CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana pit crew challenge final is set

FONTANA, Calif. - Five teams in the CART FedEx Championship Series have qualified for the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge season-ending shootout at California Speedway in Fontana. They will meet in a head-to-head competition to determine the ...

FONTANA, Calif. - Five teams in the CART FedEx Championship Series have qualified for the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge season-ending shootout at California Speedway in Fontana. They will meet in a head-to-head competition to determine the Craftsman Pit Crew championship on Friday, Oct. 27, prior to the Marlboro 500. The finalists are:

Patrick Racing No. 40 (driver Adrian Fernandez)
Player's Forsythe Racing Team No. 32 (driver Patrick Carpentier)
Patrick Racing No. 20 (driver Roberto Moreno)
PPI Motorsports No. 97 (driver Cristiano da Matta)
Team KOOL Green No. 26 (driver Paul Tracy)

The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, begun in 1999, was created to recognize and reward the work of the crews who build, maintain and service the fastest open-wheel racing cars in the world. The five teams earned their spots in the shootout by demonstrating their pit stop proficiency throughout the 2000 season.

CART's timing and scoring system monitors the actual time each car spends on pit lane during the race. In a points system similar to the driver's championship points, each team was scored on the total time its car was in the pits. Less time in the pits meant more points.

After accumulating points for the first 19 races on CART's 2000 schedule, the top four teams plus a wildcard entry - the overall winner at Michigan International Speedway's Michigan 500 - were invited to participate in the championship shootout. In the shootout, the points are thrown out; the Craftsman Championship goes to the team that can make the fastest pit stops in the contest.

More About the Qualifiers

Patrick Racing No. 40: This team clearly demonstrates the correlation between winning in the pits and winning on the track. Entering Portland's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 500, the team was 10th in CPCC points and driver Adrian Fernandez was 10th in championship points. During the next 12 races, the team took the lead in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge by scoring points in every event (the only team to do so), while Fernandez climbed to second in championship points, just five markers behind leader Gil de Ferran. During the season Patrick Racing No. 40 took top honors in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge in four races. The team scored points in 15 events, a record for the two-year-old competition.

Player's Forsythe Racing Team No. 32: Player's Forsythe No. 32 was assured a spot in the shootout early by winning the wildcard event at Michigan. However, they would have qualified without the freebie, ending the qualifying second in points. The team ran hot and cold in Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge competition: they led the league with six first- or second-place finishes, but failed to score at 10 events.

Patrick Racing No. 20: Roberto Moreno's pit crew got off to a strong start, scoring points in the first four events and notched two firsts and a second during the year. Patrick Racing No. 20 was a contender for top honors for most of the season but slipped to third in points after being shut out in the last two events.

PPI Motorsports No. 97: Consistency got PPI Motorsports No. 97 into the shootout. Cristiano da Matta's team scored Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge points in 13 events, including eight top-five finishes, to finish fourth in points.

Team KOOL Green No. 26: Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge defending champions Team KOOL Green No. 26, boosted by seven top-five finishes, are back for the 2000 finals. Last year, Paul Tracy's over-the-wall team cranked out the two fastest pit stops of the shootout and claimed the title.

When the 2000 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge shootout ends, the victorious team will take home a specially designed Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge trophy by Waterford Crystal, a $50,000 cash prize and bragging rights as the best in the business.

2000 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Shootout Rules and Procedures

* The shootout competition will occur starting at 5:05 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27.

* Running simultaneously, the five entrants will have 15 minutes to make a minimum of three pit stops.

* The race cars must exit pit area, circle the track, enter at pit in, perform the required tire change and exit the pit lane to receive credit for a pit stop.

* During the pit stop, the team will correctly change four tires (no fuel). A maximum of five crew members plus the race driver will be allowed over the wall.

* All competition and safety rules will be in effect. A 10-second penalty will be assessed for each violation in accordance with the 2000 CART Rule Book.

* The winning team will be determined by taking the average of its two best pit stops.

Craftsman is the Official Tool of CART, and has been the sponsor of the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge for two years.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Cristiano da Matta