CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Portland "Track Talk"

Brack Brings Cart Points Lead To Portland HILLIARD, OH . . . Team Rahal Shell driver Kenny Brack heads to Portland International Raceway (PIR) for the next stop of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series, the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 (Sunday,...

Brack Brings Cart Points Lead To Portland

HILLIARD, OH . . . Team Rahal Shell driver Kenny Brack heads to Portland International Raceway (PIR) for the next stop of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series, the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 (Sunday, ESPN 4:00 PM EDT). The stop at PIR is the first road course for the series since the season opening event at Monterrey Mexico, an event which Brack captured the pole and lead 28 laps en-route to a fifth place finish.

Brack saw his Champ Car win streak snapped at two (Milwaukee and Motegi) and this podium streak snapped at three (Milwaukee, Motegi, Nazareth) with a ninth place result at the Detroit Grand Prix last week. The result was Brack's lowest running finish of the season. Still despite the troublesome Detroit weekend, Brack leads or is tied for the series lead in most major categories. Brack is tied for the lead in wins (2), pole positions (3) and leads in points (74) and laps led (358).

"Detroit was a reminder to us about just how competitive this series is and how you have to keep improving to stay on top," said Brack. "The upside for us is that while Detroit was not a strong weekend we still scored points and those points are the ones that can decide a championship later in the year."

Brack scored his first road/street points at Portland last season with a sixth place finish. He followed that with a strong second place effort at Cleveland a week later.

"The track at Portland is a complicated course," said Brack. "There is a lot of bumps which can make it difficult to set up the car. Portland tends to be a low grip track but from what I have seen this usually tends to be an exciting race. Like any road or street course qualifying is important in the overall scheme of things, but when you talk about Portland you have to be wary of the first turn [Festival Curves]. You come from a wide front straight to a very tight right turn and you face each restart just hoping you will keep the car in one piece."

Papis Looks To Build On Momentum

A steady drive by Max Papis at Detroit resulted in a third consecutive points paying finish for Team Rahal's Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Lola. Papis has posted points for three straight races for the first time this season and the first time since September of 2000.

Papis and the Miller Lite team moved from a starting spot of 24th to finish 11th by avoiding trouble on track and through judicial use of their fuel supply.

"Our race at Detroit showed the determination and the heart of our team," said Papis. "Everyone wearing the Miller Lite colors fought and clawed for these points. We showed Sunday that even when we struggle like we did at the start of the weekend that we can still score points and find success."

Through the season's first six races Papis has posted a pair of top-ten results and has only one of the dreaded DNF's that plagued him in 2000. "We are working hard to improve each week," said Papis. "We know where we want to be and what we need to do to be there. We are continuing to gain familiarity with the Lola and the intricacies of setting up the car." Papis' posted a strong eighth place result at Portland in 1999 his first year with Team Rahal. His 2000 race was cut short when he was involved in a first turn accident on the opening lap of last year's race. "Getting through the first lap is a must here at Portland," said Papis. "It is one of the oldest clichés in the sport but you can't win the race in the first turn and you can't win at Portland if you don't survive the first turn.

-TR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Kenny Brack