CHAMPCAR/CART: Sneak Preview media stage over, testing begins

Media Days Conclude At 2002 Cart Fedex Championship Series Sneak Preview; Two Days Of On-Track Testing Up Next MONTEREY, Calif. (February 8, 2002) - With introductions to the cars, competitors, and characters that will make up the 2002 CART ...

Media Days Conclude At 2002 Cart Fedex Championship Series Sneak Preview; Two Days Of On-Track Testing Up Next

MONTEREY, Calif. (February 8, 2002) - With introductions to the cars, competitors, and characters that will make up the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series now complete, the focus of attention at CART Sneak Preview 2002 now switches to two days of on-track testing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Over the past two days, close to 200 media members were on-hand at the picturesque road circuit for a series of press conferences, photography sessions, and interviews with virtually all of the key players in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series.

Sneak Preview 2002 officially kicked off on Thursday morning with new CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook conducting his first face-to-face press conference. Pook addressed many of the challenges facing CART, and revealed many of his plans to improve CART's image.

"I think the biggest change we have made is in the philosophical structure in how CART operates," Pook said. "Yes, we are a sanctioning body; and yes, we put on motor car races; and yes, the competition is fierce and the activity between the walls is fierce. But once we go outside of those walls, we are now a servicing organization. We are a marketing company. We are a facilitator. Our job is to facilitate the environment in which we are in for all of the companies, sponsors, engine manufacturers, tire manufacturers and media, so that everybody can do their job, and everybody can attain their goals and objectives called Championship Auto Racing Teams and the FedEx Championship."

Following Pook's announcement, many of the rising stars competing in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship were introduced to the media, followed by a press conference with all of the 2002 Champ Car drivers using Honda power.

Thursday evening featured the third annual CART FedEx All-Star Celebration, which was held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The five-member 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team - consisting of Cristiano da Matta, Helio Castroneves, Michael Andretti, Kenny Brack, and 2001 Mario Andretti Trophy winner Gil de Ferran - were all honored and in attendance. The three-member 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship All-Star teams were also unveiled at the aquarium on Thursday night.

Friday morning opened with a press conference featuring several CART FedEx Championship Series team owners, followed by interviews with all of the Toyota- and Ford-Cosworth-powered drivers. The media activities wound down with a final press conference introducing the broadcast team for SPEED Channel's coverage of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series.

One major announcement was also made on Friday, as the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach received unanimous approval from the St. Petersburg (Fla.) City Council to hold a major motorsports event in the streets of the city. The approval paves the way for a CART-sanctioned event in the 2003 season.

With the media activities out of the way, all of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series drivers will get out on the race track together for the first time at 9 a.m. PT Saturday morning in the first of four scheduled test sessions over the next two days. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be open to the public beginning at 8 a.m. both days, and several fan activities - including an All-Driver Autograph Session scheduled for 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. on Saturday - are planned.

For those who cannot be in attendance, extensive live coverage of Sneak Preview 2002 will be available on the official web site of the CART FedEx Championship Series, CART.com. Live timing and scoring data from every session will be available on the web site, as well as a one-hour audio wrap-up of each day's activities. The CART.com audio sessions go live each day beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season kicks off March 10 at Monterrey, Mexico and the 19-race schedule will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS and Fox Cable Networks Group, including Speedvision/Speed Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.CART.com.

--CART--

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Kenny Brack , Mario Andretti , Cristiano da Matta