Champ Cars lead full weekend of racing, fan activities. DUBLIN, Ohio (July 31, 2002) - The world's fastest racing machines return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, August 8-11. Cristiano da Matta, Michael...
Champ Cars lead full weekend of racing, fan activities.
DUBLIN, Ohio (July 31, 2002) - The world's fastest racing machines return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, August 8-11. Cristiano da Matta, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy and Jimmy Vasser and the FedEx Championship Series headline the weekend, with three support series and a number of off-track activities also taking part during the weekend at the Lexington, Ohio course.
Open-wheel racing's best drivers are competing throughout the weekend. Da Matta, of Newman-Haas racing, has been the best driver on the CART circuit this season, winning the season-opening race in Monterrey, Mexico and a record-tying four consecutive races in June and July. Dario Franchitti is the fastest driver in history at Mid-Ohio, turning a lap on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit in 1:05.347 (124.394 mph) to win the pole in 1999. His Team Kool Green teammate Paul Tracy has finished second four times at Mid-Ohio.
"A track like Mid-Ohio is always a challenge because it throws so many things at you," said Tracy. "There are fast turns, slow turns and elevation changes that all come in to play when we're trying to find the right balance in the car. And with the CART FedEx Championship Series as competitive as it is the racing is going to be very tight."
"Mid-Ohio is definitely one of the more physically demanding tracks that we race on in the CART FedEx Championship Series," agrees Michael Andretti of Team Motorola, a two-time winner at Mid-Ohio (1990-1991). "Even though it's demanding, it's a fun track to drive and it certainly tests all of your skills as a driver. Mid-Ohio overall is just a good venue - it's a good racing track, it's got great fans and the fans all have great areas to view the action."
The CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio is a 92-lap, 207.736-mile race with the green flag waving at just after 12:30 p.m. to a nationwide audience on CBS television.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series, the first step in CART's ladder program to develop professional open-wheel drivers, will race during the weekend as well. A.J. Allmendinger, of Hollister, California has won five of seven races on the series and has accumulated a 52-point lead (136 to 84) over his closest competitor, Marc Breuers.
The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship returns to Mid-Ohio for the second time this season, racing once during the American Le Mans Series weekend in late June. Tonis Kasemets captured that race win, and currently sits 5th in the points standings. Bryan Sellers of Centerville, Ohio, is the current leader in the championship points standings and finished third in the last trip to Mid-Ohio.
The Grand-Am Cup will bring a different format onto the track from any of the other series of the weekend. The drivers in this circuit will pilot actual production cars with only minimal racing modifications that are designed for safety and performance. Four classes of cars will appear on the track at the same time competing for both an overall and a class win during the race. Grand Sport I, the fastest of the classes, is made up of high-end sports and GT models. Grand Sport II features popular sport and muscle cars. Sport Touring I includes various small to mid-size model four door sedans and Sport Touring II contains small sedans from all of the world's major car manufacturers. These cars will race against each other in a 2 hour, 30 minute endurance race held on Saturday afternoon.
If all of the on-track excitement isn't enough for spectators, there are plenty of other activities that surround the weekend. On Thursday, August 8, The CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Fan Fest will be held at The Patio in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus. The event, held from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m., will be the last chance to purchase advance tickets at the reduced prices for the weekend's race. Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal and others will be on hand to sign autographs.
On Friday at Mid-Ohio, the popular CART Fan Forum returns beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Fan Forum is an open forum providing an opportunity for fans to ask questions of key players in the CART FedEx Championship Series. CART CEO Chris Pook is scheduled to headline the panel.
The Champ Car drivers will make themselves available to the public for a formal autograph session from 4:45-5:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 10. Taking place in the paddock, there may not be a better opportunity for fans to meet their favorite driver and collect autographs. The Miller Lite Racing Garage will also be open throughout the weekend to offer a hands-on, interactive display for racing fans of all ages to educate themselves about the sport.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is located approximately halfway between Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio off of Interstate 71. Commonly referred to as the "Most Competitive in the U.S.", Mid-Ohio hosts six events throughout the summer. For event information of tickets, call 1-800-MID-OHIO or visit us on the web at www.midohio.com.