WHO'S HOT * After starting on pole for the third time this season, Brazil's Bruno Junqueira ( ...
* After starting on pole for the third time this season, Brazil's Bruno Junqueira (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing notched his second win of the season (Japan) and the third of his career at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver, Round 14 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. The victory moved him back into sole possession of second place in the championship with 123 points, putting him 52 markers behind Cristiano da Matta (#6 Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) with five races to go. Junqueira joined da Matta as the only driver to lead every lap of a race this season when he paced all 100 orbits in the race. Da Matta led all 112 laps at the Round 8 Molson Indy Toronto in July.
* Scott Dixon (#44 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) completed the Team Target one-two finish in Denver after an impressive drive under Colorado-based Coors Light sponsorship for the race. Dixon scored his best finish of the season with the podium after starting fourth on the grid and stands 10th in points with 81.
* Cristiano da Matta of Newman/Haas Racing finished third after starting seventh in Denver, driving a consistent, balanced race that kept him firmly atop the point standings. To date, da Matta has tallied six wins this season with as many poles, scoring top-three finishes in eight of 14 races contested. He has also led the most laps, pacing 526 (444 road and 82 oval) of 1,732, or 30%.
* Team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) of Fernandez Racing scored a point for the provisional pole in the Mile High City and backed it up with a fourth place run, his best result since placing second in Round 4 at The Milwaukee Mile in June.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* As CART's turbo-charged, 800-plus horsepower Champ Cars return to the 1.479-mile high speed oval in England this weekend for the second time in history, anything is possible. Qualifying for the inaugural race last year was washed out due to wet track conditions. If anyone has an advantage it could be Sweden's Kenny Brack (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) who started on pole here last year based on the championship point standings. Brack led 56 of 140 laps before falling victim to a last-lap pass for the lead and the win by Gil de Ferran.
* 2002 Point leader Cristiano da Matta had a strong showing here as well in last year's event, scoring a podium finish of third after starting eighth. Da Matta comes into England this weekend in search of his second oval triumph this season (Chicago). Canadian Paul Tracy (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team KOOL Green has also faired well on the ovals this year, scoring a victory at The Milwaukee Mile. Bruno Junqueira accounted for the other oval win of the season when he took the checkered flag in Japan, and has scored the most points on ovals this year with 40. The three pole positions on ovals this year have gone to Junqueira (Japan), Fernandez (Milwaukee) and Dario Franchitti (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) in Chicago.
* Toyota was the powerplant of choice last round in Denver as Bruno Junqueira led a 1-2-3 Toyota sweep with Scott Dixon and Cristiano da Matta, respectively. In addition, Toyota took five of the top-seven finishing positions. Overall, Toyota-powered drivers have won eight of 14 CART FedEx Championship Series events contested this season with Cristiano da Matta (6) and Bruno Junqueira (2). Honda has four wins between Dario Franchitti (2), teammate Paul Tracy, and technical partner Michael Andretti
(#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone), followed by Ford-Cosworth thanks to Patrick Carpentier's (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) two Ohio triumphs. The hunt for the Manufacturer's Championship has Toyota (248) leading over Honda (214) and Ford-Cosworth (178).
* As the CART FedEx Championship Series makes its return to the oval in Corby, England, the Honda/Reynard combination comes in as the defending race champion, supplying the setup that earned Gil de Ferran the victory in last year's event. Although Ford-Cosworth and Toyota powered machines completed the top three in that race, Honda might have an advantage after they finished with three cars in the top five and six of nine overall.
* Lola has won 11 of 14 CART FedEx Championship Series events this season, including wins by Cristiano da Matta (6), Bruno Junqueira (2), Dario Franchitti (2) and Paul Tracy. Reynard took trips to victory circle in the remaining three races this season in the hands of Patrick Carpentier (2) and Michael Andretti. Lola leads 291 to 167 in the Constructor's Championship.
* The entry list for the Rockingham 500 on September 14 in Corby, England will feature a new team, as the all-England Team St. George and rookie driver Darren Manning make their CART FedEx Championship Series debut. 27 year-old Darren Manning, widely regarded as one of Britain's best motor racing rising stars, will pilot the Team George #19 RAC Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone around Rockingham's 1.479-mile high-speed oval. Manning has already covered nearly 200 miles of shakedown running in the Team St. George Champ Car. This included the all-important CART 'Rookie Test,' a mandatory 100-mile run under the observation of Frenchman Nicolas Minassian, who made seven Champ Car starts with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2000. The stunning Team St. George car will feature an innovative paint scheme is designed by Ian Hutchinson, one of England's foremost racing livery designers, who in the past has developed liveries for the Silk Cut Jaguar Le Mans cars and by the Jordan and Benetton Formula One teams.
* In a continuing effort to support teams competing in the CART FedEx Championship Series, CART will follow the plan that made its debut in Chicago earlier this season to shorten race weekend formats from three-day to two-day events ..."The decision on Chicago and Rockingham was made not only to assist our teams with cost cutting issues, but to increase the excitement surrounding our events with two days of non-stop Champ Car action," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "Implementing this new format further supports our commitment to our teams and focus on growing the CART FedEx Championship Series."
* An official welcome party hosted by Motorsport Valley UK will be held Wednesday, September 11th from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. at Deene Park, Nothamptonshire, UK. The welcome party will be highlighted by a September 11th memorial service from Father Phil de Rae of CART Ministries. Deene Park is a glorious and historic property in a beautiful picture-postcard 'olde worlde' village just 2 miles east of Rockingham Motor Speedway. The CART community is sure to enjoy the fabulous old property, the fascinating history and a relaxed and informal evening organized by the MIA (Motorsports Industry Association) who is effectively coordinating the event on behalf of the whole UK Motorsports Community as a personal welcome to CART. R.S.V.P by fax on +44 (0) 2476 692601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rockingham Motor Speedway, Corby, England
CART SCHEDULE (All times local): FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 - Champ Car practice, 9:15 - 11:30 a.m.; ASCAR Practice, 12:15 - 1:00 p.m.; Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.; ASCAR Race, 3:45 - 4:40 p.m. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 - ASCAR warmup, 9:00 - 9:15 a.m.; Champ Car warmup, 9:30 - 10:00 a.m.; ASCAR race, 11:00 - 11:45 a.m.; Rockingham 500, 1:30 p.m.
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 - SPEED Channel, CART qualifying, 4:30 p.m. ET; SPEED Channel, CART Friday Night, 10:30 p.m. ET. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 - SPEED Channel, Rockingham 500, 8:30 a.m., ET (Live).