CHAMPCAR/CART: 2002 Schedule announced with three new races

Three New Races Featured On 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series Schedule FONTANA, Calif.--New races in Montreal, Denver and Mexico City join traditional dates at some of the world's greatest race facilities on Championship Auto Racing Teams'...

Three New Races Featured On 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series Schedule

FONTANA, Calif.--New races in Montreal, Denver and Mexico City join traditional dates at some of the world's greatest race facilities on Championship Auto Racing Teams' 2002 FedEx Championship Series schedule announced today.

In making the announcement, CART Chairman and CEO Joe Heitzler said that CART will continue its quest to place the best markets and the most successful events on its schedule as it builds its series in the coming year and beyond.

"CART racing and our race events are coveted by cities throughout the U.S., as well as in many other parts of the globe," said Heitzler. "With the addition of these three new events to an already strong lineup of races, we believe we have strengthened our series for our sponsors, teams and race promoters."

CART opens its 2002 FedEx Championship Series season March 10 in Monterrey, Mexico, with the Tecate Telmex Grand Prix Presented by Herdez on the temporary street circuit at Fundidora Park. The 2001 race was the first in the northern Mexican city and drew a CART weekend-attendance-record 318,000 spectators, including a race-day crowd of more than 115,000.

The Champ Cars return to the streets of Long Beach, Calif., for the annual running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14. Two weeks later, the FedEx Series moves across the Pacific to Japan for the fifth running of the Firestone Firehawk 500 on the weekend of April 27 at Twin Ring Motegi, north of Tokyo, where Kenny Brack won before the largest race-day crowd in the facility's history .

Many of CART's teams have indicated they plan to enter cars in the Indianapolis 500 and the 2002 schedule is designed to accommodate the teams' interest in doing so. For the second straight year in 2001, a CART driver---Helio Castroneves---won the Indy 500 and, in fact, the top five finishing positions last May were filled by CART drivers. CART driver Juan Montoya won the event in 2000.

The Champ Cars then return to FedEx Championship Series oval action on June 2 when they travel to the historic Milwaukee Mile---the oldest, continuous-running race circuit in the United States---for the Miller Lite 225.

CART makes a West Coast swing for its next two races. The CART teams visit Monterey, Calif., and the legendary Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on June 9 for the Honda Grand Prix Featuring the Shell 300. The Champ Cars head up the coast to Portland the following weekend to return to the Rose City for their annual visit to Portland International Raceway on June 16 for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200.

After a weekend off, CART takes its show back to the Midwest with a stop at the Chicago Motor Speedway for the annual Target Grand Prix of Chicago Presented by Energizer on June 30. The first weekend in July finds the FedEx Series going north of the border for the first time in 2002 for Toronto's Molson Indy on the streets around the Canadian National Exhibition grounds on July 7.

A swing between Lakes Ontario and Erie puts the series in Cleveland on July 14 for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar at the Burke Lakefront Airport. The race on the shores of Lake Erie is traditionally one of the most exciting of the season.

The Champ Car teams get the next weekend off before traveling to the West Coast for the Molson Indy Vancouver on July 28 in the streets of British Columbia's largest city. Following a break the next weekend, CART's teams move back to the Midwest, stopping first on August 11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Miller Lite 200 on the twisting circuit in the rolling hills of central Ohio. A trip to Elkhart Lake, Wis., is next up as the series visits Road America for the Motorola 220 on August 18 on the four-mile road course that is a perennial drivers' favorite.

The first of the three new venues for 2002 comes on board the following weekend with the Molson Indy Montreal, conducted on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 25. The final of four races in a row is set for Labor Day weekend on the streets surrounding the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver for the September 1 Grand Prix of Denver.

CART's first visit to Europe in 2001 was well-received and the Champ Cars load up for the 2002 European swing in September, heading across the Atlantic to Great Britain and Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby, England, for the Rockingham 500 on Saturday, September 14. Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz and the American Memorial 500 is up next on the schedule on Saturday, September 21. A crowd of nearly 90,000 turned out for the initial 2001 event in Germany.

CART returns to the U.S. and heads south of the border on October 13 for the initial running of the Mexico City Grand Prix. Event promoters CIE and its partners are investing $25-30 million in the facility at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and expects huge crowds for the inaugural race in this city of more than 20 million.

CART's annual visit down under is set for October 27 with the Honda Indy 300 through the streets of Queensland's Surfers Paradise, which experienced record crowds approaching 300,000 this past weekend. The series concludes its 2002 schedule November 3 with the running of the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway.

CART is considering additional dates for the 2002 schedule in the April/May timeframe. A return to the streets of downtown Houston is not on the 2002 schedule because of commercial real estate development and construction in the area surrounding the venue. The event will return to the CART schedule in 2003.

"We are very excited about the 2002 schedule and season," said Heitzler. "The diversity that is CART racing is very apparent in our schedule. We believe the markets we visit provide a terrific opportunity for the entire CART Community to effectively showcase and market their products. This schedule will again allow CART to continue as North America's most heavily attended open-wheel racing series."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. Two-time champion Gil de Ferran joins title winners Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser among the drivers who battle for the FedEx Championship Series title on oval circuits as well as temporary and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Kenny Brack