CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: PKV Racing preview

INDIANAPOLIS (October 15, 2004) -- Proper society teaches us that staring is impolite, but it's hard not to gawk at 1996 Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser's ( ...

INDIANAPOLIS (October 15, 2004) -- Proper society teaches us that staring is impolite, but it's hard not to gawk at 1996 Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser's (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) Australia resume as he returns the site of his first race (1992) this weekend in Surfers Paradise for the 57-lap Lexmark Indy 300 where the Champ Cars annually draw in excess of 300,000 spectators.

Vasser's 12 Australia starts include a win from pole in 1996 in a race that saw him lead 60 laps, as well as three podium finishes after charging from 15th to third place a year ago. The California native's focus this weekend can best be described as "Hanging Ten" -- not attempting to put all ten toes on the nose of his surf board, but trying to keep his stronghold on the year-end points race as the Champ Car veteran sits 10th with 171 markers.

"Without a doubt, the Australian race is the event I look forward to more than probably any other all year," said Vasser, who will be extending his Champ Car record of consecutive starts this Sunday to 196. "The weather is almost always excellent, with the exception of the unfortunate downpour the last few races, and the fans are just incredible. I won this race in 1996, and there has never been a repeat winner. So of course I would like to be the guy to break the curse in the Gulfstream car this year. As far as the circuit is concerned, it is exceptional. It's most certainly one of the best street circuits in the world."

In his first visit to festive Surfers Paradise, Gonzalez will be looking to catch a swell of waves that will propel him around the oceanside street circuit. PKV Racing's rookie pilot feels his qualifying efforts must improve for the team to have a strong showing to close out the 2004 campaign.

"I think the season has been a positive experience for me and the PKV Racing team," said Gonzalez, who stands third in the Rookie of the Year battle with 117 points. "Although the numbers might not show it, I believe we've come a long way this season. We've struggled at times, but have either reached, or come close to reaching our goal of running in the top-10 all year. As far as the last two races are concerned, we hope to carry the momentum we gained after a top-10 run in Las Vegas into Surfers Paradise, and in turn, to the finale in Mexico City. I think the focus will be on qualifying better, and building on the experiences I have shared with the team and my engineers through the first 12 rounds. If we are able to continue to grow that relationship and learn from those experiences, we will be a contender in Australia and have a chance at a positive result for Nextel Mexico in November."

Catch the PKV Racing duo of Vasser and Gonzalez this Sunday afternoon, October 24th, on the spectacular 2.795-mile street course in Surfers Paradise, or tune in to Spike TV Sunday, October 24th (4:00 pm ET/PT) for the Lexmark Indy 300, Round 13 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.

About PKV Racing

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing fields a two-car effort in the Champ Car World Series for American open wheel star Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The second-year team is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Vasser, and is managed by veteran Champ Car team manager Russell Cameron.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Gonzalez