I have learned that veteran Brazilian Champ Car driver Roberto Moreno is on the brink of losing his drive at Patrick Racing.
Sources within the team say that American Townsend Bell, who currently leads the Indy Lights point standings, will test a Patrick Reynard-Toyota at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Monday.
If the test is successful, Bell is expected to replace Moreno with immediate effect, beginning at next weekend's Champ Car round at Road America.
The 26-year old from San Luis Obispo, California, has scored three Indy Lights race wins in 2001 and leads the series standings by 19 points over Damien Faulkner. Bell won two races and finished second to PacWest Champ Car driver Scott Dixon (the top Champ Car rookie so far this year) in the Lights series in 2000.
Bell is known for his polish off the track, and his ability to bring sponsorship to the table was no doubt a factor in Patrick's decision to replace Moreno as team owner U.E. 'Pat' Patrick has essentially funded Jimmy Vasser's car out of his own pocket this year.
Moreno's car is sponsored by automotive component manufacturer Visteon, but Patrick believes Vasser is a better long-term bet for his team.
The 42-year old Moreno earned a popular first CART race win at Cleveland in 2000, and went on to finish third in the title chase. But his 2001 season got off to a poor start before he rebounded for consecutive podium finishes at Detroit and Portland.
Sorry to any Moreno fans, but WOOHOO!!!!!