Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, July 26, 1999

C A R T _ A U T O _ R A C I N G

Hawaiian Super Prix

Montoya moves
further ahead in
Points to Paradise

Star-Bulletin staff


Juan Montoya, who had failed to finish each of the last two races, finished second in yesterday's CART US 500 and now leads runner-up Dario Franchitti by 13 points after 12 of 20 races in the "Points to Paradise" chase for Hawaiian Super Prix starting spots.

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 Montoya129
2. Dario Franchitti 116
3. Michael Andretti 107
4. Christian Fittipaldi 101
5. Adrian Fernandez 95
6. Paul Tracy 90
7. Gil de Ferran88
8. Greg Moore 81
9. Max Papis 68
10. Tony Kanaan54
11. Jimmy Vasser 44
12. Roberto Moreno38
13. Patrick Carpentier33
14. PJ Jones31
15. Bryan Herta31

Hawaiian Super Prix

Kanaan wins
U.S. 500

The Brazilian earns his first
CART win after Max Papis runs out
of fuel half a lap short of winning

Associated Press


BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Tony Kanaan, CART's class clown, was amazed to find himself in victory lane after the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway.

He wound up celebrating the first win yesterday of his CART FedEx Series career because Max Papis came up a half-lap short of his first victory when he ran out of fuel.

The last time the 24-year-old Brazilian led a race, he crashed. That was in Long Beach, Calif., in April and it was the low point of a disappointing season for last year's top CART rookie.

This time, he overcame a lost lap and a broken radio to win in his 31st career start.

"I feel sorry (for Papis), but that's the way races are," Kanaan said. "I don't think anybody was feeling sorry for me after Long Beach when I crashed.

"I think Max deserved it because he led most of the race and I was pretty comfortable with second place. But races are like that. Today wasn't Max's day. It was my day."

For a while yesterday, it sure didn't look like Kanaan's day.

First, his radio began malfunctioning on lap 10, allowing him to hear his crew but not talk to them. Then a piece known as a Gurney Flap came loose on the rear wing on his Forsythe Racing Reynard-Honda and forced Kanaan to pit, losing a lap.

Asked how he got back into contention, Kanaan said, "Flat out all the time and good strategy and (engine) power. That was teamwork. I didn't do anything. I just drive the car around, bring the car to the marks and my guys did everything."

He averaged 186.097 mph, third fastest in CART history.

Kanaan's last stop came seven laps after Papis made his final stop on lap 221, giving Kanaan an inkling that there might be a problem for the leader.

"We thought it was impossible for him to run that strong to the finish after pitting so early," Kanaan said.

Behind them, it was one of the most competitive races in CART history, with passes all over the track on practically every lap. But Papis, who replaced team owner Bobby Rahal in the cockpit this season, drove away from the field in a Ford-powered Reynard.

The 29-year-old Italian held a lead of just over 3 seconds at the start of the final lap.

But, driving into the third turn, his engine coughed and stopped, out of fuel.

Kanaan flashed past Papis' coasting car in the third turn, with rookie sensation Juan Montoya bearing down.

As those two approached the flag stand, series leader Montoya darted low on the banking and nearly caught Kanaan, crossing the finish line just 0.032-seconds behind, or less than a car length.

The only closer CART finish was at Portland, Ore., in 1997 when Mark Blundell beat Gil de Ferran by .027 seconds.

As Kanaan celebrated, punching a fist into the air, the deflated Papis steered his powerless car slowly across the infield grass and onto pit lane.

With his dashboard readout and telemetry in the pits both frozen, neither Papis nor his team realized he was so low on fuel. Going into the last lap, he was still racing at full speed and not worrying about conserving fuel.

"I had no clue, no idea," said Papis, who wound up seventh after leading a race-high 143 laps.

Rahal, spotting for Papis during the race, said, "I am devastated for Max. He had them covered and everyone in the place knew it. We tried to control the fuel but, to be honest, we had to guess a little, and it was just a little bit short."

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