Monday, July 12, 1999
Christian Fittipaldi roars past the crowd at Elkhart Lake,
Wis., on the way to his first CART FedEx Championship
Series victory. Fittipaldi stands fifth in the points race.
Points to ParadiseStar-Bulletin staff
race gets tighter
With Juan Montoya failing to finish and both Gil de Ferran and Dario Franchitti going out with blown engines in yesterday's Texaco-Havoline 200, the "Points to Paradise" chase for starting spots in the Hawaiian Super Prix tightened.
Andretti moved from fourth to second and now trails Montoya by 17 points, 113-96.
The top 12 drivers in the FedEx Championship Series standings will receive automatic slots in the Nov. 13 race at Kalaeloa Airport. The top 15:
1. Juan Montoya -- 113
2. Michael Andretti -- 96
3. Gil de Ferran -- 87
4. Dario Franchitti -- 85
5. Christian Fittipaldi -- 82
6. Greg Moore -- 81
7. Adrian Fernandez -- 79
8. Paul Tracy -- 60
9. Max Papis -- 51
10. Jimmy Vasser -- 34
11. Tony Kanaan -- 34
12. Bryan Herta -- 31
13. PJ Jones -- 28
14. Patrick Carpentier -- 28
15. Roberto Moreno -- 26
Montoyas misfortuneAssociated Press
gives Fittipaldi first win
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- In every professional sport, you have the person labeled the best never to have won.
Christian Fittipaldi, a 28-year-old Brazilian in his fifth season in the CART FedEx Series, did not wear that mantle well.
Until he took the checkered flag in yesterday's Texaco-Havoline 200 at Road America, Fittipaldi had not won since 1991, when he was on the way to winning the European Formula 3000 championship.
"It was a very long time," Fittipaldi said. "To be honest, it's really a strange feeling. I mean, after not winning for so long, you have kind of a mental block. You know you're always trying your best out there and it's not good enough.
"People are telling you to calm down. 'You know you'll get it. It will come.' But it's hard to believe when it does finally come."
It didn't look like yesterday was going to be Fittipaldi's day either, until sensational rookie Juan Montoya began experiencing gearbox problems midway through the 55-lap race.
"We have all had those misfortunes in racing," Fittipaldi said, basking in the glow of his first win in 71 career starts. "This time it was his misfortune and it was my turn to have the good fortune."
Montoya, who still leads the series points after 10 of 20 races, jumped out to the lead, passing pole-winner Michael Andretti, Fittipaldi's Newman-Haas Racing teammate, with a courageous outside pass that put his two left wheels momentarily into the grass.
After that, the 23-year-old Colombian was totally in charge, consistently running the fastest laps on the track until he began to experience shifting problems.
Montoya built a lead of more than 11.5 seconds by lap 27, but said his gearshift jumped from fifth to first and sent him spinning through turn five. The youngster with the amazing reflexes managed to keep his Reynard-Honda running and in the lead by 6.959 seconds.
The problem continued to worsen as Montoya somehow held his lead until the gearbox gave up midway through lap 49, giving the lead to Fittipaldi.
"The car was brilliant," Montoya said. "With that problem, we would have beaten them by ages."
Fittipaldi's Swift-Ford was 1.060 seconds -- several hundred yards -- ahead of Andretti's at the end.
Schumacher injured: At Silverstone, England, Michael Schumacher broke his right leg in two places, but avoided neck or spine injuries, in a crash at yesterday's British Grand Prix that may have ended his F1 season.
David Coulthard won after season leader and defending champion Mika Hakkinen, running in first from the pole, finally gave up after a botched pit stop cost him the lead. A rear wheel sailed off, forcing him to give up on the 36th of 60 laps.
Coulthard, with his first victory in 15 months and the fifth of his career, finished ahead of Eddie Irvine with Ralf Schumacher third.
Coulthard's average speed was 124.253 mph as he finished 1.829 seconds ahead of Irvine in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 30.144 seconds.
Burton wins: At Loudon, N.H., Jeff Burton thought he was out of chances. Then Tony Stewart ran out of gas.
So Burton, who had dominated the Jiffy Lube 300 on the track the last two years, won yesterday with a three-second pit stop.
Stewart, trying to become the first rookie to win since the late Davey Alllison in 1987, came within two laps of doing it. But his Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac went dry exiting the second turn on the 298th of 300 laps at New Hampshire International Speedway.
It Burton his ninth career victory and fourth this year -- tying him with Jeff Gordon for the series lead.