CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago: Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge preview

Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge to draw wild card. Fastest team at Chicago Grand Prix advances to shootout. CHICAGO - It's like starting a race with every Champ car on the front row. Each team in the CART FedEx Championship Series has an ...

Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge to draw wild card.
Fastest team at Chicago Grand Prix advances to shootout.

CHICAGO - It's like starting a race with every Champ car on the front row. Each team in the CART FedEx Championship Series has an equal chance to grab the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge wild card entry at the CART Chicago Grand Prix June 30.

The pit crew that performs the best at Chicago is guaranteed a slot in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge shootout at California Speedway Nov. 3, where a head-to-head competition among the four top teams in CPCC points plus the wild card entry from Chicago will decide the top pit crew in CART.

The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, begun in 1999 by Craftsman tools, the Official Tools of CART, is a chance for the vital pit crews that support the drivers to demonstrate their prowess and receive recognition.

"The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge allows Craftsman, the nation's most popular brand of mechanics' tools, to feature the work of some of the best mechanics in the world, the people who service the cars in the CART FedEx Championship," said Touré Claiborne, motorsports marketing manager for Sears.

In each qualifying race during the season, points are scored according to the total elapsed time the car spends in the pits, using a scoring system based on the CART championship tabulation. Less time in the pits means more points.

At the shootout at end of the year, five teams will compete in the winner-take-all shootout when Craftsman will award a custom Waterford Crystal trophy and $50,000 in cash to the victors.

After six races this season, Newman/Haas Racing No. 11 with driver Christian Fittipaldi is atop the Craftsman leader board, with maximum pit stop points at two races, Milwaukee and Laguna Seca. Team Rahal No. 9 (Michel Jourdain Jr.) is runner-up, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing No. 4 (Bruno Junqueira) third. Newman/Hass Racing No. 6 jumped into the fourth place at Portland, when Cristiano da Matta won on the track and his crew was fastest in the pits.

Indeed, the 2002 results so far demonstrate the correlation between winning in the pits and winning on the track. The four teams leading Craftsman Pit Crew Championship competition are all in the top five in the FedEx Championship points race.

While the crack pit crews of the CART FedEx Challenge Series put forth total effort during every pit stop in every race, after the wild card weekend at the CART Chicago Grand Prix, one team will spend the rest of the year knowing it is locked in for the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge. That group will just have to wait until the end of the season to see who they face in the contest to decide the best Champ car pit crew in the world.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2002, Craftsman is the Official Tools of CART. According to a 2001 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the number-one brand in the nation for overall quality. Sears sells more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its full-line stores, Sears Hardware, Sears Dealer Stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com.

-craftsman motorsports-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing