CHAMPCAR/CART: Da Matta looks to lead at Michigan

Event: Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota Track: Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan 2 - Mile Oval Date: July 23, 2000 TV: ABC, Sunday, July 23, 2000; 1:30 PM (EST) Series: CART FedEx Championship Series, Round ...

Event: Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota
Track: Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan 2 - Mile Oval
Date: July 23, 2000
TV: ABC, Sunday, July 23, 2000; 1:30 PM (EST)
Series: CART FedEx Championship Series, Round Eleven

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #97 PIONEER ELECTRONICS/MCI WorldCom TOYOTA-REYNARD
CART Season: 2
Best CART Start: 2 (Toronto, 2000) 2Best CART Finish: 3 (Cleveland, 2000)
Points Standings: 7

Lap Leader: For the first time in his Champ Car career, da Matta led a race. Da Matta led 73 of the 112 scheduled laps at the Toronto Molson Indy. Da Matta took the lead on the first lap and accumulated as much as a four second lead on Michael Andretti. Setting a New Standard: Da Matta and PPIM are setting a new standard. Da Matta earned his best ever Champ Car qualifying effort in Toronto, as he qualified on the front row. Da Matta has qualified in the top ten in the last four consecutive races, and finished in the top ten in the last three events. Scott Pruett is the only other PPIM driver to have qualified on the front row with his pole at Fontana last year. No other PPIM driver has led ever led a lap in a Champ Car race.

On the Rise: Da Matta has jumped from 15th to seventh in the Championship in the last two races. Da Matta started the Cleveland race 15th with 35 points and finished the Toronto race in seventh position with 62 points. Da Matta is just one point behind fellow Toyota pilot Jimmy Vasser, and four points behind Kenny Brack who sits in fifth place. Da Matta entered the Michigan 500 in 1999 with 17 points to his name, 45 points shy of his total points to date this year.

Michigan Last Year: Da Matta qualified tenth for the Michigan 500 last year, and was running strong in eighth position, before an electrical failure ended his day in 14th position.

Cristiano on Michigan:
"I am really excited to see how we come out of the box in Michigan. We had a very poor test their last month, so we really worked on several developmental ideas before our test in Chicago, and we were the fastest car there. It will be very interesting to see how our Chicago developments will work here. I think we will be in pretty good shape; we should be very fast. I was happy to be off of the ovals for a while, but now I am looking forward to them again, especially after the Chicago test."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Kenny Brack , Scott Pruett