CHAMPCAR/CART: Barber Pro alumnus Brack emerges as 2002 CART favorite

1993 Barber Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack enters the 2002 CART FedEx season as the favorite to capture the Vanderbilt Cup now that the powerful Penskes have headed to the Indy Racing League, but the truth is, Brack and his new team may have...

1993 Barber Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack enters the 2002 CART FedEx season as the favorite to capture the Vanderbilt Cup now that the powerful Penskes have headed to the Indy Racing League, but the truth is, Brack and his new team may have been the favorites even if Penske had stayed put.

The Skip Barber trained racer has moved to Target/Chip Ganassi Racing for 2002 as he begins his third season in the CART series, looking to continue his climb to the top of the standings. He stood atop the points for much of the 2001 campaign while with Team Rahal, led the loop in wins, and had twice as many oval points as all but two of the drivers, but finished a close second to Penske’s Gil de Ferran in the final tally. He earned a berth on CART’s all-star team and was lauded as one of the series’ top drivers for his 2001 achievements but knows that last year’s stats mean nothing when the chase for the crown begins again in Monterrey, Mexico in six weeks.

"Let’s worry about the title. It’s easy to say that though there’s a lot of talented teams and drivers in this series," Brack said. "There are a lot of guys that are working hard and are capable of doing well."

Brack’s 2002 switch to Ganassi may give him a leg up on the competition however, not only because he is now driving for a team that has won four CART championships in the last six years, but because he has gotten the lion’s share of the preseason testing time.

"I’m very happy. It’s an extremely professional group of guys," Brack said. "When we go test, we test. We go as early as we can and we stay as late as we can. The car has been reliable all through the days and lets you get a lot done. You had better be in shape when you go testing with Team Target."

But the chase of his first CART title is not the only thing on Brack’s mind. While he already has one Indy win under his belt, he is looking forward to returning not only to race with what will be a tougher field at the Brickyard, but for the chance to settle a score from last year with de Ferran and fellow Skip Barber trained Helio Castroneves, the 2001 race winner.

"I’m very excited about going back to Indianapolis. I’m very happy to be able to get back there this year," Brack said. I’m also happy to get back with a strong team that has the same commitment that I do. I feel I have some unfinished business with the Penskes so I want to get there and kick their butts."

-barber/at-

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Series BARBER-PRO , INDYCAR