Rahul Sharma (Editor)

2001 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix

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Covid-19
Date  May 6, 2001
2001 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix
Official name  2001 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota
Location  Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, USA
Course  Oval 0.946 mi / 1.522 km
Distance  225 laps 212.85 mi / 342.45 km
Driver  Bruno Junqueira (Chip Ganassi Racing)

The 2001 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix was a Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) motor race held on May 6, 2001 at Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, USA. It was the 4th round of the 2001 CART season. Rookie Scott Dixon won the race by just four tenths of a second over Kenny Bräck, while Paul Tracy took third.

Contents

Dixon scored his first and only CART win after he successfully gambled on a fuel-saving strategy that gave PacWest Racing its last win before the team folded in 2002 as well as its first win since 1997. Bräck's first podium of the season was the prelude to two consecutive wins at Motegi and Milwaukee, putting him in the championship hunt. For Tracy, it was his second podium in three races, but he would not record another for the rest of the season.

The race was the first after the Firestone Firehawk 600 fiasco, and there were concerns about the G-Forces experienced at Nazareth that were ultimately unfounded. This would also be the last time that CART raced at the speedway, allowing open-wheel rival Indy Racing League to run its own 225-lap race from 2002-2004.

Background

The race weekend began just days after the 600-mile event at Texas Motor Speedway scheduled for April 29 was postponed and ultimately canceled due to extreme g-horses experienced by the drivers that made race conditions critically dangerous. Speedway and CART officials were still discussing options over possible dates later in the year for a make-up race, but after announcing that all ticket holders would receive refunds without word of a replacement event, it became clear that any future for the series at Texas Motor Speedway was in serious doubt.

In the meantime, rumors spread that Nazareth Speedway would be cut from the 2002 schedule despite it being one of CART's longest-running events in an effort to reduce travel costs. On raceday itself, CART officials released a statement that the series would be reviewing its options after the race in Japan and make a decision then.

It was later decided that the series would not continue racing at Nazareth, dropping the venue, along with Belle Isle, Michigan, Lausitz, and Houston for the 2002 season.

PacWest driver Maurício Gugelmin, after being involved in a major crash in Texas the week before, withdrew from the event at Nazareth following the death of his six-year-old son, who had cerebral palsy. Because it came on such short notice, no backup drivers were available to fill in for Gugelmin, and so the NEXTEL sponsorship from his car was placed onto his teammate's, Scott Dixon, instead.

Race statistics

  • Lead changes: 2 amongst 3 drivers
  • References

    2001 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Wikipedia


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