CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Target driver evaluation

Phoenix, Sept. 22, 2000 -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which has claimed the last four CART FedEx Series championships, completed a successful driver evaluation Sept. 20-22 at Firebird East in Phoenix to fill the seats vacated by 1999 ...

Phoenix, Sept. 22, 2000 -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which has claimed the last four CART FedEx Series championships, completed a successful driver evaluation Sept. 20-22 at Firebird East in Phoenix to fill the seats vacated by 1999 champion Juan Montoya and 1996 champion Jimmy Vasser. Drivers participating in the evaluation were Nicolas Minassian, Bruno Junqueira, Casey Mears and Buddy Rice. Minassian, a 27-year-old from France, drives for the Super-Nova Team in the FIA 3000 International Series. Junqueira, a 23-year-old from Brazil, drives for the Petrobas Junior team and is the 2000 FIA champion. Mears, a 29-year-old American, drives for Doricott Racing in the Dayton Indy Lights Series. Rice, a 23-year-old American, drives for DSTP Motorsports and is the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Series champion. "We were fortunate to have great weather and no mechanical trouble, and we were very impressed with each of the drivers," said Team Target's manager Mike Hull. "These four drivers could easily be open wheel racing stars in the near future. In addition to great drivers, we also saw some great work from the members of our pit crew, who were volunteering their time this week for the evaluation." It was announced Thursday that current Team Target driver Juan Montoya would race for BMW Williams in Formula One in 2001. Driver Jimmy Vasser, who joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 1995, is also finishing his final year with the team. Each of the young drivers evaluated at Firebird East drove 125 miles, free of accidents or mechanical failure, in a Target Toyota-Lola. Team Target will decide on its new drivers in the next few weeks. "This is a good opportunity for us to see some of the top, young open-wheel talent, and we were impressed with what we saw here this week," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We've found great drivers like Montoya and (Alex) Zanardi during tests like this, so we're hoping that trend continues."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Casey Mears , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing