CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Preview

DETROIT (August 31, 1999) - Dario Franchitti left town $440,000 richer last year after winning the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place. This year, Franchitti arrives in Vancouver positioned for a run at an even bigger prize,...

DETROIT (August 31, 1999) - Dario Franchitti left town $440,000 richer last year after winning the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place. This year, Franchitti arrives in Vancouver positioned for a run at an even bigger prize, the FedEx Championship Series championship and the $1 million bonus from PPG which accompanies it. Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) stands second to rookie sensation Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) in the championship as the series heads to Vancouver for Round 16 (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV). Montoya's recent run of back-to-back victories at Mid-Ohio and Chicago has reinstalled him on top of the championship standings with 172 points, four ahead of Franchitti, who held the points lead following Rounds 13 and 14, at Detroit and Mid-Ohio, respectively. A victory at Vancouver could allow Franchitti to reclaim the championship lead, and would allow him to join Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola) and Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco Havoline Ford Swift) as multiple winners at Vancouver. Unser Jr. won the inaugural Molson Indy Vancouver in 1990 and followed with consecutive victories from 1993-95 while Andretti recorded back-to-back triumphs in 1991 and '92 and added a third in '96. Franchitti's victory at Vancouver last year was a memorable one. Not only did he collect the $100,000 purse which goes to the winner of each FedEx Championship Series event, he also reaped $340,000 in bonus money for becoming the first driver to win from the pole in 22 events. Montoya, meanwhile, comes to Vancouver off a record-setting performance at Chicago, where he earned his sixth victory of the season, breaking the CART rookie record set by Nigel Mansell in 1993. Two of those victories have come on temporary street circuits at Long Beach and Cleveland, although his most recent appearances on street circuits have produced finishes of 22nd at Toronto and 17th at Detroit. Montoya and Franchitti have put some distance between themselves and their pursuers in the chase for the championship. Andretti stands third with 124 points and will be looking to past successes at Vancouver to help him close the gap. Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard), Franchitti's Team KOOL Green teammate, stands fourth with 122 points and owns podium finishes in four of his past five starts, including runner-up efforts on temporary street circuits at Toronto and Detroit. The Molson Indy Vancouver entry list also includes Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes), who earned his first, and to date only, FedEx Championship Series victory at the venue in 1997. He has finished sixth or better in four of his five career starts at Vancouver. Following the Molson Indy Vancouver, the FedEx Championship Series continues with its second consecutive event and eighth in 10 weeks, the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300, Sept. 12 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Nigel Mansell