CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Ford Racing preview

Bridgestone Potenza 500 - Twin Ring Motegi - Motegi, Japan WHEN: April 25-27, 2002 TRACK LAYOUT: 1.548-mile oval RACE DISTANCE: 201 laps [311.349 miles or 500 kilometers] TELEVISION COVERAGE [ET]: SPEED Channel; 12:30pm on April 27th ...

Bridgestone Potenza 500 - Twin Ring Motegi - Motegi, Japan
WHEN: April 25-27, 2002
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.548-mile oval
RACE DISTANCE: 201 laps [311.349 miles or 500 kilometers]
TELEVISION COVERAGE [ET]: SPEED Channel; 12:30pm on April 27th [TAPE]

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Kenny Brack
DEFENDING POLESITTER: Helio Castroneves [25.849 seconds; 215.591 miles per hour]
QUALIFYING RECORD: Gil de Ferran - 1999 [25.463 seconds; 219.000 miles per hour]

2002 DRIVER POINTS: Cristiano da Matta [27], Michael Andretti [22], MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. [22], Dario Franchitti [20], MAX PAPIS [18]

2002 MANUFACTURER POINTS: Honda [38], Toyota [33], FORD-COSWORTH [29]

FORD-COSWORTH LOOKS FOR FIFTH CONSECUTIVE WIN AT TWIN RING MOTEGI - The CART FedEx Championship Series stops in Japan this weekend for the Bridgestone Potenza 500 at the Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan. Ford-Cosworth returns to its most successful track where it has experienced unparalleled success by winning all four CART races contested on the teardrop-shaped oval. Adrian Fernandez won back-to-back races in 1998 and 1999 with the Cosworth XD engine, while Michael Andretti [2000] and Kenny Brack [2001] were each powered to victory circle by the Cosworth XF. Ford-Cosworth is also coming off a successful weekend in Long Beach where it powered both Team Rahal driver Jimmy Vasser [Pole; 2nd] and Sigma Autosport driver Max Papis [3rd] to podium finishes.

FORD-COSWORTH AND ITS OVAL TRACK SUCCESS - Since introducing the XF engine for the 2000 FedEx Championship season, Ford-Cosworth has been a strong contender in every oval track event over the last two seasons. Consider that in the 17 CART races contested since the XF first appeared in the season-opening race at the Homestead Motor Speedway in 2000, Ford-Cosworth has won nine races, recorded 40 top-five finishes and made 27 podium appearances.

FORD-COSWORTH DRIVER NOTES -

Patrick Carpentier - After opening the season with a 7th-place finish in Monterrey, he endured a disappointing weekend in Long Beach where he qualified 20th and finished 19th. Although he has experienced success on the ovals with six career podium finishes, including his first career victory at Michigan last season, he has not finished in the top 20 at Motegi in three career starts [19th - 1998, 26th - 1999 and 19th - 2001].

Mario Dominguez - Made his second career Champ Car start at Long Beach two weeks ago where he finished 14th after making contact with the wall in turn one on lap 62. While he will be making his first start in a Champ Car on an oval this weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi, he has experienced oval success in the past, winning his Indy Lights debut on the oval at the Homestead Motor Speedway in 1999.

Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Enters Round Three of the FedEx Championship Series tied for second in the championship standings after opening the season with back-to-back top-five results [4th - Monterrey, 5th - Long Beach]. Already with 22 championship points through two events, he should easily surpass his previous career-best total of 30 points established last season. Qualified seventh last year at Motegi en route to an 11th-place finish - his best in four career starts in Japan.

Max Papis - Qualified 18th, but took advantage of an alternate fuel strategy to score an impressive third-place finish at Long Beach two weeks ago. Currently sits fifth in the standings [18 points], and has now scored championship points in eight consecutive events dating back to last season's race in Germany. Has experienced some success at the Twin Ring Motegi in four career starts with top finishes of 8th [2000] and 6th [2001]. Has earned four career trips to the podium at oval track races and captured his first career Champ Car victory on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead Motor Speedway [2000].

Alex Tagliani - Opened the season with a 5th-place result in Monterrey, but struggled to a 16th-place finish at Long Beach, which snapped his streak of five consecutive top-five finishes. In two career starts at the Twin Ring Motegi, he has qualified 10th [2000] and 19th [2001] with results of 15th and 22nd, respectively. Currently sits 10th in the championship standings with 10 points.

Jimmy Vasser - Capped a pole-winning weekend at Long Beach by driving to a second-place finish in just his second start with Team Rahal. Captured the pole in the first-ever CART race at Twin Ring Motegi in 1998, and has recorded finishes of 7th [1998], 12th [1999], 21st [2000] and 5th [2001] in four starts. Has captured four pole positions, five victories and made 12 podium appearances in oval track events throughout his career.

COSWORTH RACING CHAMP CAR WINS - Max Papis' third career Champ Car victory at Laguna Seca on October 14, 2001, was the 212th victory for Cosworth Racing in USAC- and CART-sanctioned races since it entered North American open-wheeled racing in 1976. Cosworth has won 166 CART-sanctioned races and 46 USAC-sanctioned races, including five victories in 1996 with the Ford-Cosworth XB engine during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League [IRL]. Michael Andretti has won the most races using a Cosworth engine [25], followed by Rick Mears [20], Bobby Rahal [18], Mario Andretti [16] and Johnny Rutherford [16].

SPARK PLUGS - Sigma Autosport driver Max Papis has scored championship points in eight consecutive races dating back to last season's race in Germany, including one victory and three runner-up finishes ... Herdez Competition driver Mario Dominguez will be making his first career Champ Car start this weekend on an oval at Motegi ... with Jimmy Vasser's pole position two weeks ago at Long Beach, Ford-Cosworth has now captured 66 pole positions since entering Champ Car competition in 1992.

-ford-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Mario Dominguez , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Cristiano da Matta , Johnny Rutherford , Michel Jourdain