CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Rocketsports Racing preview

ROCKETSPORTS CONTINUES WITH TWO CARS IN CLEVELAND AND HOPES TO KEEP THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM ROLLING EAST LANSING, Michigan (June 21, 2006) - After Rocketsports Racing added another car to its 2006 Champ Car effort with Tonis Kasemets in ...


EAST LANSING, Michigan (June 21, 2006) - After Rocketsports Racing added another car to its 2006 Champ Car effort with Tonis Kasemets in Portland, the team is ready to move forward this weekend using the knowledge from the past with the aim of top results in Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season in Cleveland.

Rocketsports Racing will be making their fourth appearance at the Burke Lakefront Airport circuit in Cleveland, Ohio. The team's best results came in 2004 with Alex Tagliani when he started fifth on the grid and brought the Rocketsports machine home for a podium finish in the third spot. The team has recorded four top-ten finishes in the five entries they have entered throughout the past four years, and looks to continue its string of solid finishes this season with Kasemets and Nicky Pastorelli.

Kasemets is familiar with the 2.106-mile temporary road course as he ran on this track during his Atlantic days. Last year, while running in the Atlantic Series, he competed in a double-header event in Cleveland. Taking the pole position in the first race, he went on to finish as the runner up. In the second race, he started again on the front row in the second spot and earned another top-five result with a finish of fourth.

Kasemets made his first Champ Car start last weekend in Portland. He successfully finished his first race weekend. Completing the duration of the Champ Car race marked the longest time he would race a car in his career (by an hour), not to mention in a car that is bigger, heavier, and more powerful than the last racecar he drove a year ago. He looks to take what he learned in Portland and continue to improve on his driving of the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone and working with the team to get a good car set-up with the hopes of even better results in his second Champ Car event.

"I am looking forward to going to Cleveland, said the Estonian. "Now that we (the Rocketsports team and I) have the first race behind us, we have better expectations on the future together. I got to know the team a little bit better in Portland and they got to learn more about me, so that is good and I believe our next race together will result in a better finish. I feel more comfortable in the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car after having some good seat time in Portland and I feel that we can finish at least 2-3 position better than we did in our first race together. It should be a lot of fun and I can't wait!"

Unlike Kasemets, Pastorelli will strap into his #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone this weekend and roll out onto the 10-turn course to experience it for the first time. The former F1 test driver will experience racing on airport runways for the first time, as the Burke Lakefront Airport course setup often stands on its own since there are no other road courses in existence that provide the high cornering speeds combined with rough / grooved concrete racing surface.

Pastorelli and the #8 car Rocketsports crew head to Cleveland with some positive momentum after earning their best qualifying position together of eleventh in Portland. Due to an incident during the first lap that knocked Nicky off-course causing a flat tire and damage to the car, Pastorelli's good qualifying spot did not justify the potential of a solid top-ten finish last weekend. However, it does demonstrate that the Italio-Dutch driver is getting more comfortable with the car and team as results continue to move in a positive direct ion.

"I do not know the Cleveland track, but I have been studying past data that Rocketsports has and have watched several tapes of on-board camera coverage, so I have a good feel of what to expect," said Pastorelli. "It looks like it is going to be a challenging track and very fast, so I really look forward to trying it out for myself this weekend. We are moving in the right direction, having a pretty good qualifying position in Portland; it was just unfortunate what happened to us during the race. But I think we can continue to move forward with this positive momentum from the race last weekend in aim for good results this weekend in Cleveland. I hope we have a good race and I look forward to the weekend that is ahead!"

The 25th Anniversary of the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank marks the six race of the 2006 season for Rocketsports Racing. Qualifying for the event will take place Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST. The race is scheduled to take the green flag on Sunday, June 25 at 2:30 p.m. EST and can be seen Live on CBS. For live racing coverage all weekend, log onto and sign up for race director.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Tonis Kasemets