IRL: Richmond: Patrick Racing preview

Patrick Racing Seeks Strong Performance at Suntrust Indy Challenge JACKSON, MI - - JUNE 25, 2004 - - Patrick Racing is looking to have a strong performance at this weekend's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Speedway in...

Patrick Racing Seeks Strong Performance at Suntrust Indy Challenge

JACKSON, MI - - JUNE 25, 2004 - - Patrick Racing is looking to have a strong performance at this weekend's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Speedway in Richmond, Virginia.

The team, which is in its 32nd year of competition, and first in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, will be making it third start of the 2004 season. In the first two races it contested in 2004, Patrick Racing finished 17th at the Indianapolis 500 and 11th two weeks ago at the Bombardier 500K at Texas Motor Speedway. With two races and three tests now under their belt the team is confident that they will continue to show improvement at Richmond.

Part of the reason the team is so confident is the fact that Al Unser Jr., who pilots the #20 Patrick Racing Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry, which has associated sponsorship from Stacker 2, has had a solid record at RIS. Unser Jr., who is making his fourth start at Richmond, has finished in the top-10 in his three previous races on the .75-mile banked oval including two top-five finishes with one podium, a third place showing in 2001. Unser's best qualifying position is 11th also in 2001.

"The Patrick Racing team is still learning and going through the process of developing the car, but we are working very well together and improving each time out on the track," Unser Jr. said. He went on to say, "Richmond is a little bullring, but I really enjoy racing there because it is so small. You are always busy and there is no time to rest. You are fighting all the time you are on the track and running at night just makes it that much more challenging. It will be a great race for both the drivers and fans."

Unser Jr., who is in his 22nd season at the upper level of American open wheel racing, fifth in the IRL and first with Patrick Racing will be making his 327th career open wheel start, 54th in the IRL, and third for Patrick Racing. He has amassed a total of 34 career wins (31 in CART and three in the IRL) including wins at the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 and 1994 and national championships in 1990 and 1994. The resident of Henderson, Nevada finished an IRL career high sixth in the championship standings last year with 374 points. He finished 15 of the 16 races in 2003, more than any other driver (25 of his last 26 races dating back to 2002 and including the two races this year), and scored 11 top-10 finishes with one victory.

Unser Jr., a native of Albuquerque, NM, hails from one of America's most famous racing families. His father Al is a three-time national champion and a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and uncle, Bobby, is a two-time national champion and three-time Indy winner.

Patrick Racing is one of the most successful teams in open wheel racing history.

Patrick drivers have started 789 races, won two national championships (Gordon Johncock - 1979; Emerson Fittipaldi - 1989) and taken the checkered flag 45 times, including three at the Indianapolis 500 (Johncock - 1973 and1982; Fittipaldi - 1989). Considered one of the premier teams, Patrick Racing is owned and led by one of the most respected names in motor sports, U. E. "Pat" Patrick. Patrick is the "father" of the Indy Lights Championship and the co-founder of CART.

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Emerson Fittipaldi , Gordon Johncock