CHAMPCAR/CART: Luiz Gracia, Jr. returns to Nazareth

NAZARETH, Pa. -- Driver Luiz Garcia Jr., and the members of the Project Racing Group along with members of the CART fraternity, make their return to Nazareth this week to finally run the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, which was originally set for...

NAZARETH, Pa. -- Driver Luiz Garcia Jr., and the members of the Project Racing Group along with members of the CART fraternity, make their return to Nazareth this week to finally run the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, which was originally set for April 9 but was postponed because of snow.

Garcia, 29, of Aventura, Fla., had recorded two consecutive points-paying positions in the CART FedEx Championship Series, first at Long Beach, and at Rio de Janeiro, before having problems in Japan. The points were the first two for the Brazilian driver and the 12th-place finishes were career-bests as well.

Both team and driver hope to continue the trend, albeit in a higher capacity. Now that Garcia has a 2000 Mercedes/Reynard package, his expectations are reasonable. Garcia did a good job at Rio in keeping pace with others with his Hollywood-Embratel-Tang-Mercedes/Reynard.

The 2000 car will be prepared for the quick Nazareth circuit, however the team still has the 1999 backup car if needed. A new 2000 backup is on order and should be ready in early June, but if Garcia has the kind of day at Nazareth as he did at Rio, he won't have to rely on it.

Although Garcia has been to Nazareth two prior times, he has yet to complete a full race lap there. He appeared at the track in an Indy Lights test in 1997, and later that year took part in the Indy Lights race. His race lasted only a half-lap as he was hit from behind by a competitor, forcing him out of the event.

"It will be nice to return to Nazareth with competitive equipment," Garcia said. "Last month, we came with a 1999 car, but now it will be the 2000 Reynard. The snow was a blessing in disguise for us and we want to make the most of this second chance. We've done OK on the ovals so far and we would have run well at Motegi had we not encountered a leak."

Notes

Garcia is one of nine Brazilian drivers in the CART FedEx Championship Series.

This season is Garcia's second in the CART FedEx Championship.

His best finish in a CART race was 12th at Long Beach and Brazil.

He scored his first-ever FedEx Championship point at Long Beach.

The Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix will be Garcia's 15th CART start.

Garcia has won $40,000 in prize money this year.

Total time span from the Project Racing Group's founding to its first race was less than two months.

So far, Garcia has completed a total of 329 out of 541 laps run this season.

This will be the fifth start for the Project Racing Group in the FedEx Championship Series.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Luiz Garcia Jr.