CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana Pit Crew Competition Report

TRACY'S CREW CAPTURES $50,000 TOP PRIZE IN INAUGURAL CRAFTSMAN PIT CREW CHALLENGE AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY FONTANA, Calif. (October 28, 1999) - The pit crew for Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) topped three other finalists Thursday afternoon to...

TRACY'S CREW CAPTURES $50,000 TOP PRIZE IN INAUGURAL CRAFTSMAN PIT CREW CHALLENGE AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY

FONTANA, Calif. (October 28, 1999) - The pit crew for Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) topped three other finalists Thursday afternoon to win the $50,000 top prize in the inaugural Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge at California Speedway.

Tracy's crew averaged 37.650 seconds on a pair of pit stops to claim victory in the first-ever competition, which was held in conjunction with the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota, season-ending event of the FedEx Championship Series. The crew for Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) finished second, followed by the crews for Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) and Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard), respectively.

The competition occurred during a 10-minute window during which all four drivers took to the track simultaneously. Each was required to make a minimum of two pit stops in the session, during which all four tires were required to be changed correctly.

The winner was determined following calculation of the total pit times accumulated by each team, divided by the number of pit stops made. Teams were permitted to make more than one stop in an effort to lower the average time spent on each stop.

Time was measured by OMEGA, Official Timekeeper of the FedEx Championship Series, from the time each car passed the blend-in antenna at the entry to pit lane, to the time each car passed the blend-out antenna at the pit exit.

Tracy's crew made only its two required stops to earn the $50,000 prize presented by Craftsman. Papis' crew made three stops, averaging 38.285 seconds; Andretti's, four, averaging 40.674 seconds and Montoya's, five, averaging 40.966 seconds.

Members of the winning crew were left front tire changer Steve Price; crew chief and right front tire changer Tony Cotman; left rear tire changer Chuck Miller; right rear tire changer Eric Halverson; fueler Jeff Simon and vent man Jeff Stafford.

The finalists were determined based on points accumulated between the FedEx Championship Series season opener at Homestead in March and Round 19 of the championship at Australia two weeks ago. Points were awarded according to the same scale used to determine the FedEx Championship Series champion (20-16-14-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1), but based on total time spent in the pits at each event.

Papis' crew led the four finalists with 161 points, followed by Tracy's with 151, Montoya's with 148 and Andretti's with 143.

The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge kicked off a season-ending weekend during which more than $2 million in prize money will be at stake. The winner of Sunday's Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota will earn $1 million while PPG will present another $1 million to either Montoya or Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) as the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series and the PPG Cup.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti