Andretti equals third place win record

Michael Andretti turned around a potentially disastrous situation in the Firestone Firehawk 500 on Saturday, when a postponement due to rain averted the start of the race

Andretti equals third place win record

Andretti had looked certain to start the race in the team's spare car after a throttle sensor failed in the warm up.

"There was a 90 percent chance that we would be OK in the back up car, but you don't want to mess with the 10 percent chance of a problem," said Andretti.

However, the rain allowed the Newman Haas crew to fix Andretti's race car before the race started. It allowed him to win his 39th event which makes the American equal third overall in the most Champ Car wins stake.

He equals Al Unser's tally of victories, which counts USAC National Championship races before the modern era of CART began in 1979.

Andretti Jr. is now within striking distance of his father Mario's record of 52 victories, but still some way short of AJ Foyt's 67 career wins.

"I'm glad we could break back into winner's circle," said Andretti after the race. The Lola-Ford driver overtook five cars on the opening lap, passing Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Moreno, Christian Fittipaldi Gil de Ferran and Mauricio Gugelmin.

He then went on to battle with the Ganassi Lola-Toyotas, moving ahead when they hit trouble.

"It feels good to break the ice," admitted Andretti. "We are only 36 points out now and there is a long way to go in the Championship."

The win was also Lola's first since Andretti won the Vancouver street race four years ago.

"I'm glad we could bring them back into the winner's circle," Andretti added.

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