CHAMPCAR/CART: Champ Car Team Managers Predict Michael Andretti will be 2000 Champion

DETROIT (March 20, 2000) - At the outset of every sports season, prognosticators abound, offering speculation regarding who will emerge as each sport's champion when the season draws to a close. The official CART Champ Car FedEx Series Guide,...

DETROIT (March 20, 2000) - At the outset of every sports season, prognosticators abound, offering speculation regarding who will emerge as each sport's champion when the season draws to a close.

The official CART Champ Car FedEx Series Guide, available on newsstands later this month, asked various CART team managers to choose who they believed would end up winning the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title.

CART's winningest active driver - Nazareth, Pa.'s Michael Andretti - who has 38 career victories along with more than $16 million in earnings, was the clear choice among the 15 team managers who participated in the survey. CART opens its 20-race season March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) is again the favorite. Andretti won the season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1997 and '98 and finished second on the mile-and-a-half oval a year ago.

Andretti bested a list of some of the world's top open-wheel drivers. Among them are defending series champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola), of Colombia; Scotland's Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), who lost the title to Montoya on a tiebreaker at the final race of the 1999 season; Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), an Italian who has yet to win a Champ Car race but has been one of the front-runners in pre-season testing; and Andretti teammate, Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Lola), of Brazil, who has seen injuries cut short his championship quest in each of the past three seasons.

Each team manager was asked to nominate, in order from one through 10, the drivers he believed would fill the top 10 FedEx Series positions at season's end. With the intense competition expected among CART's Champ Car ranks in 2000, it was not surprising that 10 different drivers received nominations as potential champions. However, only Andretti and Champ Car newcomer and defending Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Brack were named as eventual champion on more than one ballot. Andretti received the most overall points (based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system) to gain the nod as the projected series champion.

The 2000 CART Champ Car FedEx Series Guide is chock-full of interesting facts, figures, photos, profiles and illustrations for the CART fan. Produced by the staff of Southern California-based Racer magazine, the magazine contains feature stories on drivers, tracks, engine manufacturers and many other aspects of CART and the FedEx Championship Series.

Following is the Champ Car FedEx Series Guide listing of the top 10 contenders for the championship, as selected by 15 Champ Car team managers:

<pre> Driver Team

  1.    Michael Andretti, Nazareth, Pa.                 Newman/Haas Racing
  2.    Max Papis, Italy                                Team Rahal
  3.    Dario Franchitti, Scotland                      Team KOOL Green
  4.    Juan Montoya, Colombia                          Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
  5.    Christian Fittipaldi, Brazil                    Newman/Haas Racing
  6.    Paul Tracy, Canada                              Team KOOL Green
  7.    Kenny Brack, Sweden                             Team Rahal
  8.    Adrian Fernandez, Mexico                        Patrick Racing
  9.    Gil de Ferran, Brazil                           Marlboro Team Penske
 10.    Jimmy Vasser, Las Vegas, Nev.                   Target/Chip Ganassi Racing

The following team managers voted in this survey:

Richard Buck, PPI Motorsports; Russell Cameron, PacWest Racing Group; Tim Cindric, Marlboro Team Penske; Steve Dickson, Forsythe Championship Racing; Rob Edwards, Walker Racing; Larry Ellert, Team Rahal; Brad Filbey, Mo Nunn Racing; Kim Green, Team KOOL Green; Phil Howard, Della Penna Motorsports; Phil Lepan, Player's Forsythe Racing; Jim McGee, Patrick Racing; Bernie Myers, Dale Coyne Racing; John Tzouanakis, Newman/Haas Racing; Joe Ward, Bettenhausen Motorsports.

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Kim Green , Chip Ganassi , Joe Ward , Dale Coyne , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dale Coyne Racing