The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on July 23, 2001 · Page 28
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 28

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, July 23, 2001
Page 28
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CART stages another Michigan photo finish CART Continued from Page 1 But series officials say they must come up with better ways to slow cars on ovals. By Steve Ballard STAFF WRITER BROOKLYN, Mich. Two men who should know expect the Indy Racing League to provide a good show next year when it supplants Championship Auto Racing Teams at Michigan International Speedway. But it'll take some doing to match the dazzling display CART has put on the past two years, capped by Sunday's photo-finish win by Patrick Carpentier. Mike Hull, managing director of Ganassi Racing, and Kim Green, owner of Michael Andret-ti's car, have first-hand knowledge of the IRL machines from competing in the Indianapolis 500. And both say the IRL cars are tailor-made for Michigan's 2-mile There are new ads in the StarClassifieds every single morning. So if you don't see it THE today, check back tomorrow. To place an ad, call 444-4444 or visit CART NOTES banked oval. "Because of the nature of the racetrack, and the nature of the car, it'll be a fantastic race here," Hull said. "When they pile on the downforce, everybody comes back to the same speed, and with the banking and the width of the corners here, it'll be almost like an 1R0C race." Green wasn't quite as effusive and said the IRL will have to go some to match what he saw last year and again on Sunday. But the difference, he said, is that IRL cars are purpose-built for ovals and can run at a super-speedway such as Michigan with the regular rules package, whereas CART has to artificially match the cars to the racetrack. It didn't work in Texas, where CART had to cancel a race over safety concerns, and it awkwardly works in Michigan, where a huge rear wing the so-called Hand-ford device slows the car. sEKII3i i ffTliiinrtMftriniii MHWMIMM MMMM WjSMtZ rag "We're at the end of a rules cycle, and the current rules don't fit this type of racetrack," Green said. "We need to get the horsepower down." Hull agrees. "The way we administer the rules package for a racetrack like this needs some solid direction," he said. "We need foresight three and four years down the road to establish boundaries that can't be exceeded." The opposing forces inside CART are part of what Michigan International Speedway president Brett Shelton was referring to Friday when he said CART didn't have a clear plan for its future. While competition among the engine manufacturers has them constantly looking for ways to produce more speed, and the teams have been spending millions on wind-tunnel testing to make the cars go faster, the sanctioning body struggles to find ways to slow things down. Simply put, technology has surpassed the limits of what many W MMMM Simply Mute. racetracks can handle. Car owner Bobby Rahal, a former champion driver, spent much of his time as CARTs interim president last year trying to resolve the dilemma. "We're using crude equipment to mitigate the performance of these cars," he said this weekend. "We need to slow them down and then free them up to be more racing cars than they are now." Notes Rookie Scott Dixon hoped to celebrate his 21st birthday Sunday in victory lane enjoying his first legal drink of champagne. Instead, he finished 10th. "This was my first 500-miler and it was definitely a long day," he said. . . . Memo Gidley led 67 laps and was in contention until being penalized for excessive speed on pit lane. He wound up 14th. "They gave me the car to win and that's all I can ask for," he said. Contact Steve Ballard at 1-317-444-6184 or e-mail INDIANAPOLIS STAR INDYSTAR.COM chitti said he didn't want to make an issue of it and detract from Car-pentier's breakthrough victory. "It was unacceptably dangerous and he shouldn't have done it," the Scotsman said, "but at the end of the day the big thing is that Pat won the race." Tagliani was unapologetlc and made no bones about doing it more to help his teammate than himself. Carpentier tried to be diplomatic in thanking his helper while not offending the two men with whom he shared the podium. "When I saw him coming, I thought, 'Man, what is he doing?' " said Carpentier, who caught an earlier break when a caution allowed him to make up a lost lap. "But the way he did it was excellent. "I'm quite happy, I must admit. That's what teams are for, I guess. It was a risky move, but I've seen a lot more dangerous moves." Bryan Herta was on the point on the final restart, with Cristiano da Matta also in the five-way fray. Herta got a big jump at the start that he later admitted backfired on him. As he faded, finishing fifth behind da Matta, the eventual top three finishers took turns in the lead. A couple of times, they came across the stripe virtually three abreast. "Our plan was to stay in the lead group and attack at the end," Mexico's Jourdain said. "Everything went according to plan until the blue guys (Carpentier and Tagliani) got in the way." Herta's plan was to get far enough ahead that his pursuers couldn't use the aerodynamic draft to get back around him. "But I ended up Just giving them a huge run at me instead," he said moments after climbing, completely exhausted, from his car. "Everybody out there was really good today until the last 15 laps, then I saw more dirty pool than I've ever seen in my life." With his right foot on an icepack, Herta breathed a sigh of relief. "Not till you stop do you realize the enormous level of risk," he said. "I'm not happy with fifth, but I feel lucky to walk away." Lucky, too, to be walking were Team Rahal's Papis and Brack after making hard contact on the 233rd of 250 laps. The front-row starters ran together all day but got too close between turns three and four as Papis' car seemed to drift up the track into Brack's path. "I know the car had a chance to win, but it's now a pile in the paddock area," Brack said. "I hit pretty New Hampshire track receives criticism from NASCAR drivers By Eddie Pells ASSCCIATED PRESS LOUDON, N.H. Dale Jarrett thinks New Hampshire International Speedway is OK. Ah, how winning seems to smooth over the rough spots. Jarrett was among the few who didn't complain about the track after the New England 300 was complete Sunday. All week long, drivers groused about the flat turns and minimal banking. They worried about trying to find an outside groove. The new sealer applied this spring made things slick, and no fewer than five cars went sliding into the wall near turn one. The complaints were the last thing owner Bob Bahre wanted to hear. His track has come under criticism since the deaths of Kenny Irwin Jr. and Adam Petty last year. He spent big money to apply the sealer and grind down the rough spots. "A flat, tight, long straightaway track for Winston Cup cars is not suitable," second-place finisher Jeff Gordon said. "The Bahres have done everything they can possibly do to try to help us. But it hasn't worked. I don't know what it would take to make that happen." The only legitimate, green-flag pass for the lead came at the end, when Jarrett brushed aside Ricky Rudd for his fourth victory of the season. "They have a problem with this racetrack," Rudd said. "If it was mine, I would keep the bottom groove and resurface the second. The competition is dealing with it, so we have to deal with it. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to enjoy it." Wallace out early Rusty Wallace's chance to gain ground in the Winston Cup points race ended early because of engine trouble. Wallace, who entered the race 189 points behind the leaders in fourth place, was knocked out of the race after just 11 laps. "We broke a motor," Wallace said. "I don't know what broke, but it seized up coming off of turn two." Wallace earned only 34 points for his 43rd-place finish, and fell from fourth to sixth place. M Harrah's 500 (Top finishers) Driver Car 1. Patrick Carpentier R-F 2. Dario Franchitti R-H 3. Michel Jourdain Jr. L-F 4. Cristiano da Matta L-T 5. Bryan Herta R-F 6. Alex Tagliani R-F 7. Paul Tracy R-H 8. Helio Castroneves R-H 9. Bruno Junqueira L-T 10. Scott Dixon R-T Chassis: R-Reynard, L-Lola Engines: H-Honda, F-Ford, T-Tc-yota Series Points leaders: Kenny Brack 84, Franchitti 81, Castroneves 75, Michael Andretti 73, da Matta 67 damn hard, but I'm OK." Papis, too, was uninjured but said, "I hurt inside." Team general manager Scott Roembke wore the look of a man who had Just seen a possible 1-2 finish turn into a two-car pileup. He said he heard the "ooooh" from the crowd and looked up to the video screen to see what had happened. "I saw one (Brack) hit the wall and then I saw the other and thought, 'He's got it saved. He's got it saved,' " Roembke said. But Papis continued across the track into the inside retaining wall. "Frustrated is not the word. Devastated is the word," Roembke said. "I have talked to both of them and we're going to sit down as a group and talk through It." The result lifted Franchitti past Helio Castroneves (eighth Sunday) and Michael Andretti (19th) to second in the season standings, just three points (84-81) behind Brack. Carpentier, 29, became the eighth winner in 10 races this season just a few days after being resigned for next year by team owner Jerry Forsythe. With the wide grin of a first-time winner, he said, "Maybe I shouldn't have signed, huh." Contact Steve Ballard at 1-317-444-6184 or via e-mail at " NASCAR NOTEBOOK VJinzionCup New England 300 (Top finishers) Driver Car 1. Dale Jarrett Ford 2. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 3. Ricky Rudd Ford 4. Jimmy Spencer Ford 5. Tony Stewart Porttiac 6. Steve Park Chevrolet 7. Bobby Labonte Pontiac 8. Kevin Harvlck Chevrolet 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 10. Mike Wallace Ford Series points leaders: Jarrett 2,695, Gordon 2,695, Rudd 2,667, Stewart 2,421, Sterling Martin 2,414. Harvick's streak You can't win 'em all, even though it seemed that way during the great six-day ride Kevin Harvlck enjoyed. Harvlck made it two NASCAR victories in a row Saturday, piggybacking a Busch Series win Saturday night near St. Louis on top of his Winston Cup victory last week at Chicagoland. He was barely a factor Sunday. "It wasn't real fun to race," Har-vtck said. "It was just one of those deals where you had to follow each other around, and whoever missed the slick spots and torn-up spots were the ones who were going to do well." Notes John Andretti got pushed out of the lead pack after being given a stop-and-go penalty by NASCAR officials for ignoring a signal to stop as he was exiting pit road. ... Elliott Sadler was involved in two wrecks, including qpe with 28 laps to go. He was not si.riously injured.

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