IndyCar »

Homestead CART - Race Report

Papis beats the curse.

Max Papis won a thrilling game of Last Man Standing to take the spoils in the CART season opener at Homestead yesterday [Sunday] from 13th on the grid.

The Italian succeeded where those before him had failed, and hung on to the lead in the closing stages to takes his first Champcar victory after coming so close at Michigan last year. Roberto Moreno finished second and Paul Tracy third.

The race was equally emotional for Papis as it followed the last race of 1999, where his great friend Greg Moore perished, and gave Team Rahal its first success since the departed Bryan Herta triumphed at Laguna Seca two years ago. Papis was only second on the road with ten laps to run, but took advantage of a slip by surprise leader Tracy to dive inside the Green car and race for the line.

''We fought all day, and always believed in our hearts that we could do it,'' he said, ''With a few laps to go, I had a little glitch in my brain that made me think about Michigan and, at one point, I lost five or six lengths in the turbulence, but Bobby [Rahal] came on the radio and told me to go for it - that's why I was able to get by Paul when he went wide.''

Tracy had climbed from a lowly 17th on the grid to be in the running for victory, but fell victim to the leaders' jinx which was in force throughout the day.

Juan Montoya was the early pace-setter, but departed when his Toyota let go on lap 22. Similarly, Kenny Brack led until an oil leak forced him out, and Gil de Ferran looked likely to add victory to his pole position before choosing exactly the wrong lap to make his final pit-stop. Rookie Alex Tagliani took over, but promptly fell foul of a blend-line violation, leaving the Team Green car out in front.

Tracy looked comfortable once ahead, despite the handling problems which had afflicted both his and team-mate Dario Franchitti's cars in practice, but eventually lost the lead in traffic. The Canadian blamed no-one but himself, admitting that his Reynard had begun to slide as he dived inside Michel Jourdain Jr, causing him to lift off. Papis was through in a flash and, such was Tracy's loss of momentum, that Moreno was able to follow the Miller Lite car into second.

''We had a seventh or eighth place car today, but we got good points and that's what we came here to do,'' said a resigned Tracy, ''I think at the end, if we hadn't had any traffic, we would have been okay, but that's the way things go.''

Understeer seemed to be the order of the day, with Papis reporting that the Rahal crew had been trying to dial it into his car all afternoon. In the end, however, he was relieved to see it on someone else's car push victory in his direction.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Josef Newgarden in his pit stand. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest, winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a seventh-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a fifth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the P1 Award Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the P1 Award Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 attempts to qualify in the rain Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 attempts to qualify in the rain Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Gabby Chaves races toward the start/finish line during practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.