CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Notes of interest, schedule

WHO'S HOT * Dario Franchitti ( ...

WHO'S HOT

* Dario Franchitti (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team KOOL Green is coming off a win in the CART FedEx Championship Series Molson Indy Vancouver - his first victory of the season and the eighth of his Champ Car career. Franchitti's second Vancouver triumph (1998) moved him to second in championship point standings with 84 behind leader Cristiano da Matta (#6 Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing with 122. Although da Matta would retire with mechanical problems in Vancouver, he added another point to his total after taking his fifth pole of the season and besting the track qualifying mark.

* Paul Tracy (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) made it a one-two finish for Team KOOL Green in Vancouver and recorded his second straight podium and third of the season (first, Milwaukee and third, Cleveland). In addition, Tracy won the provisional pole and catapulted from 11th to sixth in points with 68.

* Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team Rahal remains the most consistent Champ Car driver after the season's halfway mark. With a fourth-place run at Vancouver, he has finished inside the top 10 in nine of 10 rounds this season, making him the only driver in the series to have scored points in every race. Jourdain is also the leader in laps completed, having ran 1,392 out of 1,400 thus far (694 road and 698 oval) and is tied for third in points (74) with Bruno Junqueira (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

* Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom/ Mo Nunn Racing Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) snared his first podium of the year after overtaking Michel Jourdain Jr. on a late race restart in Vancouver for third place after starting sixth on the grid. But Kanaan will need to back that performance up in this Sunday's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio if he wants to be a contender for the championship. Kanaan currently sits 17th with 31 points heading into Round 11.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Dario Franchitti holds half the rights to the track qualifying mark at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. With a time of 124.394 mph (65.347 seconds) in 1999, Franchitti joins Gil de Ferran (2000) as co-owner of the record around the 2.258-mile permanent road course. Franchitti also scored a pole in the 1998 event.

* Michael Andretti (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) has proved over the years that he has the necessary skills to dominate the Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. His three pole positions at Mid-Ohio (1990-92) compliment his two race wins in 1990 and '91. Andretti is coming off his 300th career Champ Car start in Vancouver and is currently tied for seventh in the championship point standings (60) with Kenny Brack (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

* CART FedEx Championship Series regular and 1998 Mid-Ohio winner Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) will miss this weekend's race as he recovers from injuries sustained in a multi-car incident in Vancouver. Max Papis, who started the 2002 season with Sigma Autosport, will assume the driving responsibilities for the injured Fernandez and makes his sixth start of the year. Papis will be making his seventh career start at Mid-Ohio where he posted top finishes of fourth in 2000 and fifth in 1999 and made his Champ Car debut in 1996.

MANUFACTURING SUCCESS

* Honda was the powerplant of choice at the Round 10 Molson Indy Vancouver, taking Dario Franchitti to victory and claiming the remaining podium spots with Paul Tracy and Tony Kanaan. The victory marked the first podium sweep for Honda since turning the trick at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2000. Toyota-powered drivers have won six of 10 CART FedEx Championship Series events contested this season (Cristiano da Matta, 5 and Bruno Junqueira, 1). Honda inches closer with three wins (Michael Andretti, 1, Paul Tracy, 1 and Dario Franchitti, 1) and Ford-Cosworth remains third with one thanks to Patrick Carpentier (#32 Player's Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing in Cleveland. The hunt for the Manufacturer's Championship has Toyota (171) leading over Honda (155) and Ford-Cosworth (126).

* In the CART FedEx Championship Series' 20-year history at Mid-Ohio, the Honda-Reynard combination comes in as the defending race champion, supplying the setup that earned Helio Castroneves the victory in last year's event. Honda-Reynard has been the weapon of choice in recent years, earning victories in five of the last six races contested at Mid-Ohio. Ford-Cosworth interrupted that run when it coupled with the Reynard chassis to win in here in 1998 with Adrian Fernandez. Oddly enough, no team will be utilizing the Honda-Reynard combination this weekend. Overall, Ford (7) leads Honda (5) in total wins at Mid-Ohio, with Reynard (6) leading Lola (4) in the chassis battle. Toyota, powering seven cars this weekend, has never won a race here.

* Lola has won 8 of 10 CART FedEx Championship Series events this season, including wins by Cristiano da Matta (five), Bruno Junqueira, Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti. Reynard took trips to victory circle in the remaining two races this season in the hands of Patrick Carpentier and Michael Andretti. Lola leads 209 to 125 in the Constructor's Championship.

NOTEWORTHY

* Michel Jourdain Jr. is the only driver to have finished every race this season and leads the series in laps completed (1,392 of 1,400). He has scored points in each of the 10 races this season, equaling the 1993 streak of Raul Boesel when he tallied points in the first 10 CART events of the year. Jourdain now pursues the CART record for consecutive points-paying finishes in a season as he chases the 1992 accomplishment of Al Unser Jr., who scored in each of the year's 16 races.

* Toyota-powered cars are leading not only the manufacturer's championship (171-155 over Honda) but are also guiding Cristiano da Matta to the series points lead. However, if Toyota is to maintain its lofty perch it will have to enter uncharted waters at this weekend's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. In addition to Toyota never tasting victory at Mid-Ohio, it has not earned a top-five finish, with last year's sixth-place run by Roberto Moreno serving as Toyota's best.

* Paul Tracy will be looking for his third straight podium finish this weekend at Mid-Ohio, a place where he has finished second on four separate occasions. If he can build on the third-place effort from Cleveland and the runner-up finish at Vancouver, it will be the first time since the opening of the 2000 campaign that Tracy has strung together three consecutive podiums.

* This Sunday's live broadcast of the CART FedEx Championship Series CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio will air live Sunday on CBS Sports at 12:30 p.m. ET. Friday provisional qualifying will air live on SPEED Channel at 2:00 p.m. ET, followed CART Friday Night later that evening on SPEED Channel at 10:30 p.m. ET. Saturday's final round of Champ Car qualifying is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET live on SPEED Channel.

* Series Update - "Qualifier" Technical Inspection System... The CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio will see a new innovation designed to aid the tech inspection process as the new 'Qualifier' platform made by Buckeye Machine Fabricators makes its Champ Car debut. The platform will have many of the gauges and measuring devices already attached and will provide a convenient roll-on, roll-off method of inspection for the teams.

* CARA Charities "Taste Of CART" Is Gourmet Delight From Auto Racing's Top Chefs At Mid-Ohio...Gourmet food at the racetrack? For racing fans, the statement is usually followed by laughter. But on Friday, August 9, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, racing enthusiasts treat their taste buds to some of the finest food ever prepared at a racing facility when many of the top chefs on the CART FedEx Championship Series participate in the popular "Taste of CART." The fifth edition of the CARA Charities' festival of food has become an annual affair for racing fans around North America with many of the CART drivers, team owners, engineers and mechanics also enjoying the gourmet delights at the racing teams' hospitality headquarters in the Mid-Ohio paddock area starting at 5 p.m. Chefs from CART such as FedEx, Fernandez Racing, Herdez Competition, Honda Racing, Mo Nunn Racing, Newman/Haas Racing, Visteon/Patrick Racing, Target Chip Ganassi and Team Rahal serve a variety of dishes from appetizers to entries to desserts in their racing settings at the paddock area of the picturesque Mid-Ohio complex. Tickets for the "Taste of CART" are now on sale at $50 each and can be purchased in advance or the night of the event. For further information, contact CARA Charities at (317) 299-2277 or e-mail at Carachar@aol.com for reservations. The "Taste of CART" is one of several major fund-raising events held annually by CARA Charities. CARA Charities was founded in 1981 and has distributed over $3.25 million to numerous racing and community organizations. CARA serves the community through charitable work and promotes the friendship of all those involved in the motor sports family. CARA Charities, which has raised nearly $500,000 in its "Buckle Up Baby" Child Seat program, also hosts major events such as the Indy 500 Fashion Show, the Taste of CART, the Race Shop Tour and runway madness Viva Las Vegas.

* Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will also be playing host to the Klein Tools Air Show with aerial juggernaut Michel Mancuso. Mancuso will pilot the German built Extra 300L, a two-place, low-wing aerobatic aircraft, in death-defying maneuvers adjacent to the 2.258-mile road course in three 15-minute sessions during the CART FedEx Championship Series CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend. The stunt plane that boasts over 300 hp and is capable of pulling 10 G's (both positive and negative) will also perform the ceremonial flyover at this year's race. Mancuso has over 150 air show performances to his credit and was awarded the Bill Barbar Showmanship Award in 2001 for his craft.

CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio

CART SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9
Champ Car practice, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Barber Dodge practice, 11:45 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:10 - 3:10 p.m.
Barber Dodge qualifying, 4:00 - 4:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10
Barber Dodge qualifying, 9:10 - 9:40 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 - 2:45 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11
Barber Dodge warm-up, 8:00 - 8:15 a.m.
Champ Car warm-up, 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Barber Dodge race, 10:15 - 10:55 a.m.
CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, 12:30 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9
SPEED Channel, CART qualifying, 2:00 p.m. ET (Live)
SPEED Channel, CART Friday Night, 10:30 p.m. ET.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10
SPEED Channel, CART FedEx Championship Series qualifying, 1:30 p.m. ET (Live).

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11 - CBS Sports,
CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, 12:30 p.m., ET (Live).

-cart-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Raul Boesel , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , ART Grand Prix