2002 Long Beach Thoughts
RACE: Typical for a street race. If someone has it dialed in, you better hope something
happens to him, or it is going to be a bit boring. The first half of the race was just that. The second half,
thanks to Fernandez, was a lot more interesting.
TRACK: We've always believed the original layout was the best one of all.
ANDRETTI: Who said pit strategy would go out the window with the new rules? Leave it to a
veteran driver with a veteran team to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. And once he was in the lead, an
absolutely brilliant piece of driving to stay there.
VASSER: Hey, Jimmy, when you see the pace car, then slow down.
TEAM RAHAL: Did they yet again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for their driver?
PAPIS: Is it just our imagination, or is Max having more fun with Sigma then he ever did with Team Rahal?
SIGMA: Their first podium finish. This team may be one to keep an eye out. They may surprise some
people this year despite their somewhat limited budget.
DA MATTA: With all due respect to Andretti and Vasser, let's not kid ourselves here. This was Cristiano's
race, pure and simple. He simply dominated. It was his to lose, and even da Matta didn't do that. Fernandez lost
it for him.
FERNANDEZ: Was this a case of simple brain fade? Did Adrian forget how fast these cars accelerate, and
just assumed because he zipped by da Matta that he wouldn't expect the black car next to him when Adrian slowed
down for his pit stall? Maybe. Adrian usually doesn't make these bonehead mistakes.
JOURDAIN: Looked good again. Just maybe his first victory is awaiting him this year.
TRACY: Always have to keep an eye on Paul at the start when he doesn't qualify well. He's guaranteed
to excite you.
BELL: Someone needs to sit Townsend down and explain what will happen if he continues this banzai
driving. Either that, or someone is going to take a wrench to his head. A big wrench.
JUNQUEIRA: Bruno set the fastest lap of the race one lap previous to his crash. Hmmm, do you
think he discovered the limit the next time around?
CARPENTIER: A weekend to forget.
FOX: Murphy's Law strikes again. With plans to bring you coverage like none before, including an
absolutely breathtaking camera angle inside Tracy's helmet, weather keeps the helicopter grounded for most of
the race. Then, on top of that, Tiger is winning the Masters, keeping viewers away from Long Beach. Nonetheless,
a refreshing presentation from the stale past.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: There were more people there Friday (50,000), a work day, than the entire IRL
season to date.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The only point-to-point race that counted for championship points
started in Southern California. In 1909, a 480-mile event from Los Angeles to Phoenix was won by Joe Nikrent
in a Buick at an average speed of 24.98 mph. It took him over 19 hours to complete the course, over four hours
ahead of the second place car.
USELESS STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Racing is full of stats. And, racing fans love to talk about stats.
However, sometimes you can carry this stat thing a bit too far. Like the one mentioned in the official
CART press release after the race -- It marked the first time that a Champ Car driver led the last lap of
the season-opener and the first lap of the second race of the season since Rick Mears led the final lap
of the season opening race at Phoenix and the opening lap of Round Two in Atlanta in 1982. To put it
bluntly, who cares?!
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Cristiano da Matta on the possibility of needing to squeeze everything out of him
after just missing the pole by .003 seconds, "I guess after looking at how close things ended up, I should
have gone to the bathroom before I went out,"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Jimmy Vasser on the one downside of the new qualifying procedure,
"Maybe in the first 20 minutes of qualifying, we need some jugglers and fire engines on the front straight
to keep the fans happy."
SCHEDULE: Back to another venue that loves open wheel racing -- Japan. And the first oval race of the
season. Will Honda finally get a victory on their own track before they leave the series?
Copyright © 2002 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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