Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, January 26, 2000 The five FedEx Championship Series drivers selected to the inaugural CART All-Star Team will be named Tuesday, Feb. 8 during a media reception at the historic Biltmore Hotel...
Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, January 26, 2000
The five FedEx Championship Series drivers selected to the inaugural CART All-Star Team will be named Tuesday, Feb. 8 during a media reception at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. The announcement has been scheduled in conjunction with CART's fifth annual Spring Training set for Feb. 8-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
The evening will honor the five drivers chosen to the inaugural CART All-Star Team by vote of their fellow drivers, a select panel of media and a trio of celebrity Champ Car enthusiasts, actors Tim Allen and Anthony Edwards and 1999 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Robin Yount. The leading vote-getter on the team will be presented with the Mario Andretti Trophy in recognition of his accomplishment.
The evening also will include special recognition of Greg Moore of the Player's Forsythe Racing Team, who was fatally injured in the season finale last year.
The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m. ET, with ceremonies scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.
* MORENO'S INITIAL TEST "FANTASTIC"
After being rained out of his first scheduled test at Laguna Seca Raceway last week, new Patrick Racing driver Roberto Moreno completed his first test with the team Monday on the road course at Firebird International Raceway, and termed it "fantastic". "We had a fantastic first two days of testing," said Moreno, who recorded a quick time of 47.6 seconds in the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard. "We ran a lot of miles, which allowed me to get into the rhythm of being a race car driver again. I was up to speed from the first day. It was just a lot of fun. I was very pleased with the performance of the Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/ Firestone package. We tried a lot of different things and made a big improvement the second day. The new Ford-Cosworth engine is definitely a better engine; it has a very good, wide power band. I was also very pleased with the performance of the Firestone tires. They were strong and very durable. We were able to run 60 laps on one set." Added Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee: "This was our first time at Firebird with the new car and the first time we have tested with Roberto and his car. I think it was a very successful test and I am very pleased with the results. We came up with some solid answers here at Firebird and we have a good menu for our next road test at Sebring." Moreno and Patrick Racing teammate Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) moved to Phoenix International Raceway for test sessions Tuesday and today. The team's testing program continues at Sebring on Feb. 5-6, just prior to CART's fifth annual Spring Training test sessions, Feb. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
* BLUNDELL PLEASED FOLLOWING OPENING SESSION
PacWest Racing Group driver Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) stepped into a race car for the first time since the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season finale on Tuesday and completed 115 laps on the 1-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway during his first test of the off-season. "I am sore in a few places, but that is expected after almost a three-month break," Blundell said. "I will sleep well tonight. It was just great to be back in a race car, and one that offers so much promise. The Mercedes-Benz engine seems very strong. Mo [teammate Mauricio Gugelmin] has already praised the new car, and so far, I have no reason to disagree with him. The new wing package [for short ovals] has a reasonable baseline at this stage." Blundell's test continued today, with Gugelmin scheduled to take the wheel Thursday.
* A BRIEF BEGINNING
New Forsythe Championship Racing Team driver Bryan Herta made his debut with his new team during an abbreviated first day of testing at Laguna Seca Raceway last Wednesday, as rain shortened a scheduled full day of testing in the team's Honda-powered Swift. A second test day scheduled for Thursday was canceled by fog. "The weather conditions were not very accommodating for our first day, but we accomplished all our systems and mechanical checks," said Herta, who was named as Forsythe Championship Racing's driver last Monday after spending the past four FedEx Championship Series seasons with Team Rahal. "This is a different car quite clearly than what I've driven in the past. We haven't even begun to tap its potential. In terms of the engine, the Honda is quite smooth. It has a nice, wide power band. I'm really impressed with that. It's been a remarkable effort by everyone at Swift to get this car on the track in a very short period of time. I said before, if it runs half as good as it looks, then we're really going to have something to work with. I think we have something to work with."
* ANDRETTI, FITTIPALDI PARTICIPATE IN KIDS RACE AGAINST DRUGS
Newman/Haas Racing drivers Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) and Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Lola) were among the celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment who participated in the Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs in Orlando last weekend. The event drew 162 children ranging in age from 7 through 12 from all over the United States who competed for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and other awards. The program, in which children drove miniature race cars around specially designed race tracks, was instituted to raise money for local drug awareness programs. The nationwide tour made 650 stops in 85 cities in 1999. Andretti, the 1991 FedEx Championship Series champion and CART's career victory leader (38), and Fittipaldi, who finished seventh in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series title race, were joined by several other celebrities at the event, including actresses Kathy Ireland and Jaclyn Smith; U.S. Women's Soccer Team World Cup champion Brandi Chastain; and New Orleans Saints rookie running back Ricky Williams.