Motor Racing: Tracy on track as Mansell pulls out: Handling problems dog Briton

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The Independent Online
PAUL TRACY scored his first victory on an oval here, while his team-mates, Al Unser Jnr and Emerson Fittipaldi, the only other cars on the lead lap, filled out the podium in another Penske clean sweep - their fifth of the season.

Nigel Mansell, who was so dominant on this circuit a year ago, withdrew from yesterday's race on the 87th lap after fighting an ill-handling car virtually from the first lap.

After several attempts to remedy the problem, Mansell and the Newman-Haas team manager, Jim McGee, agreed to call it a day rather than risk a crash. 'It was a sensible decision. Every time I came to a corner my car was trying to swap ends. That's the first experience I've had like that on an oval. I've had Little Al (Unser), I've had Robby Gordon and Danny Sullivan tell me about those times but I've never experienced them and now I understand, because that was wicked.

'The main thing is that we've got the car intact and I'm intact, which is far more important. So although it's disappointing at least we're not in the wall because I had three moments out there where I thought I was going to make a visit.'

This was Mansell's last oval race of his Indy career. 'I have some great memories. I've had a great two-year career here. I've seen the highs, I've seen the lows and I'm still smiling. I thinks that's a credit to the series and the team I drive for because I can remember when I've had races like this before and I've been very upset.'

Despite his victory, Tracy is not certain of keeping his place in the Penske team, who plan to keep only two drivers for next season. 'I hope this (win) helps my case a little bit,' Tracy, who will not know his fate for another month, said. Unser had already clinched the title, while Fittipaldi took second overall with his finish here.

The British driver, Steve Robertson, took the PPG Firestone Indy Lite Championship with a cautious race, finishing fourth to fulfil goals set at the beginning of the season.