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Brack Makes the Right Move and Wins

November 18, 2002|From Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Kenny Brack used a pit stop under a yellow flag Sunday to win the Mexico Grand Prix, getting his first victory of the year in the final race of the Championship Auto Racing Teams season.

Series champion Cristiano da Matta finished second while pole-sitter Bruno Junqueira recovered from a bad start to finish third.

The victory put Brack in seventh place in the point standings. Junqueira, Brack's Chip Ganassi teammate, earned $500,000 for finishing second in the CART series.

In the first major race in a decade in Mexico City, most drivers pitted at the 53rd lap after a crash by Michael Andretti brought out a yellow flag. Dario Franchitti had been leading, but he got caught in a tangle of cars leaving the pits and Brack slipped out ahead.

This was the final CART race for many of the drivers and teams. The top three finishers in the race all drove cars powered by Toyota, which is abandoning the CART series next year, as is Honda. Ford-Cosworth will be the lone remaining engine maker.

Brack most likely is headed to the Indy Racing League. Da Matta will be driving for Toyota's Formula One team and Christian Fittipaldi, who left the race on Lap 67 with mechanical problems, is headed for NASCAR.

Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr., who did not pit under the yellow flag, thrilled the crowd of more than 100,000 by leading until coming in on Lap 61. He finished 13th. Team owner Bobby Rahal announced before the race that Jourdain was signed for two more years.

Tony Kanaan led the first 40 laps, but a bungled pit stop cost him. Fuel sprayed and ignited as he pulled away and a crew member inhaled flame. After a drive-through pit penalty, Kanaan dropped back into the pack.

There was a rough start to the 73-lap race. Paul Tracy bumped into the back of Jimmy Vasser's car and veered off into a gravel trap, putting him a lap back.

Junqueira slipped off the course while veering around Kanaan on the first lap and fell into ninth place.

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