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2002 Fontana Thoughts

TRACK: California Speedway was in beautiful shape, and nearly everyone drove a flawless race. As Michael Andretti said in the closing press conference, "Everyone drove well today. Nobody cut into anyone's air. It was a great race." In the words of Patrick Carpentier, "It was a fun race." Yes, it was.

RACE: A typical 500 mile race before the Handford Device -- flat out, fast cars were rewarded, and there was still passing. With a suspenseful finish.

VASSER: The Southern California kid sure loved the Southern California race this year. And Jimmy definitely loves 500 mile races.

RAHAL: This team definitely had the setup for this track.

ANDRETTI: He coulda won today if not for the Dario Franchitti Barbeque/Red Flag Invitational. So, don't be surprised if he wins his last CART race at Mexico City. He's just too hot right now not to win, politics notwithstanding.

CARPENTIER: His car had too much push at the start. It was way too loose at the end. Third place is pretty good for a car that couldn't run straight.

SERVIA: An excellent run from last to fifth. And the race's fastest lap for good measure.

FORD: A first and a third. They've got to be pleased. Let's hope, pleased enough to become the title sponsor?

BRIDGESTONE: Speaking of companies stepping up to the plate, great news that the tire supplier is now the presenting sponsor. So much for a dying series, eh?

CREWS: The unsung heroes need to be mentioned this week. With destroyed cars, a long flight back from the other side of the world, and only a few days to turn things around, the majority of reliability issues for this marathon came from the engines, not the stuff the crews work on.

SPEED CHANNEL: Perhaps the best produced TV coverage of a 500 mile open wheel race. Ever.

PAPIS: A decent run ends in mechanical failure. Too bad. Mad Max is very popular with the crowd.

NEWMAN-HAAS: Almost kept their streak going.

JOURDAIN: The streak ends. By one position! Ironically, in a race he was quite capable of winning.

TARGET: Interesting how the team already in the IRL, and moving more cars there next year, was never really a contender in the only superspeedway race on CART's schedule.

FITTIPALDI, DIXON, KANAAN: All drove well, but were never really contenders past the opening laps by Tony. All are departing CART. So, long, farewell, au widersain, good night.

FRANCHITTI: Another bound for IRL guy suffers bad luck. Surprised no one looked for Chris Pook talking deals to the devil.

TRACY: His luck on superspeedways continues to go down the toilet.

TAGLIANI: Spinned, but did not win.

DA MATTA: It's lucky for Cristiano that his bad luck (blowed up) came after the championship was securely in his pocket.

DOMINGUEZ: Real race. Real slow.

TAKAGI: If Tora actually stopped in his pit stall backwards -- he was on target -- what would the pit stop have looked like? A Keystone Cops routine?

TOYOTA: What a pity... Now, stop laughing. Cut it out. Stop being so gleeful.

LOBOTOMY OF THE WEEKEND: Not for this weekend, but the future. And it goes to ISC. What in the world makes them think that in Southern California, an IRL race could possibly do better than a CART event, even if they get rid of the Champ Cars?

STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 197.995 mph for 500 miles. The only thing is, we have a problem with this. In most racing organizations, the clock does not stop during a red flag. And besides, when did they stop and restart the clock to "eliminate" the red flag period?

HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: For those who think that racing was more exciting in the "good old days," there were some real stinkers to prove that wrong. In the 500 mile race at the old Ontario Motor Speedway in 1978, Al Unser, Sr. won by over five laps, and only 5 of the 31 starters finished.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Barry Green doing his Bobby Knight impression after being asked for the umpteenth time this year whether he is still considering a legal challenge over the results of this year's Indy 500, "That's a bottom-feeder story. If the media is that hard up for stories, that's what's wrong with this sport."

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Tony Kanaan sarcastically describing his race, "Oh, well. Another day in paradise."

SCHEDULE: We're skeptical about all this talk of 300,000, 350,000, or even 400,000 fans for Mexico City. If it happens, great. But you know what, they could get 250,000, and people will consider that a failure due to the expectations. At least some idiot IRL fan will claim that it's a failure.

Copyright 2002 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.


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RACE RESULTS
  Driver Laps
1. Vasser 250
2. Andretti 250
3. Carpentier 250
4. Kanaan 250
5. Servia 249
6. Dixon 249
7. Fittipaldi 249
8. Tagliani 248
9. Junqueira 247
10. Franchitti 242
11. da Matta 236
12. Brack 235
13. Jourdain 218
14. Papis 214
15. Nakano 202
16. Dominguez(R) 107
17. Tracy 86
18. Takagi 85

Time of Race
2:33:42.977

Winner's Speed
197.995 mph

Margin of Victory
0.400 sec.

Caution Flags
4 for 17 laps

Lead Changes
44 among 7 drivers

Most Laps Led
Jimmy Vasser

Pole Position
Tony Kanaan

CURRENT STANDINGS
  Driver Pts.
1. da Matta 221
2. Junqueira 148
3. Carpentier 145
4. Franchitti 138
5. Fittipaldi 122
6. Vasser 112
7. Andretti 110
8. Tagliani 108
9. Jourdain 105
10. Tracy 101
11. Brack 94
12. Kanaan 93
13. Dixon 91
14. Fernandez 59
15. Takagi 45
16. Nakano 43
17. Servia 40
18. Dominguez(R) 37
19. Papis 32
20. Bell(R) 19
21. Manning(R) 4
 
 
2008 Thoughts
Long Beach

2007 Thoughts
Preseason Las Vegas Long Beach Houston
Portland Cleveland Mont Tremblant Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Road America Belgium
Holland Surfers Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2006 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Houston Monterrey
Milwaukee Portland Cleveland Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Denver Montreal
Road America Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2005 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Edmonton
San Jose Denver Montreal Las Vegas
Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2004 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Denver Montreal Laguna Seca
Las Vegas Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2003 Thoughts
Preseason St. Petersburg Monterrey Long Beach
Brands Hatch Germany Milwaukee Laguna Seca
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Mid-Ohio Montreal Denver
Miami Mexico City Surfer's Paradise Postseason

2002 Thoughts
Preseason Monterrey Long Beach Japan
Milwaukee Laguna Seca Portland Chicago
Toronto Cleveland Vancouver Mid-Ohio
Road America Montreal Denver
England Miami Surfer's Paradise
Fontana Mexico City Postseason

2001 Thoughts
Preseason Mexico Long Beach Nazareth
Japan Milwaukee Detroit Portland
Cleveland Toronto Michigan Chicago
Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver German
England Houston Laguna Seca
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

2000 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Long Beach Brazil
Japan Nazareth Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto Michigan
Chicago Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Gateway USGP Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1999 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Road America Toronto
U.S. 500 Detroit Mid-Ohio Chicago
Vancouver Laguna Seca Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1998 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Detroit Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Houston Surfer's Paradise Fontana

1997 Thoughts
Miami Surfer's Paradise Long Beach Nazareth
Brazil Gateway Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America
Vancouver Laguna Seca Fontana
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