IndyCar » 21 August 2000
Magic win for Perfect Paul.
The usual swift work by the Chip Ganassi pit-crew also enabled Montoya to beat Franchitti out of the pits aswell, the two 1999 title protagonists leaving the pits side by side with Montoya little more than a nose ahead.
Behind the leading quartet, the two Newman-Haas Lola's kept the crowd entertained with a lively battle for fifth place with Kenny Brack joining in the fun in the leading Team Rahal entry. The ever committed Christian Fittipaldi clearly had the edge in performance over Andretti, who continued to hold down fifth despite losing a second a lap to those ahead. At one point Christian got a bit too committed and the two made light contact under braking for Turn Three, neither suffering any damage.
At the back of the field Tracy took a little while to get the feel of the car and to ensure that nothing was broken, however once into his stride he began to pick off the backmarkers at will and by lap ten he was homing in on the midfield runners.
With the car showing no signs of the inherent understeer that had plagued it all weekend, Montoya was in scintillating form and on the first two laps after his stop, on cold tyres, he simply obliterated the gap between himself and Tagliani. Coming into Canada corner for the 19th time Montoya neatly outbraked the Player's car and slotted into the lead.
The stops had shaken up the leaderboard somewhat with Roberto Moreno being the main beneficiary, rising from eleventh to sixth thanks to his Team Patrick Reynard's seemingly unlimited fuel capacity.
One driver not on the leaderboard after the first stops though, was Andretti who pulled in to the pits after 18 laps with a severe braking problem. The American driver angrily stepped aside, his only solace being that his closest Championship rival was already out.
Franchitti continued to circulate in third place although he was unable to make an impression on Tagliani who similarly could do nothing about Montoya. Fernandez ran a solid fourth ahead of Fittipaldi, Moreno and Brack, who had once again lost out in the pits.
Jimmy Vasser had risen steadily to eighth ahead of the flying Tracy who was consistently the fastest man on the circuit. Tony Kanaan and Mark Blundell led the rest, both benefiting from the remarkable rate of attrition which had already claimed Mauricio Gugelmin, Patrick Carpentier, Michel Jourdain Jr, Shinji Nakano, Gualter Salles, Luiz Garcia, Tarso Marques in addition to the two Championship.
As the race approached half distance it became clear that all was not well with the Franchitti Reynard as the Scotsman began losing ground to the leaders at an alarming rate. Just prior to the half way mark, Dario found himself without the use of third gear, a situation which caught him out on the run down to Turn Three. Franchitti found himself unable to slow the car sufficiently and decided to make use of the escape road, a move which dropped him to eleventh place.
If one Team Green car was suffering then the other was thriving as Tracy relentlessly closed in on Vasser and Brack. The American driver was dispatched soon after the 20 lap mark and as Montoya made his way down the pit lane on lap 28, Tracy dived past Brack for what had become sixth position.
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