Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FOCUS ON MOTOR RACING / CART AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY
| MARLBORO 500

The Drivers

September 24, 1997|SHAV CLICK / Los Angeles Times

1. Jimmy Vasser

Las Vegas

Reynard-Honda

Last year's PPG CART champion won the last race, at Laguna Seca, has eight top five finishes this year. Won 1996 U.S. 500 at Michigan on a track similar to California Speedway.

*

2. Al Unser Jr.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Penske-Mercedes

One of the season's major disappointments. The two-time CART champion and two-time Indy 500 winner is winless in 33 consecutive races. Has only four top-five finishes this season.

*

3. Paul Tracy

Canada

Penske-Mercedes

Unser's Penske teammate started fast, winning three races in succession, but has not come close since. He missed the Detroit race with mild vertigo and has not qualified better than 10th since.

*

4. Alex Zanardi

Italy

Reynard-Honda

The newly crowned champion has won five races this season, among them the U.S. 500 at Michigan International, his first victory on a superspeedway. He joined Chip Ganassi's team last year after leaving Formula One.

*

5. Gil de Ferran

Brazil

Reynard-Honda

The popular Brazilian won a race in each of his first two seasons, but this year has managed only seconds at Portland and Cleveland, and seven other top-five finishes.

*

6. Michael Andretti

Nazareth, Pa.

Swift-Ford Cosworth

The former CART champion won the opening race at Homestead, Fla., in his new Swift chassis and has finished second three times. But in the last three races, he has finished 26th, 16th and 27th.

*

7. Bobby Rahal

New Albany, Ohio

Reynard-Ford Cosworth

He's the only owner-driver in the field. The three-time CART champion, and winner of the 1986 Indy 500, has not won race since 1992. He holds CART's record with 243 starts, and has won 24 times.

*

8. Bryan Herta

Valencia

Reynard-Ford Cosworth

Rahal's protege still is looking for his first win. He was leading at Vancouver when he was knocked out of the race by Zanardi, who was fined $25,000 for rough driving.

*

9. Robby Gordon

Orange

Reynard-Mercedes

After a disappointing season in Winston Cup racing, the former off-road champion is leaving NASCAR for one race to replace Scotsman Dario Franchitti in Carl Hogan's car.

*

11. Christian Fittipaldi

Brazil

Swift-Ford Cosworth

It's been a bad year for family Fittipaldi. Christian missed six races after having his leg crushed in Australia, and his uncle, former driver Emerson, narrowly escaped death in a ultralight aircraft crash.

*

16. Patrick Carpentier

Canada

Reynard-Mercedes

Leads rookie-of-the-year race, despite having missed Laguna Seca with a broken collarbone suffered in a bicycle accident. Won nine races in winning the Toyota Atlantic title last year.

*

17. Mauricio Gugelmin

Brazil

Reynard-Mercedes

Another former Formula One driver, Big Mo won his first CART race at Vancouver in his 67th start. A consistent driver, he has finished in the top 10 in the last six races for PacWest.

*

18. Mark Blundell

England

Reynard-Mercedes

In second season with PacWest, he won at Portland on a road course and at Toronto on a street circuit. He finished second, only half a second behind Vasser at Laguna Seca.

*

19. Michel Jourdain Jr.

Mexico

Reynard-Ford Cosworth

The youngest driver ever to start a CART race was 19 when he drove at Long Beach last year. At 21, he still is the youngest driver in the series. His best finish was a 12th at Portland.

*

20. Scott Pruett

Crystal Bay, Nev.

Reynard-Ford Cosworth

The veteran test driver for Firestone scored his second CART victory at Australia. He has five other top-five finishes this season and won the pole for the U.S. 500 at Michigan, averaging 233.857 mph.

*

21. Richie Hearn

Henderson, Nev.

Swift-Ford Cosworth

After scoring only two top-five finishes driving a Lola, Hearn has switched to Swift for Sunday's race. He won an Indy Racing League race at Las Vegas last year, but still looking for his first victor as a CART driver.

*

24. Hiro Matsushita

Japan

Reynard-Toyota

He owns the company that makes the Swift chassis, but drives a Toyota-powered Reynard. His two best finishes have been on the two-mile oval at Michigan, a sixth in 1994 and a ninth this year.

*

25. Max Papis

Italy

Reynard-Toyota

He joined the Arciero-Wells team as replacement for Jeff Krosnoff, who was fatally injured in an accident last year at Mid-Ohio. He finished eighth, nine laps behind Zanardi, in the U.S. 500.

*

27. Parker Johnstone

Brush Prairie, Wash.

Reynard-Honda

After serving as a test driver for the Honda engine program, he joined CART full-time last year. He finished a surprise second at Long Beach in his first year and has five top-10 finishes this season.

*

31. Andre Ribeiro

Brazil

Reynard-Honda

He won two races on ovals last year, at Rio in his native Brazil and at Michigan, but this season has finished in the top five only twice, third at Toronto and fourth at Laguna Seca.

*

32. Adrian Fernandez

Mexico

Lola-Honda

Saddled with an uncompetitive Lola chassis, he has only one finish in the top 10, an eighth at Gateway near St. Louis. He won his first CART race last year in Toronto.

*

34. Dennis Vitolo

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Reynard-Ford Cosworth

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|