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The Callahan Report: Behind Zanardi, Everyone Races for Second Place

21 June 1998

By Terry Callahan
The Auto Channel

Alex Zanardi
PORTLAND, OR: Just copy the headline from the last CART race. Alex Zanardi has it all together for the second season in a row. Talent and team chemistry within the Target-Chip Ganassi Racing Team is forcing all other teams in the CART FedEx Championship series to race for second place. Zanardi won his fourth race of the season at the Budweiser-G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway on Sunday.

The only help Zanardi needed on this Father's day was a push start to do his traditional "donuts" after winning. Zanardi pulled onto the escape road at the entrance of turn one to begin the victory celebration when his car stalled. The corner workers cautiously gave him a push start. The workers backed up as the tire smoke filled the air.

The race for second place was a close one. Scott Pruett prevailed in his Visteon sponsored racing machine. Pruett battled with polesitter Bryan Herta to the checkered flag.

Several top names in the series were eliminated in the first turn of the first lap. Greg Moore, who qualified 14th for the race, tried to pass seven cars before the first corner. The move proved to be too bold. Moore jumped the curb on the inside of the turn sending him airborne. He then slammed into the rear of Christian Fittipaldi, ending his day as well.
Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy, who was suspended for "dangerous driving" earlier in the weekend, had no room to miss the accident. He went into the back of Fittipaldi. CART officials banned Tracy from the second round of qualifying on Saturday for an on track incident with Michele Jourdain. Tracy was allowed to participate in the morning warm-up before the race.

Most teams head to Portland with hopes of conserving enough fuel to make only two pit stops during the race. Bryan Herta, starting from the pole, threw that strategy out the window early. Herta was leading the Budweiser-G.I. Joe's 200 when an early yellow flag slowed the field. Herta darted into the pits, committing himself to a three-pit-stop race. The questionable move cost the Shell team valuable track position and precious sponsor exposure.

Budweiser-G.I. Joe's Race Results:

1. (5) Alex Zanardi, Italy, Reynard Honda, 98, running.
2. (3) Scott Pruett, Granite Bay, Calif., Reynard Ford, 98, running.
3. (1) Bryan Herta, New Albany, Ohio, Reynard Ford, 98, running.
4. (12) Tony Kanaan, Brazil, Reynard Honda, 98, running.
5. (18) Al Unser Jr., Albuquerque, N.M., Penske Mercedes, 98, running.
6. (8) Bobby Rahal, New Albany, Ohio, Reynard Ford, 98, running.
7. (15) Mauricio Gugelmin, Brazil, Reynard Mercedes, 98, running.
8. (4) Jimmy Vasser, Las Vegas, Nev., Reynard Honda, 98, running.
9. (11) Patrick Carpentier, Canada, Reynard Mercedes, 98, running.
10. (23) Richie Hearn, Henderson, Nev., Swift Ford, 97, running.
11. (22) Max Papis, Italy, Reynard Toyota, 97. running.
12. (25) Arnd Meier, Germany, Lola Ford, 97, running.
13. (19) Helio Castro-Neves, Brazil, Reynard Mercedes, 97, running.
14. (27) Alex Barron, Vista, Calif., Reynard Toyota, 97, running.
15. (17) Andre Ribeiro, Brazil, Penske Mercedes, 95, transmission.
16. (26) PJ Jones, Scottsdale, Ariz., Reynard Toyota, 95, running.
17. (10) Michael Andretti, Nazareth, Pa., Swift Ford, 95, running.
18. (28) Dennis Vitolo, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Reynard Ford, 94, running.
19. (13) Michel Jourdain Jr., Mexico, Reynard Ford, 92, oil leak.
20. (9) Gil de Ferran, Brazil, Reynard Honda, 79, contact.
21. (2) Dario Franchitti, Scotland, Reynard Honda, 71, contact.
22. (16) Mark Blundell, England, Reynard Mercedes, 27, contact.
23. (21) Robby Gordon, Orange, Calif., Reynard Toyota, 17, fuel pump.
24. (6) Adrian Fernandez, Mexico., Reynard Ford, 10, contact.
25. (24) JJ Lehto, Finland, Reynard Mercedes, 6, exhaust.
26. (7) Christian Fittipaldi, Brazil, Swift Ford, 0, contact.
27. (14) Greg Moore, Canada, Reynard Mercedes, 0, contact.
28. (20) Paul Tracy, Canada, Reynard Honda, 0, contact.

Race Statistics:

Time of race: 1:54:06.822.
Margin of victory: 6.839 sec.
Winner's average speed: 101.355 mph.
Caution flags: 4 for 13 laps.

Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers. Lap leaders: Herta 1-13, Franchitti, 14-35, Riberio 36, Unser Jr. 37-44, Herta 45-46, Zanardi 47-67, Herta 68-72, Zanardi 73-98. Series points leaders: Zanardi 134, Moore 96, Vasser 85, Fernandez 75, de Ferran 55, Herta 54, Andretti 52, Franchitti 50, Pruett 44, Unser Jr. 40.

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