Drivers with CART experience dominate Indianapolis 500 field. INDIANAPOLIS (May 25, 2002) - When the green flag drops on the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, 22 of the 33 cars passing under the flag stand will be driven either by ...
Drivers with CART experience dominate Indianapolis 500 field.
INDIANAPOLIS (May 25, 2002) - When the green flag drops on the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, 22 of the 33 cars passing under the flag stand will be driven either by competitors that regularly participate in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, or by drivers who have competed previously in CART Champ Car competition.
The field will be led by polesitter Bruno Junqueira of Target Chip Ganassi Racing., who came to Indy fresh off his first career oval win in the Bridgestone Potenza 500 at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi, in Round 3 of the 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. Other CART regulars in Sunday's starting field include Mo Nunn Racing pilot Tony Kanaan, who starts fifth; Sigma Autosport Champ Car driver Max Papis in the 18th starting position; Team Rahal's Jimmy Vasser in the 19th starting spot; Junqueira's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Brack, who starts 21st; Team Motorola's Michael Andretti in 25th; and Team KOOL Green teammates Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy in the 28th and 29th starting positions, respectively.
Andretti (1991) and Vasser (1996) are also CART FedEx Championship Series champions, and will be joined in the Indy field by two-time CART FedEx Championship Series champions Al Unser Jr. (1990 and '94) and Gil de Ferran (2000 and 2001). CART Champ Car race winners in the 500 field include Robby Gordon, Helio Castroneves, and Arie Luyendyk.
Other drivers with CART FedEx Championship Series experience include Robbie Buhl, who made 12 starts between 1993 and '94; Raul Boesel, who has three career Champ Car pole positions and made a total of 172 starts from 1985 through 1999; Eddie Cheever Jr., who had a total of 82 CART Champ Car starts from 1986 through 1995; Scott Sharp, who made 18 CART starts from 1993 through '95; Buddy Lazier, who started in 54 CART events from 1990 through 1995; Richie Hearn, who made 59 Champ Car starts from 1996 through 1999; Alex Barron, who started in 34 CART events from 1998 through 2001; Shigeaki Hattori, who made seven Champ Car starts in the 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series season; and Mark Dismore, who made a total of four Champ Car starts between 1989 and 1991.
While two-thirds of the field has participated in CART FedEx Championship Series event, the CART influence does not end with Champ Car experience. The CART-sanctioned Dayton Indy Lights Championship, which ran its final race in 2001, has a total of eleven graduates in the field, including several previously mentioned drivers as well as Felipe Giaffone, Jeff Ward, Billy Boat, Airton Dare and Greg Ray.
Likewise, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is also well-represented in the field, as Sam Hornish Jr. joins several aforementioned drivers with Atlantic experience. Hornish scored his first major race victory in the 1999 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship event at Chicago Motor Speedway, the first motor racing event ever held at the one-mile oval.
In total, 28 of the 33 starters in Sunday's field compete or have competed in the CART FedEx Championship Series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, and/or the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as American Honda, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS, FOX and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.CART.com.