Jimmy Vasser

Last updated
Jimmy Vasser
Vasser08gplb.JPG
Vasser at Long Beach, 2008
NationalityAmerican
Born (1965-11-20) November 20, 1965 (age 54)
Canoga Park, California, U.S.
Championship titles
1996 PPG Indy Car World Series Champion
Champ Car career
233 races run over 16 years
Years active1992–2006, 2008
Team(s)Hayhoe/Cole Racing (1992–1994)
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (1995–2000)
Patrick Racing (2001)
Rahal Letterman Racing (2002)
American Spirit Team Johansson (2003)
PKV Racing (2004–2006)
KV Racing (2008)
Best finish1st (1996)
First race 1992 Dailkyo IndyCar Grand Prix (Surfers Paradise)
Last race 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Long Beach)
First win 1996 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami (Homestead)
Last win 2002 The 500 Presented by Toyota (California)
WinsPodiums Poles
10338
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
2 races run over 1 year
Best finish97th (2003)
First race 2003 Koolerz 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2003 GNC Live Well 250 (Milwaukee)
WinsTop tens Poles
000

James Vasser (born November 20, 1965) is an American former racing driver. Vasser won the 1996 IndyCar season championship with Chip Ganassi Racing, and scored ten victories in the series. [1] Vasser was the last American to win the Champ Car championship.

Contents

Driving career

Vasser made his CART debut in 1992 and qualified for the Indianapolis 500, setting a record for the fastest qualifying run by a first-year driver. [2] Although he did become a top driver, his rise to prominence coincided with the CART–IRL split, so Vasser's best years were spent away from the Indianapolis 500. He has raced in the event on a one-off basis a few times since, finishing as high as fourth in the 2001 race.

Vasser won four races in 1996 and did enough to maintain a lead in the standings for most of the season, clinching the championship at the season's final race. [3] Teammate Alex Zanardi outperformed him over the next two years, winning the points championship both years. [4] Vasser teamed with Juan Pablo Montoya in 1999, finishing ninth in the points standings. In 2000, his last year with Chip Ganassi Racing, Vasser won the Houston Grand Prix for his first victory since 1998. [5]

For 2001, Vasser moved to the Pat Patrick team to drive the #40 Reynard Toyota. Despite having limited sponsorship for the car at first, Vasser started the season strong with four straight finishes of 4th to 6th place. Continuing the strong start to 2001, Jimmy was reunited with Target Chip Ganassi Racing driving for them in the Indianapolis 500. Jimmy ran well and finish 4th place as ChampCar drivers swept the top five spots at the 500. However, once returning to the ChampCar circuit, back to back crashes in race #5 at Milwaukee and race #6 at Detroit seemed to derail the season as Jimmy finished the final sixteen races of the season with only four more finishes of 5th to 7th.

After a disappointing year without even a podium, Vasser was able to secure the seat of the #8 Shell Lola Ford with Rahal Letterman Racing for 2002 which had finished 2nd in ChampCar points the previous season. In the Shell car, Vasser showed some muscle at Long Beach scoring the pole, leading laps late, and finishing 2nd behind Michael Andretti. Vasser and Rahal Letterman also crossed over into the IRL where they ran the IRL race in Fontana to prepare for Indianapolis and then the Indianapolis 500. Success was limited as Vasser scored only a 9th at Fontana and a gearbox failure cut short his Indy 500 race. Vasser's 2002 season in the Shell car was much improved over the previous year with Patrick Racing. Vasser really finished the year strong with scoring points in each of the final nine races including a podium at Miami and a dominating win at Fontana after a late-race pass of Michael Andretti. Vasser's Fontana win was to be the final win of his ChampCar career.

Without sponsorship at Rahal for 2003, Vasser had to look for opportunities with other teams and without many seats available for the 38-year-old he ended up with Stefan Johansson's startup American Spirit team. The team was not fully funded and they ran the Reynard chassis which were not up to the pace of the current Lola chassis cars. Additionally, Reynard had gone bankrupt so further development of the chassis had to be taken on by the teams so the performance gap to the Lolas continue to widen during the season. Except for a couple of fourth-place finishes, leading 15 laps at Cleveland, and podium at Surfer's Paradise in a wet/dry race the season was not very successful as rookie teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was outpacing Vasser. Vasser reunited with Rahal Letterman for his final run at an Indianapolis 500 win but was again sidelined with gearbox failure during the race.

In 2004 he became co-owner of PKV Racing (later renamed to KV Racing Technology) along with Dan Pettit and Kevin Kalkhoven and was a driver for the team. In 2004, he broke the modern CART–Champ Car record for the most consecutive starts. [6] Vasser retired from open wheel racing in 2006, but remains active in his ownership role. He temporarily came out of retirement to drive in the final Champ Car World Series event at the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. [7]

In 2006, Vasser competed in three Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races, including the 24 Hours of Daytona, driving for GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing. In 2007, he again drove for the renamed GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and on Sept. 4, 2007, it was announced that he would return to the team for the season-ending Sunchaser 1000 km. Vasser drove again for Stallings' team beginning at Laguna Seca in May 2008, pairing with fellow Champ Car champion Cristiano da Matta.

In 2013, Vasser joined the Stadium Super Trucks and was scheduled to make his debut at Honda Indy Toronto. [8] However, he was injured prior to the race and was replaced by Davey Hamilton. [9]

Early career

Motorsports career results

SCCA National Championship Runoffs

YearTrackCarEngineClassFinishStartStatus
1985 Road Atlanta Swift DB1 Ford Formula Ford 255Running
1986 Road Atlanta Swift DB1 Ford Formula Ford 12Running

American open–wheel racing results

(key)

Indy Lights

YearTeam123456789101112RankPoints
1988 R & K RacingPHXMILPORCLETORMEA
10
POCMDOROANAZLAGMIA26th3
1989 Barclay RacingPHXLBHMILDETPORMEATORPOCMDOROANAZLAG
8
24th5

CART/Champ Car

YearTeamChassisEngine123456789101112131415161718192021RankPoints
1992 Hayhoe-Cole Racing Lola T92/00 Chevrolet 265A SRF
15
PHX
15
LBH
7
INDY
21
DETPOR
23
MIL
12
NHA TOR
12
MCHCLE
14
ROAVAN
18
MDO
25
NAZ
DNQ
LAG
12
22nd8
1993 Hayhoe-Cole Racing Lola T92/00 Chevrolet 265A SRF
24
PHX
3
LBH
22
MIL
8
DET
16
POR
11
CLE16th30
Ford XB V8 t INDY
13
TOR
11
MCHNHA
9
ROAVAN
18
MDO
10
NAZLAG
21
1994 Hayhoe-Cole Racing Reynard 94i Ford XB V8 t SRF
4
PHX
5
LBH
24
INDY
4
MIL
11
DET
20
POR
32
CLE
31
TOR
25
MCH
25
MDO
14
NHA
7
VAN
15
ROA
28
NAZ
13
LAG
26
15th42
1995 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 95i Ford XB V8 t MIA
8
SRF
24
PHX
23
LBH
23
NAZ
24
INDY
22
MIL
9
DET
2
POR
2
ROA
3
TOR
17
CLE
3
MCH
7
MDO
9
NHA
6
VAN
27
LAG
8
8th92
1996 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 96i Honda HRH V8 t MIA
1
RIO
8
SRF
1
LBH
1
NAZ
7
500
1
MIL
10
DET
12
POR
13
CLE
10
TOR
8
MCH
9
MDO
2
ROA
6
VAN
7
LAG
4
1st154
1997 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 97i Honda HRR V8 t MIA
3
SRF
12
LBH
9
NAZ
5
RIO
9
GAT
5
MIL
3
DET
4
POR
19
CLE
13
TOR
7
MCH
24
MDO
5
ROA
8
VAN
2
LAG
1
FON
2
3rd144
1998 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 98i Honda HRK V8 t MIA
16
MOT
7
LBH
8
NAZ
1
RIO
6
GAT
4
MIL
1
DET
6
POR
8
CLE
7
TOR
3
MCH
2
MDO
27
ROA
9
VAN
26
LAG
5
HOU
4
SRF
24
FON
1
2nd169
1999 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 99i Honda HRS V8 t MIA
4
MOT
12
LBH
10
NAZ
11
RIO
27
GAT
10
MIL
4
POR
12
CLE
23
ROA
23
TOR
8
MCH
9
DET
5
MDO
4
CHI
3
VAN
3
LAG
18
HOU
20
SRF
18
FON
5
9th104
2000 Chip Ganassi Racing Lola B2K/00 Toyota RVA V8 t MIA
4
LBH
3
RIO
2
MOT
21
NAZ
7
MIL
13
DET
7
POR
24
CLE
8
TOR
9
MCH
21
CHI
8
MDO
21
ROA
5
VAN
6
LAG
8
GAT
7
HOU
1
SRF
3
FON
22
6th131
2001 Patrick Racing Reynard 01i Toyota RV8F V8 t MTY
6
LBH
5
TXS
C
NAZ
4
MOT
5
MIL
21
DET
18
POR
16
CLE
5
TOR
26
MCH
23
CHI
14
MDO
23
ROA
21
VAN
19
LAU
15
ROC
7
HOU
11
LAG
5
SRF
6
FON
12
12th77
2002 Team Rahal Lola B02/00 Ford XF V8 t MTY
20
LBH
2
MOT
20
MIL
9
LAG
8
POR
16
CHI
17
TOR
6
CLE
6
VAN
17
MDO
8
ROA
5
MTL
5
DEN
10
ROC
7
MIA
3
SRF
12
FON
1
MXC
11
7th114
2003 American Spirit Team Johansson Reynard 02i Ford XFE V8 t STP
6
MTY
14
LBH
4
BRH
19
LAU
8
MIL
11
LAG
8
POR
7
CLE
13
TOR
13
VAN
11
ROA
9
MDO
15
MTL
16
DEN
11
MIA
4
MXC
17
SRF
3
FON
NH
11th72
2004 PKV Racing Lola B02/00 Ford XFE V8 t LBH
16
MTY
12
MIL
4
POR
8
CLE
5
TOR
2
VAN
10
ROA
8
DEN
17
MTL
8
LAG
17
LVG
5
SRF
12
MXC
5
8th201^
2005 PKV Racing Lola B02/00 Ford XFE V8 t LBH
9
MTY
14
MIL
5
POR
6
CLE
6
TOR
4
EDM
11
SJO
11
DEN
15
MTL
7
LVG
3
SRF
3
MXC
6
6th217
2006 PKV Racing Lola B03/00 Ford XFE V8 t LBH
14
HOU MTY MIL POR CLE TOR EDM SJO DEN MTL ROA SRF MXC 24th7
  • ^ New points system implemented in 2004

IndyCar

YearTeamChassisEngine12345678910111213141516171819RankPoints
2000 Chip Ganassi Racing G-Force GF01C Oldsmobile Aurora V8 WDWPHXLVS INDY
7
TXSPPIRATLKTYTX232nd26
2001 G-Force GF05BPHXHMSATL INDY
4
TXSPPIRRIRKANNSHKTYGATCHITX236th32
2002 Team Rahal Dallara IR-02 Chevrolet Indy V8 HMSPHXFON
9
NAZ INDY
30
TXSPPIRRIRKANNSHMCHKTYGATCHITX240th23
2003 Dallara IR-03 Toyota V8 HMSPHXMOT INDY
26
TXSPPIRRIRKANNSHMCHGATKTYNAZCHIFONTX236th4
2008 KV Racing Technology Panoz DP01 Ford XFE V8 t HMS STP MOT 1
DNP
LBH 1
10
KAN INDY MIL TXS IOW RIR WGL NSH MDO EDM KTY SNM DET CHI SRF 242nd0
1 Run on same day.
2 Non-points-paying, exhibition race.

Indianapolis 500 results

YearChassisEngineStartFinishReason outTeam
1992 Lola Chevrolet 28th21stCrash Hayhoe
1993 Lola Ford-Cosworth 19th13thRunning Hayhoe
1994 Reynard Ford-Cosworth 16th4thRunning Hayhoe
1995 Reynard Ford-Cosworth 9th22ndCrash Ganassi
2000 G-Force Oldsmobile 7th7thRunning Ganassi
2001 G-Force Oldsmobile 12th4thRunning Ganassi
2002 Dallara Chevrolet 19th30thGearbox Rahal
2003 Dallara Honda 27th26thGearbox Rahal

Notes

  • Winner of fastest Champ Car race: Fontana 2002, Average Speed: 197.995 mph (318.642 km/h)

NASCAR

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Busch Series

NASCAR Busch Series results
YearTeamNo.Make12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334NBSCPts
2003 Braun Racing 30 Dodge DAY
28
CAR LVS DAR BRI TEX TAL NSH CAL RCH GTY NZH CLT DOV NSH KEN MLW
25
DAY CHI NHA PPR IRP MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV KAN CLT MEM ATL PHO CAR HOM 97th167

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References

  1. "Vasser might be taking his last laps". Las Vegas Sun. 2005-09-23. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  2. "Vasser headlines seven Indianapolis 500 rookies". Boca Raton News. Associated Press. 1992-05-20. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  3. Harris, Mike (1996-09-09). "Zanardi wins race, but Vasser takes title". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-01-23.[ dead link ]
  4. "Ganassi changes drivers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  5. "Vasser ends drought on streets of Houston". ESPN. Associated Press. 2000-10-02. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  6. Graves, Gary (2004-08-26). "Champ Car's Vasser revved up to break record". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  7. Lawley, Erin (2008-04-17). "Vasser getting behind wheel at LBC". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  8. "Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser join Robby Gordon's Stadium SUPER Trucks series for Toronto". Racer . 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  9. "Lofton wins Stadium Truck Race 1 in Toronto". Racer . 2013-07-13. Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  10. Taylor, Michael (2007-01-07). "A Fascination For Fine Machines". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jacques Villeneuve
CART Series
Champion

1996
Succeeded by
Alex Zanardi