CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Team Rahal Track Talk

"MAD MAX" MAKES HIS MOVE HILLIARD, OH . . . 1999 was a breakout season for Max Papis in the Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Reynard. The personable Italian posted 14 top-tens and 11 top-five results en route to a fifth place finish in the CART ...

"MAD MAX" MAKES HIS MOVE

HILLIARD, OH . . . 1999 was a breakout season for Max Papis in the Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Reynard. The personable Italian posted 14 top-tens and 11 top-five results en route to a fifth place finish in the CART FedEx Championship Series standings and a berth on the inaugural CART All-Star Team. Seven races into the 2000 FedEx Championship Series, Papis is ahead of his point pace from 1999 and positioned right in the thick of the championship battle. "When the season started our goal was to turn those top-five results into podium finishes," said Papis who notched three podium appearances last season. "It is no secret that consistency is the key to the CART Championship. Winning races is important but consistently finishing races in the points will put you in the title hunt." Compare the 1999 season to the 2000 season and you will see Papis is ahead of last year in points, wins, podiums appearances, but also DNF's. "It is easy to get frustrated when a run of luck goes against you, but I give my crew a lot of credit because everyone has stayed focus and we have come through the tough times and I think we are ready for a run like we had last year." The run which Papis refers to was a dazzling streak over the final eleven events of the 1999 season in which he posted nine top-ten results and eight top-five finishes including his first three podium appearances of his CART career. It is that same portion of the schedule that is upcoming, meaning a similar run in 2000 could put Papis on the cusp of his first CART Championship." Papis comes to Portland on a roll on road and street courses. Including last week's runner up result at Detroit, Papis has posted a top-five finish on a road or street course in seven of the last ten CART road/street events. The three exceptions were all DNF's. Included in those seven top-fives are three podium appearances, a third place at Laguna Seca and seconds at Australia and Detroit.

<pre> Max Papis: 1999 vs. 2000 Season Comparison Through Seven Races Category 1999 2000 Points 36 47 Wins 0 1 Podiums 0 2 Top-5 3 2 Top-10 4 4 DNF's 0 3

KENNY BRACK'S TOP FIVE STREAK SNAPPED AT BELLE ISLE

Shell driver Kenny Brack's streak of three straight top-five results was snapped at the Grand Prix of Detroit when he was forced to retire after only 11 laps due to a bent left rear tow bar. The DNF was the first for Brack since the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. Even with the DNF Brack kept his lead in the CART Rookie of the Year standings. In seven races this season, Brack has posted four top-ten results including a third place finish at Nazareth. The 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner tested at Portland International Raceway with teammate Max Papis in April, and came away impressed with PIR. "I have been adjusting to the style of driving on the road and street courses and the fact I couldn't test either of the street courses we have run has hindered me from getting into the flow on race weekend right away," said Brack. "Fortunately I come to Portland with a day of testing under my belt. I think it will make a huge difference for the Shell team and I to have that experience and it should help us over the course of the weekend."

BOBBY RAHAL VISITS THE WHITE HOUSE

Interim Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) CEO & President and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal and his wife Debi will attend a State Dinner at the White House Tuesday evening honoring the visit of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.

"It is a great honor to be invited to a dinner with the President of the United States and the First Lady," said Rahal. "A chance to attend a State Dinner is a once in a lifetime opportunity and Debi and I truly enjoyed our evening at the White House."

The COLORFUL MAX PAPIS

Max Papis showed up at Detroit with red streaks in his hair and put the Miller Lite car on the podium for the second time this season. The hair color/podium connection dates back to last season at Fontana for Papis. Max showed up to the season ending CART event with green streaks in his hair. "Green represents hope in Italy," said Papis at the time. Papis notched a second place finish at Fontana that day. For the season opening event at Miami, Papis showed up with blue in his hair. The blue was symbolic of the Miller Lite team. Papis posted his first win of his CART career. After Miami Papis went natural for the last five races and then he produced the red streaks symbolizing strength in Italy and produced another podium. Coincidence? For the record this week at Portland Papis hair is still red.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack