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
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.
Agree with Deep Throttle? Disagree? Let others know what your Fontana thoughts are by
visiting the Forums.