Laguna Seca 1998 - Sunday on the Track Sunday on the Track
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These are my shots taken on Sunday during the race.
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As at all races this season, the race is preceded by a procession of FedEx trucks around the course. At Laguna Seca we get the added spectacle of them coming through the Corkscrew!

11:19 Konica 200JX SS1/700 CF9.5

FedEx Trucks
The Start

The cars fall into formation as they round Turn 11 to roar down the front straight for the start of the 1998 Texaco/Havoline 300.

12:07 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

Barely into the first lap, Christian Fittipaldi runs wide at Turn 2, forcing JJ Lehto to touch and spin his teammate, Michael Andretti, into the gravel. Michael spent the rest of the race trying to catch up from the back of the field, eventually finishing tenth.

12:08 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF8.0

Michael Off
The Chase Begins

Bryan Herta made it away cleanly at the start and continued to lead through Turn 3, closely followed by Jimmy Vasser, already past Dario Franchitti, then Greg Moore and Alex Zanardi.

12:08 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

Bryan continued to dominate the race, leading for all but two laps (due to pit stops).

12:17 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

Herta Holds the Lead
Dario and Greg

Scottish-Italian Dario Franchitti drops through the Corkscrew chased by Greg Moore and Alex Zanardi.

12:26 Konica 200JX SS1/1500 CF5.6

Bryan Herta built up a lead over Jimmy Vasser in the early stages of the race.

12:27 Fujicolor A200

Herta Unchallenged in the Corkscrew
Greg and Alex

And Alex pursued Greg for many laps.

12:28 Fujicolor A200

Further back a battle was building between Scott Pruett and Gil de Ferran.

12:28 Fujicolor A200

Puett and de Ferran
Mark in the Corkscrew

You can clearly see light under Mark Blundell's right front wheel. If you look closely at some of the other shots, you'll see they're off the ground too.

12:28 Fujicolor A200

Vasser clipping the kerb ahead of Franchitti.

12:29 Fujicolor A200

Jimmy and Dario
Adrian through the Corkscrew

Adrian Fernandez: "The Tecate/Quaker State car handled well today, but unfortunately we had a boost problem. It was a real problem on re-starts and accelerating off of corners. I had to use different gears to compensate. It was like running with only one shoe."
12:29 Fujicolor A200

Gil de Ferran (seen here ahead of Christian Fittipaldi): "It was an uphill day that never got very far. The first stop on yellow made it into a three stop race, and it seemed we were destined to play catch up from then on."

12:29 Fujicolor A200

de Ferran and Fittipaldi
Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy: "We had the car a little too low and we were slow on some parts of the track. But to come from 18th on the grid to eighth is pretty good considering how hard it is to pass here. We've now scored points in five races in a row."

12:29 Fujicolor A200

Bobby Rahal's last ride through the Corkscrew: "This is a great day for Team Rahal, a great day for Ford. Bryan did a spectacular job."

12:29 Fujicolor A200

Rahal's Last Corkscrew
Tony through the Corkscrew

Tony Kanaan drove an excellent race: "When all those other guys stopped for the second time, I had two more laps on them, so I pushed really hard before I came in, and in those two laps, I moved from 10th to fifth." He finished third.

12:31 Fujicolor A200

Vincenzo was dropping back in the Eagle: "I was just learning, learning, learning. I have too much tension in the car. Maybe it will come back soon and I can run my normal self."

12:32 Fujicolor A200

Sospiri in an Eagle
Richie and Louie

Richie Hearn completed the race in eleventh position.

12:33 Fujicolor A200

Helio Castro-Neves: "Everybody slowed down for the yellow, and to keep from passing Andre, I braked and moved to the left. I don't know what happened. Alex (Barron) hit me hard in the back. He must have seen me. I guess he just came up too quickly. "

12:34 Fujicolor A200

Helio Castro-Neves
Herta and Vasser

Jimmy starts to catch Bryan again. "We just didn't get the mileage during our first run and pitted a lap or two before most of the others, and that really cost us in terms of track position."

12:35 Fujicolor A200

A yellow flag comes out when Vitolo spins on lap 22. The cars pit and, as we can see from this photo, Alex gains a place by getting serviced faster than Greg. On the restart two laps later, Alex moves up to third place by passing Dario at Turn 2.

12:36 Fujicolor A200

Dario, Alex and Greg
Herta and Zanardi

The second round of pit stops occur under green, starting around lap 50. By lap 55, all the stops have been completed and Alex has moved up to second place behind Herta. The chase is on!

13:50 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

But then a series of yellow flags commences on lap 67. In succession we lose Sospiri, Moore, Barron and Unser. Then on the lap 77 restart Pruett (right) and de Ferran make contact and spin into Carpentier (left) to cause another long delay.

13:51 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF8.0

Pruett and Carpentier Out
Last Lap

As the final lap starts, Alex is right on Bryan's tail. "I followed Bryan in as much of a shadow as I could. Then, we had those yellows, which changed everybody's strategy. Nobody had to conserve fuel any more, and unfortunately, we had only two laps of green to try to catch him."
14:00 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

Bryan: "Coming down toward the end, when first Jimmy [Vasser] was chasing me and then Alex [Zanardi], I had mixed emotions. I knew he [Zanardi] would be coming hard, and I told myself 'OK Herta, this is what you wanted.' But on the other hand, it was like, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"

14:00 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

Herta Ahead
Final Corner

No pass at the Corkscrew this year, and Alex is still trying to get by at the final corner (left).
14:03 Konica 200JX SS1/500 CF6.7

But it is not to be as Herta crosses the finish line three or four car lengths ahead of Zanardi (below).
14:03 Konica 200JX SS1/350 CF6.7

The Finish

Saturday on the Track | Saturday in the Paddock | Sunday in the Paddock

Paul Jasper's Web Site | Racing | Laguna Seca 1998

1998 Paul Jasper. Last updated Friday May 06, 2005.