CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Portland preview

BrÄCk Remains Cart Point Leader, Set For PIR; Papis Looks For Longer Portland Race KENNY BRÄCK SET TO RETURN TO VICTORY LANE AT PORTLAND: Kenny Brack wasn't smiling when he climbed out of his No. 8 Shell Ford Lola at the conclusion of last...

BrÄCk Remains Cart Point Leader, Set For PIR; Papis Looks For Longer Portland Race


Kenny Brack wasn't smiling when he climbed out of his No. 8 Shell Ford Lola at the conclusion of last Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix. The current CART FedEx point leader was frustrated from a tough day on the tight 2.34-mile Belle Isle street circuit. Brack fought his way to ninth and saw his 23-point lead cut to five when contender Helio Castroneves captured his second straight Motown race. Brack, who won consecutive races at Japan and Milwaukee entering the Detroit event, hopes to return to victory lane this Sunday (June 24) at Portland International Raceway. "We really struggled at Detroit," said Brack, who has 13 Top Five finishes in his 26 career CART starts. "The car wasn't where we wanted it. Plus, the new pop-off valve caught us off guard with the engine. I think the Ford Cosworth people will have a better grip on it at Portland. To be honest, we weren't sure what car we would have in the race at Detroit. But the car was much better than in qualifying. I think it was better than our ninth place finish. We got caught out on an early pit stop and couldn't get around the slower cars. It's very hard to pass at Detroit. I think that is different at Portland. That track is similar to many tracks in Europe. There are a couple of passing zones. I really like the Portland area. It made me a little homesick because it looks like Sweden in many areas. We need a strong run at Portland for get our road racing effort back where we were earlier in the season." Last year, in his first Portland appearance, Brack started fifth and caught up the big first turn crash. He returned to finish sixth and set the race's fastest lap.


Max Papis is prepared to take his No. 7 Miller Lite Ford Lola a little longer this time around at Portland International Raceway. "I never saw the first lap last year at Portland," said Papis, who was knocked out the last year's contest in the first turn. "I made it to the first turn and that's it. I'm looking forward to having a much better race this year. I like the Portland track and the area around the track. It's so pretty up there. It reminds me of Europe, where I am from. I think we were off base in our setup in Detroit qualifying. But in the race, we found out some things that can help us at Portland. We have learned a lot with my Miller Lite team. We have many new crew guys this year and we are just now learning about each other. We think we can return to be very competitive now." Papis made the biggest charge in Detroit, coming from 24th to finish eleventh. "Hey, we were able race at the end of the event," said Papis, who made fuel economy run in the early stages at Detroit. "I had to save fuel early. But we made a late charge that I felt better about the car and the race. I think we're moving in the right direction." Papis scored points in his third consecutive race.


Brack, an avid guitarist, will perform with Paul Shaffer's "CBS Orchestra" tonight (June 19) when he appears on the "Late Show with David Letterman." Brack will play one of his Gibson guitars.


"Late Show" stage manager and roving reporter Biff Henderson brought a six-person film crew with him to get the inside scoop on the CART FedEx Championship Series at the Detroit Grand Prix. Henderson and his crew received a tour of the race track, met race fans, tried to squeeze into a champ car and assisted a few race mechanics in his two- day extravaganza. How, Henderson's tour is scheduled to air this Wednesday (June 20) on the CBS-TV "Late Show with David Letterman." "That's the schedule for now," said Henderson. "But when the boss (Letterman) looks at the stuff. He may want to wait and change some things. We had a great time and I really appreciate what those drivers and mechanics do now." The "Late Show" crew shot nearly five hours of video tape and will be edited to a three and a half minute piece.


Papis thrilled nearly 300 YMCA children last Thursday in Livonia, Mich., as part of the CART Wheels For Kids program that features CART drivers discussing safety and driving to youngsters in various race markets. In the series developed by CART, Ford and Shell Oil, Papis talked to the kids about safety with their toys as well as cars. The two-hour program included racing videos, kids activity packets and a close-up viewing an actual Champ Car. "It was so great to talk to the kids in this safety program," said Papis. "It's a terrific plan to teach kids at an early age. I also talked about setting goals and achieving them as a child and as an adult. I talked to the kids about our racing equipment like helmets and seat belts and I told them to use their own safety equipment in bicycling, skateboarding and roller blading. I wore the proper equipment as a kid."


Last Sunday was Father's Day and Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal was able to have his family with him at the Detroit Grand Prix. Rahal, who serves as CEO for the Jaguar F-1 team, was pleased not only to be with his family at Detroit but also his extended family of CART. "We do have a bit of a family atmosphere here with the CART community," said Rahal, who served as interim CART CEO last year. "It's definitely different than the Formula One circuit." Rahal will be at the European Grand Prix in Germany this weekend. <pre> TEAM RAHAL'S 2001 CHAMP CAR RECORD Kenny Brack Max Papis Date Site Start/Finish Start/Finish March 11 Monterrey, Mexico (Road) 1/5 11/12 April 8 Long Beach, Calif. (Road) 2/25 (Rearend) 13/17 (Rear Wing) April 29 Ft. Worth, Texas (Oval) 1/ (Postponed) 17 (Pop Off Value)/ (Postponed) May 6 Nazareth, Pa. (Oval) 2/2 14/24 (Shifter) May 19 Motegi, Japan (Oval) 6/1 17/6 June 3 Milwaukee, Wis. (Oval) 1/1 13/8 June 17 Detroit, Mich. (Road) 10/9 24/11


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack