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Keeping it Off The Wall

CART Portland pre-Race report
Unanswered question
 Ed Donath and Mark Cipolloni
June 23, 2000


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As the Champ Car Circus convoy unloads its cargo today at the natural road course in Portland for this weekend's CART's Freightliner GI Joe's event (Round 8 of the FedEx Championship) there are a growing number of interesting questions to be answered. To most fans, the biggest question is whether the string of fresh winners for each Y2K event will be kept alive. Seven races with seven different winners is an unmatched CART season starter.

And if that string is broken, which of the previous race winners will emerge as the first repeater? With the points race tightening as a result of so many different 20-point scorers - not to mention the consistent point-scoring efforts of non-winners like Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Vasser - the first driver to post victory number two would probably be sitting in the catbird's seat. Paul Tracy has led the points race since his Round 2 win at Long Beach, so he certainly has the most to gain by a victory at Portland.

What about Tracy's Team Kool Green teammate, Dario Franchitti…will he finally be able to mount an offensive after his great tying-in-the-points effort against Montoya in 1999? Doing so would not only get his season fired up, but would make Dario the fan-pleasing 8-for-8 fresh winners man.

With Tony Kanaan out of action as a result of bone breaks suffered in a Detroit practice session last week, Mo Nunn has opted for Bryan Herta to substitute for Kanaan. Herta, of course, was Nunn's original "choice" to drive his Mercedes-powered Champ Car. When Mc Donalds sponsorship fell through Herta lost the ride. Kanaan later stepped in after Brazilian cigarette company Hollywood, switched their "personality sponsorship" money from Big Mo Gugelmin to the younger Brazilian, Kanaan. 

Herta was a successful sub in his earlier appearance this year and he has always had the Portland circuit pretty well figured out. We haven't had an authentic "Supersub" since last year when Pupo Moreno filled in for Mark Blundell and Christian Fittipaldi in two separate stints. Who knows - stranger things have happened lately.

Then there's Toyota. After notching their initial Champ Car victory at Milwaukee in Round 6 with Juan Montoya's steady drive, they came back in Detroit with a podium finish - first ever for Cal Wells as a team owner - with Spanish rookie, Oriol Servia. Servia, Vasser, da Matta and, of course the Great Juan are all threats to bring Toyota win number two at Portland.

Helio Castroneves' incredibly popular breakthrough victory at Detroit - it was highlighted by the most emotional all-over-the-track celebration ever witnessed by Champ Car fans - could mean the beginning of a streak for Roger Penske's younger Brazilian driver. It is for certain that no one is as pumped-up as Helio going into Portland.

Final question for today : Does anyone remember Andrew Craig?

CART Press Release - FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SEEKS EIGHTH DIFFERENT RACE WINNER AT FREIGHTLINER/G.I. JOE'S 200 PRESENTED BY TEXACO
After launching the road course portion of its season in record-setting fashion at Detroit last weekend, the FedEx Championship Series seeks its eighth different winner in as many events as it travels to the Pacific Northwest for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco at Portland International Raceway (7 p.m. ET, tape delay, ESPN2).

When Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske drove to victory at Detroit, he became the seventh different race winner to start the season, breaking a FedEx Championship Series record established in 1991. With 13 events remaining on the schedule, the series is well on its way toward breaking the record of 10 different winners in the season, established last year.

Largely due to that competitiveness, the series arrives at Portland with its top 10 drivers separated by just 21 points. With a sweep of the maximum 22 points available for a race victory, winning the pole position and leading the most race laps, any one of those 10 could theoretically exit Portland with the championship lead.

At present, that lead is held by Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, winner at Long Beach, podium finisher in each of the season's first three events, and point producer in each of the first five. But Tracy has gone scoreless in each of the past two events at Milwaukee and Detroit, allowing a talented field to move well within striking distance of his 59 championship points.

Tracy's closest pursuer is Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who owns 54 points following five top-seven finishes in his first seven starts of the season, highlighted by a runner-up effort at Rio de Janeiro. Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing stands third with 52 points. He has finished ninth or better in five of seven starts this season and matched a career-best with a runner-up effort at Homestead.

Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal stands fourth in the championship with 47 points. He won the season opener at Homestead and finished second at Detroit. Defending Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske joins Papis with 47 points, 20 of which came from his victory at Nazareth, the 100th in the storied history of Penske Racing.

Defending FedEx Championship Series and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing trails Papis and de Ferran by just a point, with 46. His victory at Milwaukee was the first for a Toyota-powered driver in the engine manufacturer's five-year FedEx Championship Series history. Montoya has also started on the pole and led the most race laps at each of the past four events, at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) of Newman Haas Racing brings 44 championship points to Portland, built mainly on a victory at Japan - his CART career-leading 39th - and a runner-up effort at Milwaukee. Andretti is a three-time FedEx Championship Series winner at Portland International Raceway (1990, '91 and '92).

Rounding out the top 10 drivers in the championship are 1999 FedEx Championship series runner-up Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, eighth with 40 points; rookie Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal, ninth with 39 points; and veteran Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing, winner at Rio de Janeiro.

Joining Andretti and de Ferran as previous winners at Portland is Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) of the PacWest Racing Group, who edged de Ferran by 0.027 seconds - about seven feet - to win the closest race in FedEx Championship Series history in 1997.

This year for the first time in FedEx Championship Series history, all cars ride on Firestone Firehawks, the Official Tire of CART.

Following the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco, the FedEx Championship Series returns to the Midwest for its third event in as many weeks, The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar on Sunday, July 2, at Burke Lakefront Airport on the shores of Lake Erie.

WHO'S HOT

· Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) the defending FedEx Championship Series and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, has qualified among the top three drivers for all seven FedEx Championship Series events this season. He has started on the pole and led the most race laps at each of the past four events, at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit. Montoya has led at least the first 58 laps of each of those events; led a series-high 541 laps, over 400 more than his closest pursuer, Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske; and has moved into eighth place on the CART career laps-led list with 1,495.

· Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske has finished on the podium in each of his road or street course starts this season, including his first career FedEx Championship Series victory last Sunday at Detroit. He finished second at Long Beach in his other road course start this season.

· Patrick Carpentier (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing has finished fifth or better in three of his four starts this season. Carpentier finished fifth at Homestead, third at Milwaukee and fifth at Detroit. He missed starts at Long Beach, Rio de Janeiro and Japan while recovering from a slight fracture of his left wrist sustained in an April accident at his Las Vegas home. 

· Rookies Oriol Servia (Telefonica Toyota Reynard) of PPI Motorsports and Alex Tagliani (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing have both recorded top-six finishes in each of the two FedEx Championship Series road/street events to date. Tagliani finished a career-high fourth at Long Beach and took sixth at Detroit, while Servia, the 1999 Dayton Indy Lights champion, was sixth at Long Beach and third at Detroit. 

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

· Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) owns three victories at Portland International Raceway, in 1990, '91 and '92, in addition to back-to-back runner-up finishes in 1986 and '87. He has scored championship points in 12 of 15 appearances at Portland, with nine top-10 finishes, and has led 402 laps there during his career, including 100 or more in 1990 (101), '91 (102) and '93 (100).

· Defending Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) has finished on the podium in three of five career appearances at Portland. In addition to last year's victory, he finished second in 1996 and '97. His runner-up effort by 0.027 seconds to Mark Blundell in 1997 stands as the closest finish in FedEx Championship Series history. In addition, de Ferran has never qualified outside the top-10 in his five starts at Portland.

· Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) has scored championship points in five of six career starts at Portland, with a best finish of fourth last year. He also finished 10th in 1994, ninth in '95, 12th in '96 and 10th in '97.

MANUFACTURING SUCCESS

· Honda has won three of the past four FedEx Championship Series events contested at Portland International Raceway, getting victories from Alex Zanardi (1996, '98) and Gil de Ferran last year. Honda has also won both events contested on road/street courses this year, getting victories from Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) at Long Beach and Helio Castroneves at Detroit.

· Ford continues to lead closely contested CART Manufacturer's Championship with 120 points, four more than second-place Honda (116) and 12 ahead of third-place Toyota (108). Ford has claimed three victories this season, from Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) at Homestead, Adrian Fernandez at Rio de Janeiro and Michael Andretti at Japan, and has scored at least one podium finish in six of seven events.

· Toyota-powered Juan Montoya has started on the pole for each of the past four FedEx Championship Series events, at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee (where he earned Toyota's first-ever series victory) and Detroit. He has also recorded race-high laps-led totals at each of those four events including 172 of 201 at Japan, 110 of 225 at Nazareth, 179 of 225 at Milwaukee and 59 of 84 at Detroit. He has led a series-high 541 laps this season, over 400 more than de Ferran, his closest pursuer, and 50.3 percent of the 1,075 laps completed through the seven FedEx Championship Series events contested to date.

· Portland holds special meaning for Firestone because it's at Portland International Raceway that the tire maker scored its first significant series victory in the rain. In 1997, Mark Blundell won a drag race to the finish line using the Firestone Firehawk rain tire, just a year after Firestone was humbled by its treaded rubber's performance at Detroit. This year, all FedEx Championship Series competitors use Firestone tires.

NOTEWORTHY

· Mo Nunn Racing announced Tuesday that seven-year FedEx Championship Series veteran Bryan Herta will substitute for the injured Tony Kanaan in the team's Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard beginning with this weekend's Freightliner G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco at Portland International Raceway. Kanaan will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks while recovering from injuries sustained during a qualifying accident at last weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix in Detroit. He sustained a broken left forearm and four cracked ribs on his left side in the accident. Kanaan was released from Detroit Receiving Hospital Tuesday to return to his Miami home, and is expected to begin rehabilitation in Indianapolis next week. "We are very fortunate to have Bryan available to drive for us at this point in time," said team co-owner Morris Nunn. "He was one of our original choices to driver for this team when we were first formulating our plans late last year. We are very enthused about the progress we've been making with our Mercedes-Benz program and there are some developments we plan to make in the next few races. I'm confident Bryan is the right guy to help us keep up the momentum." Herta made two starts earlier this season as a substitute for the injured Shinji Nakano (Avex Honda Reynard) at Walker Racing, finishing fifth in the first of those at Long Beach. He is a two-time race winner and a seven-time pole sitter in the in the FedEx Championship Series, and has posted five top-five finishes, including three podiums, at the next three FedEx Championship Series venues: Portland, Cleveland and Toronto. "The circumstances surrounding this opportunity are unfortunate," Herta said. "I wish Tony the speediest recovery possible. I just hope to make a solid contribution in the interim. It's probably the best possible part of the schedule for me to step in and pinch-hit. Portland and Cleveland are two of my favorite tracks. I'll have my hands full learning the Mercedes-Reynard package and working with new people, so knowing the tracks gives me one less thing to worry about."

· Team KOOL Green fueler Jeff Simon sustained a broken left foot as a result of a pit incident involving driver Paul Tracy during Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Simon, who has four fractured metatarsals in his left foot, is scheduled for surgery Thursday in Indianapolis with Dr. Terry Trammell, CART's Chief Orthopedic Consultant. Simon is expected to miss six weeks with his return targeted for the Miller Lite 200 on Aug. 11-13 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Team KOOL Green has not named a replacement for Simon at this time. "I'm really sorry for Jeff," said Tracy, who visited Simon in the CART Medical Facility following the incident and called him Monday in Indianapolis to check on his condition. "He's a very important part of Team KOOL Green and a big reason why we are so fast on our stops." Simon was a key component of Tracy's six-man pit crew which captured the $50,000 first prize in last year's inaugural Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge. Tracy, the FedEx Championship Series points leader, was black-flagged by CART officials and excluded from the remainder of the event for Sunday's rule violation, finishing 20th.

· With one-third of the FedEx Championship Series season completed, Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard) of PPI Motorsports holds the lead in the season-long competition for the Budweiser Hard Charger Award, which recognizes the driver who improves the most from start to finish at each event. Through seven events, Da Matta has accumulated 52 points, one for each position gained at each FedEx Championship Series event. Luiz Garcia Jr. (Hollywood/Embratel/Tang/Banco Sofisa Mercedes Reynard) of the Arciero Project Racing Group stands second with 46 points, while Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green and Michel Jourdain Jr. (Herdez Mercedes Lola) of Bettenhausen Motorsports are tied for third with 44. Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) rounds out the top five with 39 points. Standings are kept both race-by-race and through the season, with drivers receiving one point for each place gained. The overall winner at the conclusion of the campaign will receive a cash award from Budweiser, Official Beer of CART.

· Della Penna Motorsports Chief Engineer Diane Holl will be recognized by the Portland Fire of the WNBA for her accomplishments in motorsports during the team's Friday night game with the Seattle Storm. Holl is the only female chief engineer for a premier motorsports team in CART, Formula One, NASCAR or the IRNLS. 

"MADE IN AMERICA" TOYOTA ENGINE LOOKS FOR PORTLAND WIN - Toyota  arrives in Portland looking to put its U.S.-designed and built RV8E Champ Car  engine into the winner's circle for the second time this season. Before its  victory at Milwaukee, only one other U.S.-designed and built engine had ever  won in Champ Car competition. 

LAPPING THE FIELD - With Juan Montoya leading the way, Toyota has led more  than half (50.4 percent) the race laps run in Champ Car competition this  season (542 of 1,075). Montoya has led 541 of the total series laps run - 402  laps more than the next closest driver with 139. Montoya's domination goes  even deeper over the past four races where he's led 520 of 735 (70.7 percent)  of the laps run. 

In addition to winning Milwaukee, Montoya has dominated the last four CART  races before a pit problem (Motegi), a punctured tire (Nazareth) and a CV  joint failure (Detroit) cost him almost certain victories. Before suffering  those problems in each respective race, Montoya has led every green flag race  lap outside of normal pit cycling. 

MONTOYA'S POLE ROLL - Juan Montoya can enter the CART record books by winning the pole position at Portland this weekend. Montoya can join Mario Andretti (1984) and Danny Sullivan (1988) as the only drivers in series history to start five consecutive races in one season from the pole if he takes the top spot at PIR. 

MONTOYA MAKING QUALIFYING HISTORY - Juan Montoya has already driven his Target Toyota into the history books in becoming the first CART driver to qualify in the top three in each of the first seven races of a season. With his Detroit pole position, Montoya surpassed current teammate Jimmy Vasser's streak of six straight top-three qualifying efforts to start the 1996 season. Montoya has six front-row starts in seven races this season. 

BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE - A Toyota-powered Champ Car has won the pole in five of the last eight CART races. In addition, a Toyota has started on the front row in every race this season and has an overall streak of eight straight races on the front row dating back to last season's Fontana finale. 

TOYOTA PASSES THE CENTURY MARK - For the first time since entering Champ Car racing in 1996, Toyota has surpassed 100 Manufacturer's Points in a season - earning 108 points in just seven races this year. Its previous best total was 80 in 1999. The manufacturer has scored at least one fourth-place finish or better in every race this season. 

TOYOTA DRIVERS IN CHAMPIONSHIP RUN - After completing seven races on the 20-race FedEx Championship Series schedule, Jimmy Vasser has climbed back into second in the points chase, just five points out of first-place. Juan Montoya sits sixth after suffering a DNF at Detroit. In what's turning out to be one of the tightest championship battles ever, the top nine drivers overall are separated by just 19 points. 

Carpentier has been a model of consistency thus far, finishing in the top 5 in three of the four races in which he has competed, including the third spot on the podium in Milwaukee earlier this month. Tagliani, meanwhile, earned points in his first three races, struggled in the next three and rebounded strongly with a sixth-place finish just behind Carpentier in last Sunday’s race in Detroit.

After racing on ovals and street courses through the first three months of the schedule, many of the CART drivers Carpentier and Tagliani included - are eagerly awaiting the first road course event.

“I’ve always liked racing in Portland because it’s a permanent road course and that’s the type of track I really enjoy,” said Carpentier, who has two consecutive ninth-place finishes on the 1.969-mile Portland International Raceway configuration. “The Player’s team made a lot of progress on road courses last season, and I expect that will continue this year, especially with the Ford/Cosworth engine, which should really give us some power on the two long straights in Portland.”

Gradually rounding into peak form following his return from a wrist injury, Carpentier said he is pleased he has been able to contend in virtually every race.

“Being in the top 5 in three of my four races has helped me close in on the top positions in the standings,” he remarked. “The series is so competitive this year that if you can stay in contention in every race you stand a good chance of being right up there in the standings and you’re also in a position to win a race if everything happens to break right for you.” 

Tagliani is in the thick of a tight, three-way battle in the rookie standings. Tagliani and Spain’s Oriol Servia are tied for second place with 26 points, 13 back of Sweden’s Kenny Bräck. Encouraged by last weekend’s performance, Tagliani is determined to continue his surge up the rookie standings.

“One of the positive aspects of our race in Detroit last weekend was how well the Player’s crew kept working with the set-ups and eventually we came up with the right one,” explained Tagliani. “That was a big factor in being able to finish sixth, even though we had started quite far back on the grid. Now we know we have a good car for Portland and we’re looking forward to having a strong race on a permanent road course. 

“Personally, it will be my first opportunity to race competitively there, and I intend to find out as much about as I can so I’ll be well prepared for the challenge.”

ON THE AIR

· Qualifying for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco will air 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. "CART 2Day" airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ESPN2's tape-delayed race broadcast scheduled to begin 7 p.m. ET. The race will also air live on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website at www.cart.com .


Quotes 

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president for motorsports: "I think we've proven that we can compete with anyone in the series. As much as Juan has been dominating, I hope everyone realizes that Jimmy, Oriol and Cristiano have all finished in the top-four in races this season as well. Plus, we've shown we can run on big ovals, short ovals and street courses. Now, Portland provides another major challenge as the first permanent road course of the season. That's the great thing about this sport - there's a new challenge every race." 

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Toyota Lola), on the ups and downs of his FedEx Championship Series season: "I've been very pleased with the car this year, but some of the problems are just flukes and that's unfortunately a part of racing. We just have to keep on doing what has helped us perform so well, and the racing and the points will be fine. [On the qualifying success which has enabled him to start on the pole in four consecutive events] "Qualifying has always been one of my strengths. It's nice that you earn a point for a pole position in this series, but it's going to take more than that to win the championship. To have a shot at the title, we have to start scoring well in these races, beginning with Portland. Starting the race out in the front is good, but that's also where I'd like to finish the race. I came close to winning at Portland last year, so maybe this year it's my turn."

JIMMY VASSER (Target Toyota Lola), on the success he has enjoyed during the first seven events of the FedEx Championship Series season: "It's still early in the season, but it's always nice to be up toward the top of the point standings. The only time it really matters that you're leading the point standings is after the final race of the year, but it's a good feeling to be out ahead, and that's where we hope to be after Portland. I don't have any control over what the other guys do out there on the track, but we've been able to score points pretty consistently this year, so I wouldn't be surprised to be leading in the points before too long. I haven't had a lot of success in Portland, but I've always liked the track, and the Toyota-Lola improves with each race. I'm expecting a great performance from Team Target this weekend."

PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the challenges of Portland International Raceway: "More often than not, the Portland race comes down to a fight to the finish, and we're aiming to be in that battle. It's going to feel good being on our first permanent road course of the season. But Portland is the type of track where you can't get too carried away. You have to be patient and pick your spots. We were fortunate to come out of Detroit with our lead in the drivers' standings intact, but everyone is bunched up real close so we're going to have to come back strong at Portland if we want to solidify that lead. Team KOOL Green certainly has the car to be right up there. 

DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on continuing to improve in the FedEx Championship Series: "We've made great strides with the KOOL car in the last couple of races, but we've still got our work cut out for us if we're going to be serious contenders for the championship. Finishing fourth in Detroit last weekend, despite some problems that at one point jeopardized our chances of completing the race, was a huge plus. Not only did it allow us to move up the drivers' standings but it gave us some momentum heading into this stretch of the schedule on road courses, where we've been quite successful in the past. Getting on the podium in Portland last year with a third-place finish was a big morale booster because in both of our previous races there we ran into some problems and weren't able to finish. Finding the proper balance of speed for the faster parts of the course and handling for the tighter sections is extremely important. It's not easy to strike a balance in set-ups on this track, but I know that Team KOOL Green will be up to the task." 

GIL de FERRAN (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on defending his championship in the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco: "I have always liked going to Portland. I was actually fastest in my first practice session on the track back in 1995 and last year finally captured the victory. I've been fortunate to go there with good equipment and good teams, and Portland seems to marry well with my driving style. I feel Marlboro Team Penske will be in contention this weekend based on our recent form. The team is coming off of a win in Detroit and a very successful test at Mid-Ohio which reassures us that the work we are doing is good."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on building upon last week's first career FedEx Championship Series victory at the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit: "We're coming off of a great weekend in Detroit with a win and a good test at Mid-Ohio in early June so Marlboro Team Penske is carrying a lot of momentum into the Portland race. Portland is a tough track because it's a high speed circuit and the concrete makes it a challenge to set-up the car. At the same time, it's one of my favorite tracks, particularly Turn Seven where we get the whole car on the curb. I started on the front row [second] last year and led 30 laps before going out of the race early so I hope this year to be in the points at the end on race day."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola), on his memories of Portland: "We had an electronics problem last year in Portland. Going out of the pits the car just decided to shut itself down. My most memorable race in Portland was Father's Day in 1986 when dad and myself went down to the wire and he beat me by a couple of inches. Portland will be our first real road course so it will be interesting to see how it goes. There are going to be a lot of unknowns because there haven't been any races on a permanent road course before it. We are hoping that the Ford Lola will do well there. The track has some long straightaways and we know we have the horsepower, so that should be good. The difference between a permanent road course and street circuits is the same as comparing a super speedway to a small oval. It's two different animals, and you have to approach them differently on setups, and as a driver, you just adapt to whatever you have. But, it's more what you do with the race car in terms of setups that are quite different." 

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola), on last year's misfortunes at Portland: "Last year, we went for the wrong fuel strategy and had to pit at the end of the race and dropped way back. There was a little bit of doubt among everyone if we had to really go for it and get by the cars. We tried to conserve the fuel hoping we would get another yellow, but unfortunately the situation didn't happen and we really made a mistake, and we had to pay for it. My best memory of Portland was after I came back from my broken leg in 1997. Walking to the car and hopping in the car for practice on Friday morning, it was a good memory. We had a good weekend. And this year, it is definitely one of the races I am looking forward to. The track is different in the natural ways of road courses and street courses. It's completely different. You need to have a lot of flow in Portland apart from the first two turns. The rest of the track is a true road course, and you just need to carry the speed. You generally understeer a little bit in Portland going into the turns and you have a few problems with power, but that's part of the challenge of the track." 

MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), on returning to his road-course "roots": "While I enjoy the ovals, it feels good to be back on my traditional racing, the road circuits. It's my nature to make left and right turns. We ran a good steady race at Detroit and we were in position to give Helio Castroneves, the race winner] a shot for the lead at the end. But we had a little vibration in the front end in the last ten laps. I didn't have anything for Helio at the end. But we'll take the second place and move on to Portland, a place I really like."

KENNY BRACK (Shell Ford Reynard), on developing some consistency between his oval and road course finishes: "We need to match our oval results on the road circuits. fter testing at Portland, I think we have a good car for the track. We were close to last year's track record and Max was under the track record. So I expect us to be very competitive this weekend. Plus, the Portland area reminds me of back home in Sweden. I got a little homesick seeing the Portland landscape."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), on looking forward to returning to racing: "I like the Portland circuit. It is a challenging and fun track to drive. We have had good results there in the past and I am looking forward to going back there and racing. I am happy that we are racing again so soon. We have to put Detroit behind us and continue working hard. We have the potential to do well. We have been competitive at every race, but just seen to run into bad luck. Fortunately, the championship is still very close. I didn't lose any ground in the points, just two places in the standings, so, hopefully, we can get back on the right track in Portland and move up in the points."

ROBERTO MORENO (Visteon Ford Reynard), on his enjoyment of Portland International Raceway: "I like the Portland road course very much. It is a circuit where the set-up is very important. In the past, race and fuel strategy have also been a key so I think I have a bit of an advantage because of Mr. [Pat] Patrick [team owner], and Jim McGee. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team should be good at Portland. We believe that some of the things we learned about setting up the car at the test in Mid-Ohio and the Detroit race will help us at Portland. Portland is going to be a very important race for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team in terms of the championship. With so many drivers separated by so few points, it is almost like the beginning of the season where everyone starts out the same. With the championship race this close it just reemphasizes how competitive the FedEx Championship Series has become. If you are going to compete for the championship in this series you have to be consistent and get points whenever possible. There are just so many good teams and good drivers that you have to take advantage of every opportunity."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), on Player's Forsythe Racing's road-course improvement: "I've always liked racing in Portland because it's a permanent road course and that's the type of track I really enjoy. The Player's team made a lot of progress on road courses last season, and I expect that will continue this year, especially with the Ford-Cosworth engine, which should really give us some power on the two long straightaways in Portland. I'm gradually getting back to 100% after my [April] wrist injury, but I'm quite pleased with my consistency so far. Being in the top five in three of my four races has helped me close in on the top positions in the standings. The series is so competitive this year that if you can stay in contention in every race, you stand a good chance of being right up there in the standings and you're also in a position to win a race if everything happens to break right for you." 

ALEX TAGLIANI (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), on his success last weekend at Detroit: "One of the positive aspects of our race in Detroit last weekend was how well the Player's crew kept working with the set-ups and eventually we came up with the right one. That was a big factor in being able to finish sixth, even though we had started quite far back on the grid. Now we know we have a good car for Portland and we're looking forward to having a strong race on a permanent road course. Personally, it will be my first opportunity to race competitively there, and I intend to find out as much about as I can so I'll be well prepared for the challenge."

BRYAN HERTA (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard), on his return to the FedEx Championship Series as a substitute for the injured Tony Kanaan: "I'm really looking for my second time around with Morris [Nunn]. We showed some flashes of brilliance the first time around. This is our chance to follow through on some of the things we started. The circumstances around this opportunity are unfortunate. I wish Tony the speediest recovery possible. I just hope to make a solid contribution in the interim. It's probably the best possible part of the schedule for me to step in and pinch-hit. Portland and Cleveland are two of my favorite tracks. I'll have my hands full learning the Mercedes-Reynard package and working with new people, so knowing the tracks gives me one less thing to worry about."

LUIZ GARCIA JR. (Hollywood/Embratel/Tang/Banco Sofisa Mercedes Reynard), on his previous success at Portland International Raceway: "Portland is a track I really like. I ran well there twice in Indy Lights and again last year in CART, and after the encouraging start I had at Detroit, I'm really looking forward to this race. I was upset I couldn't finish at Detroit, because I felt we could have finished eighth or ninth there. I hope at Portland we'll be back in the points."

JIMMY VASSER "It's still early in the season, but it's always nice to be up toward the top of the point standings," said Vasser, who has five top-10 finishes in 2000. "The only time it really matters that you're leading the point standings is after the final race of the year, but it's a good feeling to be out ahead, and that's where we hope to be after Portland." Vasser, whose best finish in Portland is a second-place effort in 1995, is confident that his team can take over the No. 1 spot in the CART standings at some point this season. 

"I don't have any control over what the other guys do out there on the track, but we've been able to score points pretty consistently this year, so I wouldn't be surprised to be leading in the points before too long. I haven't had a lot of success in Portland, but I've always liked the track, and the Toyota-Lola improves with each race. I'm expecting a great performance from Team Target this weekend." Consistency has also been a trademark of Vasser's teammate Juan Montoya this year. The Colombian has still qualified no worse than third. Montoya has started from the pole position in four consecutive races (Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit). However, the qualifying consistency has not extended to the races, where periodic mechanical problems have plagued the second-year CART star. "I've been very pleased with the car this year, but some of the problems are just flukes and that's unfortunately a part of racing," said Montoya, the defending CART and Indy 500 champion. "We just have to keep on doing what has helped us perform so well, and the racing and the points will be fine." 

JUAN MONTOYA Just 27 races into his CART career, Montoya has already earned 11 pole positions. By comparison, former Team Target star Alex Zanardi recorded 10 pole positions in his 51-race career with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. "Qualifying has always been one of my strengths," Montoya said. "It's nice that you earn a point for a pole position in this series, but it's going to take more than that to win the championship. To have a shot at the title, we have to start scoring well in these races, beginning with Portland. Starting the race out in the front is good, but that's also where I'd like to finish the race. I came close to winning at Portland last year, so maybe this year it's my turn." 

WHAT: Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco.
WHERE: Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore.
WHEN: Friday-Sunday, June 23-25. 
SUPPORT EVENTS: Dayton Indy Lights Championship, NASCAR Northwest Tour, American Cities Racing League.
CART SCHEDULE (All times Pacific): FRIDAY, JUNE 23 - Indy Lights practice, 9:30-10:10 a.m.; Champ Car practice, 10:30 a.m.-Noon; Indy Lights qualifying, 1-1:30 p.m.; Champ Car provisional qualifying (2 groups/30 minutes each, 20 minutes of green flag time guaranteed for each group), 2:30-3:45 p.m; CART Fan Appreciation Activity, 4:45-5:30 p.m. SATURDAY, JUNE 24 - Indy Lights practice, 8-8:40 a.m.; Champ Car practice, 10-11:15 a.m.; Indy Lights qualifying, 12:15 a.m.-12:45 a.m.; Champ Car final qualifying (2 groups/30 minutes each), 1:45-3 p.m. SUNDAY, JUNE 25 - Indy Lights warm-up, 8:30-8:45 a.m.; Champ Car warm-up, 10-10:30 a.m.; Indy Lights race, 11:30 a.m.; Grid Champ Cars, 1:15 p.m.; Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco 2 p.m. 
BROADCAST: TV-ESPN2 (Tape delay, 7 p.m., ET), and in 208 countries worldwide. RADIO-CART Radio Network. INTERNET- www.cart.com . 
PRE-RACE PROGRAMMING: Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline pole qualifying, 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2; CART 2Day, 11 a.m. ET Sunday, ESPN2.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Gil de Ferran.
DEFENDING POLESITTER: Juan Montoya.
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.969-mile permanent road course.
RACE LENGTH: 112 laps, 220.53 miles.
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap)-1998, Bryan Herta, 121.341 mph (58.358 seconds). Race-No race record at this distance. 
RACE ROUND: 8 of 20 in the FedEx Championship Series.
FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1. Paul Tracy, 59 points; 2. Jimmy Vasser, 54; 3. Roberto Moreno, 52; 4. Max Papis, 47; 5. Gil de Ferran, 47.
NEXT EVENT: July 2, The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, Cleveland, Ohio.

INSTANT REPLAY

While his chief competitors relied on a fuel conservation strategy, Walker Racing Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard) went full speed ahead to claim victory in the 1999 Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline at Portland International Raceway. Challengers Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) and Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) opted to complete the event with two pit stops, but De Ferran built a lead of nearly half a minute, then pitted for a third time just eight laps from the checkered flag for a splash of fuel which took him to victory. Montoya finished second, 4.393 seconds behind, while Franchitti was third. De Ferran averaged 107.457 miles per hour en route to the third victory of his FedEx Championship Series career and his first since 1996. He led a race-high 43 laps. Montoya recorded his fourth podium finish of the season while Franchitti logged his fifth top-three result of the campaign. Montoya exited Portland with 90 points and the FedEx Championship Series lead, followed by Franchitti with 85 and de Ferran with 71.

Vital Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour, 47 minutes, 44.560 seconds.
Average Speed: 107.457 miles per hour.
Margin of Victory: 4.393 seconds.
Caution Flags: 3 for 10 laps.
Lap Leaders: Gil de Ferran, 43 laps; Helio Castroneves, 30; Juan Montoya, 25.

PORTLAND CART RACE HISTORY
(16 EVENTS)

Year Race Winner

Pole Winner

1984 Al Unser Jr.

Mario Andretti

1985 Mario Andretti

Danny Sullivan

1986 Mario Andretti

Emerson Fittipaldi

1987 Bobby Rahal

Roberto Guerrero

1988 Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan

1989 Emerson Fittipaldi

Teo Fabi

1990 Michael Andretti

Danny Sullivan

1991 Michael Andretti

Emerson Fittipaldi

1992 Michael Andretti

Emerson Fittipaldi

1993 Emerson Fittipaldi

Nigel Mansell

1994 Al Unser Jr.

Al Unser Jr.

1995 Al Unser Jr.

Jacques Villeneuve

1996 Alex Zanardi

 Alex Zanardi

1997 Mark Blundell

Scott Pruett

1998 Alex Zanardi

Bryan Herta 

1999 Gil de Ferran

Juan Montoya

All-time victories

All-time pole positions

Michael Andretti 3 

Danny Sullivan 3

Al Unser Jr. 3 

Emerson Fittipaldi 3

Mario Andretti 2 

Mario Andretti 1

Emerson Fittipaldi 2 

Roberto Guerrero 1

Alex Zanardi 2 

Teo Fabi 1

Bobby Rahal 1 

Nigel Mansell 1

Danny Sullivan 1 

Al Unser Jr. 1

Mark Blundell 1 

Jacques Villeneuve 1

Gil de Ferran 1 

Alex Zanardi 1 

 

Scott Pruett 1

 

Bryan Herta 1

 

Juan Montoya 1

Team Target Fast Facts: 
* Team Target's Juan Montoya has started on the pole in four consecutive races (Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit). * Team Target's Jimmy Vasser ranks second in the CART point standings with 54 points. He trails leader Paul Tracy by just five points. Montoya ranks sixth with 46 points. 
* Montoya has started third or better in 18 of his 27 CART races. 
* Montoya is seeking his third victory in the past four races. The 
defending CART champ won the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 and the Miller Lite 225 on June 5. 
* Target Chip Ganassi Racing is pursuing an unprecedented fifth 
straight CART FedEx Series championship. Juan Montoya is the defending CART champion. Vasser won the title in 1996. 
* Vasser has finished in the top 10 in 12 of his last 17 CART races, dating back to the 1999 race in Toronto. He has finished fifth or better in eight of his last 16 races. 
* With Montoya's 58 laps led in Detroit, he moved into eighth place on the CART career laps-led list with 1,495. He leads the FedEx Series with 541 laps led this season, over 400 more than second-place Gil de Ferran. 
* Montoya has led at least the first 58 laps of each of the past four CART events. He led the first 132 at Japan, the first 76 at Nazareth and the first 94 at Milwaukee. 
* Montoya has earned eight of the 14 bonus championship points available to date for either winning the pole position or leading the most laps. He has swept the pole and laps-led points at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit. 
* In the seven CART races this year, Montoya's worst qualifying position was a third-place effort in Long Beach. In addition to his four poles, Montoya has started second twice (Miami and Rio). He also started second in the Indy 500. 
* Including the Indy 500, Team Target has 32 victories in its last 79 starts. 
* Either Montoya or Vasser has finished on the podium in 12 of the 
past 27 races. 
* Team Target drivers have 57 podium finishes in the last 79 races. 

St. Jude Target Chip Ganassi Racing is again donating money to Target House at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Target House is a comfortable place for the families of St. Jude patients to stay while their children receive treatments. The team will donate $5,000 for each race win, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led. During the 1997 season, the team raised $46,275 for Target House. Target matched the donation and awarded St. Jude Hospital a $100,000 check. In 1998, Team Target's success on the track resulted in a $71,875 donation to St. Jude. In 1999, the team raised $68,250 for Target House, which opened May 17, 1999. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude is the largest center in the U.S. for the treatment and research of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. After the Detroit Grand Prix, Team Target's season total is $22,625. 

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