Teary finish at Vancouver Indy

Published on Thu, Sep 6, 2001 by Barry Burkett

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Teary finish at Vancouver Indy

By Barry Burkett

“I am just full of joy, it was so hard to get here. With five laps to go I started to cry in the car and I kept saying to myself; concentrate, concentrate,” said a teary Roberto Moreno, winner of the Molson Indy in Vancouver this weekend. “Then I started to think about Greg Moore and I said to myself; let me have this one and I would like to dedicate this race to Greg. We all wish he was here with us and whenever we come here we all think of him.” Greg Moore is the Port Coquitlam native who died in a racing crash two years ago. The trophies handed out at the Vancouver race now have a replica of his helmet and gloves on them.

Over 160,000 people attended the Vancouver Molson Indy Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) car race through the streets of Vancouver, B.C. August 31 to September 2.

The CART race is a weekend event. Teams practice Friday, qualify Saturday and race Sunday. CART cars have a minimum weight of 1,550 pounds and their engines put out over 800 horsepower. With these turbocharged 161 cubic inch (2,650cc) engines, performance is spectacular. Tests have shown 0 to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds. At Vancouver the cars have reached top speeds of around 190 mph.

Last year’s team to beat, Team Kool Green with their Honda powered Reynards, had a disappointing weekend. “We just really don’t know. That is why we race,” said Barry Green when asked if the team could muster last years performance. “We are not happy with our performance here because obviously we are not as fast as we need to be.” Paul Tracy, last year’s winner, failed to finish and Dario Franchitti, second last year, finished in ninth place.

Saturday’s qualifying race repeated Friday’s practice with Canadians Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier in their Players/Forsythe Reynard Fords taking the first two grid positions, to the delight of the hometown crowd. Third was Gil DeFerran who was one hundredth of a second faster than Kenny Brack of Sweden in his Rahal Lola Ford. Helio Castroneves, the former CART FedEx points leader, was fifth in his Penske Reynard Honda. The rookie Bruno Junqueria rounded out the top six.

Tagliani’s pole time of one minute point eight seven two seconds was his second ever pole. “I think we need to fine tune it for the heavy fuel load but, we won’t change the setup much. The Team has a good base setup off the trailer so we do not change as much,” said Tagliani when asked if he would change his car setup for the race. “When we are fast, we try to fine tune little things here and there rather than change too much. I think it is trying to get the most out of what you have, strategy and a little bit of luck rather than the setup.” Luck was not with Tagliani for the race. He consistently held the lead for the first 69 laps before blowing his engine. This was a disappointment for him and the Players/Forsythe racing team.

Behind Tagliani, the battle was see sawing back and forth between DeFerran and Moreno Late in the race Kenny Brack hit Patrick Carpentier ending Carpentier’s race and relegating Brack to eighth where he finished. This promoted Michael Andretti to third, behind Moreno and DeFerran. Andretti was surprised by this as he had run most of the race back in tenth position. Five laps from the end Moreno passed DeFerran, who made a small mistake in turn four, and lead from there to the checkered flag.

This is Moreno’s first win of the year and there were tears on the winner’s podium. “This morning we went for the warm up and I knew straight away that I had a good car,” he said. “We had found something very important out this morning and, that was that we were better on brand new tires. We just did one lap on each set just to scrub off the shine. I told my engineer not to do too much to the car. We just took one flat off the front suspension ride height.”

Gil DeFerran now leads the CART FedEx championship point standings with 115 points followed by Kenny Brack and Helio Castroneves who tied at 110 points and Michael Andretti in fourth with 103 points. With six races remaining in the season, the title is still up for grabs. .

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