier three laps from the end. The lead was cut to less than a second, and de Ferran almost collided with the slower car at one point.

Castroneves, who developed gearbox problems late in the race, also ran out of fuel as he neared the finish line, falling from fourth to seventh, just ahead of Dario Franchitti.


Max Papis' day ended early in a first turn accident that also involved both Team Kool Green cars.

The only incident of the afternoon took place on the first turn of the first lap when Brack, clipped the rear of Franchitti's car and started a crash involving defending series champion Juan Montoya, Jimmy Vasser, Max Papis, Adrian Fernandez and Paul Tracy.  The accident knocked Papis out of the race, caused damage that soon took Vasser out and left Franchitti, who stalled his car and then got a stop-and-go penalty for short-cutting the circuit, out of contention.

Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier finished in the points for the fourth time in five FedEx CART Championship races in which he has competed this season with a 10th-place performance at today's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200.

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani was in a position to take 11th place and two points in the drivers' standings but had the misfortune of running out of fuel on the last lap, a development that occurred because of a problem with the fuel meter reading.


Cristiano da Matta was in the thick of the hunt all day and finished 4th for the PPI team
A Doug Day Photo Copyright 2000.

Carpentier made a strong comeback as the race progressed. He had to overcome a loss of several positions early in the race after he short-circuited the chicane in corner 1. Running in 10th place at the time, Carpentier was 20th when he returned to the track. "My brakes locked as I came into the corner and I had no choice but to short-circuit the chicane," he explained.

Tagliani did a masterful job on the first lap of the race, driving to the outside to get past a collision that had occurred in front of him. Tagliani's maneuver gained him eight positions, moving him into seventh place.

With just under 20 laps to go, Tagliani was running sixth, holding off fellow rookies Kenny Bräck and Oriol Servia, when a problem surfaced as he drove into the pits for refueling.

"The engine started cutting out as I was coming into the pits," explained Tagliani. "When I stopped, the engine stalled because the fuel pump had gone dry. So, we had to re-start the engine and wait for the pump to get refilled. It's really too bad because the way the car was going today, the Player's team could have finished in a higher position. We were on the verge of being in the top 5."


Kenny Brack showed he is good on road courses too by turning the fastest lap of the race.  Here he gets service from his Shell crew.

Turn 1 on lap 1 proved to be the undoing of Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy today at Portland International Raceway. Both drivers were collected in an incident, which was started when Franchitti was tapped from behind. Franchitti managed to finish the 112-lap race in ninth place, while Tracy’s day ended on lap 71, likely because of damage sustained on the opening lap. 

After the race, CART officials admitted they assessed Franchitti a drive-thru penalty incorrectly because of a communications error. A course martial waved him through the chicane short cut after members of the safety crew push-started the #27 KOOL car. Franchitti served the penalty on lap 6, but he climbed no higher than his finishing position. Tracy retired in 18th position because of a broken toe-link in the rear suspension, which was originally bent in the mayhem of the first lap. Tracy struggled with the handling of his #26 KOOL car until the toe-link finally broke after brushing a wall. 

Bryan Herta brought the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard home in 16th place in today’s Freightliner/G.I. Joe’s 200 at Portland International Raceway. Herta, who is subbing for the injured Tony Kanaan, started 20th and quickly moved up to 15th after successfully getting through a multi-car pileup on the first turn of the very first lap. He lost two laps during the opening round of pit stops, however, when the buckeye flap on the fuel filler got stuck, necessitating a lengthy second stop one lap later to free the device and fill the fuel tank. He lost a third lap on the second round of pit stops after a pit lane entry line violation, for which he was penalized with a drive-through penalty.  

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "The car improved after the first stop, and I was able to start closing up ground on the leaders. After the second stop, the car was really fantastic, and Roger just said 'Go.' So I just kept pushing harder and harder and the car just kept going quicker and quicker and quicker. I knew those guys in front of me had to stop, so I just kept biding my time."

ROBERTO MORENO, Visteon Ford Reynard: "What can I say? It was a great day for the Visteon guys again. We tried to be in touch with the leaders while saving fuel. Unfortunately, on the last stop, it took about twice as long to put in fuel, so that might have made a difference in the outcome. But it was a great race strategy once again. It was a great day and my guys did a great job."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth Lola.  "I really earned my money today. I screwed up at the beginning by going in too deep and braking too late and locked up my tires and flatspotted them. I knew the two Marlboro cars were going to be tough today so I knew I wanted to be behind them going into the first corner on the restart so I tried to pass Roberto. I accomplished the pass but flatspotted my tires in the process. They were worn down to the cords and I had a huge vibration that my teeth were rattling. I had to pay for it by passing up a chance to win the race. I drove my own race after that. I didn't care what was happening around me. I wasn't conserving fuel or anything. The car was very good. I am glad for the points for the Big Kmart/Route 66 team. The finish is especially good considering how many races we ran well in but didn't finish well. We were in second place last week in Detroit but didn't finish the race. We are back in the Championship now. There are many more races to go and we are going to be a factor. I am looking forward to Cleveland." 

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola.  "The car was much better in the race than it was on Friday and Saturday. We always seem to have a good racecar and not as good of a qualifying car. It was good to score some points for the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline team and move up in the championship. The guys have been working really hard on their stops and they did some good ones today. The points got tighter since some of the front runners didn't score any here. That's exactly what we needed to happen. I think we will be competitive in Cleveland and plan to continue our momentum."

PATRICK CARPENTIER "We didn't have the best car today but we managed to hang in there. At the end of the race the rear of my Player's Reynard was pushing when I braked and the tires were gone. There was no way to adjust the brakes - that's why I wasn't going as quick as I could have at the end. Despite the fact it was a tough day, we still managed to pick up some points in the standings and we're looking forward to the next race in Cleveland. "

ALEX TAGLIANI "The engine started cutting out as I was coming into the pits," explained Tagliani. "When I stopped, the engine stalled because the fuel pump had gone dry. So, we had to re-start the engine and wait for the pump to get refilled. It's really too bad because the way the car was going today, the Player's team could have finished in a higher position. We were on the verge of being in the top 5."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:   “The left rear toe-link broke. I think it was something that happened on the first lap in the first corner. I got clipped by somebody and turned around backwards in the middle of the course. I’m not sure what caused the incident on the first lap, but when I went into the turn the track was blocked. I tried to go through on the inside and it was just a big mess with guys running over each other. I think that did the damage to it because the steering was bent and cocked a little off center. Bouncing over the curbs on the back straightaway didn’t do it any good. Then I brushed the wall coming out of the last turn and it finally broke.  “Team KOOL Green is just having a spell of bad luck and we need to get it turned around. We need to keep working hard and slugging it out to get points the rest of the year.” 

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN HONDA/REYNARD/FIRESTONE:  “On the start, I came down to Turn 1 and the KOOL car was pretty well boxed in. I had the two Penske cars side-by-side in front, Roberto [Moreno] to my side and I said ‘okay, I’ll just slip around the outside and I’ll have it better for the next corner’. I gave Roberto plenty of room, he was fine and I guess [Kenny] Brack clipped me from behind. And then, I spin around one way because the chicane is blocked. I sat there and waited for everyone to pass. I tried to get the car around, but I stalled it. The safety crew pushed me straight into the short-cut. The engine didn’t catch until three-quarters of the way through, so I couldn’t stop the thing. They directed me to go that way [on through the short-cut] and I was not gaining any positions out of it. Then I get a drive-thru penalty.” 

JUAN MONTOYA "It's a shame because the championship is slipping away," the Colombian driver said. "We didn't have the fastest car today, but we still could have gained some points. We need to really focus and gain some points in Cleveland next week." 

BRYAN HERTA  “Overall, it was a disappointing weekend for us. It was hard to have very high expectations coming in, since I hadn’t had a chance to drive the car until the first practice session on Friday morning. We were struggling with the set-up from the get-go. Still, we made slight gains as we went along. Coming into the race, I though we had a car that I could run hard, stay out of trouble with, and score some points. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, for, among other reasons, because we didn’t have very good luck. We had opportunities where I thought we could have made some gains on the racetrack, but they went away before we knew it. I think we learned a lot in the race itself ... things that hopefully will help us in a big way next weekend.” 

MORRIS NUNN  “What can you say after a weekend like we had? The silver lining is that we were running very competitively as the race went along. Bryan did a very good job. He had one of the fastest laps in the race before all was said and done, so that’s definitely something to build upon as we head to Cleveland. As for all the bad breaks we’ve had, lately, we’ll just leave that here on the West Coast.” 

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "You could tell this just wasn't going to be our day when both Jimmy and Juan's cars were damaged when they were caught up in the first-lap melee. Jimmy was out immediately and Juan's suspension took a big hit that really hindered his handling during the race. This was one of those races you just have to endure. Cristiano and Oriol both ran well, with Cristiano in the top five for almost the entire race. But it really ended up being a matter of pit strategy and who ended up with the best fuel mileage. We'll just look toward Cleveland and try to put this one behind us." 

Cristiano da Matta, #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota: "I am a little disappointed with fifth because we ran so much of the race in second and third. I think we did a very good job in the race today. It is good to be disappointed with fifth because last year we were celebrating 
fifth-place finishes." 

Michel Jourdain Jr., Car #16, Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports: "During the warm-up lap I decided to pit, because I felt something was wrong. I went back to track after the crew tried to help me, but the problem was worse and I was forced to retire." 

Joe Ward, Team Manager, Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports: "As Michel (Jourdain Jr.) took the green flag, he experienced a misfire. He pitted and the crew attempted to repair the problem. Michel returned to the track, but the misfire continued, resulting in a broken header." 

WHAT'S NOTEWORTHY

Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing failed to lead a lap Sunday, marking the first time he had failed to lead at least one lap in his past five FedEx Championship Series starts. Montoya had led a combined 521 laps at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit, respectively, prior to Sunday.

Gil de Ferran's (Marlboro Honda Reynard) victory Sunday enabled Honda to take the lead from Ford in the CART Manufacturer's Championship. Honda, which trailed Ford, 120-116 entering Sunday's event, now holds a 138-136 Manufacturer's Championship lead following de Ferran's win and single points from Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) for winning the pole and leading the most laps. Ford was buoyed by Roberto Moreno's (Visteon Ford Reynard) runner-up effort.

Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing became the 15th different podium finisher in the season's first eight events when he took third place. The FedEx Championship Series had 16 different podium finishers during the entire 1999 campaign, and the series record for different podium finishers is 17, established in 1995 (17 events) and matched in 1996 (16 events)

Patrick Carpentier of Player's Forsythe Racing Team, who finished 10th, was fined $10,000 by CART Chief Steward J. Kirk Russell for failure to follow the instructions of race officials in regard to yielding to the leaders - Gil de Ferran and Roberto Moreno - near the close of the event.

Four of the top six contenders for the FedEx Championship Series championship went scoreless, including leader Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard), who remained at 59 points after finishing 18th due to contact. Other championship leaders who failed to score included Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola), who held at 54 points after finishing 24th; Max Papis, who remained at 47 points after finishing 25th, and Montoya, who stayed at 46 points after finishing 17th. 

Rookie Shinji Nakano (Avex Honda Reynard) earned the Budweiser Hard Charger Award, given to the driver who improves the most from start to finish at each FedEx Championship Series event. He earned 10 Budweiser Hard Charger points for improving from a 21st-place start to an 11th-place finish.

Bryan Herta (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard) finished 16th while substituting for the injured Tony Kanaan, who is recuperating from injuries sustained during a qualifying accident at Detroit last weekend. Herta, who started 20th, is expected to remain in the Mo Nunn Racing entry for upcoming FedEx Championship Series events at Cleveland next weekend and Toronto (July 16). 

When Jimmy Vasser departed due to contact after completing one lap, it marked his first exit on a road or street course this season. Vasser had completed every lap of competition in earlier events at Long Beach and Detroit. The early exits by teammate Juan Montoya and Vasser marked the first time both Target Chip Ganassi Racing entries had failed to finish a FedEx Championship Series event since last year at Australia.

Rookie Oriol Servia (Telefonica Toyota Reynard) of PPI Motorsports turned in an outstanding drive to eighth place, his third consecutive top-eight finish in road or street course competition. Servia finished sixth in the first road/street course event of the season at Long Beach and earned the first podium finish of his career with a third-place result at Detroit last week. 

Cristiano da Matta earned his third top-five finish of the season with a fifth today. The 1998 Indy Lights champion ran in the top three for much of the late-going before a late stop for fuel. 

Da Matta's PPI teammate Oriol Servia ran in the top-10 throughout the 112-lap event on the way to an eighth-place finish - the fourth top-10 placement of his rookie season. 

Both Target-sponsored Toyota's were hampered after getting caught up in a first-lap incident between Kenny Brack and Dario Franchitti. Jimmy Vasser suffered suspension damage and retired immediately. Montoya suffered through handling problems for much of the race after being forced over the curbing on the Lap 1 incident, only to retired due to lack of oil pressure. 

With 10 Manufacturer's points today, Toyota has now earned 118 points this season, 38 higher than Toyota's previous best total of 80 set last season. 

After his first-lap retirement, Jimmy Vasser fell back to fifth in the FedEx Championship Series points race - the lowest Vasser has been all season. Montoya sits eighth in the points, while both da Matta and Servia remain in the top-15. 

WHAT'S NEXT

The FedEx Championship Series continues Sunday with Round 9, The Marconi Grand Prix at Burke Lafefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio.

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TOP FINISHERS

Pos No. Driver Last Completed Behind Pits Laps Led Status Speed (MPH)
Lap Time Leader Prior # Lap Last Fastest
1 2   Gil de Ferran 112 1:01.996 0.000 0.000 4 112 23 RUNNING 114.336 116.961
2 20   Roberto Moreno 112 1:03.393 2.625 2.625 3 112 4 RUNNING 111.817 115.285
3 11   Christian Fittipaldi 112 1:03.170 8.982 6.357 4 112 0 RUNNING 112.211 116.530
4 6   Michael Andretti 112 1:03.231 29.731 20.749 4 112 0 RUNNING 112.103 115.364
5 97   Cristiano da Matta 112 1:03.343 30.070 0.339 4 112 0 RUNNING 111.905 114.956
6 8   Kenny Brack 112 1:03.558 30.590 0.520 4 112 0 RUNNING 111.526 117.465
7 3   Helio Castroneves 112 1:09.688 33.710 3.120 4 112 85 RUNNING 101.716 115.008
8 96   Oriol Servia 112 1:03.869 54.469 20.759 4 112 0 RUNNING 110.983 115.129
9 27   Dario Franchitti 112 1:03.869 62.484 8.015 5 112 0 RUNNING 110.983 114.640
10 32   Patrick Carpentier 111 1:02.780 1LAP 1LAP 3 111 0 RUNNING 112.909 114.930
11 5   Shinji Nakano 111 1:03.058 1LAP 6.117 5 111 0 RUNNING 112.411 115.744
12 40   Adrian Fernandez 111 1:04.307 1LAP 52.723 4 111 0 RUNNING 110.228 114.874
13 33   Alexandre Tagliani 110 1:03.220 2LAPS 1LAP 4 110 0 RUNNING 112.123 116.339
14 25   Luiz Garcia Jr. 110 1:05.154 2LAPS 97.908 4 110 0 RUNNING 108.795 114.099
15 34   Tarso Marques 110 1:07.438 2LAPS 6.153 4 110 0 RUNNING 105.110 113.353
16 55   Bryan Herta 109 1:02.754 3LAPS 1LAP 6 109 0 RUNNING 112.955 116.095
17 1   Juan Montoya 87 1:29.479 25LAPS 22LAPS 3 86 0 MECHANICAL 79.219 115.480
18 26   Paul Tracy 71 0:32.432 41LAPS 16LAPS 5 70 0 CONTACT 218.562 114.364
19 17   Mauricio Gugelmin 62 1:03.413 50LAPS 9LAPS 2 56 0 MECHANICAL 111.781 112.896
20 18   Mark Blundell 31 3:36.065 81LAPS 31LAPS 1 30 0 MECHANICAL 32.807 112.632
21 10   Norberto Fontana 24 3:26.905 88LAPS 7LAPS 1 23 0 MECHANICAL 34.259 113.006
22 19   Takuya Kurosawa 10 1:04.393 102LAPS 14LAPS 0 0 0 MECHANICAL 110.080 110.551
23 16   Michel Jourdain Jr. 8 5:12.084 104LAPS 2LAPS 2 7 0 MECHANICAL 22.713 112.806
24 12   Jimmy Vasser 1 3:44.598 111LAPS 7LAPS 0 0 0 CONTACT 31.560 31.560
25 7   Max Papis 0 0:00 112LAPS 1LAP 0 0 0 CONTACT 0.000 111.700

FASTEST LAPS

Pos No. Driver Fastest Speed (MPH) Speed (KPH)
Lap Time Last Fastest Last Fastest
1 8   Kenny Brack 98 1:00.345 111.526 117.465 179.557 189.119
2 2   Gil de Ferran 82 1:00.605 114.336 116.961 184.081 188.307
3 11   Christian Fittipaldi 86 1:00.829 112.211 116.530 180.660 187.613
4 33   Alexandre Tagliani 101 1:00.929 112.123 116.339 180.518 187.306
5 55   Bryan Herta 98 1:01.057 112.955 116.095 181.858 186.913
6 5   Shinji Nakano 103 1:01.242 112.411 115.744 180.982 186.348
7 1   Juan Montoya 85 1:01.382 79.219 115.480 127.543 185.923
8 6   Michael Andretti 87 1:01.444 112.103 115.364 180.486 185.736
9 20   Roberto Moreno 98 1:01.486 111.817 115.285 180.025 185.609
10 96   Oriol Servia 102 1:01.569 110.983 115.129 178.683 185.358
11 3   Helio Castroneves 82 1:01.634 101.716 115.008 163.763 185.163
12 97   Cristiano da Matta 85 1:01.662 111.905 114.956 180.167 185.079
13 32   Patrick Carpentier 81 1:01.676 112.909 114.930 181.783 185.037
14 40   Adrian Fernandez 47 1:01.706 110.228 114.874 177.467 184.947
15 27   Dario Franchitti 48 1:01.832 110.983 114.640 178.683 184.570
16 26   Paul Tracy 69 1:01.981 218.562 114.364 351.885 184.126
17 25   Luiz Garcia Jr. 104 1:02.125 108.795 114.099 175.160 183.699
18 34   Tarso Marques 88 1:02.534 105.110 113.353 169.227 182.498
19 10   Norberto Fontana 20 1:02.726 34.259 113.006 55.157 181.940
20 17   Mauricio Gugelmin 41 1:02.787 111.781 112.896 179.967 181.763
21 16   Michel Jourdain Jr. 6 1:02.837 22.713 112.806 36.568 181.618
22 18   Mark Blundell 22 1:02.934 32.807 112.632 52.819 181.338
23 7   Max Papis 6 1:03.459 0.000 111.700 0.000 179.837
24 19   Takuya Kurosawa 9 1:04.119 110.080 110.551 177.229 177.987
25 12   Jimmy Vasser 1 3:44.598 31.560 31.560 50.812 50.812

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