CHAMPCAR/CART: FedEx Championship series happenings, 2001-04-12

Warner Brothers feature film, Driven, which utilizes Championship Auto Racing Teams and the FedEx Championship Series as a backdrop. The premiere is scheduled for Monday, April 16, beginning at 7 p.m. at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, ...

Warner Brothers feature film, Driven, which utilizes Championship Auto Racing Teams and the FedEx Championship Series as a backdrop. The premiere is scheduled for Monday, April 16, beginning at 7 p.m. at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Calif.

A number of Champ Car drivers are expected to attend, including current FedEx Championship Series points leader Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing; veteran Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, winner of 18 Champ Car events in his 11-year career; and second-year driver and winner of the 2000 Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year Award Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal. Bryan Herta (Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Ford Reynard) of Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing, Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Toyota) of the PacWest Racing Group, Michel Jourdain Jr. (Herdez Ford Lola) of Herdez Bettenhausen and Max Wilson (winner Arciero/Brooke Racing Phoenix Lola) of Arciero/Brooke Racing are also expected to attend the gala.

As part of the festivities, Tracy will arrive at the premiere in a Champ Car, while da Matta, Brack, Gugelmin and Jourdain will arrive in Champ Car replicas provided by the CART Driving 101 driving experience. Tracy's pit crew, two-time and defending champions of CART's annual Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, will perform a pit stop demonstration prior to the premiere.

A high-tech, action drama set in the dangerous, exhilirating world of open-wheel racing, Driven centers on the lives and careers of four drivers chasing the ultimate adrenaline rush. The movie stars Academy Award-winning actor Sylvester Stallone as Joe Tanto, a former racing star hired by car owner Carl Henry, played by former Academy Award nominee Burt Reynolds, to tutor a talented but unfocused rookie driver, played by Kip Pardue, in his bid for the championship.

The movie also stars Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard, Til Schweiger and Cristian de la Fuente and is directed by Renny Harlin, who co-produced with Stallone.

Footage for the feature was filmed at numerous FedEx Championship Series venues during the 2000 season. Driven premieres nationally on Friday, April 27.

In conjunction with Driven's release, CART is offering private screenings of the film during the week of April 23 to promoters in its domestic race markets. Movie theaters in the top 20 markets across the United States will also be screening the film from April 23-25.

Driven will also be the focus of a one-hour MTV special titled Fast and Famous, which debuts on Saturday, April 21. The program features profiles of CART drivers Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard), Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Lola), Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota Lola) and Tracy, and also includes segments on Driven and last week's celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Check local listings for the air time in your area.


Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. announced last week that it had become title sponsor for Round 3 of the FedEx Championship Series at Texas Motor Speedway, now known as the Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer. The event, scheduled for April 27-29, marks CART's inaugural appearance on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval. "Every car in that race will be on Firestone racing tires, plus, we'll have thousands of Firestone retailers, their family members, friends and customers in the stands, said Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director Al Speyer. "The success of the Firestone Racing program has been very important to our dealers and company associates; we're certain this strong presence at TMS will support sales and generate additional enthusiasm. This sponsorship connects us with a world-class racing facility and a great competition where our tires will be an integral part of the excitement. It's really a win-win-win relationship for Firestone, the speedway, the series and the fans. It's going to be very, very rewarding to see Firestone have such a commanding presence at what we're sure will be a great race." The Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer becomes the second event of the FedEx Championship Series season for which Firestone will be the title sponsor. Firestone, the Official Tire of Championship Auto Racing Teams, also sponsors the Firestone Firehawk 500, May 17-19 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.


Player's Forsythe Racing Team driver Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), who sustained a slight fracture of his left wrist during an accident at Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, underwent surgery in Indianapolis Tuesday under the supervision of Dr. Terry Trammell, CART's Chief Orthopedic Consultant. Dr. Trammell inserted a screw into Carpentier's left wrist to reattach a bone fragment that was chipped on impact. "This fracture is nothing like the one I had last year [following a fall in his Las Vegas home], because unlike that fracture, I don't have any problem moving my fingers and there is practically no swelling," Carpentier said. "Besides, it's not a bone that I would be putting a lot of stress on when I drive. I only hope the operation is a success and I can get behind the wheel for the next race [the April 29 Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer at Texas Motor Speedway]." A decision on Carpentier's return to the cockpit is expected in the next few days.


Mario Andretti, the 1984 FedEx Championship Series champion, and Anthony Edwards, star of the NBC-TV hospital drama, ER, will be the headliners at an April 22 fundraiser at Nashville's Wild Horse Saloon benefiting High Hopes, a non-profit therapeutic center serving children with special needs and their families. The fundraiser, dubbed "Hats Off to High Hopes," will feature a buffet dinner, entertainment and an auction of a wide variety of items whose donation was coordinated by the Firestone Racing program. Among the items to be auctioned will be racing mementos donated by Andretti; a visit to the set of ER, including lunch with Edwards; cookbooks autographed by Academy Award-winning actor and CART team owner Paul Newman and a number of items donated by actor Sylvester Stallone, star of the Champ Car-themed movie Driven, set for April 27 release. As part of its participation in the event, the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund is making a $10,000 contribution to support High Hopes. Tickets for the evening are $50. For further information, contact High Hopes at (615) 269-6640.


Championship Auto Racing Teams received word recently that the widow of Chris Bell - a volunteer course worker who sustained a fatal heart attack during last year's CART event in Surfers Paradise, Australia - gave birth to a baby boy, named Aiden. He becomes Rebecca Bell's fourth child, joining sister Kaitlin and brothers Joshua and Dylan. In memory of Chris, CART recently presented Rebecca with a starter's flag from the 2000 Gold Coast Indy signed by every driver who participated in the event.


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Max Wilson , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Mario Andretti , Paul Newman , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain , Chris Bell
Teams Team Zakspeed