Hilliard, OH . . .Team Rahal heads to the famed Milwaukee Mile riding the momentum of Kenny Brack's win and Max Papis' season best sixth place finish at Twin Ring Motegi. Sunday's Miller Lite 225 (4:00 PM EDT ABC) is the fifth race in the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series and kicks off a critical stretch of nine races in the next 12 weeks.
Brack enters this weekend as the CART points leader based on three-top five results in the first four races of the season. Brack has dominated the in the early going leading a series high 228 laps, capturing a pair of pole positions and leading in three of the four Champ Car events.
"It is nice to be at the top of the points, but it is too early to really worry about the points battle," said Brack. "All we can focus on is being consistent and posting results. The win at Motegi was a payoff for the Shell team after all the times we had come close. The encouraging thing for us is that Motegi wasn't our best weekend of the season but we were able to be successful. Everybody on the team is focused on being successful and that dedication has allowed us to develop a real unity."
Papis has run competitively but been plagued by bizarre twists of fate that have cost him points and track position. Papis produced the sixth place result at Motegi despite driving the entire race with a damaged front wing and without full radio communication.
"I felt like a black cloud was hanging over me after the first lap at Motegi but we were able to improve the car and bring home our best finish of the season."
Last year at Milwaukee Team Rahal posted a pair of top-seven results. Papis piloted the Miller Lite car to a seventh place finish after starting ninth while Brack finished fourth after a mishap in qualifying which forced him to start 16th.
"Racing in Milwaukee is special because of the history of the sport in the town and the fact that Miller Brewing is based there," said Papis. "The track is demanding and I enjoy the challenge of racing on the short oval, especially one that has provided so many great moments in open wheel history."
Consistency marks Brack's career
When Kenny Brack won the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi, Brack posted his first CART win and kept maintained his record of posting a win in each of different racing series of his career. Over the past ten years Brack has won 26 races in 103 starts in five different series. He has consistently found the podium and the top-five showcasing his talents on road and street courses and on ovals.
Most impressive is how in each series Brack has been a title contender. He captured the Renault Clio championship in 1992 winning nine of ten races. In 1993 he dominated the barber-Saab Championship winning six of the 12 races. In F3000 Brack finished third in 1995 and then a controversial second in 1996 when he was disqualified from a victory that would have given him the championship in the season's final race. In the IRL Brack was the 1998 IRL champion and he finished second in the 1999 championship. Last season in his first year in CART, Brack finished fourth in the championship but he went to the season finale at Fontana with a chance to capture the championship.
"My goal as a driver is to be the best driver I can be in each series and in what ever I race," said Brack. "The way to be the best is to win and if you win you will be in the championship hunt."
<pre> KENNY BRACK TEN YEAR REVIEW
Series Years Races Wins Podiums Top 5's Top 10's Renault Clio 1992-93 14 11 11 11 11 Barber-Saab 1993 12 6 6 8 9 F3000 1994-96 26 4 11 14 17 IRL 1997-99 28 4 8 11 16 CART 2000-01 24 1 6 12 15 Totals 104 26 42 56 68
Championships-1992, 1994, 1998
</pre> TEAM RAHAL AND MILLER CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP
Sunday will be Max Papis' third race as the Miller Lite driver at the Milwaukee Mile. Papis posted his best finish at the legendary track last season when he brought home the Miller Lite car in seventh. Papis would love to deliver to Miller Brewing a win on their home track in the Miller Lite 225.
Miller first partnered with Team Rahal in 1992 when Bobby Rahal formed Rahal/Hogan Racing, the predecessor to Team Rahal. Driving the Miller Genuine Draft car that first season, Rahal delivered the CART Championship to Miller. Rahal remained the driver of the Miller car (MGD and later Lite) until his retirement in 1998. In 1999 Papis filled the seat and responded with an All-Star season in his first year with 11 top-five results and a fifth place finish in the CART championship. In 2000 Papis delivered a victory to Miller Brewing with the season opening triumph at the Grand Prix of Miami.
"The people of Miller Brewing have been long-time supporters of Team Rahal and we would love to repay that support by being successful at the Milwaukee Mile," said Papis.
In 160 races in ten season's the Miller cars of Team Rahal have captured a championship (1992), five wins, amassed 30 podium appearances, 53 top-five results, 95 top-ten finishes and led 997 laps while completing 18,033 laps.