DETROIT (July 19, 2000) - A great deal of attention will be given to pit stops in this weekend's grueling Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway. Considering that the field in this 500-mile event may be more closely matched than it...
DETROIT (July 19, 2000) - A great deal of attention will be given to pit stops in this weekend's grueling Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway. Considering that the field in this 500-mile event may be more closely matched than it has been at any other point in FedEx Championship Series history, and that teams will be making upwards of six pit stops during the course of the event, this race could very well be won or lost in the pits.
However, pit crews participating in the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota will have an added incentive this weekend. The crew that provides the quickest service in the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota will be guaranteed a "wild card" spot in the $50,000-to-win Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, which is a head-to-head competition among five pit crews. The challenge will be held during the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota weekend at California Speedway.
Begun in 1999, the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge awards points to pit crews at each of the first 19 events on the 20-race FedEx Championship Series schedule. Points are awarded in the same fashion that points are awarded for FedEx Championship Series events (20 points for first place, 16 for second, 14 for third, etc.), and are awarded according to the amount of time spent in pit lane during a race.
Last year, the top four teams in the final Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge point standings earned the opportunity to battle for the $50,000 first prize. The Tony Cotman-led crew of the No. 26 KOOL Honda Reynard, driven by Paul Tracy, took the cash prize and a Waterford Crystal trophy from Craftsman.
"It felt good to win the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge because we worked so hard and practiced so much," said Cotman, crew chief of the No. 26 KOOL Honda Reynard. "We loved going head-to-head with the other pit crews and it was great to beat the best crews in Champ Car. With passing opportunities on the track few and far between, it's a big advantage when we're able to make up ground in the pits and it's nice to have some public recognition of the hard working pit crews."
The top four teams following the 2000 Honda Indy 300 in Australia will again earn the opportunity to compete for the prize, but the "wild card" entry means that five teams will participate in this year's competition. Should the "wild card" winner fall inside the top four finishers in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge final point standings, the fifth place finisher in the standings will participate, guaranteeing that five teams will compete for the prize.
Through last weekend's Molson Indy in Toronto, the top four teams in the challenge point standings were the Patrick Racing crew of the No. 20 Visteon Ford Reynard, driven by Roberto Moreno with 77 points; the PPI Motorsports crew of the No. 97 Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard, driven by Cristiano da Matta with 76 points; the Player's/Forsythe Racing crew of the No. 32 Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard, driven by Patrick Carpentier with 71 points; and the Marlboro Team Penske crew of the No. 2 Marlboro Honda Reynard, driven by Gil de Ferran with 69 points.
- CART -