Brack Delights Swedish Fans With Impressive Porsche Run; Media, Fans Mob Injured Racer in His First Race After 11 Months
1999 Indy 500 Champion Takes Fifth in Both Carrera Cup Road Races
MANTROP, Sweden (Sept. 20, 2004) - For the first time in more than eleven months, Kenny Brack returned to racing competition last weekend (Sept. 18-19) in his native Sweden to the delight of racing fans and media.
Not since last Oct. 12 had Brack competed in an auto race when he suffered broken bones in his vertebra, ribs, leg and ankles in one of the most violent (193 Gs) crashes in open-wheel racing history in the IRL IndyCar Series finale at Texas Motor Speedway.
Piloting a "celebrity" Porsche in the Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup event at the Mantorp Park racing facility, the 1999 Indy 500 winner showed that he still has the "touch" with an impressive performance in his first race in Sweden since 1992.
Brack stunned the crowd, paddock area and the press in Friday practice by recording the fastest lap ever clocked on the Mantorp Park circuit. The Rahal Letterman Racing driver was two-tenths of a second quicker than the pole sitter in the spring Carrera Cup race.
"It was fun but too much 'hype' around the event about me," said Brack from Sweden Monday. "There were press and people everywhere. I actually feel quite drained today."
Brack was the subject of many of the media through Sweden during the weekend.
In qualifying for Saturday's race, rain fell for most of the session but, despite his first wet conditions with the Porsche, Brack was a full second faster than the next driver. But late in qualifying, three drivers went to dry tires and bettered Brack's time at the checkered flag.
"There were three guys who were very slow with rain tires," explained Brack. "And they gambled and put on dry tires and the track dried right at the end. They got by me with the slicks and I was on wet tires. So I started fourth on Saturday."
Brack moved to third at the start of Saturday's event but his car lost the front wing during the event. Brack's mount developed an understeer and he fell back to fifth at the finish.
In Sunday's race, Brack started fifth and moved to fourth before his car was knocked off the track by another driver's car. Brack's machine then became loose and he had to settle for fifth for the second straight day. The event was shown nationally in Sweden on TV3, one of the country's largest networks.
"It's quite difficult to come in at the end of the championship (races 15 and 16 of the 2004 Carrera Cup season) when everybody has had a full year to prepare," said Brack. "I never could get the car to handle like I wanted. But it was fun to race again and that's the main thing."
After his performance on the racetrack, Brack joined in for the "season end" party for all of the Swedish racers and jumped up on stage to play his electric guitar with some of Sweden's top rock bands.
"I joined in and played guitar with one of my best friends, Jan 'Flash' Nilsson, some of Sweden's top music artists and even the (Swedish) King's son, Prince Carl Philip, another good friend, and it was great fun," said Brack. "But it was very busy for me. It was just nice to get back and race again."