CHAMPCAR/CART: Brack look for IROC win

BRACK WINS IN JAPAN, MILWAUKEE CART RACES, LOOKS FOR IROC WIN: Shell driver Kenny Brack has enjoyed his last six weeks of racing action. The 35-year-old Swede has recorded two wins, two seconds and two poles in that time while piloting Team ...

BRACK WINS IN JAPAN, MILWAUKEE CART RACES, LOOKS FOR IROC WIN: Shell driver Kenny Brack has enjoyed his last six weeks of racing action. The 35-year-old Swede has recorded two wins, two seconds and two poles in that time while piloting Team Rahal's Shell Ford Lola on the CART FedEx Championship Series and a Pontiac Firebird in the International Race Of Champions (IROC). The most recent victory last Sunday in the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile proved his mental strength and driving expertise in a superb duel with five-time race winner Michael Andretti. Two weeks earlier, Brack was the lone Ford contender against a Honda onslaught at Honda's home track in Motegi, Japan. The two CART wins have vaulted Brack into a 23-point lead on the CART trail entering next week's (June 15-17) Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. In addition, on that six-week swing, Brack had won the pole at the now- cancelled Texas Motor Speedway event (over 233 miles per hour) and finished second in a spectacular come-from-behind drive at Nazareth. He opened that six-week span with a come- from-behind second place finish in the IROC event at Talladega, Ala. "It's been a busy time for me lately," said Brack after his Milwaukee victory. "But it's fun when you are running well. And we have been recently. I just hope we can keep going. There is a lot of racing to go this year." In addition to leading the CART points, Kenny also tops the leader list in wins (2), poles (3), times led (10) and laps led (358). In six qualifying runs, Brack has posted front row starts five times. He started sixth (Japan) in his only non-front row slot. "We have to keep this success up right now. We can't relax at any time. This CART series is just too competitive to let up for a second." And Brack also is battling for the point lead in the IROC series. After two races (Daytona and Talladega), Brack is third in the points and the leading open-wheel driver.

BRACK REALLY ENJOYS THE IROC: This is Brack's second IROC campaign after debuting in 1999. He finished sixth in the final standings that year while driving A.J. Foyt's Indy car in the Indy Racing League. In this year's IROC events, Brack battled for the lead in the late stages at Daytona, only to finish fourth by inches to the third finisher Eddie Cheever. Then at Talladega, Brack from 10th to second in the final laps to notch a close second to winner Bobby Labonte. "I kept watching Kenny in my mirrors," said the defending Winston Car champion. "He is one tough driver out there. He can mix it up with the best of them." Brack has had a delightful time on the IROC series as well. "It is so much fun to race in that series," said Brack, who trails IROC leader Ricky Rudd by five points entering this Saturday's IROC contest at Michigan International Speedway. "You can bump and bang on the other guys with the Pontiac stock cars. That is impossible with the Champ Cars. The open-wheel cars are too dangerous to be banging like we do in the IROC. I'm still learning about bump-drafting and other stock car techniques. But it is really exciting and fun to race in the IROC series. I'm anxious to go to MIS and driving the stock cars on that track. I have experience there in the Champ Cars."

BRACK'S READY WHEN PRACTICE OPENS TUESDAY: "I'll be ready when the IROC cars are set to go out for practice on Tuesday, " said Brack. "To be honest, I want to run all of the practices that I can in those cars. I want to learn more and more each time."

BRACK MAKES FAST FRIENDS IN IROC: Kenny Brack is from Sweden, a far cry from the Southern stock car ranks. But Kenny has made some good friends while competing in IROC. Stock car drivers Dick Trickle and Jim Sauter, IROC's two test drivers, have taken a liking to the blonde-haired pilot from Europe. "Kenny's like a sponge," said Trickle, winner of over 1,200 stock car features during his illustrious racing career. "This guy wants to learn about the cars and driving them all of the time. He always asks questions and he always wants to practice. We have to take him out of the cars to let other people drive. Jim and I have really enjoyed working with Kenny in IROC. He is one serious racing driver." And Brack has enjoyed his time working with Trickle and Sauter. "They are really good guys and funny too," said Brack. "They have been patient with me and have helped me learn about these cars. You never know, someday I might like to race stock cars in the Winston Cup. But I'm focused on winning the CART championship right now. And the IROC title too."

BRACK'S OVAL RECORD IS ONE TO WATCH: Brack, who didn't drive on an oval track until 1997, has put together a superb record on the fast banked tracks including a victory in the 1999 Indy 500, wins at Charlotte, Atlanta and Pikes Peak and strong finishes in his rookie season in CART. "The Champ cars and the Indy car are pretty similar on the ovals," said Brack. "The difference is the power in the Champ Car. With the turbocharged engine, the Champ Car has more horsepower. And those cars are also used on the road courses. So there are more adjustments to the chassis. But they're are fun to drive on the ovals." In addition to his IRL victories, Brack finished podium four other times in the IRL and, last year on CART ovals, Kenny qualified in the Top 10 seven times with four Top 5 finishes. In his 25 career CART starts, Brack has placed in the Top 5 on 13 occasions including 11 of his last 14 races. "I still enjoy the ovals," said Brack. "It's the fastest wheel-to-wheel racing in the world and the littlest change can make your car a winner. It takes a good relationship with your engineer for the right chassis setup on an oval. With Don Halliday (the Shell team engineer), I think we have one of the best engineers in CART. I think Don knows what I'm looking for in the car and we think we can put it all together."

-Miller Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar , IROC
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Dick Trickle , Eddie Cheever , Michael Andretti , Kenny Brack , Jim Sauter , A.J. Foyt