BRACK, PAPIS DISCUSS MID-OHIO MISHAP, READY FOR ROAD AMERICA: Team Rahal drivers Kenny Brack and Max Papis were the talk of the Mid-Ohio paddock Sunday night after the Shell and Miller Lite pilots made contact on lap 30 in the Miller Lite 200 ...
BRACK, PAPIS DISCUSS MID-OHIO MISHAP, READY FOR ROAD AMERICA: Team Rahal drivers Kenny Brack and Max Papis were the talk of the Mid-Ohio paddock Sunday night after the Shell and Miller Lite pilots made contact on lap 30 in the Miller Lite 200 earlier in the day. But the two drivers sat down with team owner Bobby Rahal and discussed the incident that was the second in the past three weeks on the CART FedEx Championship Series. Rahal, making a rare appearance from his CEO position at the Jaguar Formula One team, was not pleased that his team drivers made contact again after they collided on the two-mile oval on July 22 at Michigan. "This was a wasted opportunity," said Rahal after the race. "In a point championship, we can't give points away like that. We've come back before this year and I think we can again at Road America (this Sunday, Aug. 19, in the Motorola 220) and the rest of the year."
RAHAL SAYS TEAM RAHAL LINEUP SET: The contact between Brack and Papis created many rumors leading into this weekend's Road America. Team owner Bobby Rahal and general manager Scott Roembke released a statement on Tuesday about their driver lineup. "Contrary to some reports, there will be no change in the Team Rahal driver lineup for this weekend," said Rahal. "Kenny Brack is under contract with Team Rahal and is the Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola driver for the remainder of the 2001 season," said Roembke. "Kenny, the Shell team and the rest of Team Rahal remain focused on our bid for the 2001 CART championship. Team Rahal will announce a driver line-up for 2002 and beyond at the appropriate time." Rahal said both of his team driver's contracts conclude after this season and negotiations are currently taking place.
BRACK EXCITED ABOUT CHANCES AT ROAD AMERICA: Brack, a three-time oval winner in 2001 including on the nearby Milwaukee Mile, enters the Motorola 220 with a slim one-point lead (104-103) over Helio Castroneves for the 13th race on the 20-event series. Brack, in his first CART appearance at Road America last year, finished third in the Shell Ford and he expects another strong showing this week. "We're not giving up on this championship," said Brack, who has one road pole this year at Mexico. "Our Shell crew is working very hard right now and I have spent two days in the shop with the engineers. We are studying the chassis setups and gearing. Road America is a classic road circuit. It is so much fun to drive. It brings me back to my roots, road courses. We have to make the car better for Elkhart Lake. We should have a fast car on the straights since the Ford engine gives us a lot of horsepower. Everything else that happened last week has to be left behind us. We have to focus on racing at the next race and trying to win it. Everything else is in the past."
PAPIS LOVES ROAD AMERICA, CAN'T WAIT TO GET THERE: Papis, a winner on a natural terrain circuit at Portland in June, believes his Miller Lite Ford Lola can be right in the thick of things again this weekend at Road America. "The Mid-Ohio incident is not on our minds now," said Papis. "We are totally focused on Road America. The Road America track is so much like the circuits in Europe and I think the drivers enjoy this circuit more than any other on the FedEx Series. It's wide enough to pass. There are so many turns - fast, slow and medium - and your car has to be good for all of those types of corners. We had a great car in qualifying at Portland (winning the pole in dry) and we can use that natural terrain setup for Road America. The straightaways are long there and I think our Ford power will be an advantage. The fans at Road America are very friendly and excited about our racing. Bobby (Rahal) was always a favorite at Elkhart Lake and had a big following. It's great to go back there."
<pre> TEAM RAHAL LEADS OVERALL CART STATS: Team Rahal holds down the lead in a variety of categories amongst CART's elite teams in 2001. Wins Poles Laps Led Road Laps Oval Laps Team Rahal 4 5* 624 98 526 Team Penske 3 5 442 290 152 Pac West 1 1 69 14 55 Motorola 1 0 100 25 75 Team Green 1 0 53 16 37 Newman-Haas 1 0 40 39 1 Players 1 0 5 0 5 Mo Nunn 0 1 166 2 164 Ganassi 0 1 134 57 77 * Includes Texas Pole