INDIANAPOLIS (October 9, 2002) - The Newman/Haas Racing team pulled off its third 1-2 sweep of a 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series event last weekend with a run that not only clinched the Vanderbilt Cup for Cristiano da Matta ( ...
INDIANAPOLIS (October 9, 2002) - The Newman/Haas Racing team pulled off its third 1-2 sweep of a 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series event last weekend with a run that not only clinched the Vanderbilt Cup for Cristiano da Matta (#6 Chevron Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone), but propelled both team entries to spots in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge shootout.
Both the #6 team of da Matta and the pit squad for fellow Brazilian driver Christian Fittipaldi (#11 Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) were able to move their teams into the final $50,000 competition in Fontana, joining the pit crews of Jimmy Vasser's (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) Team Rahal ride, the Target/Chip Ganassi car of Bruno Junqueira (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) and the Player's/Forsythe machine of Alex Tagliani (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard Bridgestone).
Teams were awarded points all season, and were scored on the basis of which team spent the least time on pit road during a race. Heading into last weekend's Grand Prix Americas - which would be the last event for teams to score points - only Vasser's crew had scored enough points to claim a spot in the five-team finals while da Matta's crewmen had secured a berth by winning the Wild Card round in Chicago.
Fittipaldi's team was the fastest in Miami, spending just 60.865 seconds on Pit Lane during their two stops, while Da Matta's crew used just 61.667 seconds in their visits. Those performance helped the NHR squads to cement their entries in the head -to-head competition for $50,000, while the TCGR pit lane crew for Junqueira nipped the Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Office Depot Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) team for the final spot in the competition, which will take place on Friday, November 1st at 3:45 p.m. - after the Champ Car practice for The 500 Presented by Toyota which runs Sunday, November 3rd at California Speedway.
The crew of the Team Rahal #8 car will be defending its title in the shootout, having taken the crown last season under the guidance of Crew Chief Ricardo Nault. This is the fourth year of the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge that began in 1999. The Team Green outfit servicing the #26 KOOL-sponsored car of Paul Tracy captured both of the first two competitions with Rahal's #8 squad ending that streak last season.