JACKSON, MI - - AUGUST 7, 2001 - - For Visteon/Patrick Racing drivers Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser the journey back to championship contention begins this weekend at the Miller Lite 200, August 10-12, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in ...
JACKSON, MI - - AUGUST 7, 2001 - - For Visteon/Patrick Racing drivers Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser the journey back to championship contention begins this weekend at the Miller Lite 200, August 10-12, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
To start the trip a case of "déjà vu all over again" on the challenging Mid-Ohio permanent road circuit would be a move in the right direction. In 24 previous starts at Mid-Ohio Patrick Racing has finished in the points a remarkable 17 times including 15 top-10 finishes with nine top-five placements and two wins. A repeat of the team's 1998 performance, when they swept the top-two places, would provide a jump-start to Visteon/Patrick Racing's title aspirations.
A strong record on road/street courses this year provides additional fuel for the team's drive back to the championship battle. After six road/street course races in 2001, a total of 12 starts, the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has eight points paying finishes with six top-10 showings and two podium performances.
Moreno, who pilots the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, has finished in the points in five of the six road/street events this year with three top-10 showings. The native of Brazilian has scored both the team's podium finishes on road/street circuits placing a season high second at Portland and third at Detroit.
"We have had good race cars at all the road/street circuits this year," Moreno said. "That has allowed Mr. Patrick and Jim McGee to do what they do best, which is work the fuel and race strategy to our advantage. When the car is good the driver can save fuel while still remaining competitive. Then you work the strategy, get good pit stops and you have good results. That is what the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has done this year," Moreno explained.
The Weston, Florida resident, who is tied for 12th in the standings with 44 points, but holds down the number 13 position based on best finishes, has been one of the most reliable and consistent drivers this year. He has completed ten of the 11 races, the most of any driver, and is second in laps and miles completed. Moreno has placed in the points in eight of the 11 races including five of the last six and eight of the last 10. He has four top-10 finishes and two podium appearances (Long Beach - 11th; Nazareth - 12th; Japan - 10th; Detroit - third; Portland - second; Cleveland - eighth; Toronto - 11th; Michigan - 12).
In five previous starts at Mid-Ohio, Moreno has qualified in the top-10 twice with a best starting position of fifth in 1985. His best finish is 11th, last year, his first season with Visteon/Patrick Racing.
"Last year, I learned a valuable lesson at Mid-Ohio," Moreno said. "Basically, the corners at Mid-Ohio require you to left foot brake. When you left foot brake you can keep the power down and brake at the same time. By doing that the back end of the car remains low and you have more stability going through the corner. That also allows you to put down more power on the exit. I started to left foot brake at Mid-Ohio last year during practice. In the race I was right and left foot braking, but this year I will brake with my left foot exclusively. I am looking forward to going back there and having a good result," Moreno concluded.
Vasser, behind the wheel of the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, has finished in the top-six in three of the six road/street races this year with a best showing of fifth at Long Beach and Cleveland. The native of California has been the victim of bad luck since starting the season with top-six finishes in the first four races. He has scored points in just one of the last seven contests despite being extremely competitive at every event. Vasser has finished in the top-five four times this year and has placed in the top-six in five of 11 races (Mexico - sixth; Long Beach - fifth; Nazareth - fourth; Japan - fifth; Cleveland - fifth).
"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has just run into a streak of bad luck," Vasser said. "We have had very competitive cars at every race, but for one reason or another we keep coming up against situations that have prevented us finishing the way we know we should. The good news is there are still nine races left in the season so we still have a chance to get back into the title hunt. As a team we have to focus on the details, keep fighting and start winning races if we are going to fight for the championship," Vasser explained
The talented resident of Las Vegas, Nevada is determined to end the streak of misfortune that has plagued him and get back into the thick of the championship hunt. If recent performances at Mid-Ohio are any indication this could very well be the weekend that puts him back on the winning track. In nine previous appearances at Mid-Ohio, Vasser has placed in the top-10 five times. He has finished in the top-10 four times in the last six years and in the top-five three of the last five years. The 1996 CART Champion earned his best finish at Mid-Ohio that same year finishing second.
"Traditionally, I always look forward to going to Mid-Ohio," Vasser said. "It is a very challenging track, but one that is fun for the driver. I have done well there in the past. I have never won, but I finished second there in 1996 and have always been in contention. Mid-Ohio is a track where qualifying up front is a big help. The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team needs to qualify well and have a good result this weekend. I know we can do that," Vasser concluded.
Moreno has finished in the points in 16 of his last 25 road/street course races with 12 top-10 placements, seven top-five showings and five podiums including one victory (career first, and only, Cleveland 2000). In 95 CART career road/street races, Vasser has finished in the points 56 times with 49 top-10 finishes, 25 top-five showings, 14 podium appearances and four wins.
Vasser has started 158 CART races with 91 top-10 finishes including 26 podium showings. He has finished 92 of his last 114 races placing in the points 86 times (dating to Milwaukee `95). Moreno has finished in the top-10 in 22 of his last 44 starts and in the points 30 times.
Combining the stats of Moreno and Vasser, Patrick Racing is tied for first in finishes (17). They are third in laps (2856) and miles (4316.475) completed, and fifth in points (94).
After ten races Moreno's #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew is second in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge with 70 points. Vasser's #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard crew is seventh with 60 points.
Patrick Racing has placed two cars in the top-10 twice this season (Japan - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 10th and Cleveland - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, eighth). Both drivers have finished in the points four times this year (Long Beach - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 11th;Nazareth, Vasser, fourth, Moreno, 12th; Japan - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 10th; Cleveland - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, eighth).