CHAMPCAR/CART: Brack in title chase, Papis looks for points at Gateway

HILLIARD, OH . . . For the fourth time in the last five years Kenny Brack is locked in a title fight for his series championship. For Kenny Brack the annual chase for a championship has become a way of life. This year as a rookie in CART...

HILLIARD, OH . . . For the fourth time in the last five years Kenny Brack is locked in a title fight for his series championship. For Kenny Brack the annual chase for a championship has become a way of life. This year as a rookie in CART he is fighting for the FedEx Championship Series title. Brack enters this weekend's Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL fifth in the season point standings just 16 points behind leader Gil de Ferran. Brack has posted eight top-five results and 11 top-ten results in 16 races for 116 points. Brack has collected points in eight of the last nine races and has posted a top-five result in four of the last five races. In 1998 Brack claimed with the Indy Racing League championship and in 1999 he was the runner-up to Greg Ray dropping the title by just 37 points. In 1996 Brack won the season finale of the FIA Formula 3000 series and with the race the Formula 3000 Championship, but he was disqualified for "rough driving" in a controversial decision costing Brack not only the race but the title. Fittingly the CART Championship will be decided in the last four races by incorporating three of the four types of tracks that the series races on. The race at St. Louis will be on a one-mile oval short oval while the races at Houston and Australia will be on street courses and the season finale will be on the super speedway at Fontana, CA. 17 points separate the top-six drivers in the CART Championship, the closest championship race in the 22-year history of the series. Adding to the intrigue all six have shown the ability to be successful on the various courses in the series. "I felt we have been successful on the ovals and the road courses this season, but what you have done in the past doesn't matter now," said Brack. We have to raise our game to a new level and be our best to win the championship. I have said it before and I will say it again, my primary goal for the 2000 season has been and still is to win a couple of races. The fact that we have had a successful season is nice but my focus remains on each event and winning or doing the best we can at each track. If we are successful each week the championships will take care of themselves."

BRACK CAN CLINCH CART ROOKIE OF THE YEAR While he is locked in the midst of the CART Championship battle, Shell driver Kenny Brack has blown open the race for the Jim Trueman CART Rookie of the Year. Brack holds a commanding 70-point lead (116-46) over PPI Motorsports Oriol Servia the second highest ranked rookie. Brack is not a rookie in the traditional sense of the word. He is the only first year driver in CART history to enter the series with an Indy 500 win to his credit and he comes to CART with an extensive resume of racing and championships. "While I am not a rookie to racing I am a rookie to this series and to most of the tracks in the series and that has made this year difficult at times," said Brack. "When you look at some of the other drivers who have won this award it is a great honor to be mentioned with them." Among the Champ Car legends who have won the CART Rookie of the Year honors are Team Rahal owner and three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal (1986), 1993 CART Champion Nigel Mansell (1993), Gil de Ferran (1995), two-time CART Champion Alex Zanardi (1996) and 1999 CART Champion Juan Montoya (1999). Brack has the chance to be just the third driver to win the CART title and the Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. The CART Championship/Rookie of the Year double was first turned in 1993 by Nigel Mansell and again last year by Juan Montoya. Brack is 16 points from the CART lead with four races remaining.

PAPIS RETURNS TO ST. LOUIS IN SEARCH OF POINTS Miller Lite driver Max Papis returns to Gateway International Speedway this weekend where he posted a fifth place finish in 1999. Papis has posted five top-ten results in the last seven races and has moved to 12th in the CART season point standings with 79 points. Early in the season the Papis and the Miller team were plagued by a rash of bad luck DNF's finishing just five of the first 12 races. Papis has finished four straight races, his longest running finish streak of the season. "I still have some lofty goals for the season and we know we can be successful at each stop the rest of the way," said Papis. "I feel our crew has really stepped up and things are starting to really gel for us. We finished last season very strong and that set the stage for our success at Miami. I think it is important for next year to finish this year strong."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Gil de Ferran , Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Alex Zanardi , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Nigel Mansell