CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Laguna Seca preview

JACKSON, MI - - OCTOBER 11, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing drivers Roberto Moreno and Jimmy continue their assault on the top-10 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series standings this weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell...

JACKSON, MI - - OCTOBER 11, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing drivers Roberto Moreno and Jimmy continue their assault on the top-10 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series standings this weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300 at Mazda (Laguna Seca) Raceway in Monterey, California.

With just three races remaining in the 2001 season, and a total of 66 points available, every race takes on added importance as both Visteon/Patrick Racing drivers fight for a place among the leaders in the championship standings. Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, has hovered around the top-10 in the standings for much of the second half of the season reaching as high as eighth in the points. He is currently 11th in the championship race with 74 points, just two points out of 10th place and 12 out of seventh. Vasser, who has been as high as third in the championship standings early in the year, appears to have finally shaken the bad luck that has plagued him for much of the season with points paying finishes in his last two events. He currently has the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard in 14th place in the standings with 56 points and is just 18 points out of 10th.

Moreno has been one of the most reliable and consistent drivers this year finishing 14 of 17 races, tied for second, and placing in the points 11 times. The personable Brazilian has finished in the top-10 six times with three podiums and one win. He has points paying finishes in five of the six street races this year with three top-10 showings, two podium appearances and a win. The Weston, Florida resident has finished in the points in eight of ten road/street events this year with five top-10 showings including three podiums and the win.

"The #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has had some very good performances this year," Moreno said. "We need to step it up a bit these last three races and finish the season off with some podium finishes, and hopefully a couple of wins. Our goal is the top-10, but the top-five is not out of reach," Moreno noted.

The eight-year CART veteran, who is in his second season with Visteon/Patrick

Racing, will be making his seventh appearance in Monterey. Moreno has finished in the points in three of his six previous races on the challenging Laguna Seca permanent road circuit. His best performance came in 1999 when he finished second.

"I have had some good races at Laguna Seca," Moreno said. "It is a very interesting, very challenging circuit. The main thing is to get the car balanced properly because there are so many different kinds of corners here. You have to have the car working well through the corkscrew, but you also have to be quick through the other turns. My engineer, David Dembecki, and I have been working very hard analyzing data from last year and this year and I think we have some good ideas on what to do," Moreno concluded

Vasser, who has placed in the top-10 in the championship race for six consecutive years including taking the title in 1996, is once again making a late season charge. He snapped a streak of seven consecutive finishes out of the points with a seventh place finish in England then followed that up with an 11th place showing at Houston. It is the first time since the start of the year that Vasser has scored points in consecutive races. The native of California began the season impressively finishing in the top-six in the first four events then became mired in a slump that saw him score points in just three of his last 13 races. Vasser has scored points in seven of 17 races this year placing in the top-10 six times, the top-six five times and the top-five four times. The Las Vegas, resident has finished in the points in four of the of ten nine road/street races, with three top-six showings.

"This has been a difficult season for the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team," Vasser said. "We have had a very competitive car, but the breaks just haven't gone our way. My goals are to win a least one race for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team and finish the season in the top-10 in the championship standings. I believe we can accomplish those goals. In the past I have been able to finish the season strong and have placed in the top-10 in the points every year since 1995. I have also won on all three tracks remaining on the schedule, so we know what it takes to be competitive in those races," Vasser noted.

Now in his 10th CART season and first with Patrick Racing, Vasser will be racing at Laguna Seca for the 10th time. In nine previous starts he has qualified in the top-10 five times including four of the last five years. His best starting position is third in 1998. Vasser has finished in the points six times including five top-10 showings, three top-five placements and a victory in 1997.

"I have been racing at Laguna Seca for a long time. It is like my home track in many ways, since I grew up just outside this area," Vasser said. "I like the circuit. It is very challenging and I have enjoyed a lot of success here. Hopefully, I can continue that success and produce a victory for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team," Vasser concluded.

Visteon/Patrick Racing On Street and Road Circuits In 2001:

Visteon/Patrick Racing has had their best performances of the season on the street circuits in 2001. In six street races, 12 starts, the team has produced eight finishes in the points with five top-10 performances, four top-five showings and two podium appearances including a win. In ten road/street races, 20 starts, Visteon/Patrick Racing has finished in the points 12 times, with eight top-10 showings, five top-five, three podiums and the win.

Visteon/Patrick Racing History At Laguna Seca:

In 22 starts at Laguna Seca Patrick Racing drivers have qualified in the top-10 a total of 14 times. Their best starting position is third, in 1983 (Chip Ganassi) and 1997 (Scott Pruett). The team has finished in the points 13 times, with 12 top-10 showings and five top-five placements. Patrick Racing's best finish is third, 1983 (Chip Ganassi) and 1996 (Scott Pruett).

Moreno And Vasser On Road/Street Circuits:

Moreno has finished in the points in 21 of his last 33 road/street course races with 16 top-10 placements, nine top-five showings, six podiums and two wins.

Vasser has started 99 CART career road/street races finishing in the points 57 times with 49 top-10 finishes, 25 top-five showings, 14 podiums and four wins.

Consistency Key For Vasser and Moreno:

In 164 CART career starts Vasser has 92 top-10 finishes including 26 podium showings. He has finished 95 of his last 120 races placing in the points 88 times (from Milwaukee '95). Moreno has finished in the top-10 in 24 of his last 50 starts and in the points 33 times.

McGee Holds Record For Most Wins:

Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee is tops on the all-time wins list for a Manager/Chief Mechanic with 89. McGee has nine national championships and

is the only Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's). He has at least one victory in each of his last five decades (his 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's) and a least one victory in each of the last five decades (60's-00).

Patrick Racing Facts:

Patrick Racing, in its 29th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Champ Car racing. The team has captured 45 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships (1976 - Gordon Johncock and 1989 - Emerson Fittipaldi). U. E. "Pat" Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the "father" of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series.

-PR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Roberto Moreno , Scott Pruett , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Gordon Johncock