JACKSON, MI - - SEPTEMBER 9, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing will take a third car and momentum overseas for two oval races beginning with the inaugural German 500, September 13-15 at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany and concluding with the ...
JACKSON, MI - - SEPTEMBER 9, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing will take a third car and momentum overseas for two oval races beginning with the inaugural German 500, September 13-15 at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany and concluding with the inaugural Rockingham 500, September 19-22 at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England.
The team will field a third car for Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series leader Townsend Bell, who will join Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser in a three-car effort for the two-week trip across the pond. All three drivers will be looking to build on the momentum Visteon/Patrick Racing earned at Vancouver with its first victory of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season.
Moreno, piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, will be seeking his second consecutive win, and first career victory on an oval, as he attempts to move into the top-five in the championship standings. His emotional and exciting victory at Vancouver, the second of his eight-year CART career, 95 starts, and second in his two years with Patrick Racing, moved him to a season high eighth in the championship race with 74 points. The talented and personable Brazilian has steadily moved up in the standings by scoring the second most points of any driver since Detroit. He is just 11 points out of fifth place and 41 out of first. Moreno has been one of the most consistent drivers this year finishing 13 of 14 races, the most of any driver, and placing in the points 11 of 14 times including eight of the last nine. He has finished in the top-10 six times with three podiums and one win this year.
"Starting from Detroit the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has performed very well," Moreno said. "We have been handicapped a little by being in the "slow" qualifying group on the road and street circuits, but now that we are in the fast group, and have some momentum, I think we can remain very competitive for the rest of the season. I think we have a opportunity to win some more races and move up in the points," Moreno concluded.
The Weston, Florida resident has finished in the points in three of the five oval races this season (Nazareth - 12th; Japan - 10th; Detroit - third; Michigan - 12). He has scored points in 14 of his last 19 oval contests with ten top-10 finishes, six top-five performances and four podiums. Moreno finished a CART career high third in the 2000 FedEx Championship Series standings in no small part due to his performance on ovals. He had the best record on ovals of any active driver in 2000 with seven top-10 finishes, five top-five showings and four podiums in nine races. Moreno also notched the two best oval performances, and best 500-mile oval finish, of his CART career placing second at Homestead and Fontana.
Commenting on CART's trip to Europe Moreno said, "European fans are going to see the most competitive racing series in the world. The FedEx Championship Series has yellow flags and restarts, which makes the racing more competitive and exciting. Also, fans in Europe have never really experienced oval racing. It is a very exciting form of racing and unlike the road circuits you can see the whole race from a seat in the stands. Plus, CART drivers are very accessible to the fans. The fans can interact with the drivers, which they cannot do in most of the other racing series in Europe," Moreno noted.
Vasser, piloting the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, is looking for strong results in Germany and England as he tries to fight his way back into the top-10 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series standings. The talented and determined native of California, who has finished in the top-10 in the championship standings for six consecutive years, is currently 14th in the title race with 50 points. He is just 16 points out of 10th place. Vasser started the season impressively with four consecutive top-six finishes, but has been plagued by misfortune since then finishing in the points just once in his last 10 races, despite being extremely competitive each time out. He has placed in the top-five four times and in the top-six in five of 14 races this year.
"I am looking forward to racing in Germany and England, putting on a good show and hopefully winning a race or two," Vasser said. "Roberto's victory last weekend has really energized the whole Visteon/Patrick Racing team. There hasn't been a race that we have run this year that I didn't think we could win and hopefully my time will come in Germany and England," Vasser noted.
Commenting on the three-car effort Vasser said, "It is going to be a challenge for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team, but I am sure we are up to it."
The Las Vegas, Nevada resident, who captured the CART championship in 1996, has finished in the points twice in five oval races this year placing fifth at Japan and a season high fourth at Nazareth. Vasser has an impressive career record on ovals. In 63 CART oval starts he has finished in the points 45 times with 42 top-10 finishes, 23 top-five showings, 12 podiums and five wins.
Bell, who is making his debut in a champ car, will be behind the wheel of the #19 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard. The 26-year-old resident of San Luis Obispo, Californian has driven the #30 DIRECWAY Dorricott Racing Lola to a 22-point lead in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series, 131-109, with three races remaining. He has four wins and five poles in nine Lights races this year. Bell has six career Indy Lights wins and was the "Rookie of the Year" in 2000.
"Needless to say I am ecstatic about running my first race in the FedEx Championship Series," Bell said. "It is something I have been working towards for several years. I want to thank Mr. Patrick for this tremendous opportunity.
I would also like to thank all of my sponsors and supporters who have stuck with me over the years. In particular I would like to thank Dorricott Racing for providing me with the means to show my abilities. I am cautiously optimistic about showing well in my first race," he concluded.
PATRICK RACING NOTES:
Consistency Key For Vasser And Moreno:
Vasser has started 161 CART races with 91 top-10 finishes including 26 podium showings. He has finished 92 of his last 117 races placing in the points 86 times (dating to Milwaukee `95). Moreno has finished in the top-10 in 24 of his last 47 starts and in the points 33 times.
Patrick Racing Second in Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge:
After 14 races Moreno's #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew is fifth in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge with 81 points. Vasser's #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew is tenth with 60 points.
Patrick Racing In 2001:
Patrick Racing has placed two cars in the top-10 twice this season (Japan - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 10th and Cleveland - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, eighth). Both drivers have finished in the points four times this year (Long Beach - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 11th;Nazareth, Vasser, fourth, Moreno, 12th; Japan - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, 10th; Cleveland - Vasser, fifth, Moreno, eighth).
McGee Holds Record For Most Wins:
Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee is tops on the all-time wins list for a Manager/Chief Mechanic with 89. McGee has nine national championships and is the only Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's). He has at least one victory in each of his last five decades (his 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's) and a least one victory in each of the last five decades (60's-00).
Patrick Racing Facts:
Patrick Racing, in its 29th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Champ Car racing. The team has captured 45 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships (1976 - Gordon Johncock and 1989 - Emerson Fittipaldi). U. E. "Pat" Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the "father" of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series.