FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES HAPPENINGS Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, November 29, 2001 Voting for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team began last week, as a select group of major motorsports media from...
FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES HAPPENINGS
Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, November 29, 2001
Voting for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team began last week, as a select group of major motorsports media from around the country received ballots requesting their selections for the third annual team.
FedEx Championship Series fans are also invited to vote for members of the team on www.cart.com. Balloting continues through Monday, Dec. 10.
The five-member team will be announced via press release Wednesday, Dec. 12, and honored during ceremonies at the soon-to-be-announced CART FedEx Championship Series Sneak Preview 2002 scheduled for early next year. At that time, the winner of the Mario Andretti Trophy, which is given to the leading vote-getter among the All Stars, will be announced as well as the team's order of selection based on the voting.
Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, who won his second consecutive FedEx Championship Series championship this season, was last year's winner of the Mario Andretti Trophy. Other members of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team were Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez and Juan Montoya.
Andretti and Tracy are two-time members of the CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team, which was established in 1999.
* FIVE ON AARWBA BALLOT
Two-time FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran heads a list of five drivers with CART ties who have been nominated to the 2001 All-America team selected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). Members of the 12-driver All-America team, which is being voted on by more than 300 members of the motorsports press, will be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet in January. De Ferran is joined on the All-America ballot by FedEx Championship Series runner-up Kenny Brack, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, Dayton Indy Lights champion Townsend Bell and Toyota Atlantic champion Hoover Orsi.
De Ferran became only the fourth driver to win back-to-back FedEx Championship Series titles this season, joining Rick Mears (1981, '82), Bobby Rahal (1986, '87) and Alex Zanardi (1997, '98).
Brack led the FedEx Championship Series in victories (4) and pole positions (6) while Castroneves earned three FedEx Championship Series victories and three poles in addition to his Indianapolis 500 triumph.
Bell claimed six wins en route to his Dayton Indy Lights championship while Orsi parlayed five victories into the Toyota Atlantic crown. De Ferran and Brack are each in line for their third berth on the All-America team. Each has a previous First and Second Team selection to his credit.
* PACWEST PREPARING FOR 2002 CAMPAIGN
The PacWest Racing Group confirmed last week that it expects to field a two-car effort during the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. PacWest has been a full-season two-car participant in the series for the past eight years, and campaigned Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year Award winner Scott Dixon and veteran Mauricio Gugelmin during the 2001 season. At Nazareth, Dixon earned the team's first victory since 1997, while becoming the youngest driver ever to win a major open-wheel event at age 20 years, 9 months and 14 days. "We believe CART offers a strong, viable product to PacWest and its sponsors," said PacWest Senior Vice President Mike Lowry. "We remain very supportive of the business model advanced by CART CEO Joe Heitzler and his tireless commitment to make our series the best open-wheel racing series in the world. Our expectation is to field a two-car effort in CART this season. Hopefully, our winter preparation will give us the advantage necessary to win the CART championship in 2002." The team indicated that an announcement is imminent regarding its engine and chassis package for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season.
* TICKET SALES FOR SEASON OPENER BEGIN FRIDAY
Ticket sales for the second annual Tecate Telmex Grand Prix, the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season opener, will be launched Friday during a press conference on the race site at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico. The race, scheduled for March 8-10, will be supported by the season opener of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, which will be contesting its first event in Mexico in more than two decades. Last year's inaugural Tecate Telmex Grand Prix, won by Cristiano da Matta of Newman/Haas Racing, drew a race-day crowd of 116,000 and a four-day total attendance of 318,000, making it the largest first-time event in the history of world motorsports. Among those participating in Friday's press conference will be Mexican superstar Adrian Fernandez, the only owner/driver currently competing in the FedEx Championship Series. Fernandez, the runner-up in the 2000 championship, will begin his second year of team ownership in 2002 with Tom Anderson, former managing director at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Once sales are launched, information regarding tickets can be found on the Tecate Telmex Grand Prix website, at www.monterreygp.com .
* CART NAMES ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL
Patricia Mills joins Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. today in the newly created position of Assistant General Counsel. She will report to Senior Vice President/Chief Legal Officer Deborah Schneider. Mills comes to CART with several years of experience in the Detroit-area public relations industry, including stints at Detroit's Fox (WJBK) and ABC (WXYZ) broadcast affiliates. She graduated from Wayne State University Law School and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. Mills is also an avid horseback rider who served as a deputy sheriff in the Oakland County Sheriff's Mounted Division from April, 1995 through May, 1997. "It looks as if I'll be putting the CART before the horse," Mills joked. "I just want to say how honored I am to be joining CART. It's a group of really bright, dedicated individuals, who are clearly passionate about open-wheel racing. I'm proud to be joining the team."