- 1999 Marlboro 500
1999 Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota Race details Race 20 of 20 in the 1999 CART season
Date October 31, 1999 Official name Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota Location Auto Club Speedway
2.029 mi / 3.23 km
Distance 250 laps, 500 mi / 804.67 km Weather Sunny Pole Driver Scott Pruett Arciero-Wells Racing Time 31.030 (235.398 MPH) Fastest Lap Driver Christian Fittipaldi Newman/Haas Racing Time 31.732 (230.190 MPH) (on lap 224 of 250) Podium First Adrian Fernandez Patrick Racing Second Max Papis Team Rahal Third Christian Fittipaldi Newman/Haas Racing
The 1999 Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota was held on October 31, 1999, at Auto Club Speedway (then known as California Speedway) in Fontana, California and it was the final race of the 1999 CART World Series season but mostly remembered of the fatal accident of Greg Moore. Scott Pruett won the pole of the event with the time of 31.030 seconds. Patrick Racing driver Adrian Fernandez won the race, his second win in which a driver was killed. Rookie driver Juan Pablo Montoya from Chip Ganassi Racing and Dario Franchitti from Team Green ended up tied in the final points standings. Franchitti scored more podiums, but Montoya had more wins and won the tiebreaker for the title. There were 7 cautions for 58 laps overall in the race. Christian Fittipaldi set the fastest lap of the race, the first and only time he did so in the 1999 season. The race was broadcast on ESPN with Paul Page and Parker Johnstone as the commentators.
Entering the Marlboro 500, the second of two 500-mile races held during the 1999 season, Franchitti who won the previous race, held a nine-point lead in the season points standings over Montoya, who wrecked on that race and scored no points.
Scott Pruett won the pole for the race, his only of the season and also for the team. His fastest lap had an average speed of 235.398 miles per hour. The championship contenders Montoya qualified 3rd and Franchitti in 8th. Greg Moore was the only driver that did not make a qualifying run, thus starting at the rear of the field. Moore was not even certain to be in the race due to an accident in the paddock area the weekend before the race, where he was hit by a vehicle while riding his motor scooter. Moore suffered a broken hand in the incident and his team, Forsythe Racing, hired Roberto Moreno as an emergency backup driver if Moore could not run the entire race. After a medical consultation, and an in-car test, he was allowed to race using a hand brace and had the pain dulled with an injection of medicine.
- The championship contenders are in bold
St Car Driver Time Speed (mph) 1 24 Scott Pruett 31.030 235.398 2 7 Max Papis 31.143 234.544 3 4 Juan Pablo Montoya 31.182 234.251 4 12 Jimmy Vasser 31.207 234.063 5 8 Bryan Herta 31.227 233.913 6 6 Michael Andretti 31.315 233.256 7 33 Patrick Carpentier 31.319 233.226 8 27 Dario Franchitti 31.326 233.174 9 11 Christian Fittipaldi 31.351 232.988 10 2 Al Unser Jr. 31.363 232.899 11 44 Tony Kanaan 31.371 232.839 12 5 Gil de Ferran 31.388 232.713 13 40 Adrian Fernandez 31.412 232.535 14 3 Alex Barron 31.429 232.410 15 22 Robby Gordon 31.432 232.387 16 25 Cristiano da Matta 31.435 232.365 17 17 Mauricio Gugelmin 31.462 232.166 18 18 Mark Blundell 31.500 231.886 19 26 Paul Tracy 31.612 231.064 20 9 Helio Castroneves 31.635 230.896 21 10 Richie Hearn 31.713 230.328 22 15 Naoki Hattori 31.831 229.474 23 20 P.J. Jones 31.385 229.446 24 34 Dennis Vitolo 32.020 228.120 25 36 Raul Boesel 32.159 227.134 26 19 Michel Jourdain Jr. 32.250 226.493 27 99 Greg Moore No Time No Speed
Pruett led the way, but he would not held the lead for long as he dropped back and fell out of the race later on, while Michael Andretti took control at the start. Two laps later, Richie Hearn spun in turn and struck the inside wall; he would walk away. Alex Barron crashed out of the event on the 27th lap; that was the final accident of the event. After leading all but nine of the first seventy-one laps, Andretti's car suffered a fire during his second pit stop, which dropped him out of contention. Dario Franchitti, who was in a championship battle with Juan Pablo Montoya, also had difficulties on pit road; he fell off the pace when his first pit stop led to an improperly fitted right rear wheel, and the replacement tires had incorrect pressure. Raul Boesel, who was running his 3rd race of the season, fell out with an engine blown as he completed 164 laps, this race turned out to be his last of his 173 starts. Leaving him with the most starts to never win a CART race. Max Papis led the Marlboro 500 for 111 laps, but was forced to make a pit stop near the end for fuel. Adrian Fernandez would take the lead and held him off to get the win after successfully stretching his fuel supply to avoid a late pit stop. Fernandez finished the race approximately seven seconds in front of Papis.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Franchitti ended up in a tie with 212 points. Franchitti had scored more podiums but Montoya won the title by having the most wins with seven to Franchitti's three. The championship was also Chip Ganassi Racing its fourth straight title with three drivers (also including Jimmy Vasser in 1996 and Alex Zanardi in 1997–1998). The finale, however, would be marred by tragedy as Greg Moore was killed on the 9th lap of the race. For Fernandez, it was his second win that was marred by tragedy. He won his first CART win at Toronto three years prior to Moore's death, a race in which Jeff Krosnoff was killed. Fernandez responded, "It's so hard. Greg was such a good friend of ours. We've been racing for a while and shared so many good moments on and off the track."
Lap 9 crash, death of Greg Moore
While running the ninth lap of the race, Moore lost control of his car and crashed in the same area where Hearn had already crashed six laps earlier and spun into the infield grass at more than 200 mph. Moore's car, which was still traveling at full speed, clipped an access road and was catapulted into a concrete wall going sideways.
Before the accident happened Johnstone was commenting on the characteristics of the track. As soon as he finished, Moore's crash was cut to just as his car turned sideways and impacted the wall.
“ Parker Johnstone: And remember Fontana is all about the draft with the Hanford device. It's like coming up behind a semi at 90 miles an hour and just being pulled right into the back of it. (sees Moore's crash) Oh!
Paul Page: Whoa! Oh, an enormous crash! Oh, my God...a terrible crash, yellow comes out again. (pause) We're gonna hold on identifying this car because there are two cars like it in the field. We want to assure ourselves- they now report it is Greg Moore.
Moore's car broke into pieces almost immediately and the engine was ripped from the car as it tumbled over and over in the infield. The vehicle was almost completely destroyed in the accident and Moore's condition was immediately a concern.  He had to be extricated from the remains of his vehicle and was eventually airlifted to a local hospital from the track.
On Lap 43, ESPN pit reporter Gary Gerould spoke to Dr. Steve Olvey, the CART series medical operations directer, and the graveness of Moore's injuries were revealed to the audience.
“ Dr. Steve Olvey: Greg has severe head and internal injuries, he's being sent to Loma Linda, uh, Hospital for further resuscitative efforts; Dr. Jeff Grange, who's the chief emergency doctor here, uh, in this area is with him in the helicopter and is gonna report back to me soon.
Gary Gerould: This is a life threatening situation?
Dr. Olvey: Yes, it is.
Moore had stopped breathing on impact, having hit the wall almost head first.
Sometime later, Gerould returned with Olvey and the track's doctor with a further announcement:
“ Dr. Olvey: Gary, I regret to announce that driver Greg Moore has been pronounced dead at Loma Linda Hospital, he died of massive head and internal injuries. He was pronounced dead at twenty minutes after one o'clock (Pacific). ”
Moore was just 24 years old when he died and was the second driver to die in the season, Gonzalo Rodríguez having died at Laguna Seca just three races earlier. Moore was also the last driver to die in a CART FedEx Championship Series event. He was headed to drive for the Marlboro Penske Team in 2000 along with Gil de Ferran, but after his death he was replaced by Hogan Racing driver Helio Castroneves. Also after this race, ISC resurfaced the runoff area that Moore slid across with asphalt (it was previously grass).
Moore would end up finishing in 10th in the final points standings but soon after his death, the number 99 would be retired by CART in honor of him. Fellow drivers paid tribute to this day, including Dario Franchitti who was one of Moore's best friends, when he won at Vancouver in 2002. Franchitti did so again he won the 2009 IndyCar Series title and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Moore won his final CART victory in the same year of his death.
- 1999 in CART
- 1999 in sports
- Toyota Indy 400
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