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Sunday, July 22
Brack, Papis take each other out
Associated Press

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Patrick Carpentier came out of the pack and outran Dario Franchitti and Michel Jourdain Jr. for his first career victory Sunday, winning the Harrah's 500 in another breathtaking CART race at Michigan International Speedway.

The Canadian driver had not led a lap and appeared to be racing simply for a top-10 finish before front-row starters Kenny Brack and Max Papis took each other out in a crash just 23 laps from the end of the 250-lap event on the two-mile oval.

Kenny Brack
Polesitter Brack had been running up front before his wreck.

The sensational battle between Team Rahal teammates Brack and Papis turned to disaster in a moment as they dueled with Bryan Herta for the lead.

Herta, who had come from a lap down to get back into the fray, slipped past Papis on the low side of the high-banked track to take the lead as the front-runners shot through the fourth turn on the way to completing lap 233 at about 220 mph.

Brack tried to pass on the high side of the banking and appeared to slide in the wake of turbulent air from Papis' car. They touched, Papis' right front to Brack's left rear, and Brack careened into the outside wall, while Papis spun into the inside barrier.

Both were able to walk away from the crash without injury.

After a quick track cleanup, the leaders took the green flag again at the start of lap 241 and the rest of the race was like a high-speed arcade game, with cars darting all over the track.

Herta swapped leads with Franchitti and Jourdain before Carpentier, in his 79th Champ car start, suddenly zoomed to the front on lap 248, moving from third to first with a pass off the fourth turn.

With challengers nipping at the back of his Ford-powered Player's Forsythe Reynard, Carpentier, getting some unexpected help from teammate Alex Tagliani, was able to hold them off to the end, winning by 0.243 seconds -- about four car-lengths ahead of a dead heat by Franchitti and Jourdain.

"We wanted to be second on the last lap," Carpentier said. "I was worried about Dario but, when Tag got by and gave me a pull I won. I owe him one."

His best previous finishes were seconds in 1997 in Madison, Ill., and 1999 in Vancouver, B.C.

The official scoring was inconclusive but Franchitti was awarded second place by CART officials after a photo showed him ahead by about two inches.

"If Tag hadn't shown up, I think it would have been our race," Franchitti said. "When Tag got in front of me, I got into bad air and, after that, it was Pat's race. But it's about time Pat won a race because he's been running really well for a long time."

The race was typical of the CART events at Michigan since 1999, when the Handford Device, an aerodynamic pieced fitted to the rear wing to catch the air and slow the cars down for safety, was introduced.

With the Handford cutting holes in the air and allowing cars to slingshot past each other almost at will, there were 61 official lead changes at the finish line -- one short of the series record -- and a total of 167 on the track in the 500-mile event.

The close racing also produced many scary moments but, until the Brack-Papis collision the only accident was a one-car crash by Christian Fittipaldi on lap 215. Fittipaldi also escaped injury.

Cristiano da Matta came on at the end to finish fourth, just ahead of Herta, the last driver on the lead lap. Tagliani was sixth, a lap down and just ahead of Paul Tracy, Franchitti's teammate who was among the fastest drivers all day but lost ground because of refueling problems on two pit stops.

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Related
Michigan 500 results

Audio/Video
Michigan 500
Patrick Carpentier fends off the late charge and wins the Michigan 500 (ABC Sports).
avi: 3715 k
Real: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

Michigan 500
Teammates Max Papis and Kenny Brack ran up front until they crashed (ABC Sports).
avi: 1450 k
Real: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

Win No. 1
Patrick Carpentier talks with Robin Miller following his exciting win at Michigan.
Real: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

Fantastic finish
Dario Franchitti and top finishers give their post-race comments.
Real: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

Final moments
Patrick Carpentier gets some help from teammate Alex Tagliani for his first career win (ABC Sports).
wav: 565 k
Real: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6

Oh so close
Alex Tagliani's "bad air" may have cost Dario Franchitti a win. (ABC Sports).
wav: 394 k
Real: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6

Photo finish
Michel Jourdain Jr. describes the final lap action (ABC Sports).
wav: 235 k
Real: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6

 
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