CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: PKV Racing preview

INDIANAPOLIS (July 19, 2004) -- Coming off the 31st podium of his illustrious Champ Car career with a season-best showing of second in Toronto, 1996 Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser ( ...

INDIANAPOLIS (July 19, 2004) -- Coming off the 31st podium of his illustrious Champ Car career with a season-best showing of second in Toronto, 1996 Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) spearheads the charge for PKV Racing north of the border once again this weekend for the Molson Indy Vancouver-- the 15th installment of the event held each season on the 1.781-mile downtown street circuit that historically draws over 100,000 spectators.

Round 6 at Toronto's Exhibition Place proved to be a turning point on the season for the 10-time racewinner, as Vasser's podium finish vaulted him from ninth to sixth in the championship chase with 101 points, just a week after charging from 11th to ninth in the standings with a fifth place drive on Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport. More importantly, the breakout race puts him within striking distance of Canadians Paul Tracy (108) and Alex Tagliani (103) for fourth and fifth, respectively.

In a race that saw the California native improve nine positions (five alone on the opening lap), Vasser showed the way around Toronto's 1.755-mile circuit for five orbits-- marking his first laps led of the season-- and rolls into Vancouver looking to build on a run of three top-fives in the past four races.

"Vancouver is a special place-- the city is incredible and the fans really know their racing," said Vasser, who in 12 career Vancouver starts has a top finish of second (1997) and another podium run of third in 1999. "We are in the midst of our busiest part of our season, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off in Toronto. Toronto and Vancouver are different in layout, but they are similar in the fact that they are tight, bumpy street circuits, so we'll see what we can put together."

Vancouver would also mark consecutive start number 190 for the durable Vasser, pulling him within just two starts of Al Unser Jr., who holds the all-time Champ Car iron man mark with 192. Vasser is scheduled to break that record later this season in Round 10 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec Canada with start 193. His current streak dates back to his 22nd career start at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (1993), with his first Champ Car start coming in Surfers Paradise, Australia in 1992.

Vasser's rookie teammate Gonzalez will bring his 750hp PKV Lola in full Nextel livery to Concord Pacific Place for the first time after posting top-10 finishes in three of the past five events and finds himself an impressive third overall in laps completed with 661 out of 678 total laps on the season.

"It's a shame we lost what would have been a fifth place run in Toronto, but that will drive me even more heading into Vancouver," said Gonzalez, who stands third in the Champ Car Rookie-of-the-Year race with 65 points. "The incident that ended my day angered me somewhat, so my job is to channel that energy into another positive race result this weekend. I'm confident in my team, more determined than ever, and feel that the Nextel car is capable finishing higher than what we've shown thus far."

Watch Vasser and Gonzalez this Sunday, July 25th on Spike TV (4:00 pm ET/PT) in the Molson Indy Vancouver, the second leg of the Canadian tri-vecta in the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.

About PKV Racing

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing fields a two-car effort in the Champ Car World Series for American open wheel star Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The second-year team is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Vasser, and is managed by veteran Champ Car team manager Russell Cameron.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Gilles Villeneuve , Roberto Gonzalez