HILLIARD, OH . . . Kenny Brack can join a select group on Sunday, by becoming just the third driver in CART history to win the CART championship as a rookie. Brack would join his boyhood idol Nigel Mansell and 1999 CART Champion Juan Montoya as...
HILLIARD, OH . . . Kenny Brack can join a select group on Sunday, by becoming just the third driver in CART history to win the CART championship as a rookie. Brack would join his boyhood idol Nigel Mansell and 1999 CART Champion Juan Montoya as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.
Brack enters the Marlboro 500 as one of five drivers mathematically alive in the fight for the CART championship. He is tied for third in the series point standings with Paul Tracy (134 pts.) 19 points behind leader Gil de Ferran. With 22 points at stake this weekend Brack has the ability to win the title outright.
"Honestly heading into Australia I really didn't expect to still be in the championship fight at this point," said Brack. "I thought we would be fighting for podium finishes and look for wins but I thought that the championship was out of reach. We still need a little bit of luck to win the title so I am primarily focused on going to Fontana and racing for a win. I have said all along this year my primary goal was to win races and everything else would take care of itself. Now we are down to the final event and my goal hasn't changed, I am looking for a win. If we win the race then we have a chance to capture the championship. I'll worry about that after I see the checkered flag."
For Brack to win the championship he must win the race on Sunday. All of the championship scenarios require the Shell car to win the race at Fontana. A second place finish (16-points) in the season finale even when combined with the points for winning the pole (1 point) and leading the most laps (1 point) in the race would still leave Brack behind current points leader de Ferran.
"I think we will be strong and competitive at Fontana," said the CART Rookie of the Year. "Although I have never been to Fontana before the Shell team has been strong at a lot of tracks that I have never seen this year. Sunday is a long race, a 500-mile race, and the key is you have to be there at the end to win. Historically a lot of things happen during a 500-mile race so my primary concern is simply to stay on the lead lap and get to the last 50 laps of the race and then take things from there."
If Brack is able to pull off the victory and capture the title it would mark the first time in 2000 that he sat atop the CART points chart. Even without the championship Brack has compiled a stellar rookie season capturing the Jim Trueman CART Rookie of the Year Award and registering four podium appearances and nine top-five results in his initial Champ Car campaign.
<pre> Kenny Brack File 2000 CART Rookie of the Year
Starts: 19 Points: 134 Highest finish: 2nd (twice) Podiums results: 4 Top-5 results: 9 Top-10 results: 13 Top-5 starts: 6 Laps led: 104 Points on road/street: 81 Points on ovals: 53