Honda Indy 300 - Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
WHEN: October 28, 2001
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.795-mile temporary street course
RACE DISTANCE: TBD
TELEVISION COVERAGE (ET): ESPN; 1:00pm (TAPE)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Adrian Fernandez
DEFENDING POLESITTER: Juan Montoya (109.701 miles per hour; 1 minute, 31.722 seconds)
QUALIFYING RECORD: Dario Franchitti - 1999 (109.724 miles per hour; 1 minute, 31.703 seconds)
2001 DRIVER POINTS (18 races): Gil de Ferran (179), KENNY BRACK (153), Helio Castroneves (141), Michael Andretti (125), Dario Franchitti (105)
2001 MANUFACTURER POINTS (18 races): Honda (316), FORD-COSWORTH (266), Toyota (266)
FORD-COSWORTH HEADS 'DOWN UNDER' - Ford-Cosworth heads to Australia for this weekend's Honda Indy 300 at Surfer's Paradise after capturing its seventh victory of the season two weeks ago in Monterey, California. Team Rahal's Max Papis, driver of the No. 7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth, assumed the lead on lap 61 and stayed there for the remaining 16 laps of the race to earn his second victory of the season (Portland) at Laguna Seca Raceway. Ford-Cosworth has scored three pole positions and five race victories in the 10 CART events that have been held in Australia since 1991. Nigel Mansell scored back-to-back poles in 1993 and 1994 while Michael Andretti led the field to the green in 1995. Ford-Cosworth has actually won five of the last eight CART races in Australia, including Mansell's victory in '93, Andretti in '94, Paul Tracy in '95, Scott Pruett in '97 and Adrian Fernandez last season. Mansell's victory in 1993 was special, not only because it was his first victory in his first Champ Car race, but also because it helped propel him to the drivers' championship in only his rookie season.
ALEX BARRON TO REPLACE MAX WILSON AT ARCIERO-BLAIR - Former Champ Car driver Alex Barron will replace Max Wilson behind the wheel of Arciero-Blair Racing's No. 25 Driving 101 Ford-Cosworth for the final two CART races of the season at Surfer's Paradise and the California Speedway. Barron, who drove the final six races of the 2000 season for Dale Coyne Racing with a season-best finish of eighth in the season finale at Fontana, has spent the 2001 season testing the new Atlantic chassis and for Firestone at the new tracks in Germany and England.
BRACK REMAINS SECOND IN DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP; HONDA CLINCHES THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack slipped farther back in the chase for the CART drivers' championship after failing to score points two weeks ago at Laguna Seca. Brack (153 points) now trails Gil de Ferran (179) by 26 points with just two races remaining in the 2001 CART season, including this weekend's Honda Indy 300. Ford-Cosworth is tied with Toyota for second in the manufacturers' championship after Honda (316) clinched its fourth title in six seasons following de Ferran's second place finish at Laguna Seca. Ford-Cosworth (266 points) and Toyota (266) will now battle it out for second place in the manufacturers' championship with two races remaining on the schedule.
FORD-COSWORTH FAVORITES IN AUSTRALIA - Although there are several drivers capable of winning a race in the FedEx Championship Series, Ford-Cosworth drivers Kenny Brack and Max Papis each stand a strong chance of sipping champagne this weekend. Here's a quick look at each of these drivers and why they should be considered favorites:
Kenny Brack - Brack has scored top-10 finishes in five of the last six races, including a win (Germany) and a second place result (England) in Europe, eighth in Vancouver and seventh in Houston. In addition to pole positions in Mexico and at Road America, Brack has also made top five starts on the streets of Long Beach (second), Toronto (third), Vancouver (fourth) and Houston (third). Altogether, Brack has five top-10 finishes on road and/or street courses, including fifth in Mexico, ninth in Detroit, sixth in Cleveland, eighth in Vancouver and seventh in Houston. As a rookie last season at Surfer's Paradise, Brack qualified 12th and drove to a second place finish which kept him in contention for the drivers' championship heading into the season finale at the California Speedway.
Max Papis - Papis has mounted a late-season charge by scoring championship points, as well as two podium finishes, in each of the last four races. After finishes of second in Germany and 11th in England, Papis scored a ninth-place result on the streets of Houston before collecting his third career victory (second of the season) at Laguna Seca on October 14th. Papis has now scored 42 points in the last four events and stands eighth in the championship with 86 points.
COSWORTH CHAMP CAR WINS - Max Papis' third career Champ Car victory (and his second this season) at Laguna Seca on October 14th was the 212th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since entering 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) (was sanctioned by USAC). 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 - The Cosworth XF engine has won 14 races since its introduction at the beginning of last season and has scored the most CART victories in consecutive years by a Cosworth powerplant since the DFX captured 32 wins between 1985 (15) and 1986 (17) ... Herdez Bettenhausen driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., will make his 100th career Champ Car start this weekend at Surfer's Paradise ... Kenny Brack has won the most races (four), captured the most pole positions (six) and has led the most laps of any driver in the CART FedEx Championship Series this season ... Ford-Cosworth has equaled its win total from a year ago (seven), and has now won 14 races in the last two seasons.