CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Mid-Ohio preview

Ford Racing CART Preview - Race ...

Ford Racing CART Preview - Race #12
Miller Lite 200 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - Lexington, OH

WHEN: August 12, 2001
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.258-mile permanent road course
RACE DISTANCE: 186.447 miles (82 laps)

DEFENDING POLESITTER: Gil de Ferran (124.394 miles per hour; 1 minute, 5.347 seconds)
QUALIFYING RECORD: Gil de Ferran (124.394 miles per hour; 1 minute, 5.347 seconds)

2001 DRIVER POINTS (11 races): KENNY BRACK (104), Helio Castroneves (82), Dario Franchitti (81), Michael Andretti (73), Gil de Ferran (72)

2001 MANUFACTURER POINTS (11 races): Honda (190), FORD-COSWORTH (171), Toyota (166)

BRACK BRINGS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD TO MID-OHIO - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack brings the CART championship points lead to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for the Miller Lite 200. Brack (104 points) captured his third career Champ Car victory, and his third of the season, two weeks ago at Chicago to jump out to a 22-point lead in the championship points standings over Helio Castroneves (82 points).

FORD-COSWORTH PERFORMANCE AT MID-OHIO - Ford and Cosworth have combined to score four pole positions and seven victories at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 1980. Johnny Rutherford scored Cosworth Racing's first victory at Mid-Ohio in 1980 in his DFX-powered Chaparral 2K, while Teo Fabi won in 1983 and Mario Andretti took the checkers in 1984. Bobby Rahal claimed back-to-back victories in 1985 and 1986, followed by Roberto Guerrero 1987. Cosworth Racing scored its most recent victory at Mid-Ohio in 1998 when Adrian Fernandez started fifth and led the final 26 laps en route to the win. Ford has scored four pole positions at Mid-Ohio since re-entering Champ Car racing in 1992, including Michael Andretti in 1992, Nigel Mansell in 1993, Jacques Villeneuve in 1995 and most recently, Bryan Herta in 1997.

ARCIERO-BLAIR TO RETURN AT MID-OHIO - Arciero-Blair Racing and driver Max Wilson will return to the track this weekend at Mid-Ohio for the first time since Wilson crashed during practice at Michigan on July 21st. Although Wilson was not seriously injured in the incident, the impact damaged the team's only remaining car after Wilson's primary car was heavily damaged in a qualifying incident with Shinji Nakano at Toronto on July 14th.

BRACK TO VISIT COLUMBUS YMCA - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack will be the featured guest of the CART Wheels for Kids Summer Camp Program as he will visit with kids from the Columbus YMCA - North Branch at 1:30pm on Thursday (8/9) afternoon at Josephinum College (7625 North High Street). Brack, who currently leads the CART championships point standings, will introduce the kids to the sport of Champ Car racing while also emphasizing various vehicle and helmet safety messages.

BRACK EXTENDS LEAD IN DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP; FORD-COSWORTH TAKES SECOND IN THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack (104 points) extended his lead in the drivers' championship two weeks ago at Chicago with his third victory of the season. The second-year driver from Sweden now has a 22-point lead over Helio Castroneves (82 points) in the chase for the points title. Brack has now held the championship points lead for 10 consecutive weeks after winning his first career Champ Car race on May 19th in Motegi, Japan. Brack's victory in Chicago also enabled Ford-Cosworth to move into second place in the manufacturers' championship points standings ahead of Toyota. Ford-Cosworth (171 points) now trails Honda (190) by 19 points and leads Toyota (166) by five points with nine races remaining in the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season.

FORD FAVORITES AT MID-OHIO - Although there are several drivers capable of winning a race in the FedEx Championship Series, Ford-Cosworth drivers Kenny Brack, Patrick Carpentier, Bryan Herta, Max Papis and Alex Tagliani each stand a strong chance of sipping champagne this weekend. Here's a quick look at each of these drivers and why they should be considered favorites:

Kenny Brack - Kenny Brack returned to his winning ways at Chicago after failing to finish the two previous events at Toronto and Michigan. Brack has now scored championship points in seven of the last nine races and has failed to garner points in only three events thus far this season. Brack has notched three top-10 finishes on permanent road and/or temporary street courses this season and finished fifth at Mid-Ohio last year during his rookie season.

Patrick Carpentier - Perhaps the hottest driver currently in the FedEx Championship Series, Patrick Carpentier has scored more than half of his championship points in the last two races (36 of 51 points) after winning at Michigan on July 22nd and finishing second two weeks ago at Chicago. Carpentier has qualified in the top 10 in four of the six races this season on road and/or street courses, and has two top-10 finishes in his last two starts at Mid-Ohio (seventh in '98 and fifth last year).

Bryan Herta - Bryan Herta has never qualified worse than third at Mid-Ohio, and owns a pair of top-five finishes (fifth in '95 and fourth in '96) on the permanent road course. After winning the pole in 1997, Herta qualified second in 1995 and 1999 and started third in 1996 and 1998.

Max Papis - Max Papis has been strong in his last two starts at Mid-Ohio, qualifying ninth in 1999 and sixth last season en route to back-to-back fifth-place finishes. Papis has also performed well in each of the two races on permanent road courses this season, finishing 12th in the season opener in Mexico and scoring his second career Champ Car victory at Portland on June 24th.

Alex Tagliani - Following a slow start to the season that saw him fail to finish each of the first four events, Alex Tagliani has rebounded to score championship points in six of the last seven races, including the last five. During that stretch Tagliani has two top-10 qualifying efforts (seventh at Cleveland; fifth at Toronto) and four top-10 finishes, including a career-best second-place result at Toronto on July 15th. As a rookie last season at Mid-Ohio, Tagliani qualified 16th before driving to a ninth-place finish.

COSWORTH CHAMP CAR WINS - Kenny Brack's third career Champ Car victory at Chicago two weeks ago was the 210th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since entering North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 163 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League (IRL) (was sanctioned by USAC). Michael Andretti has won the most races using a Cosworth engine (25), followed by Rick Mears (20), Bobby Rahal (18), Mario Andretti (16) and Johnny Rutherford (16).

SPARK PLUGS - This weekend's Miller Lite 200 can be considered a "home" race for both Team Rahal and Forsythe Championship Racing, which are located in nearby Hilliard, Ohio ... Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack has won the most races (3), claimed the most pole positions (4) and led the most laps (472) of any CART driver thus far this season ... Team Rahal has also won the most races (4) of any Champ Car team this season ... this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio marks the 400th consecutive CART race that Cosworth Racing has supplied engines to cars in the field.

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Roberto Guerrero , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Max Wilson , Bryan Herta , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Johnny Rutherford