CHAMPCAR/CART: Greg Moore Award nominees named

CART annoucnes nominees for 2003 Greg Moore Legacy Award. INDIANAPOLIS (October 25, 2003) --Among CART Champ Car drivers, perhaps no award other than the Vanderbilt Cup is more coveted than the one that is given in honor of a racer that may have...

CART annoucnes nominees for 2003 Greg Moore Legacy Award.

INDIANAPOLIS (October 25, 2003) --Among CART Champ Car drivers, perhaps no award other than the Vanderbilt Cup is more coveted than the one that is given in honor of a racer that may have seen his own name etched on the historic championship trophy had it not been for his untimely death in 1999.

The Greg Moore Legacy Award was created in 2000 and is given annually to the driver that best represents the ideals and talents of the Canadian star, who met with tragedy in the 1999 CART season finale. The award is presented to the driver who best typifies Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on track, as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media, and the CART community. As Moore was a product of the CART Ladder System - having competed in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship from 1993-95 and winning 10 of 12 races en route to the series title in 1995 - drivers from the top two CART development series are also eligible for the award.

This year's award nominees include Champ Car veteran Jimmy Vasser of American Spirit Team Johansson, series Rookie of the Year Sebastien Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing and Walker Racing's Darren Manning. The Toyota Atlantic Championship is represented by Michael Valiante and Barber Dodge Pro Series champion Leo Maia rounds out the quintet of nominees.

"Greg Moore was one of the brightest stars in the CART Champ Car World Series and would likely have gone on to great things in the sport," said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "I have no doubt that Greg would have had the kind of racing career that many can only dream of. The five drivers that have been nominated for the 2003 Greg Moore Legacy Award have shown the same spirit and dedication throughout this season that Greg had throughout his entire career. This is an extremely special award, and all of the drivers who have been nominated should feel tremendously honored."

A seven-member panel - including Pook, CART Toyota Atlantic Championship president Vicki O'Connor, Player's/Forsythe Racing owner Gerald Forsythe, Imperial Tobacco President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Bexon, CART Champ Car driver representative Adrian Fernandez, SPEED Channel commentator Calvin Fish, and National Speed Sport News CART beat writer John Oreovicz -- will vote on the award prior to this year's CART Champ Car Season Awards Celebration.

Vasser, a native of Canoga Park, California, became one of just six drivers to make 200 Champ Car starts this season and has helped make the first-year American Spirit Team Johansson squads one of the most promising of the season. Bourdais, of Le Mans, France, set a number of series rookie marks this year on his way to winning the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year Trophy. He led the first Champ Car lap he ever ran and has gone on to win four poles and three races this season. Manning, a native of North Yorkshire, England, set a series standard for rookies this season by finishing in the top 10 in eight consecutive events.

Valiante was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, and currently resides in Burnaby, B.C. He earned three victories in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and finished third in the series championship. Maia, from Oakland, California, won the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship on the strength of six victories including three races where he scored all 23 available points on the weekend.

Brazilian Helio Castroneves was the inaugural winner of the Greg Moore Legacy Award in 2000, Dario Franchitti was named as the recipient in 2001 and Patrick Carpentier -- a former teammate to Moore -- was the winner of last year's award.

The award will be presented during the 2003 Champ Car Awards Celebration at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, California on November 4.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Michael Valiante , Calvin Fish , Greg Moore