CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Rocketsports Racing preview

Rocketsports Races to Las Vegas for the Double Down in the Desert LANSING, Mich. (September 22, 2004) -- America's playground, Las Vegas will host Round Twelve of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. The...

Rocketsports Races to Las Vegas for the Double Down in the Desert

LANSING, Mich. (September 22, 2004) -- America's playground, Las Vegas will host Round Twelve of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. The Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway promises to be the 'raciest' event in Vegas on Saturday, September 25th. The 166 lap night race will follow the NASCAR Craftsman truck race on the 1.5 mile oval, and Rocketsports drivers, Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith plan to be at the forefront of the action.

Currently fifth in the Champ Car World Series points battle, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, Alex Tagliani is betting on an exciting race in Vegas. "This weekend's double-bill with Champ Cars and the Craftsman Truck Series will be interesting and fun for race fans. It'll be a good show with lots of variety - just like the city of Vegas! The Champ Car race is a bonus to all that Vegas already offers," noted Tagliani, a resident of Las Vegas.

"The Bridgestone 400 will be a battle among the Champ Cars. We'll all run flat-out and it'll be really tight between cars, but the one that has that little bit more in it and can grip the track best will get ahead. The track may be slick following the truck race, but all the drivers will have to adapt," predicted Tagliani. "The challenge will be to allow as little drag possible in the car. I've been working with Brian Ma (lead engineer) on a set up package that'll give me a fast car with great mechanical grip, to stay on the inside."

"Fans should watch the inside line on the track," continued Tagliani. "It'll be the fastest and no one will give it up easily, so we'll also need good pit-stops and clever strategy. The key is to be aware of what your car can do and trust the set up. With a strong car and some luck we should be in good shape." In his 13 Champ Car career oval races, Tagliani has secured two poles and two podium finishes. He enters Round Twelve of the 2003 Champ Car World Series topping the charts for most miles completed and most consecutive top-ten finishes (eight in 11 finishes) and plans to continue his streak in Las Vegas.

Guy Smith returns to the Las Vegas oval where he clocked some impressive laps during a test session earlier this season. "This will be my first oval race in four years, but the Champ Car test at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway reminded me of how much I enjoy oval racing. The Rocketsports crew gave me good car in the test and I was very confident, which was reflected in my times," said Smith, who was the fastest Rookie at the test and sixth quickest overall, with a time of 26.725 (202.058 mph). "The No.17 Rocketsports car was fast, good in traffic and able to drive any line on the track; high or low.

"The team and I seem to have turned a corner and our performance at Laguna Seca was testament to that," said Smith, noting the second of two top-ten finishes in his four Champ Car starts. "There's a confidence and excitement in the team, and we've been working hard to get the best from the car. We plan to carry this forward to the Bridgestone 400 in Vegas, where I'm confident of our top-five potential. We'll focus on qualifying well and concentrate on running a steady race.

"The Champ Car night race will be an exciting new feature for fans. I'm quite used to night-racing with my 24 Hours of Le Mans experience," added the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours winner, "so I'm really looking forward to the race and being in Las Vegas. It's a great city, full of excitement and pleasure, where 200 miles on a Saturday night in a fast car is appropriate!"

Watch Smith and Tagliani round the oval in the sexiest cars in Vegas. The Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be broadcast on Sunday, September 26, 2004 at 4:00 PM (ET) on Spike TV.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Guy Smith , Alex Tagliani