HILLIARD, OH . . . It has been seven years since Kenny's Brack first drove the course at Belle Isle, but the memory of that 1993 race is firmly etched in the mind of Team Rahal's Shell driver. Brack started fourth and picked up his fourth Barber...
HILLIARD, OH . . . It has been seven years since Kenny's Brack first drove the course at Belle Isle, but the memory of that 1993 race is firmly etched in the mind of Team Rahal's Shell driver. Brack started fourth and picked up his fourth Barber Saab victory en route to six race wins and the 1993 Barber Saab Championship. "I left Belle Isle in 1993 with some fond memories and I hope I can leave this time with equally positive feelings," said Brack. "This is only my second street race since 1996, but I feel like the road racing skills which allowed me to be successful on the road and street courses early in my career have returned. The biggest challenge for me has been adjusting to the strategy differences between oval racing, which I have done almost exclusively over the last three and a half years and a road or street race. Fortunately for me I have an experienced team supporting me and helping me make the transition easier." Before Brack dominated the Indy Racing League, he crafted a reputation as one of the sports premier young road racers. Brack's record on the road courses of Barber Saab and Formula 3000 was one of dominance. In the run to his 1993 Barber Saab Championship Brack won six of the 12 races. In his last 11 races in Formula 3000 Brack won four times not including the controversial Formula 3000 finale in 1996 which he won but was later disqualified. In three years of racing Formula 3000, Brack posted five pole positions, 11 podium appearances and 14 top-five results. Brack made his return to road racing in April at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Brack qualified the Shell Ford-Cosworth Reynard 7th and finished with a DNF due to contact. While he ran Brack was solidly in the top-ten and was moving up through the field. "I really enjoyed running a street race after all this time," said Brack following the race. With eight of the next ten races on road or street courses, Brack will have ample opportunity to reacquaint himself with road racing. "Road and street racing is the greatest physical challenge that I face as a driver," said Brack. "I believe I am physically and mentally prepared for the challenges that are ahead." PAPIS STRENGTHENS HIS CAUSE FOR BELLE ISLE Max Papis is one of the more colorful characters in the CART FedEx Championship Series. Papis is living up to his reputation this week with streaks of red in his hair. Papis who acknowledges that red in Italy symbolizes strength, maybe calling upon past success with his hair color for this weekend at Belle Isle. At Fontana last year Papis showed up with green streaks in his hair and captured a second place finish in the CART season finale. At Homestead for Spring Training and the season opening Grand Prix of Miami Papis had blue streaks in his hair. All he did was dominated Spring Training and capture his first CART victory in the season opener. Papis was able to capture the provisional pole position at Belle Isle in 1998 with the then developmental Toyota engine. Papis' best result came on the island came in 1997 when he started 20th and finished 11th. Last year he qualified tenth but failed to complete a lap when he was involved in a collision in the first turn at the start of the race. "I have always enjoyed the challenge of racing at Belle Isle, said Papis. "The course is a demanding physically and it provides one of the greatest challenges in the CART series that a driver must face."
Altair Engineering DEBUTS TECHNICAL PARTNERSHIP Detroit will mark the first race of the technical partnership between Team Rahal and Altair Engineering Inc.-one of the world's leading providers of engineering consulting and virtual prototyping solutions. The Troy, Michigan based Altair will supply optimization and simulation software products and services to the team's engineering department for the remainder of the 2000 season.
THE STREAK ENDS Tom Blattler, the Miller/Shell Race media relations representative has not missed a CART event since Elkhart Lake in September of 1990, a streak of 162 consecutive races. Blattler will miss this weekend's Tenneco Grand Prix of Detroit to attend his daughter Brittany's High School graduation in California.