Champ Car Star Jimmy Vasser Scheduled To Break Al Unser Jr.'s All-time Record With 193rd Consecutive Start in Molson Indy Montreal INDIANAPOLIS (August 23, 2004) -- When the green flag flies over this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal on the ...
Champ Car Star Jimmy Vasser Scheduled To Break Al Unser Jr.'s All-time Record With 193rd Consecutive Start in Molson Indy Montreal
INDIANAPOLIS (August 23, 2004) -- When the green flag flies over this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal on the magnificent 2.709-mile Isle de Notre Dame circuit in Quebec, Canada, it will mark 1996 Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser's (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) 193rd consecutive start in the top open wheel series in North America, moving him past Al Unser Jr. (192) for the all-time record [Modern Era, 1979 - Present].
Vasser's streak of consecutive races began when he took his 22nd career start in the 1993 season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and coincidentally, he will break the record north of the border at the same track that honored him a year ago when the durable pilot made his 200th career Champ Car start.
"I guess Montreal is becoming a very special place to me," said Vasser, who finished fifth in Champ Car's first foray to Montreal in 2002. "I made start number 200 here last year, and here we are again this year. We had a tough weekend in Denver when I tied the record, so hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about in Montreal. I've run well here before, and the permanent road courses seem to suit our cars better than the street courses."
The Canoga Park, Calif. native will also be making his 214th career start behind the wheel of a 750hp thoroughbred Champ Car-- which stacks up fifth overall in series' history [Modern Era, 1979 -- Present], second only to fellow champion Paul Tracy (219) among active drivers.
"My career has been such a rollercoaster ride and it will continue to be, because that's motor racing," said Vasser, who stands ninth in the championship with 131 markers. "But I have some of the greatest memories of my life so far in that time period. I'm just fortunate to have experienced a lot of emotion, up and down, because that's what life is all about. If you were on an even keel going exactly down the middle, you would be a robot."
Vasser's much-touted racing resume includes a $3,071,500 (US) championship run in 1996, Series Runner-Up honors in 1998 and winning the fastest race in Champ Car history in 2002 at California Speedway (197.995 mph). In addition to capturing 10 wins, eight pole positions and 31 podiums, the Las Vegas resident is one of just seven drivers to earn more than $11 million in a Champ Car career. Now in his 13th season, Vasser ranks in the top-20 in almost every statistical category, while having helped mold the careers of former teammates and Champ Car titlists Alex Zanardi (1997-'98) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) along the way.
Vasser's rookie teammate Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will be making his first appearance on the spectacular 13-turn venue that produces speeds nearing the 190mph mark, and he comes to Montreal looking to build off a 12th place finish in Denver that resulted in the Mexican being awarded a championship point most positions gained.
"I'm looking forward to Montreal because we seem to have better results on the road course circuits," said Gonzalez. "I've watched every Formula One and Champ Car race the track has held over the years, so I'm excited about the race. The Nextel car has been improving every race I think, and it's just a matter of time before we get the results we are looking for. My PKV team continues to put forth the effort to get us in the top 10 every race, so I'll do my best to get us there again this weekend."
Watch the PKV Racing duo of Vasser and Gonzalez this Sunday, August 29th on Spike TV (4:00 pm ET/PT) or HDNet (1:30 pm ET, Live) as they compete in the third annual Molson Indy Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Round 10 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.