Vancouver: Franchitti's first win of 2002

Dario Franchitti survived a wild Vancouver street brawl to earn his first Champ Car victory of the 2002 season, moving into second place in the CART championship standings in the process.

Vancouver: Franchitti's first win of 2002

The Scot ran third to Cristiano da Matta and Paul Tracy for the first stint of the 100-lap race before winning the battle with his team-mate through pit strategy. Tony Kanaan was third as only seven of the 18 cars finished the race.

The key to Franchitti's race was pitting under yellow on Lap 36, just four laps after he had made his first stop under green. In fact, everyone but Tracy pitted for the Lap 36 yellow caused when Scott Dixon's Lola-Toyota suffered a front suspension failure.

Tracy led Laps 36-64 until he had to make his second stop, and he again led Franchitti after Dario pitted on Lap 68. Da Matta had just dropped out of second place four laps earlier due to a gearbox failure.

Tracy built a 15-second lead before he made his final stop on Lap 85. Paul resumed 11 seconds behind his team-mate's Lola-Honda, but his cause was helped by a yellow thanks to Shinji Nakano's spin. Then fourth-placed Patrick Carpentier spun entering the backstraight, tripping a chain reaction that took out Alex Tagliani and Adrian Fernandez, who was taken to hospital with a severely bruised right hip.

CART threw the red flag, setting up a five-lap shootout. But Tracy was never able to challenge his team-mate, and Kanaan was able to hold off Michel Jourdain Jr for third. Carpentier continued to take fifth as the last lead-lap driver, while Michael Andretti took sixth after losing three laps earlier in the race. The rate of attrition was so great that da Matta earned a point for 12th place despite not completing the final 36 laps.

A teary-eyed Franchitti dedicated the win to his late friend, Vancouver native Greg Moore. "I've been waiting two years to say this, but this one's for you, Greg," Franchitti said on the victory podium. "Our strategy definitely worked better up until the last yellow and the red flag. I don't know if Paul could have challenged, but I knew I didn't want to lose the Team Green one-two."

Tracy was gracious in defeat. "I'm really happy for Dario," he said. "I think I had the best car and I knew I had the pace to keep with da Matta. But we made the call on strategy. I don't really know what happened there, but we got a lot of points and it's good for the championship. Dario and I are both back in it now, so it's a great day for the team in that respect."

Da Matta's CART championship lead now stands at 37 points over Franchitti (122-85), with Jourdain and Bruno Junqueira joint third on 74 points. Carpentier now has 72 points, while Tracy moved from 11th to 6th in the standings.

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