CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Walker Racing preview

INDIANAPOLIS (September 22, 2004) -- The majority of people that head to Las Vegas go there hoping for some good luck, but the Cummins Walker Racing team and driver Mario Haberfeld subscribe to the adage that luck is where preparation meets ...

INDIANAPOLIS (September 22, 2004) -- The majority of people that head to Las Vegas go there hoping for some good luck, but the Cummins Walker Racing team and driver Mario Haberfeld subscribe to the adage that luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

The opportunity for the team to climb into the top 10 in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford standings takes place this weekend when the Champ Cars contest the Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cummins Walker Racing team, which is coming off a strong seventh-place run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, has also shown how preparation can turn into positive results on race day having finished better than it has started in 10 of the year's 11 starts.

"The Cummins Walker Racing team has not qualified as well as we would have liked, but that is because we are working with the only Reynard in the field," Haberfeld explained. "However, when it comes to race day our preparation and hard work have been paying off. The crew has done a great job in the pits all year and our race strategy has been very sound. We set a goal for ourselves to finish in the top-10 in every race and in the top-10 in the standings and we are very close to achieving that goal," Habefeld said.

Haberfeld, who pilots the #5 Cummins Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone machine, and the Walker crew will look to continue their march toward the top-10 in the standings under the lights on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway superspeedway oval on Saturday September 25,at approximately 10:00 p.m. (PT) following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. The Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona will be the first superspeedway oval race and just the second oval event of the year for the Champ Cars. For Haberfeld it will be just his fourth career oval race and his second in superspeedway competition.

The Brazilian's first trip to a big oval resulted in the best qualifying performance of his career when he started fourth at EuroSpeedway Lausitz last year in a Reynard. He ended the day in 14th place. In his two other oval races Haberfeld has finished in the top-10 twice at Milwaukee placing seventh last year and tenth this year with a best starting spot of tenth in 2003. However, Haberfeld should benefit from Walker Racing's extensive experience on the superspeedways dating back to 1992 when Scott Goodyear earned the team's first-ever Champ Car victory with a win on the two-mile Michigan oval.

"This will be just my fourth race on an oval and just my second on a big oval," Haberfeld said. "I am still getting used to oval racing, which is different from road racing. The biggest thing about oval racing is learning to setup the car. Also, some of the techniques, like drafting, take some time and experience to learn," he explained. "Fortunately for me the Cummins Walker Racing team has a lot of experience on ovals, which will be a big help especially setting up the car," noted Haberfeld.

Commenting on the Las Vegas Speedway oval Haberfeld said, "Las Vegas Speedway has a special meaning for me. Before my first oval race last year in Germany I tested at Las Vegas. That was the first time I ever ran on an oval. This will be our second oval race of the year and obviously it is different than Milwaukee. It is not just that it is a bigger oval. At Milwaukee you have two very fast corners where you have to lift. At Las Vegas the whole track is flat out, so you not only have to have the car working for qualifying, but you have to make sure you can run flat in traffic. Getting the setup correct for both situations is the key to success at Las Vegas."

Currently 12th in the season standings and just 21 points out of the top 10, the Walker Racing team participated in the Champ Car test session at Las Vegas last month, with Haberfeld turning times just a half-second off that of session leader Bruno Junqueira. The two-day weekend begins with practice and qualifying Friday, followed by Saturday's race. The event can be seen on a tape-delayed basis Sunday afternoon on Spike TV, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Scott Goodyear , Bruno Junqueira