Andretti Voted 2001 WorldCom Most Popular Driver; Fellow Pennsylvanian To Present $25,000 Award In Las Vegas DETROIT (November 1, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and WorldCom announced today that Team Motorola driver Michael...
Andretti Voted 2001 WorldCom Most Popular Driver; Fellow Pennsylvanian To Present $25,000 Award In Las Vegas
DETROIT (November 1, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and WorldCom announced today that Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti has been voted by FedEx Championship Series race fans as the 2001 recipient of the WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award.
Additionally, it was announced that Spike Mancuso, 47, of Sharpsville, Pa. is the winner of the Most Popular Driver Sweepstakes. Mancuso and his son, Tony, will travel to California Speedway for this weekend's 2001 season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota in Fontana, Calif.
They will also be in attendance at The Venetian in Las Vegas on Tuesday night for the CART Year End Awards Banquet, where Mancuso will present Andretti with the 2001 WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award and the $25,000 winner's check, which Andretti will donate to charity. While in Las Vegas, Mancuso will also participate in a Driving 101 experience as part of his prize for winning the sweepstakes.
"I don't know who had the bigger smile--my 15-year-old son, Tony--or me when Tony opened the overnight FedEx package and read the letter congratulating me on winning the WorldCom Most Popular Driver Sweepstakes," said Mancuso. "I attended my first Champ Car race in 1974 and have been a huge fan ever since. This summer, Tony and I attended four races. That makes 15 years in-a-row that Tony has been to at least one CART event--truly a lifetime fan. What makes this year even more special is the fact that we have a small part in honoring Michael Andretti for winning this award. My entire family, my wife Gail, son Keith, Tony, and I have been Andretti fans from Day One. It will be a treat for Tony and I to have the opportunity to thank Michael for all the entertainment his family has provided for our family over the years. So to CART and WorldCom, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime! Tony and I are looking forward to a weekend we will never forget!"
Out of 32,623 total votes, Andretti received 21.99 percent of the total. Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves finished second with 12.78 percent, followed by Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy with 10.92 percent and Kenny Brack of Team Rahal with 8.14 percent. Rounding out the top five was two-time FedEx Championship Series champion Alex Zanardi, with 6.7 percent.
"It's a very special honor to have won the WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award," Andretti said. "It makes you feel good when the fans appreciate you, and it is really an honor that so many voted for me. It's just awesome that the winner of the trip to Fontana and Las Vegas is from Pennsylvania."
Andretti will divide the $25,000 winner's check equally among five different charities: the Northwestern University Settlement Association, the Missionary Vehicle Association, the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, the Maryville Academy, and the Sara Lee Corporation Foundation. The Northwestern University Settlement Association helps low-income families and individuals take personal responsibility, and become or remain self-sufficient by using a single-point of an access model that provides social service, education, and collaborative programs.
Founded by Father Phil DeRea of CART Ministries, the Missionary Vehicle Association, or MIVA America provides transportation grants to American missionaries who are working overseas to serve many of the poorest people throughout the world by providing food, shelter, medicine and pastoral care. With MIVA's help people in remote and unreachable regions find the assistance they need.
The Cody Unser First Step Foundation builds awareness, medical cooperation and research funding for Transverse Myelitis and paralysis. The foundation is named after the daughter of two-time FedEx Championship Series champion Al Unser Jr., and Cody Unser suffers from Transverse Myelitis. The Maryville Academy provides shelter for battered and abused children in the Chicago area.
The Sara Lee Corporation Foundation represents its commitment to being an innovative, dynamic presence in the communities where they do business. As the Sara Lee Foundation embarks upon its third decade of service, the causes remain hunger, homelessness, women's progress and cultural enrichment.
Andretti becomes the second driver to win the WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award. The award was first presented in 1999 and in each of the first two years, 1999 FedEx Championship Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Montoya was voted as the WorldCom Most Popular Driver. Montoya recently completed his first season in Formula One with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, and recorded a victory in September's Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza circuit.
"WorldCom would like to congratulate Michael Andretti for winning the Third Annual WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award," said WorldCom Director of Sports Marketing, Andy Deas. "We look forward to celebrating with him and the lucky fan who will present the award at the CART banquet in Las Vegas. We are excited to be a part of this 'up-close-and-personal' program that brings CART fans closer to their favorite sport and to their favorite drivers."
This weekend's Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota is the final round of 21 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series, and the series visits seven countries and four continents during the season. Thanks to a partnership between Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the richest paydays in all of motorsports. Christian Fittipaldi Kmart Toyota Lola of Newman/Haas Racing is the defending event champion. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to Gil de Ferran who clinched the 2001 FedEx Championship Series championship on Sunday, October 28 at the Honda Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. Champions Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser are 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.