CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING CONFIDENT HEADING INTO TIME WARNER CABLE ROAD RUNNER 225 VASSER TO MAKE 200th CONSECUTIVE CHAMP CAR START INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JUNE 2, 2005 - - An air of confidence permeates PKV Racing as the team prepares for the Time Warner...



INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JUNE 2, 2005 - - An air of confidence permeates PKV Racing as the team prepares for the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U. S. Bank, June 3-4, on the historic Milwuakee Mile in Milwaukee, WI.

The air of confidence is based on a very successful two-day test on the tricky one-mile Milwaukee oval in early May plus the invaluable data that Technical Director Tom Brown brings from his former position as Chief Engineer at Herdez Competition. As the Chief Engineer for Herdez, Brown worked on the car setup for Ryan Hunter-Reay, who went onto one of the most dominating victories in Champ Car history last year in Milwaukee.

Jimmy Vasser, who will be making his 221st career Champ Car start, will hit another milestone in his 14-year Champ Car career this weekend. The highly respected native of California, will extent his Champ Car record of consecutive starts to 200 at this weekend's race. Vasser, who pilots the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, will be making his 13th start at Milwaukee. In 12 previous races he has started in the top-10 five times with a best starting position of second in 1999. Vasser has finished in the top-10 a total of eight times including four top-five showing with one victory (1998).

"PKV Racing had a very good test in Milwaukee, so I feel we are prepared for this race," Vasser said. "Milwaukee is the only short oval in our series and combined with the history and tradition of the track it is a special race," he noted. "I have always liked racing on short ovals, especially Milwaukee, so I am looking forward to this race. I really think I should have won there more times during my career than I have (once in 1998), but based on our test there I am confident heading into this race. Also, Milwaukee will be my 200th consecutive Champ Car start, so it will have some added significance for me," Vasser concluded.

Vasser, the 1996 Series Champion, is currently 14th in the point standings with 21 points. He qualified 11th at the season opener in Long Beach and finished eighth. In Monterrey, Mexico he started eighth and was poised to make a run at a top-five finish when a series of incidents forced him from the competition. Vasser has now finished 136 of his last 176 starts and placed in the top-10 in 124 of his 220 career races. The resident of Las Vegas, NV, is the only owner/driver in the series, one of four former champions and three Americans competing in the 2005 Champ Car World Series.

Cristiano da Matta is contesting a race on an oval for the first time in over two years after spending the last two seasons in Formula 1. He will undoubtedly benefit the most from both the Milwaukee test and Brown's knowledge especially since practice time will be at a minimum at the two day Milwaukee event. Da Matta, who will be behind the wheel of the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone entry, will be making his 82nd career Champ Car start and fifth on the Milwaukee Mile. In four previous races he has qualified in the top-10 a total of three times with a best starting position of third in 2001. His best finish is 11th in 1999 and 2002.

"The Bell Micro/PKV Racing team had a good test in Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago, so I am feeling very confident heading into the Milwaukee race," da Matta said. "It will be a little bit different at Milwaukee because it is only a two-day race. We will not have a lot of time to fine tune the car because we go from practice right into qualifying. The PKV Racing team knows we have to be on top of everything when we arrive, but I am confident that we will be fast right off the transporters," he noted.

Commenting on racing on an oval again da Matta said, "This will be my first oval race in a couple of years, but it is really no big deal. I would be a little more worried if I had not tested in Milwaukee, but we had a good test and I got two days of track time, so I am looking at it as just another race."

Da Matta the 2002 Series Champion, has readjusted quickly to the heavier more powerful Champ Cars following his stint in F1. The talented Brazilian has finished in the top-10 in both events this year placing 10th at the season opener in Long Beach then placing sixth in Monterrey, Mexico after getting collected in an incident involving Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy while the trio appeared to be vying for the win. The resident of Miami, Florida is currently tied for seventh in the championship standings with 30 points. Now in his fifth Champ Car season, da Matta is one of four former champions and one of two Brazilians (Bruno Junqueira) competing this season in Champ Car.

PKV Racing will be making its fourth and fifth starts while competing in its third race in Milwaukee. The team's best finish is a fourth by Vasser in 2004. Its best starting position is eighth also by Vasser in 2004.

The Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U. S. Bank on the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, WI will be televised live on CBS at 1:00 p.m. (ET).

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing enters its third season of competition during the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. PKV Racing is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser. The team is managed by the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in USAC/CART/Champ Car history, Jim McGee, who has amassed 89 victories and nine national championships.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Kevin Kalkhoven , Cristiano da Matta , Tom Brown