LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 9, 2000)---Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti has been on fire lately, and he has taken a pretty good hold of first place in the CART FedEx points championship and hopes to extend his lead this weekend.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 9, 2000)---Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti has been on fire lately, and he has taken a pretty good hold of first place in the CART FedEx points championship and hopes to extend his lead this weekend. Andretti's teammate, Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi is looking forward to being back on track this weekend after suffering a mild concussion at the last race at Chicago Motor Speedway which caused him to miss the event.
Heading into Round 13 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series, the Miller Lite 200, Andretti holds a 120-98 point lead over second place Roberto Moreno. He has five consecutive top-five finishes including a win and two second-place finishes in his last three races - Toronto, Michigan, and Chicago.
Andretti has been the picture of consistency at the midpoint of the season after scoring Championship points in nine of the past 10 events including two victories and a total of five podiums thus far. A win at Mid-Ohio would be his first since 1991, the year he drove to his first CART Championship.
"Of course I am happy with the way things have gone this season," said the 37 year-old Andretti, "but there is a long way to go, and I hope to keep finishing races and collecting points. A lot of our success can be credited to the team. They have been preparing cars that are the best I have had in recent years and have been gaining me positions in pit stops. Racing is a team sport and our team is working together well."
In the first 11 races of the season, Christian Fittipaldi has ran no lower than sixth place and has been in podium contention one-half of those times but has failed to finish in the top-three all but one time due to a variety of reasons. He finished third in Portland and was running in second when he was taken out of the Detroit event. He suffered a mechanical failure while in third place in Cleveland.
He is known for his tenacity and ability to rise to the occasion after disappointment and plans to make a strong comeback after being sidelined in the previous race in Chicago after losing control of his race car on Friday, July 28 and crashing in turn two of the oval. He suffered a mild concussion, therefore being unable to compete in the race on Sunday per CART rules. He has put the incident behind him and is focusing on making a competitive return at Mid-Ohio.
"It was disappointing to miss the Chicago race but we are working toward being competitive this weekend and that is our focus right now," said Fittipaldi, who scored his first CART win and pole last season. "You can't look back in racing, only forward or you will be left behind by the competition. We had a pretty good test at Mid-Ohio this year to prepare for the race. As a driver, Mid-Ohio is very challenging because it's a very physical track. You're always busy in the car. Either you're shifting, braking, turning left, turning right, going uphill and downhill -- so it's pretty challenging for drivers."
Andretti will be fighting for his third victory at Mid-Ohio and hopes to extend his point lead en route to his second CART Championship while Fittipaldi will be challenging for his second CART victory after winning at Road America last season. Either way, Newman/Haas Racing will be looking forward to their first win at the track since Andretti drove to victory here in 1991 en route to the teams third CART Championship.