CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: PKV Racing race report

MONTREAL (August 29, 2004) -- The PKV Racing duo of 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser ( ...

MONTREAL (August 29, 2004) -- The PKV Racing duo of 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) finished seventh and ninth, respectively, in today's third annual Molson Indy Montreal on the high-speed 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada. Vasser turned in his seventh top-10 result in the past eight races in the 69-lap event that marked his Champ Car record 193rd consecutive start, while teammate Gonzalez ran in the top half of the field for the fourth time in his first full season with PKV Racing.

An overcast Montreal skyline served as the backdrop for the milestone race in which Vasser was recognized in pre-event ceremonies by his team owners, friends and family for surpassing Al Unser Jr.'s all-time record. The 10-time racewinner had a solid drive, moving up four positions from his 11th place starting spot to finish seventh.

"I think we had enough in the car to get around [Michel] Jourdain and [Alex] Tagliani, but we got caught up in traffic and decided it was best to make our pit stop early," said Vasser, who vaulted from ninth to seventh in points with 148 championship markers. "After that, we just couldn't make up the ground we needed to. It's a good result for the Gulfstream car and PKV Racing, especially after having a poor showing last round in Denver.

"[On his record start] Obviously, it's a huge honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as a great champion such as Al Unser Jr. I've been fortunate throughout my career to not get sidelined with any serious injuries, and I'd just like to thank Mr. Kevin Kalkhoven, Mr. Gerry Forsythe and Mr. Paul Gentilozzi for saving this great championship and breathing new life into it. Without this opportunity, I wouldn't be able to do what I love to do -- driving in the Champ Car World Series."

PKV pilot Gonzalez started 15th after missing Friday qualifying, but was able to bring his 750hp Lola home ninth. The first year driver continued to impress this weekend with another respectable race, even after suffering from "Can you hear me now?" syndrome midway through the race.

"My earpiece came loose during the race and got stuck in my Hans device, which made it very difficult to drive," said Gonzalez, who moved into second overall for the season in laps completed. "I could talk to my team, but couldn't hear what they were saying in return. Every time I went into a turn or put on the brakes, it just kept getting caught. But overall, it's another solid top-10 result for us and that's been our goal all season long. Considering we missed Friday qualifying, the guys gave me great stops today and I'm pretty happy with this result."

Next up for PKV Racing is the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course that boasts the famed Cork Screw in picturesque Monterey, Calif., September 12th (Spike TV, 4:00 pm ET/PT) for Round 11 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford, the Grand Prix of Monterey.

About PKV Racing

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing fields a two-car effort in the Champ Car World Series for American open wheel star Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The second-year team is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Vasser, and is managed by veteran Champ Car team manager Russell Cameron.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Gentilozzi , Gilles Villeneuve , Roberto Gonzalez