CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Team Rahal Preview

HERTA BEGINS DEFENSE OF POLE AND TRACK RECORD AT PORTLAND HILLIARD, OH. . .The 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series has been a source of frustration for Bryan Herta. Although the 29-year-old driver of Team Rahal's Shell Ford-Cosworth/Reynard ...


HILLIARD, OH. . .The 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series has been a source of frustration for Bryan Herta. Although the 29-year-old driver of Team Rahal's Shell Ford-Cosworth/Reynard posted a third-place finish at Long Beach, the season has been a run of bad luck resulting in four DNFs in the season's first seven races. This weekend Herta returns to familiar ground in the Portland International Raceway, where a year ago he posted the fastest lap in the track's history in capturing the pole for the GI Joe's 200. Coming back to Portland to test in the spring, Herta posted an unofficial lap a full second faster than his track record. "I have always loved racing in Portland," said Herta. "The crowds are enthusiastic and the track's challenging, and that has always made this one of my favorite stops on the circuit." A year ago, Herta entered Portland eighth in the PPG Cup standings. This year he enters 15th and is looking at the upcoming race as a means to jump-start his championship hopes. "We are at a point in the season where I am racing for wins more than I am racing for the championship. After all the problems we have encountered in the early going of the season I am looking for a way to change my luck. Until last season I had my fair share of problems on the track at Portland, but last year the entire package came together and I had a great weekend. Last year I changed my luck at Portland, now I am hoping Portland can help me change my luck. We know we can be successful at Portland and what it will take to win." The CART race in Portland was one of three pole positions that Herta won in 1998 along with Long Beach and Laguna Seca. He parlayed each into a podium finish in 1998; including his first CART victory at Laguna Seca last September. BRYAN HERTA POLE POSITIONS

Year        Track                Finish
1995        Phoenix                20th 
1997        Mid-Ohio        24th 
        Laguna Seca        6th 
1998        Long Beach        3rd 
        Portland        3rd
        Laguna Seca        1st 


Track                        Time 
Laguna Seca                1:07.895
Long Beach                50.945 sec.
Portland                58.358 sec.

PAPIS KEEPS FINISHING STREAK ALIVE Max Papis is seven-for-seven, having finished every race he has run for Team Rahal. The seven consecutive running finishes are a personal Champ Car best for Papis, eclipsing his previous high of four set with Arciero-Wells Racing. In finishing 13th at Milwaukee on June 6, Papis moved into fourth among CART drivers in miles logged and laps driven during the 1999 season. He is one of only four drivers on the circuit who has finished every race this season. With three top-five finishes to his credit in 1999, Papis ranks eighth in points (36). On the two prior occasions this year that he finished out of the points, Papis has rebounded with a top-ten effort. Following a 17th place finish at Motegi, Papis posted a ninth-place finish at Long Beach and following a 13th place finish at Nazareth, Papis posted a career best fourth-place finish at Rio. MILLER TEAM AMONG CRAFTSMAN PIT CREW CHALLENGE LEADERS One of the keys to the success of Max Papis this season has been the outstanding effort of his Miller Lite crew. Over the course of the 1999 season, Craftsman Tools, the official hand tool of CART and Team Rahal, is sponsoring a Pit Crew Challenge for all CART teams. Points are awarded to the crews using the identical scoring method for the CART drivers in the race. Points are awarded based on least cumulative time in the pits as measured by Omega Timing & Scoring. After seven races, the Miller Crew is fourth overall, having posted 51 points. Bryan Herta's Shell crew ranks eighth overall with 39 points. A crew only receives points if its car finishes the race. The competition runs through the race in Australia, covering the first 19 races of the FedEx Championship Series. The top four teams after Australia will then compete in a specially staged contest at the season-finale at Fontana for the $50,000 first prize.

Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge Standings through Milwaukee

1.        Forsythe Racing #99        79
2.        Ganassi Racing #4        64
3.        Newman-Haas #11                56
4.        TEAM RAHAL #7                51
5.        Newman-Haas #6                48
6.        Ganassi Racing #12        42
7.        Team Green #27                40
8.        TEAM RAHAL #8                39
9.        Patrick Racing #20        36
10.        Forsythe Racing #44        29

RAHAL FOUNDATION BENEFITS PORTLAND AREA BOY SCOUTS The Bobby Rahal Foundation will make a charitable donation to the Portland, Oregon, chapter of the Boy Scouts of America at Sunday's running of the GI Joe's 200. The donation is part of the Foundation's season-long program of donations to worthwhile organizations in CART communities. The Bobby Rahal Foundation raised more than $400,000 during the 1998 FedEx Championship Series as part of "Rahal's Last Ride."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Bryan Herta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing