CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Gold Coast preview

HEADING DOWN UNDER - Ford-Cosworth heads to the Gold Coast of Australia for the second-to-last race in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship season looking for its sixth victory of the season and its third on a street course. Thus far, Roberto Moreno...

HEADING DOWN UNDER - Ford-Cosworth heads to the Gold Coast of Australia for the second-to-last race in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship season looking for its sixth victory of the season and its third on a street course. Thus far, Roberto Moreno (Cleveland) and Michael Andretti (Toronto) have been victorious on street courses, while nine other drivers powered by Ford-Cosworth have made podium appearances in seven of the 10 road and/or temporary street circuits this season. Ford-Cosworth last won in Australia in 1997 when Scott Pruett, who qualified seventh, assumed the lead on lap 42 and remained out front for the remaining 15 laps en route to the checkered flag.

FORD FAVORITES - Although this will be his first appearance on the street course in Surfer's Paradise, Kenny Brack figures to be a favorite in this weekend's race. The rookie driver from Sweden has posted top 10 finishes in six of the last seven road and/or street course events with two podium finishes (Cleveland - 2nd; Road America - 3rd). CART's third-winningest driver, Michael Andretti, has captured 26 career road course victories with 16 of them coming on temporary street courses, including a win at this season's Molson Indy Toronto. Andretti claimed victory in the 1994 Honda Indy 300, has sat on the pole twice and has posted top 10 finishes in four of his last six Australian races. And don't count out Adrian Fernandez, who captured third place in last season's Honda Indy 300. Currently tied with Andretti for fifth in the points, not only has Fernandez finished 11th or better in each of the last three events in Australia, but has also finished seventh or better in the last four races on temporary street courses, including second in Toronto and third in Vancouver.

THREE FORD DRIVERS NEW TO AUSTRALIA - Ford-Cosworth drivers Kenny Brack, Tarso Marques and Alex Tagliani will be making their first career start in Australia when they receive the green flag on Sunday. Of the 10 drivers currently powered by Ford-Cosworth, Michael Andretti has made the most starts in Australia, racing in eight of the nine events since its inception in 1991 (missed 1993 when with the McLaren Formula One team). Adrian Fernandez has started six races in Australia, Christian Fittipaldi has started four (did not start in 1997 due to injury), Patrick Carpentier and Max Papis have each started three and Alex Barron ('98) and Roberto Moreno ('96) have both raced once in Australia.

FORD-COSWORTH LOOKING TO EXTEND ITS LEAD IN THE MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - Ford-Cosworth (293) holds a three-point advantage over Honda (290) and a 36-point edge over Toyota (257) in the manufacturer's championship heading into the event in Australia. After relinquishing the lead in the manufacturer's championship to Honda for the first time this season following the race in Laguna Seca, Ford-Cosworth reclaimed it at Gateway with two podium finishers (Carpentier - 2nd; Moreno - 3rd). Ford has not won the CART Manufacturer's Championship since 1995 when Jacques Villeneuve won four races and became the second-youngest champion in CART history at age 24. FOUR OF THE TOP SEVEN DRIVERS CHASING THE POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY FORD-COSWORTH - With just two events remaining on the 2000 CART FedEx Championship schedule, four of the top seven drivers vying for the season points championship are powered by Ford-Cosworth. Roberto Moreno (131 points), who captured his first career series victory this year in Cleveland, is third in the championship, 22 points behind leader Gil De Ferran (153 points) and just three points behind second place Paul Tracy (134 points). Michael Andretti (127 points), who has scored just seven championship points in the last six races since finishing second in Chicago, is currently tied with Adrian Fernandez, who has recorded 11 consecutive points paying results. Kenny Brack, who clinched the Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year" award in Houston, is in seventh place with 118 points.

ANDRETTI LOOKS TO FINISH STRONG - After enjoying an 11-race stretch that saw him win two events, make seven podium appearances and assume the lead in the driver's championship, Michael Andretti has struggled in his last five races, scoring just two championship points. Currently tied for fourth in the championship standings with 127 points, Andretti, who captured his only series crown in 1991, trails Gil de Ferran (153 points), Paul Tracy (134 points) and Roberto Moreno (131 points) in the chase for the driver's title with two races remaining.

KENNY BRACK CLAIMS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HONORS - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack clinched the Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year" award following his 15th place finish in the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Brack currently has 118 points and leads Oriol Servia by 58 points heading into the final two races of the season. The first defending Indianapolis 500 winner to come into the FedEx series as a rookie, Brack, who's best CART result was second in Cleveland, has posted eight top-five finishes and has qualified in the top 10 in 13 races this season.

ROBERTO MORENO A FINALIST FOR THE GREG MOORE LEGACY AWARD - Roberto Moreno joins Helio Castroneves, Casey Mears and Townsend Bell as the four finalists nominated for the inaugural Greg Moore Legacy Award. The award, which honors the Canadian star and fan favorite who lost his life in the 1999 season finale, reflects the driver who best typifies Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on the track as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media and within the CART community. The winner will be announced at the CART FedEx Championship Series Awards Banquet on Monday, Oct. 30 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

SPARK PLUGS - Ford-Cosworth has won four of the nine races held in Australia, getting victories from Nigel Mansell ('93), Michael Andretti ('94), Paul Tracy ('95) and Scott Pruett ('97). Honda has won three Australian races (1996, '98 and '99), with Chevrolet capturing the other two (1991 and '92)...there has never been a repeat winner in the nine years of the Australian street race...Andretti's 1994 victory in Australia was his 20th career win on a road/street circuit...of the nine different drivers that have won the race in Australia, only four are still active in the CART FedEx Championship Series (Andretti - '94, Paul Tracy - '95, Jimmy Vasser - '96 and Dario Franchitti - '99)...Ford-powered drivers have stood on the podium in 15 of the 18 races thus far this season...the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston marked the first race this season in which a driver powered by Ford-Cosworth failed to finish in the top five (Christian Fittipaldi - 6th).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Casey Mears , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Tarso Marques , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Nigel Mansell , Scott Pruett , Alex Barron , Townsend Bell , Greg Moore