CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Penske Fontana preview

On October 29 the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series rolls into Southern California for the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway. The 2.029-mile superspeedway will play host to the season finale where any one of five drivers could be crowned as...

On October 29 the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series rolls into Southern California for the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway. The 2.029-mile superspeedway will play host to the season finale where any one of five drivers could be crowned as the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series winner.

With 22 points up for grabs (20 for the win, one for the pole and one for most laps led) and five drivers within 22 points of the FedEx Championship Series points leader Gil de Ferran the CART battle for the Vanderbilt Cup has become the closest in history. Following Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran (153 points) is Adrian Fernandez (148), Paul Tracy (134), Kenny Brack (134), Roberto Moreno (131) and Jimmy Vasser (131).

Needless to say, the season-ending Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway will surely be one of the most exciting days of racing this entire year. The following are some scenarios in the hunt for the Championship.

In order for Gil de Ferran to win the title over Adrian Fernandez, one of the following scenarios must take place:

Gil de Ferran must finish better than Adrian Fernandez

If Fernandez wins, de Ferran must finish at least second (and Fernandez cannot earn points for the pole or most laps led)

If Fernandez finishes anywhere between third and fifth, de Ferran must finish within two places of him

If Fernandez finishes sixth, de Ferran must finish at least tenth

If Fernandez finishes seventh, de Ferran must finish at least twelfth

For Paul Tracy or Kenny Brack to win the Championship, the following must occur:

Either must win the race and have de Ferran finish less than 12th and not earn points for the pole or most laps led

Fernandez must finish less than seventh and not earn points for the pole or most laps led

Both Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser are 22 points behind de Ferran. Moreno's only hope would be to score every point available which would tie him with de Ferran (if he doesn't score any points all weekend). If a tie occurs then the Championship is determined with preference given in the following order until the tie is broken: to the driver with the highest finishing position(s); most race miles completed; highest earned qualifying position(s) or most race starts. Even if Vasser wins the race he cannot win the Championship because of the tiebreakers. Juan Montoya claimed last year's Championship title after tying with Dario Franchitti because he had more wins than Franchitti during the season.

While the battle for the Championship will be the primary spectacle of the weekend, Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves could move up to as high as third in the Championship standings with a victory at the Marlboro 500. Regardless of the outcome of the season-ending race both Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves are guaranteed a top-ten finish in the Championship points.

INDY LIGHTS BATTLE TO BE DECIDED IN FONTANA

Scott Dixon, the current Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader (134 points) will have his hands full on October 29 during The Indy Lights 100 Presented by the LA Times when he will defend his lead in the Championship. Both Townsend Bell and Casey Mears are within striking distance of Dixon with 130 and 129 points respectively. With three drivers within five points of each other, the Indy Lights Championship is still wide open.

DRIVE AWAY HUNGER PROGRAM IN FONTANA

The Drive Away Hunger Program donates leftover food from each race weekend to local charities in each city where CART is racing. This weekend the Drive Away Hunger Program headed up by Marlboro Team Penske and Newman Haas Racing will benefit Angel Harvest in Los Angeles. The season finale produces the largest per race donation because the chefs are able to give staple items from the year including flour, sugar, oil, etc. Contributions from last year's event produced approximately 8,000 meals. For more information, please contact Katherine Bennett at 310-274-7800.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Casey Mears , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Townsend Bell
Teams Team Penske