CHAMPCAR/CART: Press notes 96-03-20

IndyCar "DOUBLE HEADER" Package Offers Special Value for the Inaugural U.S. 500 and the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix DETROIT (March 20, 1996) -- Organizers for two of the biggest IndyCar events in Michigan are going to bat for racing...

IndyCar "DOUBLE HEADER" Package Offers Special Value for the Inaugural U.S. 500 and the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix

DETROIT (March 20, 1996) -- Organizers for two of the biggest IndyCar events in Michigan are going to bat for racing fans by offering them a chance to purchase one reserved seat ticket to both races at a special discounted price.

The IndyCar "Double Header" package offers one $75 ticket good for a reserved seat to the inaugural running of the U.S. 500 at Michigan International Speedway and the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix at The Raceway on Belle Isle Park. The inaugural U.S. 500 will take place on Sunday, May 26; the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix will be held Sunday, June 9.

"We're very pleased to offer this outstanding value to our IndyCar racing fans," said Rena Shanaman, general manager for the U.S. 500. "It's their chance to take advantage of the rare opportunity to see the best in IndyCar racing, just two weeks apart, for one 'fan-friendly' price.

"This is obviously a wonderful opportunity for race fans from Detroit and beyond to experience the best in IndyCar racing," commented Denny Young, vice president of the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix. "We believe that this will be the best two-race ticket value in motorsports this year."

Both races, featuring IndyCar's top starts competing in state-of-the-art equipment, will include Al Unser, Jr., Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and others. The two-mile MIS oval, the site of this year's U.S. 500, has played host to more IndyCar events than any other track (26) and is the home of the fastest laps ever run in IndyCar history. The 15th annual ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix is Detroit's biggest summertime event, a weekend of racing activities that also includes the Neon Super Cup Challenge, featuring Hollywood stars and media personalities, and the Motor City 100 Trans-Am race.

Both the U.S. 500 and the ITT Automotive Grand Prix are part of the 16-race PPG Indy Car World Series schedule. The series has already completed two races, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on March 3, won by Jimmy Vasser and the Rio 400 on March 17, won by Andre Ribeiro. The next scheduled PPG Indy Car World Series race will be the IndyCar Australia in Surfers Paradise, on March 31 in Queensland, Australia. The race will air on ABC at 2 p.m. on March 31.

The IndyCar "Double Header" ticket promotion will run from March 21 until April 24, or while quantities last. Tickets are available by phone at 313-259-PRIX (7749). Phone orders can be charged by Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Checks can be made payable to Motor Marketing International at: Detroit Grand Prix Ticket Office, 300 River Place, Suite 4000, Detroit, 48207. No volume discounts will be offered through this special promotion and there is a limit of 10 tickets per individual transaction.

NEWMAN/HAAS RACING DIGS DEEP 'DOWN UNDER' AT IndyCar AUSTRALIA

DETROIT (March 19) -- The 14-hour international trek to Australian soil can result in serious jet lag, but Newman/Haas Racing apparently has been immune to any type of slowdown once they arrive "Down Under" for IndyCar Australia. The March 31 race is round three of the 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series.

In the five-year existence of the IndyCar Australia on the PPG Indy Car World Series schedule, Newman/Haas Racing drivers have put on a dominant display from qualifying to race day at Surfers Paradise. The particular group, which consists of Michael Andretti, Paul Tracey and Nigel Mansell, has accounted for two IndyCar Australia victories in five races, four poles and the qualifying and race speed records for both the courses that have been used in the event's history.

Newman/Haas enters this season's race having won three consecutive poles and two of the past three races. Nigel Mansell won back-to-back poles in 1993-94 and Michael Andretti, who won the inaugural pole in 1991, added his second last season. Mansell owns the qualifying record on the old 2.795-mile course, setting it in '94, and Andretti established one on the 2.804-mile layout used the past two races.

Mansell gave Newman/Haas its first career triumph at the IndyCar Australia in '93 and Tracey scored another for the team last season as both set race speed records on the respective courses. Ironically, the driver who spoiled Newman/Haas' bid at a three-year sweep of IndyCar Australia poles and titles was Andretti, who won in 1994 for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing.

Andretti, who returned to the team last year, is the only one of the trio remaining with Newman/Haas and looks to teammate Christian Fittipaldi to help extend the team's impressive run. Fittipaldi (Kmart/Budweiser Lola Ford) is coming off a tremendous effort in the Rio 400, where he started last in the 27-car field and finished fifth. Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Lola Ford) was 22nd, but found himself in second with 48 laps remaining before retiring because of engine problems.

Andre Ribeiro (LCI International Lola Honda) arrives eyeing a season sweep of IndyCar's international events. Ribeiro, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, delivered his countrymen an emotional victory by capturing the inaugural Rio 400 in Rio de Janeiro on March 17. The triumph, his second in the past five races dating back to last year, moved him to fourth in the PPG Cup race.

Scott Pruett (Firestone-Patrick Racing Lola Ford) has not landed either victory in the two events this season, but his consistency has vaulted him to the PPG Cup points lead. He has parlayed a pair of top-four showings in to the front-running position. His third-place effort in Rio was his sixth career podium placement.

The owner of the season's other victory is Jimmy Vasser (Target Reynard Honda), who coupled an eighth at Rio with his Miami triumph to situate himself one point behind Pruett for the PPG Cup. Rookie Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda), Vasser's teammate, emerged at Rio with his first pole since a 1991 Formula 3000 race and a fourth-place finish.

Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Penske Mercedes) moved into the thick of the PPG Cup mix with his 25th career runner-up finish in Rio. Unser Jr. Is third with 21 points, five behind Pruett. Tracy (Marlboro Penske Mercedes), back with Penske Racing this season, is hopeful that some of that Australian Newman/Haas luck will remain with him. He has been strong in the first two races, but victimized by unfortunate circumstances in both. At Miami, he won the pole and led a race-high 83 laps, but finished 23rd after sustaining a transmission problem. At Rio, he started 25th, charged into the top 10, but a late incident forced him to retire and settle for 19th.

Emerson Fittipaldi (Malboro Hogan Penske Mercedes), 11th at Rio, is the only current driver who has never raced for Newman/Haas at some point of his career and won this event. Fittipaldi won in 1992 for Penske Racing.

Roberto Moreno (Data Control/Mi-Jack Lola Ford), who returned to IndyCar this season after a nine-year absence, earned his first top-10 finish since Michigan in 1986 by taking ninth at Rio. Marco Greco (International Sports Ltd./Perry Ellis/Samyang/CEC Lola Ford) nearly matched his career-best finish with a 12th-place effort at Rio. His best is 11th three times, the most recent coming at Portland last season. Raul Boesel (Brahma Sports Reynard Ford) is coming off an impressive seventh-place showing at Rio, his best performance since taking sixth at Toronto last season.

Gil de Ferran (Pennzoil Reynard Honda) finished 10th at Rio, but was in position to land his second consecutive podium finish of the season. De Ferran led for 20 laps, but ran out of fuel on the course, went down two laps and could not regain the lost time. Like de Ferran, rookie Greg Moore (Player's Ltd./Indeck Reynard Mercedes) also lost an opportunity at victory with a blown engine. Moore, who led 28 laps, was in first with 18 to go, but suffered engine failure and dropped to 18th.

Bobby Rahal (Miller Reynard Mercedes), with a pair of top-six showings in the seasons's first two races, is a good bet to extend that streak at IndyCar Australia. In five appearances, he has three podium finishes, including runner-up efforts in '91 and '95, and has been out of the top six just once. Teammate Bryan Herta (Shell Reynard Mercedes) will hope to gain some of that valuable experience from Rahal as he makes only his second career appearance in Australia.

Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood Reynard Ford) also appears fond of this layout with a pair of top-six showings in his two appearances, including fourth last season. Hiro Matsushita (Panasonic Lola Ford) is heading to the course that produced his third-highest finish in the past two seasons, an 11th-place effort in 1995. Stefan Johansson (Alumax Aluminum Reynard Mercedes) returns to the home of one of his eight career top-five finishes, earning a fifth in the 1994 race.

Walker Racing is looking to rebound from an emotionally-draining weekend in Rio. It lost Scott Goodyear (Valvoline DuraBlend Special Reynard Ford) for 12 to 16 weeks after he sustained a fractured vertebra in his back during a Saturday practice accident. Goodyear has returned home to his home in Indianapolis and is recovering well. Robby Gordon (Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Reynard Ford) has headed toward salvaging the weekend for the team when he was among the top three late, but he made contact with the wall with nine to go and fell to 15th.

Rookie Mark Blundell (PacWest Racing Group Ford Cosworth), recovering from a fractured right foot in a race accident at Rio, also will not make the trip to Australia.

Juan Manuel Fangio II (All American Racers Eagle Mk-V Toyota) gave Toyota engines its best outing of the season by finished 17th at Rio. Rookie Jeff Krosnoff (Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard Toyota), who also uses Toyota power, is looking to bounce back from an abbreviated effort at Rio, where he was forced to retire after 37 laps.

Adrian Fernandez (Tecate Beer/Quaker State Lola Honda), who had nine top-10 showings last year, heads into Australia looking to secure his first of this season. He barely missed at Miami, finishing 11th. Parker Johnstone (Motorola Reynard Honda) was in position for a top-10 outing in his delayed season debut at Rio, but ran out of fuel with 18 laps to go and finished 16th.

Joining Fernandez in carrying the banner for Mexico is Carlos Guerrero (Herdez/Scandia Simon Lola Ford Cosworth) who will make his first IndyCar appearance in Australia.

Rookie Eddie Lawson (Delco Electronics High Tech Team Galles Lola Mercedes) may be making his first IndyCar appearance in Australia, but this continent's race tracks are not foreign to him. He raced here during his days as a fourtime 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle world champion.

The IndyCar Australia will be televised on ABC-TV at 2 p.m. EST. The PPG Indy Car World Series returns stateside for its next event, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series INDYCAR