FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES CHASES RECORD-TYING NINTH DIFFERENT WINNER AT U.S. 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA DETROIT (July 21,1999) - Barely halfway through their 20-event campaign, the drivers of the FedEx Championship Series are already in a position...
FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES CHASES RECORD-TYING NINTH DIFFERENT WINNER AT U.S. 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
DETROIT (July 21,1999) - Barely halfway through their 20-event campaign, the drivers of the FedEx Championship Series are already in a position to tie the series standard for number of different winners in a season.
Heading to Michigan Speedway for Round 12, the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota (1:30 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV), the series is just one new winner from tying the record of nine different winners in a season, established in 1985 and tied in 1995. This year's first 11 events have produced eight different winners, the most recent becoming Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) at Sunday's Molson Indy.
The series has produced as many as eight different winners in a season on three other occasions, 1983, '86 and '97. In only one of those instances - 1983 - have fewer than 11 races been required to get to that total. Rick Mears became the eighth different winner in the 10th event of the 1983 campaign, which came at Michigan Speedway.
In the two seasons which produced nine different winners, Al Unser became the ninth in the 14th round of the 1985 championship at Phoenix while Gil de Ferran won the 17th and final event of 1995 at Laguna Seca to become the ninth different winner of that season.
The extreme competitiveness of the current FedEx Championship Series season is borne out in the fact that only series leader Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is a multiple winner. Montoya has won a series-high four events and each of his seven closest pursuers in the championship has made a visit to Victory Circle already.
Following wins at Long Beach, Nazareth, Rio de Janeiro and Cleveland, Montoya has failed to finish consecutive events at Road America and Toronto and those scoreless results have tightened the championship considerably. Montoya continues in the lead with 113 points, but Franchitti now lurks behind with 106 in the chase for the PPG Cup, and with nine events remaining, any of the top eight drivers remains in the hunt.
Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift) stands third with 96 points and is coming off back-to-back podium finishes at Road America, site of his first career victory, and Toronto, where he placed third. Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), Fittipaldi's Newman/Haas Racing teammate, stands just a point further back in fourth with 95 and is a two-time winner at Michigan (1987, '89).
He's followed by fifth-place Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard), whose 88 points have been keyed by successive podium finishes at Milwaukee (third), Portland (first) and Cleveland (second).
Rounding out the top eight in the championship are defending U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota pole-sitter Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), sixth with 87 points; defending U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota champion Greg Moore (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard), seventh with 81 and Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard), eighth with 76.
Moore won last year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota with a last-lap pass of Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) in an event which featured a CART-record 62 lead changes.
Following its third event in as many weeks, the FedEx Championship Series takes a week off before resuming with Round 13, the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, Sunday, Aug. 8, from The Raceway on Belle Isle.
* Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift) comes to Michigan Speedway after recording back-to-back podium finishes for the first time since 1996 with his victory at Road America and third-place effort at Toronto. Fittipaldi, who stands third in the FedEx Championship Series points race with 96 points, continues to lead the series in laps (1,566 of a possible 1,568) and miles (2,405.426 of a possible (2,409.638) completed. Fittipaldi has finished on the lead lap of every FedEx Championship Series event this season except for Cleveland, where he finished two laps down to winner Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard).
* Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) has scored PPG Cup points in five straight FedEx Championship Series events and has finished among the top five in four of those. The streak began with a victory at Milwaukee and remained active with his runner-up finish at Toronto last week. He has collected 60 PPG Cup points in the past five events, averaging 12 points - the equivalent of a fourth-place finish - per event.
* Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) has finished sixth or better in four of the past five FedEx Championship Series events with a fifth at Milwaukee, fourth at Portland, third at Road America and sixth at Toronto. He is sixth in the championship with 87 points, and is the defending U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota pole-sitter.
* Defending U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota champion Greg Moore (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard) has scored more PPG Cup points in oval-track competition than any other FedEx Championship Series driver this season. Moore has totaled 64 points on ovals, nine more than Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) and Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), who are tied for second with 55 points each. Moore has scored PPG Cup points in nine consecutive events contested on ovals - including all seven this season - dating to last year's victory at Michigan. This season's oval performances have been highlighted by a victory in the season opener at Homestead, a runner-up effort at Milwaukee and fourth at Japan.
* Roberto Moreno (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) has scored PPG Cup points in six of seven starts since stepping in for the injured Mark Blundell at Rio de Janeiro. Moreno's season has been highlighted by fourth-place finishes at Gateway and Toronto, the latter a career best on a road or street course. Despite missing the first four events of the FedEx Championship Series season, Moreno stands 11th in the championship with 38 points. He returns this weekend to the site of his career-best finish, third in The Inaugural U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway in 1996.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) owns the track qualifying record of 234.665 miles per hour (30.682 seconds) at Michigan Speedway, set during qualifying for the 1996 Marlboro 500. Vasser also won The Inaugural U.S. 500 from the pole in 1996, a victory which brought him a $1 million payday, and finished second to Greg Moore at last year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. Since 1996, the year he won the PPG Cup, Vasser's record in 500-mile events has been outstanding. In addition to his performance at Michigan, he owns a victory last year at California Speedway - which brought him another $1 million payday - and a runner-up finish in 1997. He started on the outside pole for both of those events.
* Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Mercedes Penske) recorded nine consecutive top-10 finishes at Michigan Speedway from 1989 through '96. His victory in the 1990 Marlboro 500 came at an average speed of 189.727 miles per hour, the fastest 500-mile event in CART history. Also included in the streak are podium finishes of third in 1991 and second in '95. All told, Unser has made 17 career starts in 500-mile events at Michigan.
* Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes) has finished among the top six drivers in three of his past four appearances at Michigan Speedway, including a runner-up at The Inaugural U.S. 500 in 1996. The run also includes finishes of third at the 1996 Marlboro 500 and sixth at the 1997 Marlboro 500. He has led at least one lap in four of his past five appearances at the venue, including 34 in 1997.
* Richie Hearn (Budweiser Toyota Reynard) recorded the best performance of his four-year FedEx Championship Series career at Michigan Speedway last year, when he qualified third and finished fifth. Both marks remain career bests. Hearn also led 11 of 250 laps at last year's event.
* Sunday's green flag will represent the 100th FedEx Championship Series career start for Mauricio Gugelmin as well as the 100th event for Gugelmin's team, the PacWest Racing Group. Gugelmin has started every FedEx Championship Series event since making his debut at Mid-Ohio on Sept. 11, 1993 in a race won by Nigel Mansell. Gugelmin qualified 12th and finished 21st in that event. Now in his seventh year in the series, Gugelmin owns one victory (1997, Vancouver) and three pole positions in his FedEx Championship Series career. His streak of 99 consecutive starts is the longest among active drivers. The PacWest Racing Group, owned by Bruce McCaw, made its FedEx Championship Series debut in 1993, running a limited schedule, and began competing full-time the following season. The team owns four wins and three poles during its tenure in the FedEx Championship Series.
* Rookie and FedEx Championship Series points leader Juan Montoya needs to lead one lap at any of the final nine events of the season to take possession of the CART rookie record for laps led. Montoya is currently tied with Alex Zanardi, who established the rookie mark in 1996 at 610 laps led. Montoya and Zanardi are currently tied with Mario Andretti (1987) for seventh place on the CART single-season laps led list. Michael Andretti holds CART's single-season laps led mark at 1,136. Andretti, who is also CART's career laps-led leader (5,992), needs eight more to reach the 6,000 mark for his career.
* Al Unser Jr., who established a CART career record with his 265th start at Toronto last week, will move into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time Champ Car starts list Sunday by taking the green flag for his 266th career start. Unser Jr. moved past current team owner Bobby Rahal's CART record of 264 career starts at Toronto, but remains tied with Rahal at 265 total Champ Car starts, thanks to Rahal's start in the 1982 Indianapolis 500, which was not recognized as part of the CART championship.
* Firestone has won every pole and race in FedEx Championship Series 500-mile events since the tire-maker returned to Champ Car competition in 1995. The streak, which encompasses seven events, includes Michigan Speedway 1995 (Parker Johnstone pole/Scott Pruett race victory), The Inaugural U.S. 500 '96 (Jimmy Vasser/Jimmy Vasser), Michigan '96 (Jimmy Vasser/Andre Ribeiro), Michigan '97 (Scott Pruett/Alex Zanardi), California Speedway '97 (Mauricio Gugelmin/Mark Blundell), Michigan '98 (Adrian Fernandez/Greg Moore) and California '98 (Scott Pruett/Jimmy Vasser).
* Honda has won three of the past four FedEx Championship Series events contested at Michigan Speedway, all of them at 500-mile distances. Included are victories by Vasser in The Inaugural U.S. 500 in 1996, Ribeiro in the 1996 Marlboro 500 and Zanardi in the 1997 U.S. 500.
* For the fourth time this season, Marlboro Team Penske will field a two-car entry in Sunday's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. Veteran Al Unser Jr. will campaign the #2 Marlboro Mercedes Penske while Alex Barron will make his Marlboro Team Penske debut in the #3 Marlboro Mercedes Penske. Barron, who made 24 FedEx Championship Series starts for All American Racers in 1998-99, recently tested with the team at Michigan Speedway and California Speedway. He will be looking to make his first series start since qualifying 10th and finishing 14th at Milwaukee last month.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Jimmy Vasser will celebrate the debut of their Superman-themed Champ Car during a media breakfast/press conference 8:45 a.m. Friday at the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing hospitality area at Michigan Speedway. Vasser, the 1996 FedEx Championship Series champion, is driving the special car as part of a program created by Action Performance Companies, Inc., DC Comics and Warner Brothers Consumer Products. Vasser is one of nine champions from four racing series who is campaigning Superman-themed cars at selected events during the 1999 season. Gary Gerould, pit reporter for ABC-TV and ESPN at FedEx Championship Series events, will emcee the program, which will include appearances by Vasser, team owner Chip Ganassi and CART President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Craig.
* According to information available in the latest Nielsen I-PRO audit report, the official FedEx Championship Series website, www.cart.com , received a record 630,852 visits during the month of June. This represents an increase of 118% over June, 1998, when the site recorded 289,955 visits.
ON THE AIR
* Qualifying for the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota will air 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ABC-TV's live race broadcast beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. The race will also air on the CART Radio Network and both qualifying and the race will be broadcast on the CART website, at www.cart.com .
U.S. 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA "QUOTEBOARD"
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), on his optimism entering this year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "We should be a contender to win the U.S. 500. After leading the second most laps [by one lap] in last year's race, I ran over an air hose in the next pit and we were penalized. We dropped way down and finally worked back up to sixth place to make for a really long race. We had a pretty good test at MIS and are optimistic. The Handford device probably is a bigger benefit to the fans than the drivers. It does slow the cars down. Basically, it bunches up the cars. It makes for a hairy race for the drivers and a great race for the fans. To have wheel-to-wheel racing for 500 miles is pretty intense. I guess if everybody could drive 240 miles per hour for 500 miles, racing wouldn't be as popular as it is. To finish a 500-mile race is difficult enough, but to win the U.S. 500 would be very special for both the team and our sponsors, Kmart and Texaco. Now that the point spread is closer, we can get a jump on [series leader Juan] Montoya."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, (KOOL Honda Reynard), on maintaining the recent success of Team KOOL Green at Michigan Speedway: "Team KOOL Green is clicking on all eight cylinders right now. Going into a race with a one-two finish gives us a lot of momentum. At the same time Michigan is a very, very difficult track and the race will be completely different than at Toronto. I don't think there is much that will be the same on the car by the time we get to Michigan. I think Honda has made big gains in their engine for the superspeedways and Team KOOL Green has shown we can run fast on the superspeedways. Look at our performance last year at Fontana. I had a good car, and that was Paul's race to win. I'm looking forward to getting back on a superspeedway, which is kind of a strange thing; something I thought I'd never say! But I enjoy racing with the Handford Device, hopefully I won't hang it out too much. I'd like to finish a 500-mile race. I never have in the three times I've tried. I've had mechanical problems every time." JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on his test earlier this month at Michigan Speedway: "That was the fastest I've ever driven a car. The speeds in the corners were amazing. I kept telling Morris [Nunn, Montoya's engineer] on the radio, 'Whoa! I just set a new Montoya speed record!' I'm excited and a little bit nervous about my first 500-mile race, but I'm looking forward to experiencing those speeds during a race." [On his recent back-to-back finishes without PPG Cup points at Road America and Toronto] "It's a very bad feeling not to finish a race and to have to come back to the pits and watch it from there. You can't always control what happens to you on the track, but one of my goals is to finish all the remaining races this year, beginning with the U.S. 500."
GREG MOORE (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard), on defending his championship in the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "The Player's team has consistently been one of the fastest on the super ovals, so we're very optimistic about the U.S. 500 in Michigan, where I managed to collect a win last year. It's an exciting race, both for the fans and the drivers, because the lead usually changes hands so many times. It's a major test for car reliability, pit-stop and set-up strategy and drivers' stamina."
PAUL TRACY, (KOOL Honda Reynard), assessing his chances for victory in the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "I think our chances are as good as anybody's at Michigan. We had a great test there and should have a good setup to work from come Friday morning. We were super-competitive at both Michigan and Fontana last year - I led both races. So we just have to make sure the car is reliable for the race, and we've had great reliability so far this year. Five hundred-mile races on a superspeedway are a lot more mentally demanding than road course races, because if something goes wrong, it's going to be pretty big. From that standpoint, the race is not as much a physical challenge as it is mental. It will be my first 500-mile race with Tony Cicale in the pits. With Tony's expertise - he won the Indy 500 with this team and Jacques (Villeneuve) in 1995 - my confidence and the team's confidence is way up."
JIMMY VASSER (Target Honda Reynard), on this year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "I have some great memories from the U.S. 500. It's a nice feeling to be the inaugural race winner there, where I'll always have a little piece of history, but that doesn't help win races. I've had success with the 500-mile races, so this is an important one for us. It will be different not to be driving the usual red and yellow Target car [Vasser will debut a Superman-themed race car at Michigan this weekend], but I'm proud to have been selected to be part of the Superman Racing program. Hopefully, there won't be any Kryptonite near the track."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on racing with the Handford Device: "The Handford wing takes the downforce away from the car and therefore reduces the speeds. Some drivers liked it and some didn't. The one thing that is for sure is that the fans loved the wheel-to-wheel racing. To win a 500-mile race, you need to have a trouble-free race and a little luck as well. A 500-mile race is a tremendous strain on the equipment, but believe it or not, a 500-mile race on an oval isn't as hard on you physically as a race on a road course. Mentally though, a 500-mile race is hard. A 500-mile race is harder on your head than it is on your body because you are going so fast the entire time. You have to really concentrate hard every second. If you don't pay attention and fully concentrate for a split second, the consequences are huge. Everyone really has to work hard at a 500-mile race for the 22 points. We need to come away with as many as possible on Sunday and keep up our momentum. It's great for the mindset to come to such a tough race with momentum after two podium finishes. It's good, not only for myself, but also for my team."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes), on making his 100th consecutive FedEx Championship Series start in this weekend's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "Of course, physical conditioning is important, and I've been fortunate not to be injured. I think it's a credit to PacWest that I've always had a car to start every race. No one can maintain a streak like this without the support of a dedicated and well-prepared team, and I'm lucky to be a part of one of the best in CART." [On the PacWest's 100th FedEx Championship Series event, which also takes place this weekend]: "Bruce McCaw started PacWest with the aim of winning races and championships, and he has done a remarkable job of developing a stable, highly competitive team. He has achieved a great deal in only 100 events. Bruce is not only very important to PacWest, but he is also an instrumental figure in the CART administration. He plays a key role in the success of our series, and knowing him as well as I do, I feel very confident about the future direction of Champ Car racing." [On competing at Michigan Speedway] "We've always had a pretty good set-up for the superspeedways, and we made the best of the new aerodynamic package last year. Some of the challenge of trimming out the car is gone, but the fans get to watch very exciting racing. We had a good result at California to end the season and I think we can do well at Michigan."
AL UNSER JR. (Marlboro Mercedes Penske), on his drive from 25th to ninth place at Toronto: "Marlboro Team Penske had a really good run at Toronto. The driveability of the car in the race was the best of the entire weekend. The Mercedes engine didn't miss a beat and the Goodyear tires were consistent. It was great to move up during the race and get another top-10 finish. I'm looking forward to this weekend's race at Michigan. We had a good test there a couple of weeks ago, and based on that, we've decided to run the Penske chassis. Hopefully, we can keep some momentum behind us and finish in the points again."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), on maintaining his oval-track momentum at Michigan: "Michigan is a track that I have always liked. I have had some good results there in the past and with the way the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Cosworth has been performing on the ovals, I think we are in a good position to win this race. We just have to have a smooth weekend, pay attention to detail and we will be there at the end."
MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), on his successful test at Michigan Speedway last month: "The test was primarily to give me a chance to run the speedway with our set-up and get used to the Ford-Cosworth/Reynard and Firestone package at the higher speeds. The test was a success not only because I gained the comfort level with the car but because we were also the fastest car there. In CART, a lot of things can change in a very short time, so just because we were fast in June doesn't mean we will be the fastest here this weekend. Still, I would prefer to come in to the weekend with a setup we know is capable under certain conditions of going fast rather than begin searching from scratch on Friday."
BRYAN HERTA (Shell Ford Reynard), on the importance of setup at Michigan Speedway: "The key at Michigan is the set-up, you have to be fast. I have been fortunate to run really well over the years at Michigan. The key in a 500-mile race is getting to the end. As a driver, you have to be smart. When it comes to the race you as a driver play a much larger role, you have to be savvy and you have to be fast. When you are in a three-and-a-half hour race you must remain in the elite group so you can make a move at the end."
TONY KANAAN (McDonald's Championship Racing Team Honda Reynard), on turning his luck around at Michigan Speedway: "We had a good race last weekend but one more time, the luck wasn't with us. Hopefully, that will change this weekend. Michigan is a difficult track and it's one of our longest races, so you need to be even more patient. We finished 11th at Michigan last year, and I really learned a lot that weekend. I have more experience in working the draft, and I feel pretty confident. I'm ready to go."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard), on Player's Forsythe Racing's mission at the U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "Our goal for the U.S. 500 is to get both of the Player's cars into the top five, and I think we have a great chance to do that. [Teammate] Greg [Moore] won here last year and I finished eighth, after starting 21st. I did manage to record the fastest race lap on the Michigan super oval last year and I had a lot of fun driving on this track. After four races in a row on road circuits, it's going to be a nice break to perform on the ovals again, especially at Michigan Speedway."
ALEX BARRON (Marlboro Mercedes Penske), on returning to the FedEx Championship Series to make his debut with Marlboro Team Penske at this weekend's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota: "It will be great to be back racing again. I had two good tests with Marlboro Team Penske recently and I think we have a good baseline set-up for the super speedways, which gives me a lot of confidence for the race weekend. No we can spend our track time fine-tuning the car and getting ready for the race. Based on our tests, the Marlboro Mercedes Penske should be competitive at Michigan."
PJ JONES (Visteon Reynard Ford), on his enjoyment of superspeedway events: "I like 500-mile races. I think that with the consistency over the years of the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team, and the reliability and durability of the Ford engine and Firestone tires, we should have a good race. This is a key part of the season for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team. We need to put together a string of good finishes and get back into the top ten in the points. We had a good race in Toronto and finally got some good luck. Hopefully, we can continue that trend at Michigan."
ROBBY GORDON (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift), on the importance of patience in 500-mile events: "One of the virtues that has really shown us the way here is patience. The more we have, the better we seem to do. One place patience really pays off is in calling races on Sunday. We've gotten good at taking what the race gives us and making the most out of it. It really sends you home on a high note. It gives you something to build your next race on. It's all about being there at the end. You plan the race backwards from there. You want to start well, and run up front, but it all comes down to who's running at the finish. There are a lot of factors that will come into play, not the least of which is drafting and playing the fuel windows. I enjoy these kinds of races."
ROBERTO MORENO (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), on his fond memories of racing at Michigan Speedway, site of a career-best finish in The Inaugural U.S. 500 in 1996: "I finished third at the first U.S. 500 in 1996 with a two-year-old spec engine. We were almost 100 horsepower down on the guys who had the updated version, but the car was set up so well that I could run completely flat while the other drivers had to back off in the corners. When I wasn't in traffic, I was as quick as the others, and I used that to my advantage. We also had an excellent strategy that allowed me to make one less pit stop than the leaders." [On making his final start with PacWest in the team's 100th FedEx Championship Series event] "It's great to be a part of the PacWest team as we celebrate the 100th event. It will certainly be very difficult to have to say goodbye to all my friends at PacWest on the Monday after the race. I've had a fantastic time there and I hope I can bring the team a memorable result this weekend to emphasize the significance of the 100th PacWest event." [On competing in his first event with the Handford Device] "I've never driven on a superspeedway with the low-downforce wing. I suppose it will be a little handicap, but I'll try to learn as quickly as possible and take direction from [teammate] Mauricio [Gugelmin], who recently tested there."
FAST FACTS FOR THE U.S. 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
WHAT: U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota. WHERE: Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn Michigan. WHEN: Thursday-Sunday, July 22-25. SUPPORT EVENT: PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship; NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. CART SCHEDULE (All times local): THURSDAY, JULY 22 - Indy Lights practice, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Indy Lights practice, 3:30-4:45 p.m. FRIDAY, JULY 23 - Indy Lights practice, 9:15-9:45 a.m.; Champ Car rookie drivers practice, 10-10:30 a.m.; Champ Car practice, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Champ Car practice, 3-4 p.m.; Indy Lights qualifying, 4:20-5:35 p.m. SATURDAY, JULY 24 - Champ Car practice, 8-9 a.m.; Indy Lights warm-up, 9:55-10:10 a.m.; Champ Car Qualifying, 10:30-12:30 p.m.; Indy Lights race, 4 p.m. SUNDAY, JULY 27 - Champ Car warm-up, 9:30-10 a.m.; Grid Champ Cars, 12:15 p.m.; U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota, 1:30 p.m. BROADCAST: TV - (ABC, live, 1:30 p.m. EDT, and in 195 countries worldwide). RADIO - CART Radio Network WKHM, 970 AM; WTKA, 1050 AM). PRE-RACE PROGRAMMING: U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota pole qualifying, 6 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2; CART 2Day, 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, ESPN2. DEFENDING CHAMPION: Greg Moore. DEFENDING POLESITTER: Adrian Fernandez. TRACK LAYOUT: Two-mile oval. RACE LENGTH: 250 laps, 500 miles. TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) - 1996, Jimmy Vasser, 234.665 mph (Set during qualifying for the Marlboro 500). Race (500 miles) - 1990, Al Unser Jr., 189.727 mph. RACE NUMBER: 12 of 20. PPG CUP POINTS LEADERS: 1. Juan Montoya, 113 points; 2. Dario Franchitti, 106; 3. Christian Fittipaldi, 96; 4. Michael Andretti, 95; 5. Gil de Ferran, 88.
Greg Moore (Player's/Indeck Mercedes Reynard) dipped under Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) to take the lead heading into the first turn of the final lap and maintained it in a three-way sprint to the finish line to take the 1998 U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway. Moore's victory highlighted an event which featured an astonishing 62 lead changes, obliterating the CART record of 27 lead changes established at Michigan in 1982 and tied in '85. The race was CART's first with the Handford Device, a wing-like aerodynamic piece adopted by CART to help contain speeds at superspeedway events. Moore led 36 laps while ending the CART record-tying four-race winning streak of Alex Zanardi (Target Honda Reynard), who finished third. He averaged 165.917 miles per hour and finished 0.259 seconds ahead of Vasser for his fourth career victory, which was tempered by three spectator fatalities when a wheel flew into a section of the Turn 4 grandstand following a single-car incident on the 175th lap. Zanardi's third-place finish allowed him to exit Michigan with a 190-122 points lead over Vasser. Moore stood third with 118 points.
Vital Race Statistics
Time of race: 3 hours, 48.785 seconds. Average speed: 165.913 mph. Margin of victory: 0.259 seconds. Caution flags: 8 for 55 laps. Lap leaders: Alex Zanardi, 63 laps; Michael Andretti, 62; Greg Moore, 36; Gil de Ferran, 26; Paul Tracy, 22; Jimmy Vasser, 18; Richie Hearn, 11; Adrian Fernandez, 9; Al Unser Jr. 3.
U.S. 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA HISTORY (Three Events)
Year Race Winner Pole Winner 1996 Jimmy Vasser Jimmy Vasser 1997 Alex Zanardi Scott Pruett 1998 Greg Moore Adrian Fernandez
Jimmy Vasser 1 Alex Zanardi 1 Greg Moore 1
All-time pole positions
Jimmy Vasser 1 Scott Pruett 1 Adrian Fernandez 1