CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Preview

LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY, Monterey, California (27 August) - Will Alex Zanardi win both the Texaco/Havoline 300 feature race of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey -- September 11, 12 and 13 - and the 1998 FedEx Championship Series title? The odds are ...

LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY, Monterey, California (27 August) - Will Alex Zanardi win both the Texaco/Havoline 300 feature race of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey -- September 11, 12 and 13 - and the 1998 FedEx Championship Series title? The odds are against him.

Zanardi the defending series champion, will be the champion again if he is victorious in the Texaco/Havoline 300 and sixth or better at Round 15 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 6. The only CART Champ Car driver who has, so far, won championships back-to-back is Bobby Rahal, in 1986 and 1987.

Only three drivers have ever won a Grand Prix of Monterey and the CART title in the same year: Michael Andretti (1991) , Rahal (1986 and '87) and Danny Sullivan (1988), and none have done it on the 2.238-mile track. Zanardi finished third and won the title last year. In 1996, his rookie Champ Car year, he won but "only" finished third in the championship.

Seven drivers still have title chances -- mathematically. By scoring seven or more points in Vancouver, Zanardi would reduce the count to four: Zanardi, who's from Bologna, Italy; Target Chip Ganassi team-mate Jimmy Vasser, who grew up in San Francisco; Mexico City born Adrian Fernandez; and Canadian Greg Moore. Scoring 20 points by winning the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, with his Honda powered Reynard Champ Car, would give Zanardi an unbeatable total of 232 points. He now has 206 points to Vasser's 126, Fernandez's 120 and Moore's 118 points. The first 12 race finishers score points: 20, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and single points are earned by winning the Pole and leading the most race laps.

Zanardi is already one of only four drivers to score 200 or more points in a single season since the first CART Champ Car race in Monterey, in 1983. The others are Andretti (1991 - record 234 points), Rahal (1991 - 200 points) and Al Unser Jr. (1990 - 210 and '94 - 225 points). Zanardi has six victories in the first 14 FedEx Championship Series races to date. The record for wins in a season is co-held by Andretti and Unser Jr. who each won eight races in 1991 and '94 respectively; Rahal won seven in 1986, including the first of a record four Grand Prix of Monterey wins.

Advance sale tickets for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring the Texaco/Havoline 300 can be purchased by calling 1-800-327-SECA, faxing an order to (831) 373-0533 or logging onto www.laguna-seca.com (Tickets) until September 10 or at BASS Ticket outlets:

        3-Day Super Ticket        (Event & Paddock admission)                $85
        2-Day Super Ticket         (Event & Paddock admission)                $75  
        Friday Super Ticket         (Event & Paddock admission)                $20  
        Saturday Super Ticket         (Event & Paddock admission)             $45
        Sunday Super Ticket         (Event & Paddock admission)                $55

At the gate, Super Tickets are not available. Only event and Paddock tickets are sold:

        3-Day General Admission        (Event admission only)           $80
        2-Day General Admission        (Event admission only)          $70
        Saturday General Admission        (Event admission only)        $45
        Sunday General Admission        (Event admission only)        $60
        Friday Paddock Admission        (At Paddock Gate)        $10         
        Saturday Paddock Admission        (At Paddock Gate)        $15         
        Sunday Paddock Admission        (At Paddock Gate)       $20

Children 12 years old and younger are admitted free-of-charge when accompanied by a paying adult.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Alex Zanardi , Danny Sullivan , Chip Ganassi , Greg Moore