CHAMPCAR/CART: Craftsman renews CART pit crew challenge

March 27, 2001 HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - For the third consecutive year, the Sears Craftsman tool brand will offer recognition and reward to the pit crews of teams in the CART FedEx Championship Series. In the 2001 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge,...

March 27, 2001

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - For the third consecutive year, the Sears Craftsman tool brand will offer recognition and reward to the pit crews of teams in the CART FedEx Championship Series. In the 2001 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, crews will compete in the pits to support their drivers on the track throughout the 21-race CART schedule. Craftsman will present the prestigious Pit Crew Challenge trophy and a $50,000 cash prize to the pit crew that emerges victorious at the CART season-finale at California Speedway in November. "During the first two years of the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, we found great interest in the contest among the teams, media and fans," said John Lebbad, Sears director of event marketing and sales promotion. "It seems everyone who follows Champ car racing appreciates the skill and hard work of the pit crews who keep their cars on the track and their drivers in the race.

"The Pit Crew Challenge allows Craftsman, the nation's most popular brand of mechanics' tools, to feature the work of some of the best mechanics in the world, the people who service the cars in the CART FedEx Championship," Lebbad said. The format for the 2001 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, unchanged from 2000, awards points to teams based on their performance in the pits during each of the first 20 races on the schedule. Using CART's official timing system, the total amount of time each team spends on pit road during the race is recorded. Points are then awarded using the same formula that determines the series championship; less time in the pits means more points. After 20 events, the top four teams in points, plus a "wild card" entry - the team that scores the most Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge points during the race at Michigan Speedway July 22 - will meet in a shootout to determine the 2001 champion at California Speedway. The pit crew from Team Kool Green that fields the No. 26 car for driver Paul Tracy won both previous Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge championships after performing lightning-quick pits stops during the 1999 and 2000 shootouts. The 2001 competition is already underway with points scored at CART's season opener in Monterrey, Mexico, March 11. The crew for the PacWest Racing Group

No. 18 driven by Kiwi rookie Scott Dixon kept its car in the pits only 42.1 seconds during the race, a surprising 32.2 seconds less than its nearest competitor. Other top-four teams at Monterrey were Walker Racing No. 5 (driver Tora Takagi), Marlboro Team Penske No. 1 (driver Gil de Ferran) and - do we detect a pattern here? - Paul Tracy's crew from Team Kool Green No. 26.

Craftsman, the Official Tools of CART, has sponsored the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge since it began in 1999. Sears sells more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services through approximately 860 full-line department stores, approximately 2,100 specialized retail locations including Sears Hardware, Sears dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com.

-Rick Gambill

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon
Teams Team Penske