SURFERS PARADISE (October 24, 2002) - 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series titlewinner Cristiano da Matta ( ...
SURFERS PARADISE (October 24, 2002) - 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series titlewinner Cristiano da Matta (#6 Caltex/Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) has earned the right to wear the champion's digit by virtue of a dominating campaign that has seen him win seven races, and will take full advantage of the opportunity starting in Surfers Paradise.
Da Matta today removed the No. 6 from the front of his Newman/Haas Racing machine in a brief ceremony on Pit Lane and replaced it with the No. 1, which he will wear on his car starting with this weekend's Honda Indy 300 and for the remainder of the CART season.
"It's a pleasure to drive the car with the number one because I've been running after it all year," da Matta said. "All of the times that I have won championships before, I have moved up to another series the next year so I never actually got to run it on my car."
Da Matta becomes the first driver since Gil de Ferran to wear the No. 1 plate on his Champ Car, de Ferran having earned the honor by winning the 2000 series championship.
"I'm not a superstitious guy and I don't expect changing our number to have any effect on how we perform," da Matta said. "I think it's a fitting tribute to our team and the season that we have had so far."