CHAMPCAR/CART: 2004 Laguna Seca race comfirmed

Champ Car World Series confirmed for 2004 Grand Prix of Monterey; Grand Prix returns to traditional fall date. MONTEREY, Calif. (January 29, 2004) - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has reached an agreement with the new owners of the Champ Car World...

Champ Car World Series confirmed for 2004 Grand Prix of Monterey; Grand Prix returns to traditional fall date.

MONTEREY, Calif. (January 29, 2004) - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has reached an agreement with the new owners of the Champ Car World Series that ensures the open-wheel series returns as the feature event of the Grand Prix of Monterey for the 22nd consecutive year. The 2004 Grand Prix is scheduled this year for Sept. 10 - 12, a return to its traditional fall date following two years in the month of June.

The agreement was reached with Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC (OWRS), which was awarded the assets of Indianapolis-based Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) yesterday during a bankruptcy sale hearing for the parent company of the long-running Champ Car series.

"We had to wait for the bankruptcy proceedings to run their course so we could work out an agreement with the new owners," said Gill Campbell, general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "But this has been the plan all along. We have been on the 2004 Champ Car schedule and they have been on our schedule, plus OWRS has been working on the acquisition since last season. So today we made it official and we can both get busy preparing for the Grand Prix of Monterey, which historically has been one of our larger events."

"We're delighted to be bringing Champ Cars back to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and one of the most famous circuits in the world," said Paul Gentilozzi, one of three principals with the new ownership group. Gentilozzi, along with partners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, each own teams competing in the Champ Car World Series.

Current Champ Car World Series champion Paul Tracy begins his title defense April 16 - 18 with the 30th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The 2004 season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca begins with the Road & Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational, April 30 - May 2. The season features four more events: Honda Superbike Classic, July 9 - 11; 31st Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Aug. 13 - 15; Grand Prix of Monterey, Sept. 10 - 12; Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships, Oct. 15 - 17.

The Grand Prix of Monterey has been a fixture on the Champ Car World Series schedule since 1983 when Italian Teo Fabi won the inaugural event. Since then, the Grand Prix podium has been a virtual Who's Who of auto racing greats as drivers including Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Rick Mears, Michael Andretti, Alex Zanardi, Paul Tracy and Morgan Hill-native Jimmy Vasser have won the event. Last year's race was won by Canadian Patrick Carpentier.

Support races for this year's Grand Prix of Monterey include the Motorock Trans-Am Tour and Toyota Atlantic Championship. Additional races will be added.

Tickets to this September's Grand Prix of Monterey are on sale now by calling 1-800-327-SECA or logging onto laguna-seca.com or ticketmaster.com.

-mrls-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Rick Mears , Danny Sullivan , Gerald Forsythe , Teo Fabi , Kevin Kalkhoven