Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on June 8, 1998 · Page 33
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 33

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Monday, June 8, 1998
Page 33
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8D DETROIT FREE PRESSMONDAY, JUNE 8, 1998 Ulii!i-Msji;(f. Fernandez made most of chances BY DANIELLE RUMORE Free Press Snorts Writer It wasn't the best that Adrian Fernandez could have hoped for Sunday. But a second-place finish was the best he could have expected after Alex Zanardi and pole winner Greg Moore threatened to turn the Detroit Grand Prix into their private party. As it was, Fernandez made the most of the only break he got. After 44 of 72 laps, Moore, running second, pitted for fuel and tires for his Reynard-Mercedes. But it was a disastrously long stop 21.4 seconds and just the break Fernandez needed to slip into second place for the first time and put pressure on leader Zanardi, in a Reynard-Honda. But Zanardi proved too tough to catch, much less overtake, winning by a whopping 6.624 seconds over Fernandez. The second stop was a very good job," Fernandez said. That's when my guys did an outstanding job of getting me ahead of Moore. I thought I could push out Alex at the end, but unfortunately, we couldn't pass him." Fernandez, who lived in West Bloomfield for two years until after last season, said he was pleased with his weekend performance. He quali- Zanardi wins Prix, goes on donut binge Grand Prix, from Page ID his tires. I think that's the reason we were able to anticipate the pit stop, and I was able to stay out a little longer and put a couple of hot laps on. I built an advantage geographically that put me back in front of them when we did our pit stop." . Moore was virtually eliminated by a 21.4-second stop under yellow after lap 44. It dropped Moore to fourth on the subsequent restart. He finished fifth, 9.8 seconds behind Zanardi. Third was the Reynard-Honda of Gil de Ferran, a third-place Belle Isle finisher three straight times. ...... Zanardi, whose Reynard-Honda averaged 100.052 m.p.h. and led the final 50 of 72 laps, stretched his advantage over Fernandez from 3.13 seconds after 65 laps to more than six at the end. Zanardi's zoom to the front followed a morning practice session cut short when his car's left-side wheels tapped the wall. De Ferran, last year's Prix pole winner, said: "All the credit has to go to my team. Every time I came into the pit, I came out one or two positions ahead of where I was, and that was ultimately very important I was able to drive hard and fast the whole race. I never drove that hard in my life, actually. At the end I was trying to pressure Adrian into some kind of mistake, but it never happened." Though the new, quarter-mile track extension did mean faster lap times and got largely favorable reviews, it didn't promote much key Prix passing. ,.. "You didn't see any passing," Zanardi said. "And personally, I only had to pass one guy. But it would have been possible to overtake, (but) I didn't get any particular pressure. "But once you got past the next section, you kind of got stuck. You had to wait and go all the way around again. What you need is a fast guy in second behind the fast guy in first." Zanardi cited "three mistakes" by Moore early that foretold the near future of both. The situation gave Zanardi and crew confidence enough to run a leaner fuel mixture. "He hit the wall definitely one time coming out of (turn) 13, the last one before pit entrance, where I had my accident this morning. And then one time he just brushed the -wall coming out of 1-2, going into the straight line. And another time I think he hit it in the middle, all on different laps. "And every time he did it, he was losing a lot. Then he'd start going good again in corners. I couldn't believe it. I kept thinking, This guy keeps hitting the wall, and his car keeps coming back strong.' " To leave a message for Steve Crowe, call 1-313-222-2115. 5E l L if . G (?) V' A A- JULIAN H. GONZALEZDetroit Free Press Former driver Mario Andretti and actorteam owner Paul Newman share a laugh in pit lane. i r5 i'r3 JULIAN H. GONZALEZDetrolt Free ' fied third and practiced consistently after arriving Friday. "I feel satisfied with what happened, but I would have felt more satisfied if I had a chance to battle with Alex," said Fernandez, whose car is owned by Jackson's Pat Patrick. "In general, the team did a great job. We were very consistent all weekend." Sunday's finish was Fernandez's sixth top-nine race this season, which includes third at Brazil and fourth on the Long Beach street course. And he won the event at Motegi, Japan, despite being sick with flu. Now in his sixth CART season, Fernandez has two victories in 78 career starts. But the story of the day and the difference for Fernandez and the other top finishers was the pits. The new, speedier track configuration undoubtedly opened up the race more than in the past. But pitting proved key to maintaining position and overtaking. It was the simple explanation for why each of the top three finished where they did, including third-place Gil de Ferran in a Reynard-Honda. . "Every time we went into the pits, I moved up one or two more positions," De Ferran said. Fernandez said: The second pit stop is where I jumped to second and stayed there. It was just great." To leave a message for Danielle Rumore, call 1-313-223-3215. I ' '"zJ I-,,., " 4 v V ' 9, i HOW THEY FINISHED Results of Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix, with starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown or country, make of car, laps completed and reason out, if any: FIN ST DRIVER HOME MAKE LAPS REASON . 1. (2) Alex Zanardi ' Italy . Reynard-Honda ',72 2. (3) Adrian Fernandez Mexico Reynard-Ford 72 ; 3. (9) : Glide Ferran Brazil- , Reynard-Honda 72 4. (8) Dario Franchitti Scotland Reynard-Honda 72 ;,5. (1) Greg Moore ' Canada Reynard-Mercedes 72 6. (7) Jimmy Vasser Las Vegas Reynard-Honda 72 7, (15) Paul Tracy Canada - Reynard-Honda 72 8. (6) TonyKanaan Brazil Reynard-Honda 72 9. (17 Scott Pruett Granite Bay, Calif, Reynard-Ford ' 72 ' 10. (11) Michael Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Swift-Ford 72 111. (12) Bobby Rahal New Albany, Ohio Reynard-Ford ',',72 12. (14) Helio Castro-Neves Brazil Reynard-Mercedes 72 :13. (18) Michel Jourdaln Jr. Mexico 1 Reynard-Ford ; 72 14. (20) Robby Gordon Orange, Calif. Reynard-Toyota 72 15. (16) Patrick Carpentler Canada : , Reynard-Mercedes 72 16. (25) Andre Ribeiro Brazil Penske-Mercedes 71 17. (10) Christian Flttlpaldl Brazil . ; - ' Swift-Ford 71' 18. (19) Max Papis Italy Reynard-Toyota 71 19. (22) MauricioGugelmln Brazil ' Reynard-Mercedes 71 . " 20. (26) Alex Barron Vista, Calif. Reynard-Toyota 70 21. ' (5) Bryan Herta '"".New Albany, Ohio', Reynard-Ford 69 , off course 22. (21) Mark Blundell England Reynard-Mercedes 56 contact ;23r (4) : Richie Hearn .", Henderson, Nev. " ; Swift-Ford ' . - 50 ";. turbo 24. (13) AlUnserJr. Albuquerque, N.M. Penske-Mercedes 46 transmission 25. (24) PJ. Jones . . Scottsdale, Ariz. ' Reynard-Toyota 40 transmission 26. (23) J.J. Lehto Finland Reynard-Mercedes 17 handling 27. (27) Amd Meier Germany Lola-Ford , ' 9 engine 28. (28) Dennis Vitolo Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Reynard-Ford 6 electrical Time of race: 1 hour, 41 minutes, 17.673 seconds. Margin of victory: 6.624 seconds. Winner' average speed: 100.052 m.p.h. Caution flags: 2 for 7 laps. Lead changes: 1 among 2 drivers. Lap leaders: Moore 1 22; Zanardi 23-72. Series points leaders: 1. Alex Zanardi, 113; 2. Greg Moore, 98; 3. Jimmy Vasser, 80; 4. Adrian Fernandez, 75; 5. Gil de Ferran, 55; 6. Michael Andretti, 52; 7. Dario Franchitti, 50; 8. Bryan Herta, 39; 9. Paul Tracy, 32; 10. Al UnserJr.,30. Adrian Fernandez, standing on the second step of the victory podium Sunday at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, is ready to start spraying the obligatory champagne in celebration. by Steve Crowe and Danielle rumore Tree lress Sporls Writers Why is Alex Zanardi one of the wackiest guys ever to wheel his way into CART racing? Why was he doing donuts after winning Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix? Why, with that delightfully devilish Italian accent, is Zanardi so darn different? There is no answer to this question," Zanardi, 31, said after doing Detroit so well, winning by 6.624 seconds over second-place Adrian Fernandez. "I'm just crazy. I've got a lot of crazy things I've done in my days. You don't get the chance very often to abuse a $l-million car. Try to imagine if they give you a Rolls-Royce worth $1 million and say, 'Here, go and race this on the circuit.' That's what I do abuse a million-dollar car and have a lot of fun. It's not just fun for the people who watch." While Zanardi laughs, his pursuers don't. By outpointing fifth-place Greg Moore, 21-11, in Detroit, Zanardi enters the June 21 race at Portland with a 113-96 lead in points over the Canadian. OPEN-WHEELED WlNGS: After being given a tour of the Ganassi Racing mobile operation Saturday night, Red Wings Larry Murphy and Aaron" Ward were honorary pit crew members Sunday for driver Jimmy Vasser, who finished sixth. "What struck me most was the Press irn ' 1 " '- - HI Alex Zanardi takes the checkered flag Sunday for his third victory of theCART season and the 11th of his career. Zanardi, who started from the No. 2 position, led the final 50 of 72 laps. Axrc&w. : s "C "j! 4, " KIRTHMON F. DOZIEROetroit Free Press Indy Lights AT DETROIT Rmui of Sunday'i PPG-Dayton Indy Ltght nee, wrth starting poiltkm In partnthttet, topi completed, winner's average ipeed and reason out (If any); all cars are Lola V6 with Dayton tires: 1, (1) Airtw Dare, 89.206 mp.h. 2, (2) Crlsliano da Matla. 32. 3, (7) Geoff Boss, 32. 4, (6) Mark Hotchkis, 32. 5, (9) Didier Andre, 32. b, (10) Orlol Servia, 32. 7, (11) Brian Cunningham, 32. 8, (4) Guy Smith, 32. 9, (12) Felipe GiaHone, 32. 10, (8) Philipp Peter, 32. 11, (15) Mike Borkowski, 32 12, (13) Derek Hiugins. 32 13. (14) Paul Morris, 32. 14, (17) Andy Boss, 32. 15, (3) Tony Renna, 32. 16, (19) Joroe Goeters, 32. 17, (22) Clint Mean, 32. 18. (21) Rodolfo Lavin, 31. 19, (20) Casey Mears, 31, electrical. 20, (16) Shigeaki Hatlori, 2, contact. 21, (18) Luii Garcia Jr, 2, contact. 22, (23) Sergio Paese, 2, contact. 23, (5) Naoki Hallorl, 1, contact. Time of race: 50 minutes, 29.610 seconds. Margin of victory: 0.856 seconds. Lap leaden: Dare 1-32. Drrrer point leaden: 1, Da Matta, 92; 2, Boss, 47; 3, Dare, 45; 4, Hatlori, 44; 5, Andre, 38. Zanardi explains: 'I'm just crazy' power of the machines," Murphy said of the 900-horsepower CART cars. There's no margin for error. It's not like in hockey, where if you get knocked down you can get back up." Max & Me For Italy: zanardi's win ended one of Italy's best CART weekends ever. Max Papis and Toyota, who have never started a CART race better than 17th, was rain-aided in taking Friday's provisional Prix pole. "If Max keeps going like Friday, we can really have a go at this Nations Cup," Zanardi joked of the CART award based on driving performance by nationality. The U.S. leads second-place Italy, 131-113, in Nations Cup points. Canada is third with 104, followed by Brazil with 91. VIPER LICKS LE MANS: Chrysler made Belle Isle news Sunday with its Neon Charity Challenge. But the car company's big racing news was made in France, where Chrysler's Viper GTS-R entries finished first and second in the FIA's GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It's the first time an American manufacturer has finished first in a Le Mans class in 29 years. Ford's GT40 took a Le Mans title in 1969. The winning Viper driven by David Donohue of the United States, Justin Bell of Britain and Luca Dare's first career Lights win extends team's Detroit dynasty by Danielle rumore Free Press Spurts Writer It's something of a modern-day racing dynasty. For the fifth time in as many attempts, a driver from Ohio-based Tasman Motorsports Group captured the Indy Lights championship Sunday on Belle Isle. Airton Dare, 20, of Brazil led from the pole to capture his first career victory. Dare had a fast lap of 102.340 m.p.h., and averaged 89.206 m.p.h., for the 32 laps around the 2.3-mile circuit. Teammate Cristiano da Matta, also from Brazil, fell to fifth early on but moved to second for the remainder of the race, finishing ,856 second behind Dare. Geoff Boss of Narragansetl, R.I., earned his second straight third-place finish on ' Belle Isle. Sunday's race also was the second consecutive 1-2 finish here for Tasman drivers. Last year, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castro-Neves who now race in CART FedEx finished first and second, respectively. "The car was very, very good today and I did not think I would really have a hard time with anybody other than Cristiano," Dare said. "I knew that my teammate had a car as good as mine." Sunday's race was relatively uneventful, with Dare leading the entire way and Da Matta pulling into second after the race's only restart. Da Matta's second-place finish increased his lead in the Indy Lights standings by 16 points. He now has 92 points, 45 ahead of Boss and 47 ahead of Dare. The second-place driver entering Sunday's race, Shi-geaki Hattori, fell to fourth after finishing 20th. Da Matta, who says he's eyeing the Indy Lights series title won last year by Kanaan, has a two-race lead over Boss with eight races remaining. Neon Charity Challenge: it was Neon lights out for Gene Taylor and Tom Evans, the first drivers in the race's five-year Belle Isle history to wind up in the hospital. Taylor, from Lathrup Village, made contact with another car and spun and hit the wall near turn 2. On the next lap, Evans, Fans relish sights, sounds, smells BY BETH KRODEL Free 1'ress Staff Writer Die-hard auto racing fans and novices alike flocked to Belle Isle on Sunday to stimulate their senses with the potent smell of burnt rubber, the dizzying sight of bright cars whizzing past, and the rib-rattling sound of engines roaring at nearly 200 m.p.h. "You've got to be dead if you don't get some air of excitement out here," Mike Furey, 49, of Windsor, shouted as he, his wife and granddaughter watched one car after another wind through turns 8 and 9 of the Detroit Grand Prix course. Before the main event's 2:30 p.m. start, the 65,000 spectators shuffled through an expo in which vendors hawked everything from racing jackets, stop watches and shot glasses, to sunglasses, earplugs and Tylenol. Loudspeakers pumped country music and heavy metal. In the general-admission area, fans stuffed their faces with cheese steaks, french fries and ice cream. In the corporate tents, VIPs dined on salmon, cheese souffle and fresh fruit at linen-covered tables with floral centerpieces. Many spectators men and women, young and old said they came to witness the exhilarating speed. Some were angling for autographs from drivers and from team Drudi of Italy completed 317 laps on the 8.46-mile circuit, averaging 111.7 m.p.h. Last year, the second in racing for the Viper GTS-R, it won the FIA GT2 series manufacturer title with Bell driving. Road Kill Reprieved: Jeff Simmons victory in the Barber Dodge Pro race was a pole-to-finish affair, with nary a problem except for a small, furry one: There was a squirrel on the track," he said, "and I had to dodge it." SHIFTING GEARS? When asked whether he was interested in changing professions, Curtis Hertel, the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, said: "Well, I'm a term-limited legislator. So I'm looking for a new career, and I think I may have found it." Hertel raced in the two-day, two-round Neon Celebrity Challenge, finishing third in Sunday's second round. SPARE PARTS: Sunday's attendance was announced as 64,458, up from 61,003 on race day last June. This year's three-day total was 146,135, down from 157,542. Friday's rain-dampened Prix crowd accounted for the decline; it was 39,000, down from last year's 55,000. ... Including Zanardi in Detroit, cars with Firestone tires have won 13 straight CART events on roadstreet courses, including all 10 last year. t -i I from Lake Forest, 111., missed his line and crashed about 50 yards farther down the track than Taylor. Both were taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital and were conscious and alert, according to SCCA officials. "Accidents are going to happen," car dealer-driver Carl Galeana said. ''People are going to make mistakes. The cars looked bad, and you certainly don't want to see these things happen. But at the same time it certainly creates a good show." . The two-day, two-round event feature ing civic leaders, corporate executives and local media raised $215,000 for the Detroit Police Athletic Ixague. "Our programs are looking to amount to $1.5 million, so this goes a long way," said Edward Foxworth III, Executive Director of PAL In the first round Saturday, Galeana and Jorge Koechlin quickly moved from the back of the pack to the front, Galeana edging Koechlin for first place. Roger Stather finished third. In Sunday's second round, Jeff Stevens won, followed by Jay Ricci and State Rep. Curtis Hertel (D-Detroit). BARBER DODGE PRO: Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn., started from the pole and led all 20 laps, holding off runner-up Will Langh-orne of Washington, D.C., by ,820 second. The battle with Will wasn't just early on, it was all the race through," said Simmons, who won with a speed of 92.065 m.p.h. "I was able to pull away on the straightaways." Langhorne, whose finish (91.997 m.p.h.) was his first in the top three, said he is thinking about moving to the Indy lights circuit next year. Rino Mastronardi, the third-place finisher from Italy (91.509 m.p.h.), was runner-up last year. "So far, this is the best street course I've ever seen," Mastronardi said. "It's fine to drive here." To leave a message for Danielle Rumore, call 1-313-223-3215. owners, especially actor Paul Newman and former football greats Joe Montana and Walter Payton. Others wanted to check out the good-looking drivers and pit crews. And a few were just there for the party. Patty Sledge, a 39-year-old legal secretary who usually follows auto racing on TV, flew in from Atlanta for the action. "It's great being here with the smell of the tires, where I get to see all the motion up close," she said as she watched winner Alex Zanardi's pit crew practice changing tires before the race. "People who've never been to a race don't" know what they're missing." ' Patrick Clarahan, a paramedic technician at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, turned a three-day medical-volunteer stint into a racing fan's gold mine. "I've been getting some great stuff," said the 42-year-old, who was stationed behind the pits, where he snagged more than a dozen autographs. Four-year-old William Reeves of Grosse Pointe Park was happy with his first auto racing experience. "I liked the whole, entire thing, except for the slowpokes," he said, referring to the racers bringing up the rear at a mere 190 m.p.h. in the straightaway. Beth Krodel can be reached at 1-734-432-6502.

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