CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Fittipaldi to start 8th and da Matta 17th

* OVERALL: Newman/Haas Racing hopes to repeat its 1-2 finish in 1996 with its new combination of drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. So far, the team has won two races (Michael Andretti - 1996, 1990) and six poles (Michael...

* OVERALL: Newman/Haas Racing hopes to repeat its 1-2 finish in 1996 with its new combination of drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. So far, the team has won two races (Michael Andretti - 1996, 1990) and six poles (Michael Andretti - 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989; Mansell - 1994, 1993), in Detroit.

POLESITTER Helio Castroneves

8th         Christian Fittipaldi     1:14.30

17th Cristiano da Matta 1:15.07

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We had a problem with the car and decided not to go back out for the final minute and 16 seconds but we maintained eighth place. Before qualifying I figured the car would be good enough for the top-six and we are one row back so I was close. It's tough to pass at this track but our car is good. The car was also good last year and we started eighth, passed some cars and got into second place before Gil tried to pass me and we both crashed near the end of the race. Anything can happen in this race so I am not going to make any predictions but I know our car will be good and we will just hope the race goes our way."

* NOTE: Hopes to one-up his best Detroit finish with a spot at the top of the podium. Will be his fifth start in Detroit. Best result was second place in 1996 where he led 64 of 72 laps before making a slight mistake with seven laps to go and handed to win over to then teammate Michael Andretti. Best start of sixth place also came in 1996. In the 2000 race, he charged from his eighth place start into second place before Gil de Ferran made contact with his car while attempting a pass.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We ran a 1:14.0 on the lap the second red flag came out for Tracy. I was only about 30 yards from getting my lap to count which in a race car happens in a fraction of a second. I didn't even see the flag come out until I passed the flag stand and it was in my mirrors. It's pretty disappointing to start in 17th place. The car has been a top-five car in every session but we just haven't managed to get a clear lap. Every position is hard to come by and not getting our lap counted was made worse by being 17th at the time and not being able to get a clear lap in and improve on that. The car is good so we will be able to pass if the opportunity presents itself, which is not very often on a tight track. It will be a strategy race for us. We will have to hang in there and wait for any opportunity that presents itself. I want to avoid getting caught up in other people's accidents and have a trouble free day myself and bring home some points. It's been a while since we were able to do that so it is even more important to do that now.

* NOTE: Relinquished the lead in the standings after two DNFs due to being in the path of accidents. Is third in the CART standings. Will be his third Champ car race in Detroit, da Matta finished 23rd in 2000 due to mechanical failure and 19th in 1999 because of contact while driving for PPI Motorsports. His only podium finish in Detroit came in 1998 where he finished second en route to his Dayton Indy Lights championship title.

-NHR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Christian Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta