CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Detroit "Track Talk"

BRACK LOOKS FOR THREE IN A ROW HILLIARD, OH . . . Kenny Brack heads to Belle Isle this week for the Detroit Grand Prix as the FedEx Championship Series point's leader and with a chance to join some select company in the CART record books. ...

BRACK LOOKS FOR THREE IN A ROW

HILLIARD, OH . . . Kenny Brack heads to Belle Isle this week for the Detroit Grand Prix as the FedEx Championship Series point's leader and with a chance to join some select company in the CART record books. Brack, winner of the last two CART events, is looking for his third consecutive win in the series, a trick that has been turned 12 times in CART history. The eight drivers who have posted the three-peat performance reads like a who's who list of CART champions. On all but one occasion, Paul Tracy in 1997, a driver registering three straight wins has been a precursor to a championship.

Can Brack join this elite group?

Brack's own career history would indicate yes. When Brack won his 1998 Indy Racing League championship the key ingredient was an IRL record three race winning streak. When Brack dominated the then Barber-Saab series in 1993, half of his six wins came during a month-long three race win streak that included a race on Belle Isle.

Brack knows picking up the CART version of a hat trick is not an easy challenge. "We have proven so far this season is that we can be competitive week in and week out and that we can be competitive on each type of course," said Brack. "You can't take anything for granted in this series it is so competitive. The challenge for us is to keep this momentum by continuing to improve and not falling prey to being content with the status quo. Everyone in the series is working hard to improve and we can't afford to let up at all."

Brack returns to Belle Isle the site of his shortest race in 2000. The eventual CART Rookie of the Year lasted just ten laps before contact with the wall damaged his suspension and ended his day in 24th. That erased the fond memories of Belle Isle that Brack held from his 1993 victory in Barber-Saab.

"I had good memories of racing at Belle Isle but last year managed to take care of that," said Brack. "I like the track but it is a real challenge to pass on the course so qualifying is critical to your success. We started the season with some questions about the Lola chassis on the non-ovals, but those questions were answered with our front row starts at Mexico and Long Beach. The Lola/Ford-Cosworth combination has been effective on all the courses we have run this year and I know the efforts being put forth by Ford and Lola will guarantee us a strong car week after week."

PAPIS LOOKS TO REPEAT DETROIT PODIUM

On the strength of back-to-back points paying finishes, Team Rahal Miler Lite driver Max Papis comes to Detroit looking to repeat the performance that captured him a second place finish at Belle Isle in 2000. For Papis Detroit has always been a favorite track. It was at the Detroit Grand Prix in 1998 that Papis claimed the provisional pole in a Toyota powered car, a then first for the engine manufacturer.

Last season Papis again held the provisional pole on Friday and qualified fifth overall. He ran a smart race and claimed second on race day. "Preparing for the track on Belle Isle requires that you prepare yourself for a great challenge physically and mentally," said Papis. "This track provides one of the greatest challenges a driver will face in the series and it is a challenge I relish. We know going in to Detroit that passing will be at a premium on Belle Isle so qualifying up front will make it that much easier to be successful in the race."

BRACK MAKING A RUN AT IROC TITLE

As the 2000 CART Rookie of the Year, Kenny Brack was invited to participate in the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions (IROC), and with one race left in the four race season, he is a single point behind series leader Bobby Labonte.

In this his second tour of IROC, Brack has posted three top-four results including a third place effort at Michigan International Speedway last week. Combined with his second place result at Talladega and a fourth place effort at Daytona, Brack is in position to become the first open-wheel driver to win the IROC title since Al Unser Jr, in 1988.

"I really enjoy racing the IROC cars," said Brack. "It is a totally different experience from driving a Champ Car and so I am at a disadvantage to the NASCAR drivers. I have tried to lessen their advantage by maximizing my practice time at each event and by learning from them. It is great when you can take one o the tricks that you have learned from them and use it on them."

The 2001 IROC series will conclude with a final event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on August 4. The last time Brack raced at IMS he won the Indy 500 (May 1999).

-TR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Max Papis , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Al Unser