SBRS: CSOT: CART Ladder System update 2002-05-08

Rahal to host ladder drivers at Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner. Ladder System well represented in CART FedEx Championship. DETROIT (May 8, 2002) - CART FedEx Championship Series team owner Bobby Rahal has invited some of the top drivers in the...

Rahal to host ladder drivers at Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner.
Ladder System well represented in CART FedEx Championship.

DETROIT (May 8, 2002) - CART FedEx Championship Series team owner Bobby Rahal has invited some of the top drivers in the CART Driver Development Ladder System to join him for the annual Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Novi, Michigan. Rahal, the new President of the Road Racing Drivers Club, has invited Joey Hand, Buddy Rice, Alex Gurney and Danica Patrick for the June 12th dinner which will honor the late Dale Earnhardt, Gordon Johncock and Eddie Hill.

Rice is the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion and now serves as a consultant for DSTP Racing. Hand and Gurney are both contenders for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship with DSTP Racing and Dorricott Racing, respectively. Patrick - who placed second in the famous 2000 Formula Ford Festival in Brands Hatch, England - is currently putting together an effort to campaign the Atlantic Championship starting with the 2003 season.

The Road Racing Drivers Club is a 50-year old organization whose membership includes motorsports legends Mark Donahue, Jackie Stewart and Dan Gurney as well as many other past and present road racing drivers of note. As the club's new President, Rahal plans on bringing in the new generation of young drivers as members to the RRDC and he sees this event as an initial step.

"As President of the Road Racing Drivers Club, I am honored to have this very talented group of young racing drivers attend the Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner," commented Rahal, a three-time CART Champion. "There is no question in my mind that they represent a strong future for North American road racing and I believe it will be a special moment when the past meets the future on June 12th."

Team Rahal, based in Hilliard, Ohio, competes with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. in the CART FedEx Championship Series with sponsorship from Shell and Gigante, respectively. Team Rahal and Vasser are also attempting to qualify for the May 26th running of the Indianapolis 500 in their Miller Brewing racecar.

LADDER ALUMNI

After three rounds of the CART FedEx Championship Series, CART Driver Development Ladder System alumni are making their presence known. Ladder graduates have scored two victories, two poles and currently occupy five of the Top Ten positions in points. In all, 13 of the 20 full time Champ Car drivers are graduates of the CART Driver Development Ladder System.

1992 Indy Lights graduate Adrian Fernandez captured the pole at the season opening event at Monterrey, Mexico while 1998 Indy Lights Champion Christiano da Matta pulled out an exciting victory. In Long Beach, it was time for Toyota Atlantic graduates to shine as 1991 graduate Jimmy Vasser led the field to the green flag and 1983 Atlantic Champion Michael Andretti came home first during the race.

In the quest for the FedEx Championship and the Vanderbilt Cup, da Matta is third in points, while 1999 Atlantic grad Alex Tagliani ranks fourth. Andretti, 1996 Atlantic Champion Patrick Carpentier and Vasser make up the second half of the Top Ten. 1999-2001 Dayton Indy Lights Champions Oriol Servia, Scott Dixon and Townsend Bell along with 1993 Barber Saab (now Barber Dodge) Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack, are all within striking distance and looking to overcome early season difficulties. 1990 and 1997 Indy Lights Champions Paul Tracy and Tony Kanaan as well as 2001 Light graduate Mario Dominguez also look to turn their seasons around.

UP NEXT

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship prepares for its next action May 31-June 2 during the Miller Lite 250 at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Jon Fogarty holds the point championship lead after two events.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series will return to action May 24-27 in the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. AJ Allmendinger is the points leader after Round One at Sebring in March.

Rounds 5 and 6 of the Formula Dodge National Championship will be contested this weekend at the Putnam Park Motorsports Complex, about 25 miles west of Indianapolis. Burt Frisselle maintains an 18-point lead in the championship after the first four races.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. CART also sanctions the Barber Dodge Pro Series as part of a marketing partnership with Skip Barber, LLC. For more information about the CART Ladder System, log onto www.cart.com and click on the links to the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Formula Dodge National Championship and Stars of Tomorrow.

--CART--

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About this article
Series Atlantic , Barber Pro , Kart , Other open wheel
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Alex Gurney , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Joey Hand , Jackie Stewart , Townsend Bell , Mario Dominguez , Dan Gurney , Buddy Rice , Burt Frisselle , Skip Barber , Gordon Johncock , Danica Patrick , Michel Jourdain