CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Vasser, Zanardi Notes and Quotes

Zanardi, who clinched his second consecutive PPG Cup championship with his fourth-place finish at last week's Molson Indy Vancouver, has won six races this season, including five of the eight street/road course races. Target/Chip Ganassi ...

Zanardi, who clinched his second consecutive PPG Cup championship with his fourth-place finish at last week's Molson Indy Vancouver, has won six races this season, including five of the eight street/road course races.

Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has won three consecutive PPG Cup championships, with Jimmy Vasser winning in 1996 and Zanardi winning in 1997 and 1998. Penske Racing is the only other team in CART history to win three straight championships, accomplishing the feat with Rick Mears in 1981 and 1982 and Al Unser Sr. in 1983.

Chip Ganassi has now been a part of four PPG Cup championships. He was co-owner of the Patrick Racing team in 1989 when Emerson Fittipaldi drove to the title.

Zanardi ranks eighth in CART career victories with 14.

Zanardi's four consecutive wins earlier this season (Detroit, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto) tied the CART record set by Al Unser Jr. in 1990.

Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has posted 21 victories over the last two-and-a-half seasons. The rest of the CART field has 27 wins.

Zanardi has totaled 218 points this season. Since 1983, only Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal and Zanardi have reached the 200-point plateau in a single season.

Of Zanardi's 218 points this season, 131 have come on road/street courses. Dario Franchitti is a distant second on the road/street points list with 88.

Zanardi has 17 podium finishes in his last 22 races, including six victories, three runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes in the first 15 races this season.

Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has been on the podium in 20 of the previous 23 races dating back to last year's race at Cleveland. The three exceptions were this year's races at Motegi, Mid-Ohio and Vancouver. Zanardi and Vasser have shared the podium four times during that stretch (Laguna Seca in 1997 and Nazareth, Toronto and the U.S. 500 in 1998), giving the team 24 podium appearances in 23 races.

Zanardi reached 14 victories faster than any driver in CART history, accomplishing the feat in just 43 races. Rick Mears is next on the list, reaching 14 wins in 44 starts from 1979-82.

Twelve of Zanardi's 14 CART victories, 18 of his 24 podium finishes and eight of his 10 pole positions had come on road or street courses. In his last 14 road/street races, he has eight wins, two runner-up finishes, one third-place finish, two fourth-place finishes and one 12th-place finish.

Vasser and Zanardi are the first CART drivers to appear on a Wheaties box. The boxes are available in Target stores nationwide while supplies last.

Vasser has finished all but two races this season and has completed 49 of his previous 54 races dating back to Cleveland in 1995. Vasser led all CART drivers in races completed in 1996 (16) and 1997 (15).

In their 48 races as teammates, Zanardi and Vasser have gone scoreless just once. The only race that neither driver scored a point was this year at Mid-Ohio. Zanardi placed 12th in that race but had his one point taken away following the race as part of his CART penalty for "unjustifiable risk."

Zanardi owns the best winning percentage among the 12 drivers with 10 or more CART victories. Following are the top five: Zanardi .298 (14 wins/47 starts); Bobby Unser .270 (10 wins/38 starts); Michael Andretti .164 (37 wins/226 starts); Rick Mears .144 (26 wins/180 starts); Al Unser Jr. .126 (31 wins/246 starts).

Zanardi and Vasser have won eight of the 15 races this season, including six in a row from Milwaukee to Toronto.

Vasser has finished in the top eight in 16 of his last 20 races. He has scored points in 49 of his previous 57 races dating back to the 1995 season.

Vasser has started 82 consecutive races since the 1993 season, the third-longest streak among active CART drivers. Only Bobby Rahal (93) and Mauricio Gugelmin (84) have more consecutive starts.

Quick Quotes: Jimmy Vasser: "The elevation changes at Laguna Seca are unlike any other on our circuit. Coming down the corkscrew and down the hill all the way to Turn 11 is probably one of the most exciting sections of racetrack that we run on."

Alex Zanardi: "The biggest reason Laguna Seca is so special to me is that that's where I met with Chip (Ganassi) in 1995 and he offered me the opportunity to test and then drive for him."

St. Jude Children's Hospital: Once again this year, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is donating $5,000 for each race win, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Contributions are being used for construction of the Target House at St. Jude's.

The team has raised $59,075 this season, surpassing the team's 1997 donation. Target contributed an additional $1,000 when Alex Zanardi registered his 1,000th career lap led in the Rio 400 on May 10, bringing the grand total raised this season to $60,075.

In 1997, the team raised $46,275 for St. Jude's Hospital. In recognition of the team's back-to-back championships, Target matched that donation and rounded up to bring the total donation in 1997 to $100,000.

The team's top five single-race totals over the last two seasons are as follows: $7,975 at Cleveland 1998; $7,600 at U.S. 500 1997; $7,575 at Gateway 1998; $6,925 at Milwaukee 1998; $6,750 at Cleveland 1997.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Mauricio Gugelmin , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Al Unser
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske