DETROIT (July 28, 2000) - Patrick Racing driver Roberto Moreno, one of the most compelling stories of the FedEx Championship Series season, continued his rise to prominence by finishing as the leading vote-getter for the midseason CART All-Star...
DETROIT (July 28, 2000) - Patrick Racing driver Roberto Moreno, one of the most compelling stories of the FedEx Championship Series season, continued his rise to prominence by finishing as the leading vote-getter for the midseason CART All-Star Team.
Moreno was joined on the midseason CART All-Star Team by Michael Andretti of Newman/Haas Racing, defending series champion Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske and Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green. The midseason team was chosen by a voting committee consisting of current FedEx Championship Series drivers, select media, celebrities Lenny Kravitz and Sylvester Stallone, and fans.
Moreno, the affable 41-year-old Brazilian journeyman in his seventh season, has discarded his "SuperSub" label for the tag of title contender through the first half of the season that officially concluded following Round 10's Molson Indy in Toronto. He earned the top spot by garnering 462 points from a 10-7-5-3-1 balloting system.
"It's been a fantastic year so far and I hope it continues since it would be wonderful to win the Mario Andretti Trophy, which honors someone I have admired since I was a kid," said Moreno, referring to the trophy that is given to the leading votegetter on the season-ending CART All-Star Team. "The Visteon team has been outstanding in getting me to this position and [team general manager] Jim McGee has been excellent with his strategy as always. I also have to thank Pat Patrick for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. And it's great to finally lose the 'SuperSub' tag."
Moreno, enjoying just his third full-season ride in his seven-year CART career, earned the full-time ride in the Visteon Ford Reynard from Patrick Racing following an outstanding run last season as a substitute driver for PacWest Racing and Newman/Haas Racing.
He responded by establishing career firsts in the opening half of the season, capturing his first pole and victory at Cleveland as well as leading the championship. Moreno was the championship leader from Rounds 8 through 10 and was never lower than fourth in the title chase during the first half of the season. In addition to his win at Cleveland - his first since a victory in F3000 competition in 1988 - Moreno added podium efforts at Homestead (2nd), Japan (3rd) and Portland (2nd). He also was third in laps led with 131, which nearly doubled his career total of 68.
Andretti, a member of the inaugural 1999 CART All-Star Team, was second in voting with 399 points. He was Moreno's closest pursuer in the championship race during the first half, reaching the midway point of the season trailing by two points. Andretti, driving the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola, was one of two multiple winners in the first half, earning victories at Japan and Toronto. He also had three other top-four finishes - second at Milwaukee and fourth at Portland and Cleveland.
Montoya, who earned the Mario Andretti Trophy as the leading votegetter on the 1999 CART All-Star Team, was third in balloting with 333 points. Montoya, driving the Target Toyota Lola, came into the midseason point ninth in the championship, but the position is deceiving.
He was dominant, but slowed by misfortune as witnessed by his series-best 541 laps led - nearly 400 more than his next closest competitor - and just one podium appearance.
That podium appearance, however, was historic as it was a win at Milwaukee that gave Toyota the first triumph in its five-year history in the series. He also has three other top-seven finishes. Montoya was stellar on the qualifying side, capturing a series-best four poles and never qualifying outside the top eight in the first half.
De Ferran, in his first season with Marlboro Team Penske, was fourth in the balloting with 309 points. De Ferran reached the midway point of the season third in the championship on the strength of being the other multiple winner in the first half. He earned wins at Nazareth - the historic 100th for Penske Racing - and Portland and added five other top-10 finishes. He also captured poles at Homestead and Long Beach and qualified among the top five in eight of the first 10 races. He also was second to Montoya in laps led with 164.
Tracy was fifth in the balloting with 275 points, making him the third member of the five-driver 1999 CART All-Star Team to make this year's midseason team. His first half was buoyed by a victory at Long Beach and third-place podium efforts at Homestead, Rio and Toronto. The hot start allowed him to sit atop the championship for a series-best five of the 10 first-half rounds, leading from Rio through Detroit.
This is the first of two voting periods for the 2000 CART All-Star Team. The midseason CART All-Star Team allows fans, drivers and media an opportunity to see where their choices stand in the balloting at the midway point of the season. Three of the five selections from last year's midseason All-Star team - Montoya, Andretti and Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green - went on to make the inaugural CART All-Star Team. They were joined on the inaugural team by Tracy and Max Papis of Team Rahal, who surpassed midseason All-Stars de Ferran and Helio Castroneves for the final honors.
The official balloting for the 2000 CART All-Star Team will begin following the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Oct. 29 at California Speedway. The votes from the midseason CART All-Star Team do not carry over to the final balloting for the team.