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For the first time in its history, Team Rahal began 2002 with an entirely new driver lineup, but didn’t miss a beat as Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr., each finished in the top 10 in the CART/Indy Car standings. Vasser set an open-wheel record by winning the season finale in Fontana, winning a heated 500-mile battle in with an average spped of 197.995 mph. Jourdain was the picture of consistency in his first year with the team, setting a team record by scoring championship points in 17 consecutive races in the best season of his seven-year career. Vasser suffered a skein of early-race problems that knocked him out of half of the year’s first 10 events, but scored points in the year’s final nine events to move into seventh in the year’s final standings. He won the pole at Long Beach and finished second, and took a third-place finish at Miami after starting 12th. Vasser also competed in two Indy Racing League events, including the Indianapolis 500, marking the team’s first Indy entry since 1995. Jourdain led the championship points for the first time in his career, taking the point after a fourth-place run in Milwaukee, but was passed the next week by eventual series champion Cristiano da Matta. The Mexican driver scored more championship points in 2002 than he had in his previous six seasons combined and led the series in laps completed. His season-best finishes were fourth in Monterrey and Vancouver.