Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zanardi Serves Up Tasty Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zanardi Serves Up Tasty Victory

Article excerpt

Something was wrong with this picture. Sitting on the podium with the first three finishers of Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

"This is a great year for me," said Lasorda, beaming. "To be nominated f or the Hall of Fame and to be named the grand marshal of this race . . . "

Someone then mentioned that it was a great day for the Italians, as Alexandro Zanardi - but you can call him Alex - took the checkered flag in the third PPG CART World Series race of the season. Zanardi, a native of Bologna, Italy, and a resident of Monte Carlo, quickly is becoming the new poster boy in this brand of Indy-car racing. "I don't like him because he's Italian," Lasorda said. "I love him because I'm Italian." After his 3.820-second victory over Mauricio Gugelmin - but you can call him Mo - Zanardi was emotional - to say the least. He wanted to dedicate his victory to some anonymous racing fan who had bought him dinner the other night. He didn't know what restaurant - "but it was an Italian restaurant next to the other Italian restaurant behind another Italian restaurant." "I asked for the bill, and the guy said a racing fan had paid it and was gone," Zanardi said. "I want to thank him." Zanardi praised his "boys" in the pits for getting him out quickly - especially early in the race. Gil de Ferran - no nickname, but pronounce it "Jill" - started on the pole and led the first 25 laps. Zanardi started second. "Gil was faster than me initially," Zanardi said. "But we changed the balance of the car and that's why I was then able to keep Gil behind me and actually pull away from him." It helped, too, that when both cars pitted for the first time on the same lap, Zanardi's team sent him out quicker. Before the stop, De Ferran had the lead. On Lap 69 of the 105-lap race, Zanardi came in for his final pit stop. …

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