CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago Pre-Race Notes

* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) has scored PPG Cup points in eight consecutive races, dating to his victory at Milwaukee in Round 7. His recent tear includes podium finishes in his last four starts, beginning with a runner-up finish at Toronto....

* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) has scored PPG Cup points in eight consecutive races, dating to his victory at Milwaukee in Round 7. His recent tear includes podium finishes in his last four starts, beginning with a runner-up finish at Toronto. He followed with a third-place effort at Michigan and runner-up performances at Detroit and Mid-Ohio.

* Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), the FedEx Championship Series points leader, is riding a run of four consecutive top-five finishes, highlighted by a pair of victories. Franchitti kicked off the streak with a win at Toronto and followed with a fifth at Michigan, a victory at Detroit and a third-place finish at Mid-Ohio.

* Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) has finished seventh or better in four of his last five races, including three fifth-place performances. In that span, Papis has fifth-place finishes at Road America, Toronto and Mid-Ohio as well as a seventh-place finish at Michigan.

* Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) has posted four consecutive top-nine finishes, including fourth last week at Mid-Ohio that equaled his season-best performance (Homestead, Milwaukee). Prior to Mid-Ohio, he finished eighth at Toronto, ninth at Michigan and fifth at Detroit, respectively.

* Helio Castro-Neves (Hogan Motor Leasing Mercedes Lola) has recorded two of his top-three finishes for the season in the past two events. Castro-Neves, whose season-best finish is second at Gaateway, has added seventh-place finishes at Detroit and Mid-Ohio, respectively.

* Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) has recorded the most oval points this season (69) and is the only series driver with multiple victories (Nazareth, Rio) and poles (Nazareth, Gateway) on ovals. He also has a series-best 451 laps led on ovals, which is 277 better than his closest competitor in that category.

* Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) is second in the FedEx Championship Series in oval points scored this season with 67. His lone win came on an oval - Gateway - and he ranks second in the series in laps led on ovals with 174.

* Greg Moore (Player's Forsythe Racing Mercedes Reynard) joins Montoya as the only drivers who have captured both a pole position and win on ovals this season. Moore accomplished both at the season opener at Homestead, winning from the pole. He ranks fourth in oval points with 64.

* Honda has won 10 of the last 12 FedEx Championship Series events, beginning with Juan Montoya's victory at Long Beach in Round 3. The engine manufacturer also has won four of the last five oval events, dating to Montoya's win at Nazareth.

* Ford Cosworth is the only other engine manufacturer beside Honda to win on an oval this season. Ford has won two of the six races contested on ovals, with Adrian Fernandez winning at Motegi and Michael Andretti at Gateway.

* Firestone has won 13 of the 14 FedEx Championship Series races contested, including the last six in a row. The tire supplier also has won all six ovals events this season and 13 in a row dating to last season.

* Juan Montoya can move into fourth place in CART history for most laps led in a single season by recording 23 more in the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. Montoya, with a series-high 724 laps led, can move past Rick Mears, who currently resides in fourth with 746 laps led in the 1982 season. If Montoya can lead 33 laps, he will move to third and supplant Paul Tracy, who led 756 laps in 1993. The single-season record is 1,136, established by Michael Andretti in 1992.

* The Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell will mark the 100th race for Honda since joining the FedEx Championship Series in 1994. Since the engine manufacturer came aboard, it has registered 41 victories.

* The FedEx Championship Series boasts nine different winners this season and needs one more to set a new CART record. The current number ties the CART mark established in 1985 and equaled in 1995. This season's winners are Juan Montoya (5 wins), Dario Franchitti (2), Gil de Ferran, Michael Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi, Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Tony Kanaan and Greg Moore.

* Michael Andretti has enjoyed success at new venues throughout his 16-year career with a victory and four poles. He won the inaugural race at Nazareth in 1987 and captured poles at Nazareth ('87), Detroit ('89), Vancouver ('90) and Australia ('91). Paul Tracy is the only other active driver beside Andretti who has won an inaugural event and pole. Tracy won the pole at Homestead in 1996 and the St. Louis event in 1997.

* Al Unser Jr. is the only active driver who has logged multiple victories in inaugural events with Portland in 1984 and Vancouver in 1990. Other active drivers who have won at new venues are Jimmy Vasser (Homestead, 1996), Paul Tracy (St. Louis, 1997), Mark Blundell (Fontana, 1997), Adrian Fernandez (Motegi, 1998) and Dario Franchitti (Houston, 1998).

* Raul Boesel, a FedEx Championship Series veteran who has made one start this season, will return to the series to compete in the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell for All American Racers. Boesel will step in for Gualter Salles in the No. 36 AAR Denso/Castrol Toyota Eagle. Boesel qualified 20th and finished 27th in the season opener at Homestead as the substitute for Paul Tracy, who was serving a one-race suspension. Boesel competed in the FedEx Championship Series from 1985-90 and '92-97 before returning this season.

* Team Gordon and All American Racers announced last weekend that they have come to an agreement under which Robby Gordon will drive an Eagle chassis at the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. "I've had the Eagle eye on that chassis for quite some time," said Gordon, who has been using Reynard and Swift chassis this season. "It seems to have what we need to move to the front of the grid on the ovals. I've known Dan Gurney [owner of All American Racers and developer of the Eagle chassis] for a long time, and he's had a history of building winning chassis. I've been wanting to put Toyota in Victory Circle all year, now, I have another goal, and that's to do it in an Eagle Champ Car." Gordon also is scheduled to run the Eagle chassis in the season-ending Marlboro 500.

* The Chicagoland Ford Dealers will play host Friday to Ford Fan Appreciation Day at Chicago Motor Speedway. Fans can stop at their local Chicagoland Ford dealerships to receive free tickets for Friday's practice sessions. The fans also will be treated to a free autograph session featuring more than a dozen FedEx Championship Series drivers. Among those scheduled to attend are Michael Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Scott Pruett, Adrian Fernandez, Greg Moore, PJ Jones, Mauricio Gugelmin, Mark Blundell, Richie Hearn, Helio Castro-Neves, Cristiano da Matta, Roberto Moreno, Dennis Vitolo and Shigeaki Hattori. The autograph session is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. CST and will be held at the west end of the speedway infield.

* More than 122,000 prizes, including a grand prize of a 1999 Ford F-150 Truck, will be available to fans who participate in Target's Match Any Lap and Win Game that is being held in conjunction with the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. To play, fans scratch off each of the four boxes on the game card to reveal a FedEx Championship Series team and car number. If that car is leading the 225-lap race at any of the designated laps - Laps 50, 100, 150 and 225 - the fan wins a prize. Match one lap and win a free soda at a Target store; match Lap 150 and Lap 225 and win a $100 Target gift certificate; match Lap 100, 150 and 225 and win a $1,000 Target shopping spree; match all four and win the Ford F-150. Game cards will be distributed at 883 Target stores, Chicago Sun-Times home delivery subscribers, Chicagoland Ford dealers and various Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell pre-race events.

* Target also will reward the FedEx Championship Series drivers for leading on the designated laps for the Match Any Lap and Win Game. The driver leading Lap 50, 100 or 150 will earn an additional $25,000. The driver who leads the final lap will receive the standard race winner's purse of $100,000 with no game bonus.

* Qualifying for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell will air 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. The "CART 2Day" pre-race show will air 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. The Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell will be televised on ABC-TV on a one-hour tape delay, beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The race will air on the CART Radio Network while the qualifying and race will be broadcast on the CART website (


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gualter Salles , Robby Gordon , Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Raul Boesel , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Scott Pruett , Mark Blundell , Richie Hearn , Dan Gurney , Rick Mears , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta