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Juan Pablo Montoya, in his first season at CART after two successful seasons in Formula 3000, won the championship in his first season, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, the second and final driver to win both awards in the same season, after Nigel Mansell in 1993. The season ended in a tie, with Montoya and Dario Franchitti both having 212 championship points, though Montoya broke the tie-breaker due to having seven wins, over Franchitti's three.
With Al Unser Jr. running his final season in the series, 1999 was the last year in which the Al Unser name was on the CART grid. Also, this was the first season without Bobby Rahal on the grid.
- Cleveland was scheduled for 211 miles, but was shortened due to the 2-hour time limit.
- Detroit was scheduled for 176 miles, but was shortened due to the 2-hour time limit.
- Vancouver was scheduled for 160 miles, but was shortened due to the 2-hour time limit. O Oval/Speedway R Dedicated road course S Temporary street circuit
1Gonzalo Rodríguez died in qualifying at Laguna Seca Raceway after his car crashed into a barrier and flipped while trying to navigate the track's corkscrew turn, suffering a fatal basilar skull fracture. He was 28 years old.
2Greg Moore died in the season finale at California Speedway after a crash in the early laps. His car lost control coming off Turn 2, flipped over, impacted the inside wall, and flipped several more times. Greg suffered fatal head and internal injuries from the violent accident. He was 24 years old.