Fernandez beats Oz chaos, moves into title frame

Adrian Fernandez took advantage of a typically efficient Patrick Racing strategy to come from 17th on the grid to win the Honda Indy 300 at Surfer's Paradise

Fernandez beats Oz chaos, moves into title frame

The Mexican held off a late charge from Team Rahal's Kenny Brack to take victory in arguably the most bizarre race yet in this amazingly unpredictable CART season.

Series leader Gil de Ferran collided with polesitter Juan Montoya on the opening lap, eliminating both the two South Americans and the unlucky Dario Franchitti.

That left the way clear for Paul Tracy to dominate until a throttle problem dropped him to the back of the pack. The Canadian recovered and was fighting for the podium until being helped into the wall by Oriol Servia late in the race.

Michael Andretti also led but was stopped yet again by an engine problem, while Houston winner Jimmy Vasser was left to finish an angry third after losing out in the pit stop sequences.

The result means that Fernandez is now only five points behind de Ferran with 22 available in the season finale at Fontana in a fortnight. Brack and Tracy remain mathematically in contention too, but are 19 points behind de Ferran.

See separate story for full race report and analysis.



1 Adrian Fernandez Patrick Reynard-Ford 59 laps
2 Kenny Brack Rahal Reynard-Ford + 0.329s
3 Jimmy Vasser Ganassi Lola-Toyota + 4.059s
4 Cristiano da Matta PPI Reynard-Toyota + 4.813s
5 Patrick Carpentier Forsythe Reynard-Ford + 5.231s
6 Helio Castroneves Penske Reynard-Honda + 10.343s
7 Michel Jourdain Jr Bettenhausen Lola-Mercedes +11.006s
8 Tony Kanaan Mo Nunn Reynard-Mercedes +15.370s
9 Oriol Servia PPI Reynard-Toyota + 18.181s
10 Mauricio Gugelmin PacWest Reynard-Mercedes + 18.581s
11 Mark Blundell PacWest Reynard-Mercedes + 18.723s
12 Luiz Garcia Jr Arciero PRG Reynard-Mercedes + 1 lap
13 Tarso Marques Coyne Swift-Ford + 2 laps

Retirements:

Alex Barron Coyne Lola-Ford
Christian Fittipaldi Newman-Haas Lola-Ford
Max Papis Rahal Reynard-Ford
Paul Tracy Green Reynard-Honda
Jason Bright Della Penna Reynard-Toyota
Roberto Moreno Patrick Reynard-Ford
Michael Andretti Newman-Haas Lola-Ford
Shinji Nakano Walker Reynard-Honda
Alex Tagliani Forsythe Reynard-Ford
Gil de Ferran Penske Reynard-Honda
Dario Franchitti Green Reynard-Honda
Juan Montoya Ganassi Lola-Toyota

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