JIMMY VASSER AND ALEX ZANARDI, TARGET/CHIP GANASSI RACING; MEDIC DRUG GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND What: Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, round 10 of CART's 19-race FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, July 12, 12:30 p.m. EST. Where:...
JIMMY VASSER AND ALEX ZANARDI, TARGET/CHIP GANASSI RACING; MEDIC DRUG GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND
What: Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, round 10 of CART's 19-race FedEx Championship Series.
When: Sunday, July 12, 12:30 p.m. EST.
Where: Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio -- 2.106-mile temporary road course.
Distance: 90 laps/190 miles
Broadcast: Live on ABC-TV and the CART Radio Network.
History: Alex Zanardi made one of the most dramatic comebacks in racing history en route to the checkered flag at the 1997 Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland. After starting on the pole, Zanardi fell into 22nd place on the 37th of 90 laps following a pair of penalties but made a furious comeback and took the lead for good on Lap 84. Jimmy Vasser started 15th and finished 13th last season.
* Zanardi has won four races this season, including three of the last four, and has taken the checkered flag at all three road courses.
* Zanardi needed just 41 races to post his 12th CART victory. Only Rick Mears reached a dozen wins quicker, accomplishing the feat in 38 races.
* Zanardi has climbed to ninth on the all-time CART victories list. He needs just one more victory to tie Paul Tracy for eighth place.
* Ten of Zanardi's 12 CART victories,15 of his 20 podium finishes and eight of his 10 pole positions have come on road or street courses. In the last nine road/street races, he has six wins, one runner-up finish, one third-place finish and one fourth-place finish.
* Vasser and Zanardi, who won PPG Cup championships in 1996 and 1997, respectively, are the first CART drivers to appear on a Wheaties box. The boxes are available in Target stores nationwide while supplies last.
* Vasser, who led all CART drivers in races completed in 1996 (16) and 1997 (15), is the only driver who has finished all nine races this season. He has completed 45 of his last 48 races dating back to Cleveland in 1995.
* Zanardi has already tallied more points this season (134) than he did the entire 1996 season (132) when he finished third in the PPG Cup standings.
* Zanardi and Vasser have won six of the nine races this season, including four in a row. Zanardi took the checkered flag at Long Beach, Gateway, Detroit and Portland, and Vasser won at Nazareth and Milwaukee. The last team to win four races in a row was Team Penske, which reeled off seven consecutive victories in 1994 with drivers Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has posted victories in 19 of its last 42 races and boasts 18 podium finishes in its last 17 races.
* Zanardi has 13 podium finishes in his last 16 races, including four victories, two runner-up finishes and one third-place finish in nine races this season.
* Vasser and Zanardi started 1-2 in Cleveland in 1996.
* During the Rio 400, his 37th CART race, Zanardi achieved the milestone of 1,000 career laps led. In CART's 20-year history, only one other driver reached 1,000 laps led faster than Zanardi (Bobby Unser - 25 races). Zanardi now ranks 12th in CART history and 19th in Champ car history with 1,264 career laps led.
* Vasser has started 76 consecutive races since the 1993 season, the third-longest streak among active CART drivers. Only Bobby Rahal (87) and Mauricio Gugelmin (78) have more consecutive starts.
* Zanardi is the last CART driver to win from the pole position, accomplishing the feat last year in Cleveland.
* Team owner Chip Ganassi enjoyed the best finish in his 28-race Indy car career in Cleveland, finishing second in 1984.
Jimmy Vasser: "I haven't had great success in Cleveland, with the exception of a third-place finish in 1995 and a pole position in 1996, so I'm looking forward to turning things around this year. Burke Lakefront Airport is a pretty bumpy course, so you really have to get the shocks working well over the bumps. From the fans' point of view, Cleveland is a great venue because they can see the entire track."
Alex Zanardi: "It's a spectacular track. It's really easy to overtake somebody, but at the same time it's also pretty easy to overshoot the corners and get passed right back on the exit. Everybody loves it because there are a lot of straight lines along with the right combination of corners."
St. Jude Children's Hospital: * Once again this year, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is donating $5,000 for each race win, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Contributions are being used for construction of the Target House at St. Jude's.
* The team has raised $44,000 this season, including $7,575 at the Motorola 300 on May 23, the highest single-race total of the last two years. Target contributed an additional $1,000 when Alex Zanardi registered his 1,000th career lap led in the Rio 400 on May 10, bringing the grand total raised this season to $45,000.
* In 1997, the team raised $46,275 for St. Jude's Hospital. In recognition of the team's back-to-back championships, Target matched that donation and rounded up to bring the total donation in 1997 to $100,000.
* The team's top five single-race totals over the last two seasons are as follows: $7,575 at Gateway 1998; $6,925 at Milwaukee 1998; $6,750 at Cleveland 1997; $6,700 at Nazareth 1998; $6,450 at Laguna Seca 1997.