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1997 Gateway Thoughts

Well, I skipped Rio, and it looked like I was going to skip Gateway as well, but I have some time and some thoughts to spit out, so here goes.

THE RACE: Wow!! After what looked like a rain infested yellow flag parade, things cleared up long enough for the drivers to put on the best race of the year. Where do we start? How about that Tracy-Unser duel, side by side for an entire lap? Or what about the Tracy pass on de Ferran with wheels inter- locked? Or perhaps the Tracy pass on Zanardi? Maybe the question mark over whether Andretti could nurse an ill handling car to victory? Perhaps the question of whether Carpentier would not run of fuel? Would Tracy have time to carve his way through the field and still catch up and pass Carpentier? No matter how you look at it, there was enough action to take my breath away.

THE TRACK: No complaints, except I really have to wonder about the wisdom of rushing a track to completion. This goes for all sanctioning bodies -- IRL at Las Vegas, NASCAR at Texas, CART at Rio last year. They got lucky this time, but I really think they should test these out. The dust created by the lime could have been a problem. It could have turned into a one groove track. Lack of parking spaces for the crowd could have been a disaster if the dirt lots got flooded from rain like at Texas. Overall, the track looks very "racey" and it appears to favor those with an aggressive driving style.

TRACY: Well, that does it. I'm convinced. I think CART should open a booth up at Long Beach and offer any driver a fine and probation if they want. Be careful. No running to get a spot. Please form an orderly line.

UNSER, JR.: Hmmmm.

VASSER: This has got to be the best, and most aggressive, drive I have ever seen Vasser put in. It was great to watch. Too bad circumstances prevented his effort from being rewarded. He still finished, and this extends his streak of finishes to an amazing 23, with 22 of those in the points. Pretty interesting considering when Bobby Carville beat Vasser in the Canadian Pro F2000 series (the big one at the time), he did so despite only winning once. Vasser either won or dropped out. He must have learned what a lack of consistency does.

CARPENTIER: Starting to fulfill his promise. Too bad Bettenhausen couldn't pull in that first win. As it is, the second place is the best finish for the team, ever.

MOORE: He has just two races to beat out Al Unser, Jr.'s record for the youngest winner in CART competition. He is always so close, yet so far. Even at the end, he was turning in some of the fastest times. Interesting how his career seems to parallel fellow countryman, Paul Tracy.

ZANARDI: You knew you couldn't keep this guy down. A fine run after two miserable outings.

BOESEL: The spark returned. Pole and a fine early run. Now get rid of the bad luck.

HERTA and RAHAL: Talk about a team putting their drivers in the hot seat... I heard there is a job opening for an electrician.

JOHNSTONE: Well, he finally stayed out of trouble, ran consistently, and got a good finish.

TOYOTA: One word: "Boom!"

CANADIANS: They take 1-2 at Gateway. Lee Bentham wins Indy Lights. Villenueve wins the Spanish Grand Prix. Can you imagine if Goodyear took Indy? The country may have gotten so intoxicated with victory, they may have decided to invade the U.S. (This last statement is based on an actual event back in the 60's when after a World Cup qualifying match, a particular Central American country got so pumped up with their win over their neighboring country, that they decided to take it one step further, and invaded it!) That Player's program is sure paying dividends. Glad to see KOOL is going to do the same in this country.

SAVANNAH: What the heck does this have to do with Gateway? Nothing, but I had to say something about it after watching the Indy LIghts race from there. What a great street circuit! Best one I've ever seen since Adelaide. There is runoff areas everywhere. No wall is up against the track. Plenty of passing zones and really nice sweeping turns instead of those point and squirt ones and *no* chicanes. They sure did this right, and I heard they are going to make even more improvements. I sure hope the big boys end up there eventually. They basically want to turn this into what Montreal is like -- a road course in a street locale on an island otherwise used for touristy type stuff. At the beginning of the century, Savannah did everything right when they hosted major racing events (you can read about it in my column whenever the next North American Motorsports Journal appears), and it appears they are once again doing everything right. If you get a chance to see any of the racing action repeated on ESPN2, check it out, and pay attention to the course.

Deep Throttle

Copyright 1997 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
 
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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