CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Noteworthy, schedule

WHO'S HOT * Mexico's wildly popular Adrian Fernandez ( ...

WHO'S HOT

* Mexico's wildly popular Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) stormed past Canada's Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing on Lap 86 of 100 in Portland last weekend to score his eighth career victory, and first as a team owner/driver. Fernandez started third on the grid and made a late lap pass of the current points leader to take the checkered flags, marking the first time an owner/driver has won a CART Champ Car event since 1992 when Bobby Rahal took the win at Nazareth while serving as the co-owner of Rahal-Hogan Racing. Fernandez moves into sole possession of 17th place on the all-time CART Champ Car victory list with his eighth victory, and slides into fifth place in the championship with 63 points heading into Cleveland.

* Tracy, who already has three wins to his credit in 2003, backed up the war of words he waged in Portland by powering his Player's/Forsythe Racing machine to a solid second place run, marking the second consecutive race the Las Vegas resident has finished on the podium (Laguna Seca, third). Tracy regained his championship form in the Pacific Northwest after scoring a point for pole position Saturday and gaining 18 markers for second. The Canuck now leads 99 to 95 in the championship over Brazil's Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing, who recorded his seventh top five result in eight races. Junqueira started 11th at Portland International Raceway and managed to bring his NHR machine home fourth.

* As the series moves ahead to Round 9 in Cleveland, Ohio for the U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix this weekend, Canadian Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) comes in hot after delivering his second podium of the season (Monterrey, third) to his first-year Rocketsports Racing squad. Tag drove from fifth to third in Portland, setting the fastest race lap in the process and now stands ninth in points with 46.

* Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) couldn't parlay a first-row starting spot into a win in Portland, but managed to limp away with two points after contact while going for the lead with Tracy left him to finish 12th. The Mexican pilot is still enjoying the best Champ Car season of his career after scoring his first ever win at Milwaukee and currently holds down third place in the championship with 91 markers.

* Rookie shoe Darren Manning (#15 RAC Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of Walker Racing finished sixth after starting eighth on the Portland grid, moving the Northampton, England native one step closer to two-time rookie winner Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing in the Rookie of the Year battle. Bourdais finished 14th in Round 8 after starting fourth, and leads by just 11 (53 to 42) in the race for rookie supremacy. Bourdais and Manning stand seventh and 10th overall in points, respectively.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Player's/Forsythe Racing's Patrick Carpentier (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to the site of his race-record pace that won him the 2002 U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix. The Canadian looks to hold serve in the Buckeye State where he swept events at Burke Lakefront Airport and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course a season ago.

* Paul Tracy has also tasted victory in Cleveland, having won this event from pole in 1993. Tracy will make his 200th career start in the series this weekend in Cleveland, making him only the fifth driver in CART Champ Car history to make 200 series starts.

* American Jimmy Vasser (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of American Spirit Team Johansson holds the track record for qualifying on the spacious airport runways at the Burke Lakefront venue. The American pilot will again be searching for the speed that earned him the pole position record of 56.417 seconds (134.385 mph) here in 1998. Vasser also scored a pole in the 1996 event before going on to finish 10th.

DID YOU KNOW?

* The city of Cleveland has seen more than its share of innovations over the years. It was in Cleveland where Alan Freed first coined the term 'Rock and Roll', an act that led many years later to the establishment of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was also in Cleveland in 1967 where voters elected the first African-American mayor of a major American city. Those innovations continued in 1982 when CART built the first temporary racing circuit on its calendar, turning its Burke Lakefront Airport into a 2.106-mile corral where 200-mph racing machines could stretch their legs. The only circuit of its kind in the United States, the Burke Lakefront Airport track will make history again when the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford makes its 22nd appearance this weekend on the North Coast -- with a night race under the lights. The U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix has been a fixture on the CART calendar since 1982 when local hero Bobby Rahal won the inaugural event. The race that is known as The Roar by The Shore gets the 'at night' designation added to it this year, as the July 5 event will be run under the lights as world-renowned Musco Lighting will turn the airport runways into what will be the world's largest outdoor lighting project. Musco, which has lent its temporary and permanent lighting facilities to events ranging from The Olympic Games to rock concerts, will erect a minimum of 21 lighting towers to illuminate the racing circuit. By way of comparison, Musco states that a typical college football game requires four towers, Ground Zero in New York required five towers, and the Battle of Big Horn outdoor golf match required eight towers. The night race will give fans a new view of what is already one of the most unique spectator venues in all of motorsports. The Cleveland layout is the only two-mile circuit in the United States where fans can see the entire track from their bleacher seats. The event has become the centerpiece of the July 4 weekend in Cleveland and annually draws over 100,000 fans to the track over the three days of competition.

NOTEWORTHY

* U.S. Bank Presents The Grand Prix of Cleveland Press Conference...will be held Wednesday, July 2 at 1:00 p.m. ET at the legendary Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame. Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier, Roberto Moreno, Michel Jourdain, Jr., Adrian Fernandez, Darren Manning, Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be in attendance. The event is for media by invitation only. Contact Merrill Cain at CART Champ Car (317) 716-9327 for more details.

* Autograph Session at the Galleria...will be held Wednesday, July 2 from 12:00 -- 1:00 p.m. ET at the Galleria Mall at 9th & St. Clair Streets in Cleveland. CART Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers Joey Hand, Ryan Dalziel and Danica Patrick will be in attendance. Contact Pam Koberg (216) 436-3320 at IMG Motorsports for more details.

* Ford Champ Car Night in the Warehouse District...will be held Wednesday, July 2 from 5:00 -- 9:00 p.m. ET in downtown Cleveland on West 6th Avenue, between Lakeside & St. Clair. The event includes live music from local bands, a pit stop demonstration, show car display, driver Q & A session, giveaways and two 30-minute driver autograph sessions. Champ Car drivers Patrick Carpentier, Adrian Fernandez, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michel Jourdain, Jr., Darren Manning, Tiago Monteiro, Roberto Moreno, Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy will be on hand. Contact Amy Hill (216) 436-3415 at IMG Motorsports for more information.

* Rock & Roar By the Shore Benefit Party...will be held Thursday, July 3 from 6:00 -- 10:30 p.m. ET at the track, North of the Business Aircraft Center at Burke Lakefront Airport. The event includes food and beverages, musical entertainment by Focus, a silent auction with rock 'n roll and racing memorabilia and is open to the public. Proceeds benefit the Education Fund of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. $100 each; reserved tables of 10 available. Contact Amy Hill (216) 436-3415 at IMG Motorsports for more details.

* Mario Andretti and the Ford GT, Part 2...Former CART champion Mario Andretti will pilot one of the three existing Ford GTs, the reincarnation of the legendary Ford GT-40 that won Le Mans, when the Ford Motor Company lends the machine to the Champ Car World Series for pre-race pacecar duties for the U.S. Bank Presents the Grand Prix of Cleveland. The fabled GT-40 beat the world's best in endurance racing in the 1960s and piloted Mario and Bruce McLaren to the checkered flags at Sebring in 1967. The next generation Ford GT will be on display this Friday and Saturday in the CART Champ Car paddock...The all-new 2005 Ford GT supercar will come to life in the form of three production road cars that honor the classic race car in design and engineering ingenuity. Ford's "Centennial Supercar" builds on the company's product-led transformation and will be the flagship of Ford Division's 2004 "Year of the Car" that will include the launches of the Ford Five Hundred sedan, Freestyle crossover and legendary Mustang - and then the Ford Futura mid-size sedan in 2005.

* Bridgestone Homecoming...Champ Car World Series Presenting Sponsor and Official Tire Manufacturer Bridgestone will be in the spotlight in Cleveland this weekend, with the company's home base located in nearby Akron, Ohio. Bridgestone employs nearly 1,000 people in its Akron Technical and Research Center, which handles the engineering and design work on all of the consumer tires sold in North, South and Central America. The facility has a very sophisticated design center where engineers use advanced computer modeling to design the tires that will perform the highest levels both on the highway and on the racetrack. The Akron plant designs and produces most of the Bridgestone Potenza race tires, including all the race tires that will be used by the Champ Car teams in Cleveland. Bridgestone is hosting 700 guests in Cleveland, consisting of employees, sales associates, dealers and their family members.

* Gibson Custom To Present One-of-a-kind Les Paul Guitar To Polewinner...Gibson Guitar's Custom, Art & Historic Division will present a beautiful one-of-a-kind custom Les Paul guitar to the winner of the pole position for the U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix. The special Les Paul Guitar will be presented to the polewinner following the final round of qualifying Friday. The guitar has a cardinal red finish and is emblazoned with a white racing stripe and the official racing emblem. It was crafted with a mahogany body, maple top and a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with single ply white binding. Gibson's innovative electric guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolins and banjos have played a vital role in every genre of popular music through the last 100 years. The new MaGIC-enabled Gibson Digital Guitar represents the biggest advance in electric guitar technology since the invention of the electric guitar 70 years ago. Contact Caroline Galloway, Gibson Guitar Corp. at 440 338 3469 or caroline.galloway@gibson.com for more details.

FAST FACTS

WHAT: U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix
WHERE: Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio
WHEN: Thursday -- Saturday July 3-5
SUPPORT EVENTS: CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Trans-Am Series

CART SCHEDULE (All times local):

THURSDAY, JULY 3
Champ Car practice, 1:00 -- 2:00 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 4:30 -- 5:30 p.m.
Champ Car practice, 8:00 -- 8:50 p.m.
Champ Car practice, 9:40 -- 10:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, JULY 4
Champ Car practice, 2:45 -3:45 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 8:20 -- 9:20 p.m.

SATURDAY, JULY 5
Champ Car warm-up, 4:30 -- 5:00 p.m.
U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix, TBA laps, 8:30 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY, JULY 4 -- SPEED Channel, CART Champ Car qualifying, 8:00 p.m. ET.
SUNDAY, JULY 6 -- CBS Sports, U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix, 3:30 p.m. ET.

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.106-mile temporary road course
RACE LENGTH: 115 laps, 242.190 miles
PIT STOP INTERVAL: 26 Laps

NEXT EVENT: July 13, Molson Indy Toronto, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Darren Manning , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti , Bruce McLaren , Tiago Monteiro , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Danica Patrick , Michel Jourdain