CHAMPCAR/CART: FANatics pre-race excitement

DETROIT (April 5, 2001) - The FedEx Championship Series continues its commitment to providing unique and exciting fan experiences as it introduces the Championship Auto Racing Teams season-long FANatics program, beginning at this...

DETROIT (April 5, 2001) - The FedEx Championship Series continues its commitment to providing unique and exciting fan experiences as it introduces the Championship Auto Racing Teams season-long FANatics program, beginning at this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The CART FANatics program allows more than two dozen lucky fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be immersed in the pre-race activities as CART's Champ Car teams prepare for battle on race day in the most competitive racing series in the world. Each CART driver will be assigned a randomly selected fan, who will have the rare opportunity to become part of that team in the key moments leading up the to green flag.

Each fan will have the opportunity to watch pre-race introductions and activities on the grid; meet the driver in a more personal 1-on-1 atmosphere; and get candid photographs as the team readies the car and the driver situates himself in the cockpit. Fans involved in CART FANatics are so close to the action they can smell the methanol and tire rubber as the stars of the series are released from the grid to begin the race.

"You really want to do everything we can for the fans because they are the reason we are here," said two-time FedEx Series champion Alex Zanardi, who drives the Pioneer WorldCom Honda Reynard for Mo Nunn Racing. "They will now get the ultimate opportunity to see us during one of the more dramatic times of the weekend. We get to share some of our private time with them, and that's special."

"This gives the fans a real opportunity to get closer to the drivers and the pre-race excitement," said Christian Fittipaldi, who drives the Kmart Toyota Lola for Newman Haas Racing. "This continues to prove that the FedEx Championship Series is the most accessible major series on the planet."

Lucky fans will each receive a package delivered by a FedEx courier containing a variety of special FANatics promotional items. Each large FedEx box will hold a bright orange CART FANatics T-shirt; an autographed 'hero' card from their FANatics driver; a collectible WorldCom pre-paid phone card; and other racing paraphernalia. Teams also may include specially autographed items or gifts for the fans as well. Motorola will provide a pair of Talkabout* two-way radios so the FANatic paired with Team Motorola star Michael Andretti can communicate with friends and family back in the grandstands.

"The mandatory all-driver autograph session CART implemented has been a huge success with the fans and we wanted to identify another avenue to further enhance the fans' experience and interaction," said Mike Zizzo, CART vice president of competition public relations. "What better way than being on the grid, meeting one of your favorite racing stars and being a special guest of the team on race day. It would be similar to being on the field for a major-league game or the NFL for pre-game introductions and in the locker room as the teams get ready to play. This program, however, would not be possible without the outstanding support of our drivers, teams, promoters and sponsors. It is a team effort to make this the best experience possible for each fan involved."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series, a 21-race championship conducted in seven countries worldwide in 2001. The stars of the FedEx Championship Series are led by current series champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, 1997-98 champion Zanardi, '91 champ Andretti and 1996 champion Jimmy Vasser of Patrick Racing, who are among the most versatile drivers in the world having to tame superspeedways, small ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Christian Fittipaldi , Alex Zanardi
Teams Team Penske