CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid Ohio Pole Award New Record, Again

Miller Lite 200 Pole Award It has been nearly 13 months and 20 FedEx Championship Series events since the Marlboro Pole Award rollover bonus was collected by Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) at Cleveland last July. But history says the ...

Miller Lite 200

Pole Award

It has been nearly 13 months and 20 FedEx Championship Series events since the Marlboro Pole Award rollover bonus was collected by Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) at Cleveland last July. But history says the bonus, which currently amounts to $300,000, has an even-money chance of being claimed at this weekend's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Eight of 16 previous winners at Mid-Ohio have come from the pole position, making it a strong possibility that the Marlboro Pole Award bonus will finally be plucked in the rolling hills of Lexington, Ohio. The Marlboro Pole Award pays $10,000 to the top qualifier at each FedEx Championship Series event, and an additional $15,000 should the pole winner go on to win the race. The $15,000 bonus rolls over until a victory from the pole is recorded, and that has not happened since Zanardi's victory at Cleveland on July 13, 1997.

The Miller Lite 200 marks the 20th event since that triumph, accounting for a total Marlboro Pole Award purse of $310,000, nearly double the previous record of $160,000 collected by Al Unser Jr. at Portland in 1994. Including the $100,000 winner's purse at each FedEx Championship Series event, the potential payout for a victory from the pole at Mid-Ohio will be $410,000.

Mid-Ohio's eight FedEx Championship Series victories from the pole have been recorded by Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1985), Roberto Guerrero (1987), Teo Fabi (1989), Michael Andretti (1990, '91), Unser Jr. (1994) and Zanardi (1996). Zanardi is the two-time defending champion of the event.

Among active FedEx Championship Series venues, Mid-Ohio and Cleveland are tied for second in producing victories from the pole in the '90s, with four each. There have been five winners from the pole at Laguna Seca during the current decade.

Source: CART Online

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Bobby Rahal , Alex Zanardi , Mario Andretti , Teo Fabi