Brazilian Gil de Ferran, of the Marlboro Team Penske Honda, won his second GI Joe's 200 title in Portland, Oregon Sunday and led an unprecedented Brazilian podium sweep at the Championship Auto Racing Teams event.
Roberto Moreno, who took the CART points lead by a single point over de Ferran, settled for second with Christian Fitipaldi third, followed by American Michael Andretti and Brazil's Cristiano da Matta.
It was the second triumph of the season for de Ferran, who won a month ago at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and was second in Portland in 1996 and 1997 as well as a winner in his last two starts.
"The car improved after the first (pit) stop, and I was able to start closing up ground on the leaders," de Ferran said. "After the second stop, the car was really fantastic and Roger just said go. So I just kept pushing harder and harder, and the car just kept going quicker and quicker and quicker."
De Ferran set a race record by averaging 109.564 miles per hour. He won by 2.625 seconds after Moreno's crew was slow during a late refueling.
"Unfortunately, on the last stop it took about twice as long to put in fuel, so that might have made a difference in the outcome," Moreno said. "But it was a great race strategy once again. It was a great day. My guys did a great job."
De Ferran settled for trailing Moreno 68-67 in the series point standings after the eighth of 20 races with Canada's Paul Tracy third at 59 points, and Andretti fourth at 56.
Tracy dropped out on lap 74, surrendering his points lead in the process, while Juan Montoya, the reigning champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, dropped out with mechanical trouble with 25 laps to go.
Brazil's Helio Castroneves led 85 of the 112 laps on the 1.969-mile, 12-turn road course, but was outdueled by de Ferran and had to settle for seventh place - (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)