JACKSON, MI - - AUGUST 29, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing will be looking to continue the success they have enjoyed at this year's street races as they try to climb back into middle of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series title race this weekend at...
JACKSON, MI - - AUGUST 29, 2001 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing will be looking to continue the success they have enjoyed at this year's street races as they try to climb back into middle of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series title race this weekend at the Molson Indy Vancouver in Vancouver, Canada.
With two thirds of the season in the books a strong performance on the 1.8-mile Vancouver temporary street circuit is almost a must if the Visteon/Patrick Racing team is to rejoin the championship hunt. Fortunately, both their results this season on street circuits, and Patrick Racing's history at Vancouver are solid indicators that a good result is not only possible but, probable.
Visteon/Patrick Racing has had their best performances of the season on the street circuits in 2001. In five street races, 10 starts (including Mexico), the team has produced seven finishes in the points with five top-10 performances, three top-five showings and one podium appearance. In fact, the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has achieved most of its success this season on the road and street circuits. In eight road/street races, 16 starts, they have finished in the points 10 times, with seven top-10 placements including four top-five and the two podium performances. Additionally, Patrick Racing's record at Vancouver provides further evidence that at least a top-10 finish is within their grasp. In eight previous races in Vancouver, 12 starts, Patrick Racing drivers have qualified in the top-10 six times with a best starting position of second in 1999. They have finished in the points seven times each time in the top-10 with two podium finishes, both thirds.
Roberto Moreno, who once again finds himself in the top-10 in the championship standings, at number 10 with 54 points, is poised to climb even higher in the championship race. The talented Brazilian has piloted the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reyanrd to a remarkable record of consistency this season. He has finished 12 of the 13 races, the most of any driver and is second in laps and miles completed. In addition to finishing races, Moreno has consistently placed in the points. He has scored points in 10 of the 13 races, including seven of the last eight, while placing in the top-10 five times with two podium appearances. His record, while equally consistent on ovals, has been particularly impressive on the road and street circuits this year. Moreno has finished in the points in seven of eight road/street events with four top-10 showings including both his podium performances. He has finished in the points in four of the five street races with two top-10 placements and one podium, third at Detroit.
"I am very pleased that the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team is back in the top-10 in the championship race," Moreno said. "The entire team has worked very hard to make this happen. We have been very consistent all year, but now we need to take it to the next level and produce some more podium finishes. There are still seven races left in the season and a lot of points available. In racing anything is possible and until we are mathematically eliminated my goal is, and will continue to be, the championship," Moreno concluded.
The Weston, Florida resident, who will be making his fifth appearance at Vancouver, is hoping to notch his second top-10 finish and second in row. In four previous starts, Moreno has qualified in the top-10 twice, the last two years, with a best starting position of sixth in 1999. His best finish is 10th last year.
"Vancouver is a place that we went quick last year, but we have some unfinished business," Moreno said. "We had a good car last year, but our strategy just didn't pay off. It is very important to qualify well in Vancouver, because it is so difficult to pass. The fact that we have been strong on the street circuits this year plus qualifying with the second group will be a big advantage," Moreno noted.
Jimmy Vasser, who pilots the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, is within striking distance of the top-10 in the championship race at number 13 with 50 points. The native of California, who started the season impressively finishing in the top-six in the first four races and was tied for third in the championship race, has been plagued by misfortune since then. He has finished in the points just once in his last nine events despite being extremely competitive each time out. Vasser has placed in the top- five four times and in the top-six in five of 13 races this year. He has finished in the top-six in three of eight road/street races, all three times on street circuits, including season high showings of fifth on the streets of Long Beach and on the airport runway at Cleveland.
"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has got to get back to basics. We need to start finishing some races and winning. We still have an opportunity to finish well in the championship race, but we cannot waste any opportunities starting with this weekend," Vasser said.
The Las Vegas, Nevada resident will be making his tenth start on the streets of Vancouver. In nine previous races Vasser has qualified in the top-five three times with a best starting position of second in 1995. He has finished in the top-10 a four times, including four of the last five years. Vasser has two podium appearances, second in 1997 and third in 1999.
"I love the Vancouver race," Vasser said. "The city is beautiful and the atmosphere is fantastic. The track is tricky because it is difficult to pass, but that just makes qualifying more important."
Vasser went on to say, "Because the race is run in conjunction with the Greg Moore Foundation activities I have had it marked on my calendar since the start of the year. I am really looking forward to going to Vancouver and participating in all the activities."