CHAMPCAR/CART: CART FedEx series banquet awards

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2000) - CART FedEx Championship Series champion and Vanderbilt Cup winner Gil de Ferran topped the list of honorees Monday night at the annual CART Awards Banquet that celebrated the eighth Champ Car title won by Marlboro...

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2000) - CART FedEx Championship Series champion and Vanderbilt Cup winner Gil de Ferran topped the list of honorees Monday night at the annual CART Awards Banquet that celebrated the eighth Champ Car title won by Marlboro Team Penske at the Century Plaza Hotel.

ESPN SportsCenter anchor and Two-Minute Drill host Kenny Mayne served as master of ceremonies of the event that paid tribute to the champions of today and years past, recognizing both the drivers and the individuals behind the Champ Car teams. De Ferran clinched the Vanderbilt Cup today at the Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota at the California Speedway. In one of the tightest points races in CART history, the Brazilian edged Mexico's Adrian Fernandez for his first CART championship.

Evening honors also went to Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) who earned the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year award. Brack finished fourth in the final season points standings and actually clinched the award two races ago in Houston. A $50,000 prize was presented to Brack along with the Jim Trueman Memorial Trophy, named in honor of former Champ Car team owner Jim Trueman. In its first year, the Greg Moore Legacy Award went to Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard). The award honors the driver who best typifies Greg Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on the track as well as displaying a dynamic personality with the fans, media and the CART community. A former CART driver and Indy Lights champion, Moore lost his life one year ago in a tragic accident on the track.

The Budweiser Hard Charger Award went to Adrian Fernandez (Tecate Ford Reynard). At each event in the 2000 season, $1,000 and points were awarded to the driver who made the greatest improvement in track position from the beginning to the end of the race. Fernandez collected the most points during the season to take home $10,000 cash from Budweiser at season's end.

For the second consecutive year, Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) was tabbed the fan favorite and earned the WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award. He was selected by a vote of CART fans from around the world and was presented a check for $25,000 at the banquet which will be distributed to his charities of choice.

Awards were also presented to the top companies behind the engines and chassis' for the 2000 season. In another tight race that was decided with Christian Fittipaldi's win today, Ford took home the Manufacturer's Championship. Implemented in 1995, the award recognizes the engine manufacturer earning the most points in the series. Reynard took home the Constructor's Championship for the sixth consecutive year, winning the title every season since the award was established. The Constructor's Championship salutes the chassis constructor also collecting the most point throughout the campaign. Points are earned during the season for both awards in the same manner as race points.

The nation of Brazil had reason to celebrate on Monday night. After capturing eight race wins, 13 podium finishes and nine poles throughout the 2000 season, Brazil won the CART Nation's Cup for the second-straight year. Presented by countryman and former Champ Car titleist Emerson Fittipaldi, the Cup is awarded to the country whose drivers earn the most points in the FedEx Championship series.

Other awards included the PPG Color & Design Award and the Honda Fast Lap Award. Arciero Project Racing Group owner Andreas Leberle, Luiz Garcia Jr. (PRG Mercedes Reynard), and the team's multi-color No. 25 car (Hollywood Merdeces Reynard) won the PPG Color & Design Award. Montoya was honored with the Honda Fast Lap Award for tallying the most fast laps throughout the season and was given a new Honda Motorcycle.

On Friday, Team KOOL Green's car No. 26 pit crew captured the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge for a second year. Paul Tracy's crew topped four other teams in a timed challenge that took place at the California Speedway. As CART's only "Official Tool Supplier," Craftsman sponsors the award that salutes the efforts of the mechanics who build, maintain and support the race cars.

The greater CART community was also recognized. Toyota Atlantics Champion Buddy Rice and Indy Lights Champion Scott Dixon were saluted for their titles. The 2000 Jim Chapman award went to Kevin Diamond, public relations representative for Patrick Racing. Diamond was recognized for his work with the media both at the track and throughout the season in addition to his promotion of Patrick Racing's No. 20 and 40 entries. In addition, several Champ Car legends were honored for their contribution to the sport.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Buddy Rice , Emerson Fittipaldi , Greg Moore , Luiz Garcia
Teams Team Penske