Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on June 13, 1994 · Page 24
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 24

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Monday, June 13, 1994
Page 24
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6C DETROIT FREE PRESS MONDAY, JUNE 13, 1994 PRIX-VIEVVS It's touch and go for Enimo By Michelle Jew and Steve Crowe Free Press Sports Writers Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell quickly found out two's a crowd when they kissed bumpers during Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix. "I think Emerson was forced to brake early by the person in front of him," Mansell said. "He caught me by surprise. I didn't expect him to brake that early there. I was going very quick, closing, and hit the back end of him." "He was all over my rear view mirror," Fittipaldi said. "He was trying to pass me, but there was a guy driving slow in front of me and I couldn't pass." The hit gave Fittipaldi a scare. He immediately radioed his crew to make sure everything was OK. "My main concern was the front end of the car," Fittipaldi said. "I don't know where he hit. Luckily, it didn't do anything. "I cannot blame Nigel," Fittipaldi said. "This track is very narrow. It's difficult to pass here, so something like this can happen." Robby. Gordon, who finished third behind Fittipaldi, witnessed the incident. Gordon was the only one of the top three not involved in a bumping incident. "I had a good view of what happened from where I was," Gordon said. "He (Fittipaldi) got hit on the left wheel. I was waiting for the tire to go flat. It looked like it was going flat, but it never happened." Fittipaldi's finish increased his point total to 70, 13 behind Al Unser Jr. who leads the series. Outta sight Greg Moore might consider getting contacts after what happened during Sunday's Indy Lights race. Moore lost the right lens of his wire-frame glasses when it popped out during the fourth lap. Moore, who is far-sighted, had to drive the rest of the race using one eye. "It was hairy for a little because I lost my depth perception," Moore said. "I was bouncing around the corners." Things got even worse for Moore when the lens got stuck in his helmet. "First the lens slid down my cheek," Moore said. "It later got caught between my mouth and the microphone. Eventually it fell out of the helmet." Moore finished seventh. Fantastic Sunday's attendance of 62,113 was the best in the three years the Prix has been run on Belle Isle. The three-day total of 171,564 is up more than 16,000 from last year. "The interesting thing is not necessarily how many people were here," said first-year Detroit Grand Prix president , Bud Stanner, whose Cleveland-based International Management Group succeeded Detroit Renaissance this year as Prix promoter. "It's how many more people we can accommodate. I mean, we're nowhere near capacity, even with this many people on the island. We have some plans and thoughts in terms of what we can do." Stanner cited free shuttle-bus service from downtown to Belle Isle it was $3 round-trip last year as incentive for "a lot more people to use it this year. And the average ride time from the RenCen to the island was 18 minutes, which is pretty good." Spare parts Reigning IndyCar champ Mansell, who finished 21st Sunday, is expected to announce his upcoming Formula One plans Tuesday in London. It is thought that he will return to owner Frank Williams' team for at least one race this season, or perhaps all six left in F-l that don't conflict with the IndyCar schedule. . . . In all the bemoaning of owner Roger Penske'8 IndyCar Series dominance, one streak seems to have been ignored: A Penske driver hasn't won the series title since Danny Sullivan in 1988. Neon Challenge: 'Indy' actor sees his name in lights BY TONY SWAN Free Press Celebrity Writer Young Indiana Jones came, saw and conquered the Neon Challenge celebrity race Sunday at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. And he didn't need his trademark bullwhip. Sean-Patrick Flanery, who plays Young Indy in an ABC-TV series, took home the winner's trophy in this 12-lapper for identical street-stock Chrysler Neons. Then he sprayed Mayor Dennis Archer with champagne, to give His Honor some idea of what it's like up there on the victory podium. Mayor Archer was scheduled to participate in this inaugural of the 1 ;i.-..:i.V,' fit i-i ' - wo 0 S y-r.. JULIAN H. Al Unser Jr., left, was all smiles before Sunday's Grand Prix as he and team owner Roger Penske talk with Unser wasn't so jolly after teammate Paul Tracy ended his three-race win streak. Hey, Roger: You won -be happy! CHARLIE VINCENT, from Page 1C Instinctively, though, he knew. Before he talked to Penske, before he talked to Unser, he talked to the press, and though he was flushed with the joy of victory , he knew he was in for some painful face-to-face discussions. "We saw a couple cars in front of us on the restart, and they didn't want to let him (Unser) by. ... I was stopping as quickly as I could," he said of the incident that opened the way to his victory, "but there was no place to go and I knocked him into the tires. The only thing I can do is offer my hand in apology. I made a mistake. I know it was tough on him." Unser was leading when Tracy hit him, and, with his teammate out of the way, Tracy led the final 23 laps. All the while, though, there was something other than victory on his mind. "I wondered what Roger was going to think," he admitted. With good cause. "I'm sure I'll have something to say," Penske said. And you did not need much of an imagination to draw a dialogue. Patience might have been a word he would use. Caution. Consideration of the team's equipment might have been mentioned. Timing. He might have reminded Tracy the Penske team has not won a driving championship since 1988, and Al Unser Jr. is their best chance to do that. And after that, he would encourage them to discuss their differences. "They're over 21," Penske said. "They'll have their own conversations. . . . But it is unfortunate they didn't get out away from traffic before they did it. It just creates more confusion for the team." One member of Penske's staff attempted to make light of the incident. "It was just racin' luck," he said with a rueful smile. "But I'm going to put on my striped (referee's) shirt and go over there." Unser did not care to comment for the record in person. He climbed out of his car and stalked away and later issued an innocuous statement about being "really happy that Marlboro Team Penske finished one and two. . . . Today, the bear got us." Penske was on the radio with him when the accident occurred, and the team owner said sarcastically: "He didn't have much to say." What he meant was "he didn't have much to say" that could be used in family newspapers. The lack of celebration, in victory points up the vast difference between the Penske team and most of its Challenge, but he couldn't find three days to attend the Skip Barber Racing School. Too busy with his day job. Obviously, his priorities are all out of whack. "Next year," he said. Flanery started the race from third place on the grid and took over the lead on the fourth lap. "I got a run on Swan coming out of Turn 7," he said. "I guess he missed a shift or something thank you very much. Between this and the Skip Barber Racing School, this has been the greatest six days of my life." The Swan referred to is your humble narrator and Free Press auto critic. ST' JyEi!Fr; L. i in r ' f JULIAN H. GONZALEZDetroit Free Press CROSSING THE line Order of finish for Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix, with starting position in parentheses, driver's nationality, car, reason out (if any) and laps completed (Tracy's average speed was 86.245 m.p.h.): FIN DRIVER COUNTRY CAR-ENGINE OUT LAP 1. (3) Paul Tracy Canada Penske-llmor Indy V8 77 2. (4) Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Penske-llmor Indy V8 77 3. (10) Robby Gordon USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB 77 4. (8) Teo Fabi Italy R'nard-llmor Indy V8 77 5. (17) Michael Andretti USA R'nard Ford-Cos. XB 77 6. (6) Bobby Rahal USA Lola-Honda Indy V8 77 7. (7) Jacques Villeneuve Canada R'nard Ford-Cos. XB 77 8. (5) Mauricio Gugelmin Brazil R'nard Ford-Cos. XB 77 9. (18) Bryan Herta USA" Lola Ford-Cos. XB 77 10. (2) Al Unser Jr. USA Penske-llmor Indy V8 77 11. (21) Scott Goodyear Canada Lola Ford-Cos. XB 76 12. (16) Christian Danner Germany Lola Cosworth XB 76 13. (26) Scott Sharp USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB 76 14. (23) Mark Smith USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB 76 15. (20) Fredrik Ekblom Sweden Lola llmor Indy V8 76 16. (28) Willy T.Ribbs USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB 75 17. (27) Buddy Lazier USA . Lola llmor Indy C 75 18. (9) Mario Andretti USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB 75 19. (13) ArieLuyendyk Netherlands Lola llmor Indy V8 75 20. (19) Jimmy Vasser USA R'nard Ford-Cos. XB contact 74 21. (1) Nigel Mansell Britain Lola Ford-Cos. XB throttle 65 22. (11) Stefan Johansson Sweden Penske-llmor Indy V8 trans. 51 23. (12) Adrian Fernandez Mexico R'nard-llmor Indy V8 contact 48 24. (22) Marco Greco Brazil Lola Ford-Cos. XB haifshaft 30 25. (24) Dominic Dobson USA Lola Ford-Cos. XB contact 20 26. (25) A-Zampedri Italy Lola Ford-Cos. XB contact 20 27. (15) MikeGroff USA Lola Honda Indy V8 suspension 7 28. (14) RaulBoesel Brazil Lola Ford-Cos. XB electrical 7 Time of race: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 29.642 seconds. Margin of victory: 9.249 seconds. Caution flags: Four for 19 laps. Lap leaders: Mansell 1, Unser Jr. 2-48, Tracy 49, Unser Jr. 50-54, Tracy 55-77. PPG Cup point leaders: 1. Al Unser Jr., 83; 2. Emerson Fittipaldi, 70; 3. Michael Andretti, 59; 4. Robby Gordon, 52; 5. Nigel Mansell, 46; 6. (tie) Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, 36; 8. (tie) Bobby Rahal, Teo Fabi, 28; 10. Jacques Villeneuve, 26. opposition. A victory is a victory if you are Derrick Walker or Carl Haas or Dick Simon. To Penske, who has been criticized for winning too much, a victory seems to be not quite right if it isn't the right victory. "It was the time Paul probably figured he had to get up with him," Penske said. "It's too bad from the standpoint it knocked out one of our team cars. They did a real good job for the first 50 laps or so. Al was hooked trying to feel his way through traffic. ...This is a team. ...You hate to see Check Your Lottery Tickets! call 1-9oo-99o-4887950 a minute Current lottery numbers for Michigan, Ohio and illinois I started the race from the pole and did, in fact, miss a shift as deduced by Young Indy. After stirring the gearbox like a churn, I finally found what I was looking for. Then I spent the rest of the race aoniring Flanery's technique. He just didn't make any mistakes. He also set the fastest lap. Little as I like to, I should add that this was only Flanery's second race. I've started a few more than that over 14 seasons. Oh, well. However, other members of the celebrity contingent provided their share of diversion. Tops in this category was cute Crystal Bernard of the NBC sitcom ... Paul Tracy holds the trophy while teammate and runner-up Emerson Fittipaldi looks on from the victory stand Sunday. JJ one get knocked out by another. "I'm the coach that didn't do a very good job today." Repeat after us, Roger: Paul Tracy drives for my team. Paul Tracy won the Detroit Grand Prix. This is good. Accept the apology. Pat him on the back. Tell him he is a winner and, on Sunday, Unser and Fittipaldi were just a little less. "Wings." Rarely has a race driver attracted so many helping hands at belt-up time. Frank Beard, from the ZZ Top rock band, made sure the Neon troops didn't have too much Saturday night leisure time by stuffing his car into the Turn 9 tire wall during qualifying. By midnight it was good as new. But he had another brush with a tire wall on Sunday. "I still don't know where the course goes," he said. "And I haven't got a clue where I picked up those tire smudges. "But I had a great time today. Certainly a lot better than yesterday." road Warrior GONZALEZDetrolt Free Press Mayor Dennis Archer. Tracy plays bump and run en route to Belle Isle victory GRAND PRIX, from Page 1C I made a mistake." More than an hour after Sunday's race, Tracy and Unser Jr. met for about 15 minutes in the latter's motor home. "Everything's cool," a team source said. Coming into Turn 8 on Lap 55, with Unser seemingly en route to his first Detroit triumph, the left front of Tracy's car tapped the right rear of Unser's. The contact sent Unser skidding into a netting-covered tire barrier. By the time he was freed from the barrier, and after pitting, Unser had fallen to 10th place. Tracy, who averaged a course-record 86.245 m.p.h., built a 12.6-second lead over Fittipaldi through 73 laps. That was sliced to 9.249 at the finish, and Fittipaldi held off Gordon by 1.14 seconds. "Obviously, I ran into him," Tracy said. "But it's frustrating. I've never taken anybody out on purpose in my life, and I didn't take Al out on purpose. I'm sure I'm going to hear some stuff when I get back to the trailer. But it's over and done with." Unser, who finished 10th, stalked from his car. "Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you," he said. "And today, the bear got us. "The good news," Unser said, is that he takes a 13-point lead into the next race, June 26 at Portland, Ore. It was a 25-point advantage over Fittipaldi entering Detroit. The bad news for reigning IndyCar champ Nigel Mansell, Sunday's pole Robertson repeats in Indy Lights By Michelle Jew Free Press Sports Writer Steve Robertson once again was a red-and-yellow blur to his competitors in the PPC-Firestone Indy Lights on Sunday at Belle Isle. As he has all weekend, Robertson, the pole-sitter, sprinted to the front of the pack and stayed there, winning his second consecutive Indy Lights in the Motor City. The victory, his third straight this season, earned Robertson $20,000. Robertson, a 28-year-old Englishman, averaged 83.616 m.p.h., easily defeating Eddie Lawson of Lake Ha-vasu, Ariz., who averaged 83.581. At one point Robertson led by 14.17 seconds. "I jumped out to a nice lead," Robertson said. "I was leading by eight to nine seconds. Everything was hunky-dory. The car was driving excellent." Pedro Chaves of Portugal finished third at 83.570. a Bob Reid of Commerce, Mich., As for me, I keep thinking about Andy Warhol's forecast of 15 minutes of fame for every human being on the planet. Actually, Andy, in my case it worked out to about six. Neon Challenge results 1. Sean-Patrick Flanery, "Chronicles ol Young fridiana Jones." 2. Tony Swan, Detroit Free Press. 3. Doug Weisz, Automobile Magazine. 4. Barry Winfield, Car and Driver Magazine. 5. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, "Saved by the Bel: The College Years." 6. Henny Hemmes, Auto Week Magazine. 7. Joe Rusz, Road 4 Track Magazine. 8. Daniel Charles Ross, Motor Trend Magazine. 9. Steve Kostan, WRF-FM. 10. Carl Gateana, Galeana Dodge. 11. Erik Smith, WXYZ-TV. Z Frank Beard, ZZ Top. 13. Crystal Bernard, "Wings." 14. Mark Champion, WWJ-AM. 15. Michael Castner, "F.Y.EI" 16. Denise McCluggage. AutoWeek Magazine. 17. Tiff Needell, "Top Gear," BBC-TV. Paul Tracy has won six of the last 12 IndyCar races run on road circuits, beginning 14 months ago at Long Beach: DATE SITE WINNER April '93 Long Beach, Calif. Paul Tracy June '93 Detroit Danny Sullivan June '93 Portland, Ore. E. Fittipaldi July '93 Cleveland Paul Tracy July '93 Toronto Paul Tracy Aug. '93 Lexington, Ohio E. Fittipaldi Sept, '93 Vancouver Al Unser Jr. Sept. '93 Elkhart Lake, Wis. Paul Tracy Oct. '93 Monterey, Calif. Paul Tracy March '94 Australia Michael Andretti April '94 Long Beach, Calif. Al Unser Jr. June '94 Detroit Paul Tracy Five in a row for Penske Penske cars won the last five of the season's six races: DATE SITE WINNER March 20 Australia Michael Andretti April 10 Phoenix E, Pttipaldi April 17 Long Beach, Calif. Al Unser Jr. May 29 Indianapolis Al Unser Jr. June 5 Milwaukee Al Unser Jr. June 12 Detroit Paul Tracy sitter, is that the bear munched on Mansell on Lap 57. Entering Turn 4 on the rear of Fittipaldi's car, Mansell made contact. Unlike the Tracy-Unser tapping, this one sent the tapper, Man-sell, into the tire barrier. That and a throttle malfunction put Mansell in the pits after 65 laps with a 21st-place finish. "I think Emerson was forced to brake early going into the corner by the person in front of him," Mansell said. "He caught me by surprise. "I cannot blame Nigel," Fittipaldi said. "The guy ahead of me hit the brakes, so I had to hit the brakes. Nigel just couldn't stop and hit me in the back, and I was very lucky that I didn't spin." Tracy's rear-ending excuse was similar. "We saw a couple cars in front of us on the (Lap 53) restart, and they didn't want to let him (Unser) by," said Tracy, who led 24 laps. "We got down on the braking area and there was no room to go. "I was stopping as quickly as I could and just got into Al's tire and sent him straight. It's disappointing to win that way, but at least we're up here." Gordon, expressing a widely held opinion among non-Penske teams, said, "I don't know what it's going to take" to win a race for his car's owner, Walker Racing. "We're going to stay up late at night until we catch these guys. We'll have to stay up all night the way these guys are going." He also had a few words of support for Tracy. "When it comes to racing," Gordon said, "it's every man for himself. That's racing." crashed on Lap 26 after making contact with the left front tire of David Pook. The yellow flag was out four laps, wiping out Robertson's lead. "After the yellow flag, the track was very slippery," Robertson said. "I was trying to pace myself. I wanted to see how hard I could go. I wanted to monitor the other cars and see how hard I could push myself." Lawson moved into second place on Lap 30, passing rookie Andre Ribeiro. But that's as far as Lawson would get. "Steve just hooked up and went," said Lawson, Robertson's teammate on Tasman Motorsports Group. "There was no way I was going to stay with him. The way Steve was driving, 1 knew he had it dialed." Guaranteed! Home delivery by 6 a.m. in the metropolitan detroit area. Only $2.50,per week v Call 222-6500

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