CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Ford Racing preview

BOBBY RAHAL MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS FIRST CART VICTORY AT INAUGURAL GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND - The CART FedEx Championship Series shifts to the southern shores of Lake Erie this weekend for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke...

BOBBY RAHAL MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS FIRST CART VICTORY AT INAUGURAL GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND - The CART FedEx Championship Series shifts to the southern shores of Lake Erie this weekend for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport. The ninth race for CART this season is particularly special for team owner Bobby Rahal, who will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first career Champ Car victory in the inaugural Grand Prix of Cleveland this weekend.

FORD-COSWORTH AT CLEVELAND - Since the Grand Prix of Cleveland first became an event on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule, Ford and Cosworth have combined for seven victories, including Bobby Rahal's win in the inaugural race in 1982. Cosworth scored five consecutive wins from 1982 to 1986, beginning with Rahal's victory in '82, and followed by Al Unser ['83], Danny Sullivan ['84], Al Unser, Jr. ['85] and Sullivan again in 1986. Jacques Villeneuve claimed victory for Ford and Cosworth in 1995 en route to the drivers' championship, while Roberto Moreno won from the pole in 2000 to claim his first career Champ Car victory.

FORD-COSWORTH DRIVER NOTES -

Patrick Carpentier - Started 14th last weekend in Toronto where he endured traction control problems but managed a 10th-place finish. Has recorded three top 10 finishes in five career starts in Cleveland, including fifth in 2000, seventh in 1999 and ninth in 1998, with his best starting position of sixth coming in 1999. Started ninth and finished 26th in Clevelanda year ago after getting caught up in the nearly traditional first turn melee to begin the race. Has scored top-10 finishes this season in Mexico [seventh], Japan [fourth], Laguna Seca [fifth], Portland [fifth] and Toronto [10th], and currently sits ninth in the championship standings with 41 points.

Mario Dominguez - Qualified 17th and finished 18th after suffering mechanical problems just 29 laps into the race. Made his first points-paying finish of the season in Japan where he came home 11th [two points]. Currently second in the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year standings behind Townsend Bell [19 points].

Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes came to an end last weekend in Toronto following his 12th-place result. Currently fourth in the championship standings with 58 points. Has scored championship points in all eight races this season, highlighted by top-five finishes in Monterrey [fourth], Long Beach [fifth], Japan [fifth] and Milwaukee [fifth]. Best career finish in five starts at Burke Lakefront Airport was 18th in 1997, with his best qualifying effort coming a year ago when he started 11th and finished 25th after getting involved in the first turn melee at the start of the race.

Alex Tagliani - Finished seventh last weekend in the Molson Indy Toronto after qualifying 11th. Currently eighth in the championship standings with 42 points. Has posted six top-10 finishes in the last 10 races dating back to his runner-up performance in Australia last year. Qualified seventh and finished ninth in Cleveland last year, and started 18th and finished 16th as a rookie in 2000.

Jimmy Vasser - Recorded his fourth top-10 result of the season last weekend in Toronto with a sixth-place finish. Currently 12th in the championship standings with 34 points. Has scored two top five and five top 10 finishes in nine career starts at Burke Lakefront Airport, including third in 1995, 10th in 1996, seventh in 1998, eighth in 2000 and fifth last season.

COSWORTH RACING CHAMP CAR WINS - Max Papis' third career Champ Car victory at Laguna Seca on October 14, 2001 was the 212th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since it entered North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 166 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League [IRL]. Michael Andretti has won the most races using a Cosworth engine [25], followed by Rick Mears [20], Bobby Rahal [18], Mario Andretti [16] and Johnny Rutherford [16].

SPARK PLUGS - Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., tops all CART drivers this season having completed 1,178 of a possible 1,185 laps [99.4%] ... since re-entering CART in 1992, Ford-Cosworth has never failed to win at least one of the first eight races to open the season.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Townsend Bell , Mario Dominguez , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Danny Sullivan , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser , Michel Jourdain