CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Vancouver preview

HILLIARD, OH . . . With just six races left in the 2000 season Team Rahal's Kenny Brack is in the midst of the fight for the Vanderbilt Cup, the trophy that is presented to the champion of CART FedEx Championship Series. Although a rookie in CART,...

HILLIARD, OH . . . With just six races left in the 2000 season Team Rahal's Kenny Brack is in the midst of the fight for the Vanderbilt Cup, the trophy that is presented to the champion of CART FedEx Championship Series. Although a rookie in CART, Brack carries with him the dossier of a champion. With four series championships in his career and two second place results, Brack know what it will take to win the CART Championship. "Consistency is the key over the last six races for any driver to win the championship," said Brack. "To be honest my main concern is still winning a race or two this season. We have finished just about everywhere but the top step of the podium so that is my primary goal. When I signed with Team Rahal I stated my goal was to win a couple of races and be competitive in my first season. Championships take care of themselves. We have been competitive week in and week out. We have consistently run in the top-five on any track type so we have accomplished half of that goal, now we just have to get the car across the finish line first." Brack has posted seven top-five results on the season and three-podium finishes, including a third place effort at Road America two weeks ago. Currently fifth in the points (102), Brack trails CART points leader Michael Andretti by 23 points but he is just ten points behind second place Roberto Moreno. The top-six drivers in points are within 25 points of each other. "On paper it looks like the top-six cars will battle it out but to be honest it is still a wide-open championship. Anyone can get hot and score points in a hurry. You have to look at each race individually and not get caught up in the thought process of there are so many races left and I need to score this many points. It is just as easy to not finish a race as to finish one, just ask Michael [Andretti] and Gil [de Ferran] after Road America. The driver who will win the championship will be the most consistent. Personally I will keep focus on my goal which is to win a race or two. If I can do that and finish in the top-five at the other tracks the championship will take care of itself." Scary as it might be, Brack has mounted a challenge for the championship without the benefit of having driven the majority of the tracks on the circuit. "With our team set for next year I feel we can build some momentum and take advantage of the continuity from this season to next. I think we will be a better team next year and even more competitive because I won't be spending the first part of the weekend learning the nuances of the course."

<pre> Brack Championship History Top-3 Season Results

Year    Series                          Result
1999    Indy Racing League              2nd 
1998    Indy Racing League              1st 
1996    FIA Formula 3000                2nd *
1995    FIA Formula 3000                3rd 
1993    Barber Saab Series              1st
1992    Renault Clio Scandinavian       1st 
1986    Swedish Jr. Formula Ford        1st

At the end of the 1999 season Max Papis had just two DNF's on his scorecard, one in Detroit and one in the streets of Vancouver. Those two DNF's were the only times Papis failed to crack the top-ten in the second half of last season. Papis posted a second place finish on Belle Isle in June, his last podium appearance of the season. He comes to Vancouver looking to reverse his luck from a year ago and find a podium appearance. For Papis the 2000 season has been one of highs and lows for the personable Italian. The season started with the ultimate high, his first Champ Car victory in the Grand Prix of Miami. Since then Papis has posted just two top-five results (2nd @ Detroit & 4th @ Mid-Ohio). A continuing run of nasty luck has plagued the Miller team making this a frustrating season even though they rank 11th in the points with 74 after 14 races. At Road America two weeks ago a faulty pop-off valve left Papis running minus ten-percent of his boost which made driving that day a difficult task. "Just when I thought everything that could go wrong had, here comes a problem with the pop-off valve," said Papis. "It made for a frustrating day because we were really at a disadvantage on the long stretches at Road America. For us to get out of that race with a seventh place result is remarkable. It is just another chapter in what has been a frustrating year." Papis posted a ninth place result at Vancouver in 1998 driving at the time for Arciero-Wells Racing. "Qualifying is always a key on the streets with passing at such a premium. We finished last year as one of the strongest teams on the streets. The Miller Lite team knows what we must do to be successful." Papis ended the 1999 season as CART's hottest driver posting 82 points in the final seven races and finish fifth in the points battle and to grab a spot on the inaugural CART All-Star team. Of the 13 top-five results Papis has posted in CART, seven have come on a road or street course. Three of Papis' five podium appearances have come on a road or street course.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Kenny Brack