CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Ford Racing preview

CART HEADS FOR MEXICO TO CLOSE THE 2002 SEASON The CART FedEx Championship Series heads south of the border this weekend to wrap up its 2002 season with the inaugural Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante in Mexico City, Mexico. Team Rahal and Jimmy Vasser...

CART HEADS FOR MEXICO TO CLOSE THE 2002 SEASON
The CART FedEx Championship Series heads south of the border this weekend to wrap up its 2002 season with the inaugural Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante in Mexico City, Mexico. Team Rahal and Jimmy Vasser come into Mexico City on a roll having scored championship points in eight consecutive races, highlighted by a victory two weeks ago at the California Speedway. Vasser led 148 of a possible 250 laps and passed Michael Andretti on the final restart on lap 248 to clinch the victory, which was his first since Houston in October of 2000.

DALE COYNE TO RUN GERMAN DRIVER IN MEXICO CITY
German driver Andre Lotterer, a 20-year old British Formula 3 and Formula One test driver, will make his CART debut this weekend in Mexico City behind the wheel of Dale Coyne Racing's No. 19 Ford-powered Lola. Lotterer finished seventh in the British F3 championship last season, finished fourth and was named the top rookie in the 2000 German F3 championship and has done some testing for the Jaguar Formula One team.

FORD DRIVER NOTES

Patrick Carpentier - Scored his third podium appearance in the last four races and his ninth top-five result of the season with a third-place finish two weeks ago at the California Speedway. For the season he has now scored top-10 finishes in Monterrey [seventh], Japan [fourth], Laguna Seca [fifth], Portland [fifth], Toronto [10th], Cleveland [first], Vancouver [fifth], Mid-Ohio [first], Road America [seventh], Rockingham [fourth], Australia [second] and Fontana [third]. Currently third in the championship standings with 145 points, which surpasses his previous career-high of 101 points established in 2000 when he finished 11th in the standings.

Mario Dominguez (Rookie) - Qualified 17th and finished 16th in Fontana two weeks ago. Scored his first career Champ Car victory in improbable fashion on October 27th in Australia and assumed the lead for Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year" honors in the process. The win was the first for Herdez Competition and the first by a rookie since 2000 when Bruno Junquiera won at Road America. For the season he has scored championship points in seven races and recorded top-10 finishes at Portland [10th], Vancouver [10th], Road America [eighth] and Australia [first].

Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Saw his streak of 17 consecutive points-paying finishes [Team Rahal record] come to an end two weeks ago at the California Speedway when he finished 13th [blown engine]. With top-five finishes this year in Monterrey [fourth], Long Beach [fifth], Japan [fifth], Milwaukee [fifth] and Vancouver [fourth], he is currently ninth in the championship with a career-high 105 points. Has finished 17 of the 18 races thus far this season and is the series leader in laps [98.2 percent].

Alex Tagliani - Managed an ill-handling car to an eighth-place result at the California Speedway on November 3rd and scored his third top-10 finish in three starts at the two-mile superspeedway [sixth - 2000, third - 2001]. He has now scored points in 15 of the 18 races this season, including 13 of the last 14, and is currently eighth in the championship standings with a career-high 108 points.

Jimmy Vasser - Scored his first victory since October of 2000 and his first of the season by leading 148 of a possible 250 laps two weeks ago at the California Speedway. Clearly the fastest car on the track all day, Vasser first won in Fontana in 1998 and became the first repeat winner in the six CART races held at the track since 1997. He has now scored points in eighth consecutive races, including 12 top-10 and five top-five results this season, and vaulted into sixth-place in the championship standings [112 points] heading to the season finale in Mexico City.

COSWORTH RACING CHAMP CAR WINS
Jimmy Vasser's victory two weeks ago at the California Speedway was the 216th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since it entered North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 170 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League [IRL]. Michael Andretti has won the most races using a Cosworth engine [25], followed by Rick Mears [20], Bobby Rahal [18], Mario Andretti [16] and Johnny Rutherford [16].

SPARK PLUGS
Patrick Carpentier has two wins and nine top-five finishes through 18 races this season, eclipsing last year's total of one win and five top-five finishes ... Alex Tagliani has scored championship points in all but three races this season [Long Beach - DNF; Milwaukee - DNF; Rockingham - DNF] ... Jourdain leads all drivers by having completed 2,295 out of a possible 2,338 laps this season [98.2%].

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Mario Dominguez , Rick Mears , Dale Coyne , Johnny Rutherford , Michel Jourdain
Teams Dale Coyne Racing