The Callahan Report: CART Fed-Ex Championship Kicks Off at Homestead
11 March 1998
By Terry Callahan
The Auto Channel
HOMESTEAD, FL: It has been several months since we have heard the whine of the CART cars. That all changes this weekend. The long winter is over. The Fed-Ex CART Championship opens its season Sunday at the Metro-Dade Motorsports Complex.
Paul Tracy started out hot here last year as well. Tracy was driving a troubled Penske chassis last year, but still managed a second place finish. Tracy will be waving the colors of team Green this year. He will be a favorite with a proven chassis/engine combination. KOOL could be Hot this weekend and throughout the season.
Another proven and always strong team are the duo of Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser. Zanardi was hotter than a Honda engine running wide open around the sun in 97. He had the championship wrapped up with two races remaining in the season. He finished in the top ten at Homestead last year starting from the pole. Driving for the other half of the Target team, Jimmy Vasser was on the podium here in 97. He knows how to get around this course quickly. The Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Team has the advantage of two great drivers and the momentum of two consecutive championships behind them.
The race at Homestead is considered to be the 8th Annual Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. The Metro-Dade Motorsports Complex opened to the CART cars in 1995. There were no CART races in the Miami area between 1989 through 1994. There were four races ran at Tamiami Park (street circuit) between 1985 and 1988.
The CART cars roar to life at 1:30 p.m (ET) on Sunday, March 15. ABC television will cover the event. The drivers will run 147 laps around the 1.517 mile track.
Marlboro Grand Prix Of Miami Entry List:
Driver Car Country Alex Zanardi Target Reynard Honda Italy Al Unser, Jr. Marlboro Penske Mercedes U.S.A. Andre Ribeiro Marlboro Penske Mercedes Brazil Gil de Ferran Valvoline Cummins Honda Brazil Michael Andretti Kmart/Texaco Havoline U.S.A. Bobby Rahal Miller Lite U.S.A. Bryan Herta Shell Ford U.S.A. J.J. Lehto Hogan Motor Leasing, Inc. Finland Richie Hearn Budweiser/Ralph's U.S.A. Christian Fittipaldi KMART Ford Cosworth Brazil Jimmy Vasser Target Reynard Honda U.S.A. Christian Danner P C World/Hawaiian Tropic U.S.A. Helio Castgro-Neves Alumax Aluminum Brazil Mauricio Gugelmin Hollywood PacWest Mercedes Brazil Mark Blundell Motorola PacWest Mercedes England Michel Jourdain, Jr. Herdez/Viva Mexico Mexico Scott Pruett Visteon Ford Cosworth U.S.A. Tony Kanaan LCI Reynard Honda Brazil Hiro Matsushita Panasonic Duskin Reynard Toyota Japan Max Papis MCI Racing Reynard Toyota Italy Paul Tracy KOOL Honda Canada Dario Franchitti KOOL Honda Scotland Patrick Carpentier Player's/Indeck Canada Dennis Vitolo SmithKline Beecham Ford U.S.A. Alex Barron Castrol-Time Inc. U.S.A. Adrian Fernandez Tecate/Quaker State Labatt Mexico Hideshi Matsuda BMB MiniJuke Ford Japan Arnd Meier BAAN Business Software Brazil P.J. Jones Castrol-Time Inc.-Toyota U.S.A. Greg Moore Player's/Indeck Mercedes-Benz Canada