CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Trophy To Be Unveiled

FINISH LINE IN SIGHT FOR CART PIT CREW BRAGGING RIGHTS HOUSTON -- The heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping excitement of racing may take place on the track, but an inside race among the pit crews also has been fueling the need for speed -- and...

FINISH LINE IN SIGHT FOR CART PIT CREW BRAGGING RIGHTS

HOUSTON -- The heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping excitement of racing may take place on the track, but an inside race among the pit crews also has been fueling the need for speed -- and the finish line is just around the final turn. In one month, Craftsman will present the first-ever Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Trophy to the fastest Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) pit crew, determined in a special final competition among the season's top four crew teams, at the season-ending race in Fontana. "Pit crews are an integral part of every race team," said John A. Lebbad, Director, Event Marketing and Sales Promotion for Sears. "That's why we created a program to honor the work they do to safely and efficiently get their driver back on the track. The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge is a true example of teamwork." The new prize of the pits is the Waterford Crystal Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Trophy, specially designed in Waterford, Ireland. Valued at $16,000, the trophy took two months to design and one month to carve. It will be presented with a $50,000 cash bonus and awarded to the fastest pit crew in CART's FedEx Championship Series. In Fontana, the top four teams through the first 19 races will compete against one another for one of the two coveted spots in the final, head-to-head pit stop championship competition. The final two crews will race each other for the cash bonus, Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Trophy and the honor to wear the Craftsman championship logo on race team apparel during the 2000 CART season. Run all season long, the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge has been awarding points to each participating team in CART's FedEx Championship Series based on the amount of time spent in the pits. The less time in the pits, the more points each team earns. Total points awarded to a team are based on the first 19 races. Using a scoring system identical to the point structure used to determine the Series champion, the top 12 positions receive points. Pit stop time is measured by Omega Timing & Scoring as reported in the Official Pit Stop Report at each race. Pit stop time begins once the car enters the pits and concludes as the car exits. "As the competition in Champ Car racing has become closer and closer, good pit stops have become more and more crucial," said three-time PPG Cup winner and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal. "A season-long competition like the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge recognizes the value of our crews and the work they do, and gives them even more incentive to save that fraction of a second that can be the difference between winning and losing." "Champ Car racing pit stops are some of the most intense and exciting moments in sports," said Andrew Craig, CART chairman and CEO. "The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge is a terrific addition to our sport, and honors the crew members who so often provide the difference between a first- and second-place finish." "The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge is a great idea. It highlights the unsung heroes of our sport," said Derrick Walker, owner, Walker Racing. "The key element of winning today is the pit stops. This program will highlight the competition in the pits and will add further excitement to our events." Craftsman is the Official Tool of CART, NASCAR and NHRA, and has been part of motorsports for more than 72 years. Craftsman tools continue to be the top-selling mechanic and auto specialty tools in the U.S., with more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. DieHard, America's most preferred battery brand, is a major supporter of NASCAR and the NHRA, and the Official Battery of CART. DieHard has become a household word for long-lasting quality and durability, making it the most recognizable name in replacement automobile batteries. Visit www.sears.com/craftsman for more information. Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series, which is comprised of 20 races in five countries on four continents in 1999. Drivers such as Michael Andretti, Adrian Fernandez, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Greg Moore, Al Unser, Jr., and Jimmy Vasser race 900-plus horsepower, open-wheel cars at speeds of more than 240 miles per hour on some circuits. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Greg Moore , Al Unser