Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, June 9, 1999 PacWest Racing Group driver Mauricio Gugelmin will become the first Champ Car driver to record a lap of any type in the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday during the "Rippin' Round...
Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, June 9, 1999
PacWest Racing Group driver Mauricio Gugelmin will become the first Champ Car driver to record a lap of any type in the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday during the "Rippin' Round the Runway" media event at Kalaeloa Airport on Barbers' Point.
Gugelmin, who campaigns the Hollywood PacWest Mercedes in the FedEx Championship Series, will drive PacWest's other entry, the Motorola PacWest Mercedes, during a special, by-invitation-only test session which will preview the Nov. 13 Hawaiian Super Prix.
The Super Prix, a non-points invitational event which will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the FedEx Championship Series season, will feature the top 12 finishers in the championship, plus four other drivers invited at the option of the promoter. The select field of 16 drivers will compete for the largest single-day payout in the history of motorsports -- $10 million, with $5 million going to the winner.
Gugelmin will kick off the "Rippin' Round the Runway" event at approximately 10 a.m. local time with a half-hour test run, then will meet with the media to offer his impressions of the 1.8-mile temporary road course at the airport. Following the media session, Gugelmin will return to the car and test until approximately 2 p.m. local time.
J. Kirk Russell, CART's Vice President of Competition, will attend the test to receive feedback from Gugelmin which will help in preparation of the circuit for the Super Prix.
"It will be interesting to check out the circuit and help CART and the Hawaiian Super Prix have a fantastic race at the end of the year," said Gugelmin. "It's already big in terms of numbers, with a $10 million purse. With all the effort everyone is putting into it, I'm sure it will be very special. It's nice to have an event where points are not in the drivers' minds. I've heard that the straight[away]s are 200 feet wide, so we'll see who is the bravest under braking. I'm sure everybody is going to go for it."
The third round of the True Value International Race of Champions will be contested at Michigan Speedway on Friday, with the green flag due to fly at noon ET. FedEx Championship Series drivers Greg Moore and Adrian Fernandez are competing in the four-race IROC invitational series, which brings together 12 of the world's top drivers, representing four different motorsports series, competing against each other in identically prepared cars. In addition to Moore and Fernandez, the field includes defending IROC series champion Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Jeff Burton of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series; Dale Earnhardt Jr. of the NASCAR Busch Series and Kenny Brack and Eddie Cheever of the Indy Racing League. Through two rounds of the championship, Fernandez stands seventh with 17 points and Moore ninth with 16 points. Dale Earnhardt has won the opening two events at Daytona and Talladega to take the series lead with 42 points. "I think I am getting more experience all the time as I jump in the car, so hopefully, this third race will be a race where I can give all the NASCAR boys a run for the money," said Fernandez, driver of the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard in the FedEx Championship Series. "This is a track where they have told me that you have to lift, so it will be different from Talladega and Daytona, where it was all the time flat-out. Maybe the lines you take there are a little bit similar to the lines we take in our Champ Cars." Like Fernandez, Moore, driver of the Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ltd. Mercedes Reynard in the FedEx Championship Series, believes that his Champ Car experience at Michigan Speedway will help him this weekend. "This is the first IROC race of the year on a track I have some experience on, so I am really looking forward to it," said Moore, winner of last year's U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway. The IROC series concludes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 6.
PIT PROWESS One-third of the way through the FedEx Championship Series season, the pit crew for Greg Moore's Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ltd. Mercedes Reynard has taken the lead in the inaugural Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge, which will award $50,000 to the top pit crew in the series at season's end. Moore's crew has accumulated 79 points to hold a 15-point advantage over the crew for second-place Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, which is second with 64 points. Rounding out the top four are the crew for Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Ford Swift) of Newman/Haas Racing, with 56 points and the crew for Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal, with 51 points. Points are awarded according to the same scale used to determine the FedEx Championship Series champion, but based on total time spent in the pits at each event. Points will be accumulated through the first 19 events of the season, and the top four teams will compete in a specially staged pit stop competition at the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway to determine the winner of the $50,000 grand prize.