BITD: CHAMPCAR/CART: Jimmy Vasser to race Baja Mex300

Jimmy Vasser to join Groff Motorsports effort. at 2002 Baja Mex "300" Las Vegas, NV -- Adding a major name to a 2002 Best In The Desert Baja Mex "300" event that already features an impressive list of off-road stars, CART's...

Jimmy Vasser to join Groff Motorsports effort. at 2002 Baja Mex "300"

Las Vegas, NV -- Adding a major name to a 2002 Best In The Desert Baja Mex "300" event that already features an impressive list of off-road stars, CART's Jimmy Vasser today confirmed his participation in the race as a member of the BFGoodrich/Toyota-powered effort fielded by Groff Motorsports. Vasser will team with open-wheel veteran Robbie Groff, along with desert veteran Marty Fiolka, to race for overall honors in a two-seat Toyota-powered Jimco set to compete in Best In The Desert's highly-competitive Class 1500 for unlimited open-wheel vehicles.

Vasser, from Las Vegas, NV, will join the growing ranks of professional drivers set to compete in the first running of the desert event, scheduled for September 20 - 22 in Ensenada, Mexico. The race's entry list now includes Curt LeDuc, Rob MacCachren, Dan Ragland, Jim Dizney and Steve Strobel..

A lifelong friend of the Groff brothers, Vasser competed against both Mike and Robbie in quarter midgets begin at the age of eight. The 1996 CART series champion, Vasser will begin the race co-driving with Groff before taking over the driving duties with crew chief Barry Beacham at one of the team's scheduled fuel stops. Vasser will then turn the car over to Fiolka and his sister Leeann Storino for the sprint to the finish. The event will represent a loop format of nearly 300 rugged Baja miles, with the start and finish set for the Estero Beach resort just south of downtown Ensenada.

In its first year of operation, the Groff Motorsports team has made a successful entry into the Class 1500 category, now the most competitive and often fastest class in the sport. Capitalizing on the bullet-proof reliability of its FAT Performance-prepared Toyota V6 powerplant and immaculate preparation from Beecham and his Race Preparation Crew, the team has logged nearly 2,500 trouble-free race and testing miles since completion of the new car in April. With a top speed of 120 mph and over two feet of wheel travel, Vasser is looking forward to the challenge of driving the BFGoodrich/Toyota-powered machine.

"I am really looking forward to the whole Baja Mex "300" experience with both Robbie and Marty," shared Vasser, who is busy preparing for this weekend's CART event in Rockingham, England. "After testing last month, I can say that their Class 1500 car ranks right up there with my CART Lola Ford. It is really fun but I have a steep learning curve to contribute a good solid run in Baja."

The Baja Mex "300" will be a 300-mile, one-time loop race that includes 120 miles of brand new, never raced-on course. Racers completing pre-running this past week have reported that it is the best course in Mexico that they have ever seen, and that they are looking forward to the Baja Mex "300."

The Groff Motorsports effort is still awaiting the return of team driver Mike Groff, who broke his wrist and a finger in a racing incident earlier this year. Groff, nearly fully recovered from surgery to reset his wrist, is expected to compete in the team's final 2002 race in November.

The Groff Motorsports team was the recent subject of an hour-long documentary about the sport filmed in high-definition television at June's Best In The Desert Nevada "1000". The show, entitled "In the Dust," is airing on HDNet during the month of September and October.

The team's bright yellow Class 1500 car is also the subject of next month's "In Focus" section of RACER Magazine. The six-page, full-color story features studio photography of the car that will appear in the November issue of RACER.

The 2002 Groff Motorsports off-road team carries the familiar logos of BFGoodrich, Toyota Motorsports, Northridge Equipment Rentals, Union 76 race fuel, KLSX 97.1Talk Radio, Lowrance, MOMO, Bosch, Eibach, PIAA, Molly Designs, Bell Helmets and Northwest Excavating.

-bitd-

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Series INDYCAR , OFFROAD

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