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Sunday, September 29
Ralf can't duplicate Michael's success
Michael Schumacher began the race from the pole Sunday, while his younger brother, Ralf, dropped to 20th, last in the field, after he collided with Williams teammate Juan Montoya on the second of the 73 laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2.606-mile road course.
''I had a good start but there was an unlucky event with Juan,'' Ralf Schumacher said of his attempt to pass on the first turn. ''It is always very difficult to overtake someone on the outside. There wasn't enough room.''
Montoya and Schumacher, who started fourth and fifth, were running side-by-side when Schumacher spun onto the curb and hit Montoya, who was on the outside. The collision knocked the rear wing off Schumacher's car, and he drove into the pits to have a new wing put on.
''I'm going to have to watch the TV to get a clear picture of what happened,'' he said.
By the time he got back on the track, he was a lap behind his brother and continued falling farther behind. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, was able to continue without coming into the pits and wound up fourth.
Michael Schumacher did not lose the lead until his first pit stop on the 27th lap. But teammate Rubens Barrichello pitted a lap later, putting Schumacher back into the lead. Except for one more pit stop, he stayed there until the end, when he appeared to let Barrichello pass him at the checkered flag for the victory.
Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, finally got out of last place when Pedro de la Rosa's engine went bad on the back straightaway on the leaders' 29th lap. The younger Schumacher wound up 16th -- two laps behind Barrichello -- after Mark Webber, Alex Yoong and Kimi Raikkonen also dropped out early.
The first driver out of the race, de la Rosa pulled off the track to the infield grass in a burst of smoke and leaped out of the car to safety over a low fence.
He didn't know there was a small creek on the other side of the barrier.
''I obviously jumped because a marshal told me to, but they didn't tell me there was a river next to the (barrier). They should have told me, so I just fell,'' he said. ''Unbelievable.''
De la Rosa said it appeared the transmission caught fire.
''It was a shame, because I think we were on quite a good strategy for our car,'' he said.
''Last year when we came here, we made this one,'' said Kleber Dossantos, pointing to the smaller of the two. ''This year, we decided we had to do something bigger. It's 15 feet long by 11 feet wide.''
The flags were made by his girlfriend, Maria Covre, who said it took three weeks to make the larger flag.
''She wanted it to be so perfect with all the details that we almost broke up about it,'' Kleber said.
Rubens Barrichello, who bowed toward Michael Schumacher on the podium after receiving the winner's trophy, was the only Brazilian driver entered here this year. Felipe Massa, another Brazilian, will return to the Sauber team for the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix in two weeks.
''It's just an emotion to see the Brazilian guys and push Rubens a little bit more,'' fan Jonas Carvalho said.
That includes 86 runnings of the Indianapolis 500, nine Brickyard 400 NASCAR races and all three U.S. Grand Prix events.
Before the start of Sunday's race, Schumacher drove a ceremonial lap around the 2.606-mile road course in the Maserati that Wilbur Shaw drove to victory in the 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500s.
Before the modern era of prize winnings reaching into the millions of dollars, Shaw's Maserati was the greatest money-winning car in American racing history. Besides the two victories, it was driven by Ted Horn to third place in 1946 and 1947 and fourth in 1948.
Lee Wallard was 20th in the car in 1949 and Johnny McDowell drove it to 32nd place in 1951.
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