CHAMPCAR/CART: Countdown to Houston continues

Race 7 of 20 for the FedEx Championship Series is this weekend, June 18, at Belle Isle Park in Detroit. Points leader, Paul Tracy, has a narrow lead with 59 points over 2nd place, Roberto Moreno. During each race, in addition to the drivers...

Race 7 of 20 for the FedEx Championship Series is this weekend, June 18, at Belle Isle Park in Detroit. Points leader, Paul Tracy, has a narrow lead with 59 points over 2nd place, Roberto Moreno.

During each race, in addition to the drivers and teams, points are awarded in several other categories.

The Nation's Cup recognizes the country whose drivers earn the most points in the series. Points are awarded to the top finisher for each country in the same manner as race points. Brazil currently leads the points with 92, followed by the United States with 86.

Another award for the series is the Constructor's Champion. This recognizes the chassis constructor earning the most points during the year. There are three chassis involved in the FedEx Championship Series: Reynard, Swift and Lola. Reynard is currently leading in points with 117.

The Manufacturer's Championship recognizes the engine manufacturer earning the most points during the year. Ford is currently leading with 104 points, followed by Honda, Toyota and Mercedes.

What's going on for the 2000 THGPH?

The Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston hosts the CART ladder system this year. In most sports, there is a progression to the top -- to the "big leagues". CART, in order to help drivers, teams, sponsors and fans progress, purchased the Dayton Indy Lights Series and the Toyota Atlantic Series and established them as the two most important steps on the ladder to the FedEx Championship Series.

The following shows a few of the differences in the three categories:

Top Speeds:  Toyota Atlantic:  165mph; Dayton Indy Lights:  190mph 
and Champ cars:  230mph
Length:  Toyota Atlantic:  167.25"; Dayton Indy Lights: 111";
Champ cars:  190 - 199"

Weight: Toyota Atlantic: 1,265 lbs; Dayton Indy Lights: 1,430 lbs.; Champ cars: 1,550 lbs.

Cost: Toyota Atlantic: $0.7 - 1.5 million; Dayton Indy Lights: $0.9 - 1.5 million; Champ cars: $7 - 14 million.

Who's Who? The Andretti family has a special Father's Day weekend planned. Dad, Mario, at the age of 60, is competing this weekend at the historic 24 Hours of LeMans. Michael Andretti will be competing in the FedEx Series Championship event in Detroit. Michael's son, Marco, 13, is running in the Yamaha Sportster karting series at Oakland Valley Raceway in Port Jervis, NY. Marco is currently the series points leader.

Champ Car Jargon:
What does it mean?

Grid: The position of each car on the starting line as designated by its qualifying time or speed. In most series, the fastest cars are gridded at the front. The fastest qualifier is usually on the inside of Row 1, or in the pole position.

Lap: One complete circuit of the track. Being a lap up or down indicates a car's position relative to other race leaders.

Flat Spot: An area on a racing tire created when a car skids or brakes very hard, rubbing off a portion of the compound. On racing "slicks", a flat spot is crater-like. As the tread section of a racing tire is very thin, a flat spot nearly always ruins a tire.

Did you know?

Every year a new chassis is developed for the Champ cars. The reason for this is because rules evolve and change with each season. For example, in 1999 the CART rules reduced the allowable aerodynamic downforce by 500 pounds, requiring chassis changes for 2000.

When it arrives from the factory, the chassis includes the body of the car, the suspension, the steerying system and the transmission. The team then adds the engine, the electronics and tunes it.

All about Houston:

The Houston area contains the nation's sixth-largest Hispanic population. The Hispanic population of 1,021,300 was the largest in Texas in 1999.

The Houston area contains the nation's 11th largest Asian/Pacific island population of 224,200. It is the fourth-largest Asian/Pacific Islander concentration in states not bordering the Pacific.

Sixty-five primary languages other than English are spoken in the homes of students in Houston Independent School District, the nation's seventh-largest public school district.

Next race for the CART FedEx Championship Series is the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit this Sunday, June 18. Location: Detroit, MI ESPN will air the show beginning at 1:00 pm EDT.

For the latest updates about the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, visit our website:

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy