CHAMPCAR/CART: Mears - Rahal at Fontana

HILLIARD, Ohio (Oct. 18, 2000) - - Three-time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal announced today that Dorricott Racing's Casey Mears will have the opportunity to drive a third Team Rahal entry...

HILLIARD, Ohio (Oct. 18, 2000) - - Three-time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal announced today that Dorricott Racing's Casey Mears will have the opportunity to drive a third Team Rahal entry for the 2000 CART FedEx Championship finale at the California Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 29. Mears will pilot the Team Rahal test car with financial backing from longtime Champ Car supporter MCI WorldCom which has also shown support for Mears' throughout his Indy Lights career. Mears, who is only five points out of first place and in third place in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, will also race that same day in the Indy Lights season closer. This will be the first time in CART history that an Indy Lights driver has competed in an Indy Lights and CART FedEx Series race on the same weekend let alone the same day. "I am very pleased that Casey has been given this opportunity to drive a Champ Car at Fontana through the joint efforts of Team Rahal and WorldCom," said Dorricott Racing owner Bob Dorricott. "This will be a tremendous challenge for Casey to be competing for the Dayton Indy Lights championship and driving his first Champ Car competition on the same weekend. It takes a very special driver to be able to focus on two entirely different race cars over a race weekend. I believe Casey has that ability." Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., is the son of former Champ Car driver and Dorricott Racing team manager Roger Mears and the nephew of three-time CART champion Rick Mears. The task at hand means that Mears will attempt to drive 600 total race miles around California Speedway's 2.029-mile superspeedway in a single day "I promised Casey he could have a chance to test one of Team Rahal's cars this season and Casey helped us out by testing at Fontana a couple of weeks ago," said Rahal. "He certainly proved he is at home in a Champ Car during the test and through his own dedication and hard work he has assembled the necessary resources with MCI for a ride in our test car at Fontana. We are thrilled to help him launch his Champ Car career near his home in California and I am confident that Casey will be a fixture in CART for years to come. He has developed his skills in the CART ladder system and now he is ready to take the step to racing in the world's fastest most powerful cars." Mears will join other distinguished Indy Lights alumni in CART that include Paul Tracy (1990 champion), Bryan Herta (1993 champion), the late Greg Moore (1995 champion), Tony Kanaan (1997 champion), Cristiano da Matta (1998 champion), and former Dorricott Racing teammate and 1999 Indy Lights champ Oriol Servia. Other notable alumni include Adrian Fernandez (1992 Rookie of the Year) and Helio Castroneves (1997 runner-up). Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). "I appreciate the opportunity that MCI and Team Rahal have afforded me," said Mears. "Over the last four seasons I have worked hard to improve my skills as a driver in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. When Bobby promised me the opportunity to test a Team Rahal car during the 2000 season I was thrilled, but honestly it just fueled my desire to race a Champ Car even more. It has taken a lot of hard work both on and off the track to get to this point and I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people for helping me get here." "We are proud of our record of graduating drivers from the Dayton Indy Lights Series to the FedEx Championship Series, but a key issue we have faced is getting solid opportunities for our alumni," said Roger Bailey, President and CEO of Indy Lights. "The fact that Casey Mears will be debuting in the season finale at Fontana with a top level Champ Car team in Team Rahal is further proof that CART teams look at Indy Lights for the next generation of drivers. Casey is a great young man and I know he will be successful as he moves into the next phase of his driving career."

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Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Casey Mears , Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Rick Mears , Roger Mears , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta