CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago: Ford Racing preview

TEAM RAHAL LOOKING FOR REPEAT VICTORY IN CART GRAND PRIX OF CHICAGO - Team Rahal heads to the Chicago Motor Speedway this weekend with hopes of duplicating last season's performance and capturing its first victory of the season. A year ago Kenny...

TEAM RAHAL LOOKING FOR REPEAT VICTORY IN CART GRAND PRIX OF CHICAGO - Team Rahal heads to the Chicago Motor Speedway this weekend with hopes of duplicating last season's performance and capturing its first victory of the season. A year ago Kenny Brack led 59 laps, including the final 19, en route to capturing his third victory of the season in front of second-place finisher Patrick Carpentier, giving Ford-Cosworth a 1-2 finish. Team Rahal were the ones to beat on the ovals in 2001, scoring four pole positions [Texas, Milwaukee, Michigan and Rockingham] and four victories [Motegi, Milwaukee, Chicago and Germany] in nine oval events.

FORD-TESTED PIT LANE SPEED LIMITER TO DEBUT AT CHICAGO - Beginning with this weekend's race at the Chicago Motor Speedway, CART has mandated the implementation of a new, two-stage pit lane speed limiter that was successfully tested by Ford during the race in Milwaukee on June 1st. The speed limiter maintains a 50-mile-per-hour limit the first time the button is pushed by the driver, 85 miles-per hour on the second push and full control on the third push. In addition to this weekend's CART Grand Prix of Chicago, the new speed limiter will be used in oval events in England and Germany in an effort to get the cars back to normal racing speeds and blend safely back into traffic following pit stops.

FORD-COSWORTH AND ITS OVAL TRACK SUCCESS - Since introducing the XF engine for the 2000 FedEx Championship season, Ford-Cosworth has been a strong contender in every oval track event over the last two seasons. Consider that in the 19 CART races contested on the ovals since the XF first appeared in the season-opening race at the Homestead Motor Speedway in 2000, Ford-Cosworth drivers have won nine races, recorded 45 top-five finishes and made 29 podium appearances.

FORD-COSWORTH DRIVER NOTES -

Patrick Carpentier - Qualified 13th in Portland, but rebounded to score his second top-five finish [fifth] in as many races. Started sixth and third in previous oval track events this season in Japan and Milwaukee, finishing fourth and 15th [electrical], respectively. Has qualified sixth ['99], 12th ['00] and ninth ['01] at Chicago Motor Speedway in three previous starts with top-10 finishes of sixth ['99] and second ['01]. Six of his eight career podium appearances have come on ovals, including his first career Champ Car victory earned last season at Michigan. Has scored top-10 finishes this season in Mexico [seventh], Japan [fourth], Laguna Seca [fifth] and Portland [fifth].

Mario Dominguez - Struggled during practice and qualifying at Portland, but managed a 10th-place finish [three points] to score his first championship points on a road course this season. Made his first points-paying finish of the season in Japan where he came home 11th [two points]. Currently second in the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year standings behind Townsend Bell [18 points].

Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Scored his sixth consecutive top-10 finish at Portland two weeks ago [sixth], but slipped to third in the championship standings behind Cristiano da Matta [74 points] and Bruno Junquiera [54 points]. Has finished ninth or better in all six races this season, including fourth in Mexico, fifth in Long Beach, Japan and Milwaukee, ninth in Laguna Seca and sixth in Portland. Scored his best result in Chicago two years ago when he qualified 18th en route to an 11th-place finish.

Max Papis - Did not start at Portland because of "unresolved commercial issues" between Cosworth Racing and Sigma Autosport. Slipped to 10th in the championship standings with 32 points. Had scored championship points in nine of his last 11 races dating back to a second place finish in Germany last season before missing Portland. Scored his first career Champ Car pole position at Chicago Motor Speedway in 1999, followed by qualifying efforts of sixth in 2000 and 25th last year with his best finish coming in 1999 [fourth].

Alex Tagliani - Qualified fourth but finished a disappointing 12th in Portland after a loose lug nut following his first pit stop forced him to pit again and drop out of contention. Currently 12th in the championship standings with 30 points. Has posted five top-10 finishes in the last eight races dating back to his runner-up performance in Australia last year. In two career starts in Chicago, "Tag" has never finished out of the top 10 with results of ninth ['00] and sixth ['01].

Jimmy Vasser - Started 10th in Portland two weeks ago before a gearbox problem forced him out of the race after just 48 laps. Currently 14th in the championship standings with 26 points. Has two top-10 finishes in three starts at Chicago Motor Speedway, including a third-place finish in 1999 and an eighth-place finish in 2000. Has never failed to start inside the top 10 at Chicago, qualifying third in '99, ninth in '00 and sixth in '01.

COSWORTH RACING CHAMP CAR WINS - Max Papis' third career Champ Car victory at Laguna Seca on October 14, 2001 was the 212th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since it entered North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 166 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League [IRL]. Michael Andretti has won the most races using a Cosworth engine [25], followed by Rick Mears [20], Bobby Rahal [18], Mario Andretti [16] and Johnny Rutherford [16].

SPARK PLUGS - Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., tops all CART drivers this season having completed 820 of a possible 823 laps [99.6%] ... Jourdain is also the only driver currently among the top seven in the championship standings who has not yet led a lap this season ... since re-entering CART in 1992, Ford-Cosworth has never failed to win at least one of the first six races to open the season.

-ford-

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Series INDYCAR