2002 Laguna Seca Thoughts
RACE: It's a shame such a wonderful driver's track produces very little in the way of racing. The
Canadian Grand Prix had more action and intrigue than Laguna Seca. And that shouldn't be.
TRACK: Good to see a massive renovation project taking place. It's long overdue for a track that
is so old. Now, if they could find a way to make the track racier.
POLE: As always, there are two sides to a story. On the one hand, Cristiano da Matta had to protect
his pole position by not causing a red flag, and thus was forced not to pull over. However, and this is a big
however, on the other hand, that is no excuse for running in the line, making it appear that you are purposely
oiling the track. Then, on top of that, there were reports that his engine was sounding quite ill in the Corkscrew
on the previous lap, so he had to know he had no hope of going faster, and it was time to pull in before starting
another lap. It is for these reasons that what should have been accolades heaped on Cristiano for getting his
first CART pole instead turns out to be a pole that is "soiled."
DA MATTA: Aside from the situation, the only flaw in Cristiano's weekend was not getting the point for
Friday's provisional pole. Pole position, fastest lap, led 82 of 87 laps -- just complete domination.
FITTIPALDI: A very strong run for Christian. But still, one can't help notice that he was outdone by
his teammate. Again.
NEWMAN-HAAS: Carl just bought himself another box of Cubans.
TOYOTA: Their first podium sweep. But even more importantly, this is a rare occurrence for the
engine manufacturers, such is the competition. We'll miss that next year.
BRACK: Kenny is starting to jell with his new team. Watch out as an exciting title battle between
various contenders is starting to brew.
CARPENTIER: Goes off fast, slides through the sand trap, doesn't get stuck, keeps the
engine running, and manages to finish fifth. Sometimes the luck is with you.
BELL: Was this a job saving run?
DIXON: Feeling real comfortable with Team Ganassi.
JOURDAIN: No longer the points leader, but the only driver to finish every race. All in the top ten.
Despite being in the thick of the first lap melee.
KANAAN: Finally, Tony got to finish a race.
ANDRETTI: Michael has never been one of the strongest qualifiers. But last?! The switch to Lola
wasn't as easy as hoped.
TAKAGI: At least he didn't ruin anyone else's race when he insisted on ruining his own.
TRACY: This is getting a bit sickening. Paul's crew messes up, causing him to crash when his wheel
came off, and he is not only not angry, but blasé about it. Would the aliens please return the real
FERNANDEZ: After such a fine run last week, he ends this week by causing the first lap crash.
PATRICK: As in Danica, not Pat. Anyone who has followed her exploits in karts and Europe, and seen
her finish second in the Formula Ford Festival -- tying the best finish for an American with Danny Sullivan --
knows that she is the real deal. Whether she continues to impress as she moves up the ladder, only time will
tell. We sure are glad that Bobby Rahal is willing to help her find out.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Though common in Formula One, this was the first time two teams occupied the
first four spots since the 1999 Mid-Ohio event.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The first CART race at Laguna Seca in 1983 was won by Teo Fabi with
an average speed of 106.943 mph.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Patrick Carpentier explaining one of the limitations of traction control, "The
traction control is good, but not when you are sliding backwards."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Also to Patrick Carpentier on why he wasn't worried after his crash
in qualifying, "It's easily fixable, and after all, there are plenty of Reynards lying around. So, it shouldn't
be a problem."
SCHEDULE: Portland. Bring your rain tires.
Copyright © 2002 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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