CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Gold Coast preview

Visteon/Patrick Racing Takes Fight For Top-10 In Fedex Championship Series Down Under JACKSON, MI - - OCTOBER 26, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver's Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser take their fight for a place in the top-10 in the 2001...

Visteon/Patrick Racing Takes Fight For Top-10 In Fedex Championship Series Down Under

JACKSON, MI - - OCTOBER 26, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver's Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser take their fight for a place in the top-10 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series standings Down Under at this weekend's Honda Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia.

As the team heads into the final two rounds of the season Moreno, piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, sits 11th in the championship standings with 74 points, just nine points out of 10th place. Meanwhile, Vasser, driving the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, has moved into 13th place with 68 points putting him 15 points out of the top-10. A total of 44 points are available during the final events.

Visteon/Patrick Racing could not be heading to a better track in their attempt to finish off the season in the top-10. Their record on road/street circuits this year has been exceptionally strong and their history at Surfers Paradise is easily the strongest of any team. Visteon/Patrick Racing has had their best performances of the season on the street circuits in 2001. In six street races, 12 starts, Moreno and Vasser have combined to produce eight finishes in the points with five top-10 performances, four top-five showings and two podium appearances including a win. Of the 11 road/street races, 22 starts, Visteon/Patrick Racing has finished in the points 13 times, with nine top-10 showings, six top-five, three podiums and a win. Patrick Racing's record at Surfers Paradise is even more impressive. The team has competed in seven of the 10 races since 1991, 11 starts, placing in the points a remarkable 10 times with nine top-10 finishes, seven top-five performances, five podium appearances and two wins (Pruett - 1997 and Fernandez - 2000). Additionally, Vasser, who is in his tenth CART season and first with Visteon/Patrick Racing, has had some strong performances on the Gold Coast. In nine previous races he has finished in the points four times including three top-10 showings, two podiums and a victory in 1996. If the past is any indication the Visteon/Patrick Racing team is primed for another strong performance this weekend.

Moreno, who will make his 100th CART career start this weekend, has had a tough time in the last four races. Since his victory on the streets of Vancouver on

September 2, he has had an electrical problem in Germany, placed 13th at England, experienced gearbox problems in Houston and went off course at Laguna Seca. Despite his recent struggles the talented and personable Brazilian remains one of the most reliable and consistent drivers this year. He has finished 14 of 18 races, tied for second most, placing in the points 11 times. Moreno has finished in the top-10 six times with three podiums and one win. The Weston, Florida resident has points paying finishes in five of the six street races this year with three top-10 showings, two podium appearances and a win. He has finished in the points in eight of 11 road/street events this year with five top-10 showings including three podiums and the win.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has had a very competitive package this year," Moreno said. "We had a handicap at the start of the season by being in the slow group in qualifying, but the last half of the season we have done well. We have had a few hiccups recently and are not in the championship hunt, but if we do well the last two races we have a chance to finish in the top-10," Moreno noted.

The eight-year CART veteran, who is in his second season with Visteon/Patrick

Racing, will be making just his third appearance at Surfers Paradise. In two previous starts his best starting position is 19th in 1996 and his best finish is 12th the same year.

"The Surfers Paradise street circuit is a tough track," Moreno said. "To be fast you have to brake late, be quick through the chicanes and use the curbs," he explained. "I really like coming to Surfers and I think the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has a great chance of winning here," Moreno concluded.

Vasser is making a late season charge in an attempt to finish in the top-10 in the championship standings for the seventh consecutive year. He has finished in the points in three consecutive races for the first time since the start of the season and scored his first top-five finish, at Laguna Seca, since the eighth race of the year at Cleveland. The talented and determined native of California began the season impressively finishing in the top-six in the first four events. He then became mired in a slump that saw him score points in just one of the next 11 races before his recent string of success. Vasser has scored points in eight of 18 races this year placing in the top-10 seven times, the top-six six times and the top-five five times. His best finish is a fourth at Nazareth. The Las Vegas, resident has finished in the points in five of the of 11 road/street races, with four top-six showings.

"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has been very competitive the whole season," Vasser said. "It has just been one of those year's where the breaks didn't go our way. Sometimes that is the way it happens. We have a chance to finish in the top-10 in the standings, but we are going to have to win at least one

of the last two races to do that. I have won at Surfers Paradise and Fontana, so I

know what it takes to win at both tracks," Vasser concluded.

PATRICK RACING NOTES:

Moreno In Australia:

Roberto Moreno is no stranger to racing in Australia. Prior to becoming a Formula One event the Australia Grand Prix was run in identically prepared Atlantic cars featuring past F1 champions and drivers. Moreno, competing against the likes of Alan Jones and Nelson Piquet, won the race three of four races placing first in 1981, '83 and '84 and finishing third in 1982.

Moreno And Vasser On Road/Street Circuits:

Moreno has finished in the points in 21 of his last 34 road/street course races with 16 top-10 placements, nine top-five showings, six podiums and two wins.

Vasser has started 100 CART career road/street races finishing in the points 58 times with 50 top-10 finishes, 26 top-five showings, 14 podiums and four wins.

Consistency Key For Vasser and Moreno:

In 165 CART career starts Vasser has 93 top-10 finishes including 26 podium showings. He has finished 96 of his last 121 races placing in the points 89 times (from Milwaukee '95). Moreno has finished in the top-10 in 24 of his last 51 starts and in the points 33 times.

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.

For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

-PR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Moreno , Alan Jones , Nelson Piquet , Emerson Fittipaldi , Gordon Johncock