CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Toronto preview


Molson Indy - Exhibition Place - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
WHEN: July 15, 2001

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.755-mile temporary street course
RACE DISTANCE: 196.560 miles (112 laps)

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Michael Andretti DEFENDING POLESITTER: Helio Castroneves (110.455 miles per hour; 57.200 seconds) QUALIFYING RECORD: Gil de Ferran (110.565 miles per hour; 57.143 seconds)

2001 DRIVER POINTS (8 races): BRACK (84), Helio Castroneves (70), Dario Franchitti (65), Gil de Ferran (56), Cristiano da Matta (55)

2001 MANUFACTURER POINTS (8 races): Honda (136), Toyota (132), FORD-COSWORTH (114)

RACING ON THE STREETS OF TORONTO - Ford-Cosworth has scored five victories in 15 races on the streets of Toronto with four of them coming at the hands of Michael Andretti. Andretti claimed victory at Toronto in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2000, while Bobby Rahal won the second-ever CART race in Toronto when he drove his Cosworth-powered March 86C to victory in 1986. Ford-Cosworth has scored just two pole positions at Toronto since 1992, the first coming in 1994 when Robby Gordon led the field to the green flag, while Jacques Villeneuve started from the pole the following season in 1995.

BRACK MAINTAINS LEAD IN DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP; FORD-COSWORTH THIRD IN THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP - With a sixth-place finish two weeks ago in Cleveland, current championship points leader Kenny Brack increased his advantage in the standings over Helio Castroneves who finished 12th. Brack (84 points) now leads Castroneves (70 points) by 14 points, and Dario Franchitti (65 points) by 19 points with 12 races remaining in the CART FedEx Championship season. Ford-Cosworth (114 points) continues to trail both Honda (136 points) and Toyota (132 points) in the chase for the manufacturers' championship.

FORD FAVORITES AT CLEVELAND - 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 brings a 14-point lead over Helio Castroneves in the championship standings to Toronto where he finished 10th as a rookie last season. Brack has scored championship points in six straight races and has failed to score points in only one event thus far this season (Long Beach - 25th). The native of Sweden has also scored points in four of the five races contested on road or street courses this season, including a fifth-place in the season-opener in Mexico and a sixth-place result two weeks ago in Cleveland.

Patrick Carpentier - Although his string of top-10 finishes ended at two after crashing out in the first turn at Cleveland two weeks ago, Patrick Carpentier must be considered a solid favorite in his home country. The likeable French-Canadian has scored top-10 results in two of the last three street or road courses (8th in Detroit and 5th in Portland), and drove to a seventh-place finish last year in Toronto after starting 17th.

Bryan Herta - One of four American drivers currently competing in CART, Bryan Herta finished a season-best third at Cleveland two weeks ago, scoring his first Champ Car podium appearance since winning at Laguna Seca on September 12, 1999. Herta has scored two top-six results at Toronto in six career appearances, including sixth in 1996 and fifth in 1998.

Max Papis - Despite a disappointing result in Cleveland two weeks ago (18th), Papis has scored championship points in four of the last five races, in addition to scoring his second career Champ Car victory at Portland on June 24th. Papis has performed well at Toronto during his career with three top-10 results in four career appearances on the shores of Lake Erie. After a 15th-place effort in 1997, Papis finished eighth in 1998, fifth in 1999 and eighth again last season, all after qualifying outside the top 14.

Alex Tagliani - After a slow start, Tagliani heads to Toronto having scored points in two consecutive races (12th in Portland and 9th in Cleveland) and in three of the last four (12th in Milwaukee on June 3rd). As a rookie last year in Toronto, Tagliani started 19th and finished fifth to score his second top-five and fourth top-10 result of the season.

COSWORTH CHAMP CAR WINS - Max Papis' win at Portland on June 24th was the 208th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since entering North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 161 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine in 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 - Michael Andretti's victory at Toronto in 1995 was Cosworth Racing's 175th Champ Car victory ... Max Wilson is currently third in the CART Rookie of the Year standings ... Kenny Brack has led the most laps of any driver this season (359), while Oriol Servia leads all CART drivers in laps completed with 1,031 ... Bryan Herta's third-place finish at Cleveland two weeks ago was his first podium appearance since winning at Laguna Seca on September 12, 1999 ... Ford-Cosworth's last pole position at Toronto came in 1995 (Jacques Villeneuve) ... Bryan Herta is Ford-Cosworth's most experienced CART driver this season with 108 career Champ Car starts.

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Robby Gordon , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Max Wilson , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Cristiano da Matta , Johnny Rutherford