LAUSITZ, Germany (September 15, 2001) - Kenny Brack of Team Rahal regained the FedEx Championship Series championship lead while becoming the season's first four-time winner Saturday when he captured The American Memorial before a crowd of 87,689...
LAUSITZ, Germany (September 15, 2001) - Kenny Brack of Team Rahal regained the FedEx Championship Series championship lead while becoming the season's first four-time winner Saturday when he captured The American Memorial before a crowd of 87,689 at EuroSpeedway.
Brack's victory was tempered by a serious injury to two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi of Mo Nunn Racing, who was involved in a two-car accident with Alex Tagliani on the 142nd of 154 laps. According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, Zanardi was airlifted to Klinikum Berlin-Marzahn hospital, where he underwent a three-hour procedure that resulted in the traumatic amputation of both legs above the knee. He was in critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, where he is expected to remain for the next several days.
Tagliani was awake and alert at Klinikum Berlin-Marzahn, where a CT scan and X-rays revealed no injuries. He was expected to remain under observation at the hospital for the next 24 to 48 hours.
Brack's victory Saturday gave him a series-high total of four, the previous three having come at Japan, Milwaukee and Chicago. He collected 21 points for the triumph and leading the most race laps, giving him 131 for the season and moving him past Gil de Ferran (Honda Reynard) of Team Penske and back into the FedEx Championship Series lead.
Through 16 of 21 completed events, Brack has 131 points, 11 ahead of de Ferran (120), Saturday's polesitter, who collected five points for his eighth-place finish. Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) moved from fourth to third place with 115 points after finishing fourth.
Brack averaged 155.319 miles per hour and finished 0.154 seconds ahead of Team Rahal teammate Max Papis (Miller Genuine Draft Ford Lola) under caution. Papis recorded his second podium result of the season, including a victory at Portland, and the one-two finish was the first in Team Rahal's 10-year FedEx Championship Series history.
Brack led the first 63 laps from the outside pole, and inherited the lead when Zanardi made his final pit stop on Lap 142 after leading 19 laps. Thanks to his victory, his fourth on an oval this season, Brack has now collected a series-high 100 points on oval tracks this season, including an additional podium finish of second at Nazareth.
Third place went to Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing, whose podium finish was his fourth in the past six events, including his first career FedEx Championship Series victory at Michigan. The 14 points he earned for Saturday's effort moved Carpentier to seventh in the championship, with 83 points, and gave him 80 championship points in his past eight starts.
Rounding out the top five drivers were Andretti, whose fourth-place performance represented his seventh top-five effort of the season and his fourth in his past seven starts, including a victory at Toronto; and Oriol Servia (Sigma Autosport Ford Lola) of Sigma Autosport, whose second consecutive fifth-place finish matched a season-best established at Vancouver.
Saturday's crowd of 87,689 brought the three-day attendance for The American Memorial, CART's first-ever event conducted in Europe, to 148,853.
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Lola: "We had a pretty good car all day, but we tried to make sure we didn't have to pit one more time, and that strategy paid off. It's very unfortunate with the incident that happened at the end. I just hope Alex [Zanardi] is okay. My condolences to everyone back in the United States, and also to Alessandro and his family."
MAX PAPIS, Miller Genuine Draft Ford Lola: "Racing today was very good. I think the Miller car was one of the fastest out there. I came from 16th to second and that's all there is to say. These last few days have been very difficult, that's for sure, but for people with hearts like me, it's even harder. Motor racing is not the most important thing in my life. I just pray for all of the people in the United States and that my friend Alessandro [Zanardi] is okay. I just hope Alex is okay."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "It wasn't all good today. We had a good race, but our hearts are always with the people in the United States. It's unfortunate with the incident at the end with my teammate [Alex Tagliani], but I heard he's going to be okay. Hopefully, Zanardi is okay. I'm happy with a third-place finish."
* Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. on behalf of its entire community, announced Saturday morning that it will make a donation to the World Trade Center relief fund that is equivalent to the race purse for Saturday's American Memorial event at EuroSpeedway. The standard purse for a CART event is $500,000 and will be the amount of the donation. The Championship Drivers Association, which includes CART drivers, also has exhibited its support of the WTC relief fund with a donation of $50,000. "With our community being more than 4,000 miles away from home, we frequently have felt helpless in being able to help our families and our country through this terrible tragedy," CART Chairman and CEO Joseph Heitzler said. "This is the CART community's way of showing its support and concern for all those involved while we are abroad. Our hearts continue to go out to everyone and we as a community look forward to returning home soon and becoming more involved in the healing process with our family, friends and communities."
* In tribute to the victims of Tuesday's terrorist activities in New York City, Washington, D.C. and western Pennsylvania, the pre-race activities for Saturday's American Memorial included several special ceremonies of remembrance. Following the invocation delivered by CART Chaplain Rev. Phil de Rea, a Moment of Silence was observed in the victims' memory.
At the conclusion of the Moment of Silence, 'Taps' was played by Dan Colette, a native New Yorker now living in Berlin, and following that, 'Amazing Grace' was played by the Scottish Volunteers Bag Pipers. On the second of three parade laps, the Champ Cars rolled slowly through the pit lane. As a tribute to the victims and the efforts of all the rescue workers in the United States, each car's pit box was occupied by a German firefighter holding a German flag and a member of each team holding an American flag. The cars then returned to the race track to take a final parade lap before beginning to pace for the race.
* Brandenburg Prime Minister Dr. Manfred Stolpe presented CART Chairman and CEO Joseph Heitzler with a special regional flower bouquet and a black commemorative binder Saturday morning to show the state's support for the victims and families of this week's tragedy, as well as thank CART for its decision not to postpone the American Memorial race. The black binder contained more than 5,000 signatures of German citizens that were collected by officials in a span of three days in the state of Brandenburg, where EuroSpeedway and the city of Lausitz are situated. The binder opened with a hand-written letter expressing the local citizenry's desire to show its solidarity with our country in a time of need, its respect for human liberty and to decry terrorism. Dr. Stolpe, who had an opportunity to meet CART drivers Michael Andretti and Mauricio Gugelmin, also expressed his gratitude for CART's difficult decision to continue its plans to stage the American Memorial. "I met with the Prime Minister of Brandenburg for an hour and he said they had been a Communist country for 50 years," Heitzler said. "He said that this race track was their first attempt at capitalism and that if this race had failed, their attempt at capitalism would have failed. Their hearts were aching about everything that was happening in the United States and their hearts also were aching about the prospects of this track failing. They are so happy that we stayed here to race and we are pleased that we were able to help them succeed." The American Memorial, formerly known as the German 500 but renamed by the state and CART as a tribute, drew a race-day crowd of 87,689.
The FedEx Championship Series continues with Round 17, the Rockingham 500, next Saturday, September 22, at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England.