CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid-Ohio Tasman Motorsports Preview

CREWing It Top defender Mike Clark of Columbus, Ohio's Major League Soccer team -- the Columbus Crew -- will be a guest of Tasman Motorsports at the Miller Lite 200 this weekend. Clark will exchange his familiar yellow and black jersey for a ...

CREWing It

Top defender Mike Clark of Columbus, Ohio's Major League Soccer team -- the Columbus Crew -- will be a guest of Tasman Motorsports at the Miller Lite 200 this weekend. Clark will exchange his familiar yellow and black jersey for a two-layer firesuit as he joins Tony Kanaan's pit crew for Round 13 of the FedEx Championship Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Clark is the all time leader in games played for the Crew.

Several members of the Tasman team are avid Crew fans including team owners Steve and Christine Horne. The Crew will take on the New England Revolution at the Ohio Stadium on Saturday, August 8.

Lightly Speaking

Tasman Indy Lights driver Cristiano da Matta, winner of last weekend's PPG-Dayton Indy Lights race at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, will be a spectator this weekend at the Miller Lite 200. Da Matta currently leads the championship standings by 28 points with three races remaining.

The Indy Lights series will "take five" -- five weeks that is, with the next round scheduled for September 6 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Three Hour Pit Stop

Eight drivers representing three series are set to make a pit stop in Dublin, Ohio, on Thursday, August 6 at Qwest/LCI International's Race Day. Scheduled to appear are Qwest/LCI-affiliated Champ Car drivers Tony Kanaan, Andre Ribeiro of Team Penske and Adrian Fernandez of Patrick Racing; Indy Lights drivers Cristiano da Matta, and Lucas Place Motorsports' drivers Geoff Boss and Brian Cunningham; and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Joe Ruttman and Greg Biffle of Roush Racing.

Activities will include a pit stop challenge hosted by Steve Horne where participants vie to beat the tire-changing times set by the Tasman pit crew. There will also be a racing display featuring cars from Tasman Motorsports, Lucas Place Motorsports and the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship team of D & L Racing.

Track Talk

With top speeds reaching 192 mph and cornering speeds of 62 mph, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course provides plenty of challenges for both drivers and teams. The course is long and complex, presenting a wide variety of circumstances that teams must try to balance. Achieving a balance between the fast and slow corners is key.

"The track is so different from one end to the other, that you need to get that compromise," said team manager Jeff Eischen.

Tony Kanaan will be making his racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. (The Indy Lights series has not competed on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course since 1994.) Kanaan has tested at the challenging and picturesque circuit, and lists it as one of his favorites.

"This is a very difficult track, and I think a tough track physically," said Kanaan. "We had a good test there and I feel we have a competitive car. We have been very competitive on the road courses so far, and I am pretty confident for this weekend. I am looking to improve on my best finish which was fourth this year."

Tasman Motorsports has a long history at the track. Steve Horne announced the formation of Tasman during the 1992 Mid-Ohio race weekend, and this year's event marks the team's six-year anniversary. On the track, Tasman has finished in the points in every appearance at Mid-Ohio in both Champ Car and Indy Lights competition.

Tempting Taste

Tasman Motorsports Chef Bronko Gruichich will be one of several team 'culinary creators' participating in the third annual Taste of CART held on Friday, August 7, in the Motorhome Hospitality Area at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Hosted by CARA (Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary), this "gastronomic extravaganza" provides a sampling of each chef's creations as guests motorhome hop from one tempting dish to the next. All proceeds go to CARA Charities.

Gruichich has been head chef with the Tasman team since 1996. A professional sous chef, Gruichich's clientele has included President Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mohammed Ali and corporations such as Qwest/LCI International.

"I guess I was looking for a challenge," said Gruichich of his entry into the racing arena. "I was doing a lot of private catering in Washington, and one of my clients was LCI International -- a major sponsor of Tasman. They said the team was looking for a chef to travel around the country in a kitchen on wheels. I thought 'a kitchen on wheels'? Now that sounds like a challenge!"

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Greg Biffle , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Joe Ruttman , Brian Cunningham , Geoff Boss , Steve Horne , Andre Ribeiro , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske