CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Road America race notes

CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "Those other guys really lucked out with the pit strategy and how the yellows fell. Our lap times weren't good and the car wasn't very good so we are happy to score points for sixth place. I had lots of push in the car. We have found some things that we think will help the balance of our race car in the future though."

· NOTE: Only 31 points out of first place in the CART standings in sixth with 78 points to leader Helio Castroneves who has 109. Was his third Champ car race at Road America and first with NHR. Da Matta finished 22nd last season after starting 13 and suffering a pit accident. In his 1999 start at Road America, he finished 21st after starting in 11th and having to retire early due to transmission failure.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I wasn't even expecting him (Michael) there. I think it was a little over optimistic to pass there. I doubted our strategy after we made our last stop but it would have ultimately put us in position to challenge Bruno or finish third at the worse but Michael made that an over optimistic pass and my car was too damaged to continue. We could have had a podium finish but ended in 18th. It's a shame for myself and the team after a lot of hard work this weekend."

· NOTE: Late in the race, he ran between eventual winner Bruno Junqueira and eventual second place finisher Michael Andretti before Andretti attempted to pass him in Turn 5 and the two made contact which resulted in damage to Fittipaldi's left suspension and his ultimate DNF.

Is currently 55 points back from first place in the point standings in 11th place with 54 to leader Helio Castroneves, 109. Prior to today's race, finished on the podium in two of his past three starts here. In 2000, he was in 2nd place after starting 8th when his car experienced exhaust failure; in 1999, Fittipaldi won the event; in 1998, he finished 3rd place despite race morning neck problems; in 1997 he finished 4th despite electronics problems that intermittently limited his engine boost by 40 percent; in 1996 his engine blew while in 2nd place in the closing laps (leader Al Unser Jr.'s engine blew as well on the final lap); in 1995 he was in 3rd place when a late race caution flag came out and his engineer elected to have him stay on track despite the fact that the remainder of the field pitted - he dropped to 8th after having to make a green flag stop in his rookie season for Walker Racing.

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira