CHAMPCAR/CART: Columbus town metting report

COLUMBUS (August 1, 2002) - Championship Auto Racing Teams took five of its key players on the road Thursday for the inaugural CART Town Meeting and was greeted by a standing-room only crowd at the PromoWest Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio. CART ...

COLUMBUS (August 1, 2002) - Championship Auto Racing Teams took five of its key players on the road Thursday for the inaugural CART Town Meeting and was greeted by a standing-room only crowd at the PromoWest Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio.

CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook, fabled former champions Bobby Rahal and Mario Andretti and CART Steward Chris Kniefel all joined host Derek Daly to form an unmatched panel of experts that conversed with the overflow crowd of over 1,500 at the Columbus concert venue.

The panel made opening remarks covering everything from the diversity of Champ Car racing to the release of the 2003 schedule before taking questions from the crowd for more than an hour. The participants were also joined by a surprise guest from Indianapolis as owner/driver Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) phoned in to address the crowd. Fernandez is in Indianapolis undergoing rehabilitation therapy from his crash at Vancouver but called in to update fans on his progress.

Fans challenged each of the panelists with probing questions concerning everything from technical matters such as traction control to whether or not Mario knew what his son Michael Andretti (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) was going to do with his future.

Some key points were revealed to the crowd by the panelists, including Pook saying that he hoped to have the 2003 CART FedEx Championship Series schedule out next weekend at Mid-Ohio, and that there was only one sticking point preventing the series from releasing its schedule today. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course president Michelle Trueman-Gajoch did tell the crowd that the 2003 CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio would be held on August 10-12 as it will be this season.

Andretti also made shone some light on his 2003 plans, telling the crowd that he was in negotiations with Carl Haas for Newman/Haas Racing to run three cars in next year's series, with Andretti having the key role in the operation of the third car.

The crowd response was so strong that the panelists ended up answering questions for 15 minutes after the scheduled stop time, leading Daly to tell the crowd that he was sure that CART would hold similar presentations in the future.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Mario Andretti , Carl Haas , Derek Daly
Teams ART Grand Prix