CHAMPCAR/CART: Title fight enters final rounds

Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Gains Momentum as 2004 Title Fight Enters Final Rounds INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2004) -- As the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford prepares to take its...

Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Gains Momentum as 2004 Title Fight Enters Final Rounds

INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2004) -- As the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford prepares to take its title fight to the final two races of 2004, an exciting sense of promise has permeated the paddock area. A talent-laden driver lineup, prominent new sponsors signing multi-year deals, team and manufacturer commitments and the prospect of a strong 2005 schedule has the Champ Car World Series looking to the future with great anticipation.

Champ Car has provided its legions of supporters with a season to be proud of and will continue to deliver the fast-paced action through the final two races of the schedule. Adding to the excitement is the opportunity for fans to see a brand-new name added to the pantheon of greats to have earned the title of Champ Car World Series Champion.

Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has the inside track to capturing his first series championship, holding a 27-point lead with two races to run. Two-time series runner-up Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has stayed in the hunt on the strength of seven podium finishes while Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is still mathematically alive, although he will be eliminated from contention as long as Bourdais makes his final two starts.

Things have been equally exciting off the track as well beginning with fast-food giant McDonald's joining the growing list of companies that have signed partnerships with Champ Car. The world-wide restaurant chain inked a three-year contract in August to become the Official Fast-Food Restaurant of Champ Car, a deal which coincides with its three-year primary sponsorship of the Newman/Haas Racing team. Most recently, Mexican industry leader Roshfrans signed a multi-year pact to become the Official Lubricant of Champ Car, marking the first time that a Mexican company has signed on as a series sponsor.

Attendance has been strong as well with an average of more than 104,000 fans coming to every event this year with what are annually the season's two best attended events yet to come in Australia and Mexico City. The events are expected to provide even more momentum for the 2005 calendar, which will be announced along with the series television package in the near future.

"Many people throughout the Champ Car community have worked extremely hard to help grow the series and we couldn't be happier with the progress," said Champ Car President and CEO Dick Eidswick. "But as good as things have been this year, we are working even harder to ensure that Champ Car will continue to move forward in the years to come."

The depth of the driver lineup has been proven time and time again over the 2004 campaign. Twelve different drivers have earned podium finishes, thirteen have led laps and fourteen have finished in the top-five. This season has seen the emergence of not only budding superstars in Bourdais and Junqueira, but also been witness to breakout years by American rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone), second-year American driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and former F1 competitor and Champ Car rookie Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone).

Series veterans such as defending series champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls/Lola/Bridgestone) and Oriol Servia (#11 YokeTV.com Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) have shown why they are mentioned among the sport's elite by challenging for victories all year long. Tracy has a pair of wins to his credit this season and announced two weeks ago that he has signed a new contract with Forsythe Championship Racing for the 2005 Champ Car campaign. Tagliani earned his long-awaited first win this year and Servia has taken his Dale Coyne Racing team to unprecedented successes while Vasser has entered team ownership with PKV Racing and taken it to the podium as well.

The series will next compete October 23-25 in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia in the 14th running of the race on Queensland's Gold Coast. Four current Champ Car drivers have won in Australia including defending winner Ryan Hunter-Reay although no driver has ever won the race more than once.

-ccws-

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