CHAMPCAR/CART: Andretti looks to extend lead at Mid-Ohio

DUBLIN, Ohio (August 3, 2000) - The CART FedEx Championship Series returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for the Miller Lite 200, August 10-13. This is the 19th Champ Car race held at the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course and...

DUBLIN, Ohio (August 3, 2000) - The CART FedEx Championship Series returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for the Miller Lite 200, August 10-13. This is the 19th Champ Car race held at the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course and the 13th round on the 2000 FedEx Championship Series schedule.

The first 12 rounds of the CART season have proven to be as exciting as they have been unpredictable. There have been nine different winners to date with four of those drivers visiting victory lane for the first time in their CART careers. Such equality on track has translated into a tightly contested points battle with the top 10 separated by 55 points.

Two-time Miller Lite 200 winner Michael Andretti returns to Mid-Ohio as the season title frontrunner with 120 championship points. Completing 1747 laps, the most of any driver, has translated into strong performances all season for Andretti. He earned his 39th and 40th career wins earlier this year at Motegi, Japan, and Toronto, Canada, and has seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes.

Equally impressive are Andretti's career statistics in the Miller Lite 200. In 15 starts at Mid-Ohio, Michael Andretti has two victories, three pole positions, four podium finishes, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He has led 246 career laps, the current track record, and is third in total laps completed with 1070. His momentum from a strong 2000 season combined with his stellar record at Mid-Ohio has Andretti looking forward to his chances in the Miller Lite 200.

"We need to qualify well and start up front. Track position is very important so qualifying well is also important. We then will concentrate on good pit stops and having a car that will run all day," explains Michael Andretti. "It will be interesting to get back to the road courses after all of the ovals we have been racing on lately. We've had some exciting oval races and now it's time to have some exciting road races."

Second place in the points battle is Roberto Moreno with 98 points. Consistency has been key for Moreno in 2000 scoring his first career Champ Car victory in Cleveland. He also has notched four podium finishes, and six top-five finishes in 12 events. Moreno comes to Mid-Ohio with a team that knows how to win at the famed racetrack. Patrick Racing finished one-two in the closest margin of victory (0.247 seconds) in the Miller Lite 200 just two years ago.

Third in points with 89 is Gil de Ferran who has thrived in his new seat at Marlboro Team Penske. De Ferran began the season with a pole position at Homestead and returned Roger Penske to victory lane at Nazareth to claim his 100th victory as a car owner. With three top-ten performances at Mid-Ohio the past three years, de Ferran hopes to improve upon his previous strong runs in the Miller Lite 200 and continue his drive for the championship.

Coming off an impressive rookie season, Cristiano da Matta has proven that he is a winner on the CART circuit. In Chicago, da Matta achieved his first CART victory and propelled himself into a fourth place standing in the championship with 82 points. Da Matta turned in a commendable rookie performance at Mid-Ohio last year finishing ninth overall. He comes to the race this year hoping to be a repeat winner in 2000.

Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Kenny Bräck and Juan Montoya make up fifth through eighth in the championship, separated by only four points. Tracy drove to victory on the streets of Long Beach earlier this year and has three other podium finishes. The podium at Mid-Ohio is a familiar place for Tracy with four second-place finishes in seven races, including one last year. Tracy will attempt to move up to the top step on the podium in the 2000 Miller Lite 200.

1998 Miller Lite 200 winner Adrian Fernandez has one victory in 2000 at Rio de Janeiro and seven top-ten finishes to date. Fernandez was sidelined from last year's Miller Lite 200 and returns to Mid-Ohio with the desire to pick up where he left off two years ago.

Deemed a rookie for the 2000 season, Kenny Bräck entered the CART circuit with 1998 Indy Racing League Champion and 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner below his name. Bräck leads the battle for the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year award and hopes to prove that he can perform on the road circuits by scoring his first CART victory at Mid-Ohio.

While Montoya has only one Champ Car start at Mid-Ohio, he has two career wins at the picturesque track. His first victory came in 1994 when he won the Barber Dodge Pro Series race from the pole. The 1999 Miller Lite 200 was Montoya's second Mid-Ohio win. This year, he has five pole positions to date and claimed Toyota's first victory in Milwaukee one week after winning the Indianapolis 500. Montoya won his second 500-mile race of the year at Michigan and looks to record the first road course victory for Toyota in the Miller Lite 200.

Jimmy Vasser and Patrick Carpentier complete the top-ten in the championship battle with 68 and 65 points respectively. A victory at Mid-Ohio would be the first for either driver in 2000. If the first 12 races are any indication, the 2000 Miller Lite 200 should be one of the best in recent memory. For ticket or event information, call 1-800-MID-OHIO or visit www.midohio.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Roger Penske , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske