CHAMPCAR/CART: Newman/Haas prepares for Sneak preview

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (February 4, 2002) --- While only 34 days remain until the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series Champ cars take the green flag for the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, the team is in the midst of preparation for the annual...

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (February 4, 2002) --- While only 34 days remain until the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series Champ cars take the green flag for the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, the team is in the midst of preparation for the annual CART Sneak Preview to be held February 7-10 at the 2.23-mile scenic road course at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. After a one-year hiatus, the 2002 Sneak Preview will again feature on-track action as it did from 1996-2000 at the annual gathering of media and CART Winner's Circle Fan Club members after two days of media related activities.

One highlight of the event for Newman/Haas Racing will be the annual CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Celebration, scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as Havoline-sponsored driver Cristiano da Matta will be one of five drivers named to the honorary group. He will be joined by 2001 CART champion Gil de Ferran, Kenny Brack, Michael Andretti and Helio Castroneves.

While on a break from numerous planning sessions, Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing took a few minutes to discuss a new development in the area of safety that the CART Champ cars will utilize this season.

"In the constant effort to improve safety, all 2002 Champ cars will have permanent anti-intrusion panels on the inside and outside of both sides of the chassis," said Lisles. "As a result of the information gained from the Zanardi and Gidley accidents, CART has worked with Lola and Reynard to lessen the chance of side intrusion into the area of the chassis where the driver is seated. Four, 0.15 inch thick carbon fiber panels are glued to the inner and outer side skins of the chassis running from just in front of the drivers feet to beyond the back of his seat. Each panel is approximately 60 inches long by 16 inches high. To account for the added safety material, CART has increased the minimum weight by 15 lbs. Safety is a priority for Newman/Haas Racing as well as everyone involved with our sports so we welcome this new development."

Both Havoline driver Cristiano da Matta and Christian Fittipaldi will be on hand for the media and fans at Sneak Preview from Thursday, February 7-10 for two days of media events followed by two days of testing. Following Sneak Preview, da Matta will remain on the West Coast before heading to Arizona for a three day test on the road course at Firebird Raceway, February 12-14.

Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, competes in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The team will begin their 20th season in the series in 2002 as the most successful active competitor with 61 race wins and 63 pole positions. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.texaco.com/racing or www.cart.com. The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season kicks off March 10 at Monterrey, Mexico and the 19-race schedule will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS and Fox Cable Networks Group, including Speedvision/Speed Channel.

-NHR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Christian Fittipaldi , Kenny Brack , Paul Newman , Cristiano da Matta