CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Newman/Hass Racing qualifying report

Havoline driver da Matta qualified seventh for the Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile; While Lilly driver Fittipaldi to start 15th. 1st: Adrian Fernandez 22.176 / 167.532 mph 7th: Cristiano da Matta 22.394 / 165.902 mph 15th: Christian ...

Havoline driver da Matta qualified seventh for the Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile; While Lilly driver Fittipaldi to start 15th.

1st: Adrian Fernandez 22.176 / 167.532 mph
7th: Cristiano da Matta 22.394 / 165.902 mph
15th: Christian Fittipaldi 22.640 / 164.099 mph

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "The car feels so much nicer than it did in Japan or even yesterday morning. To qualify in the top-10 is good for us considering where we came from. It is a lot better than we expected coming into the weekend. We still have some problems with the front end but the car is so much better. We spent the last one-and-a-half years working on making the back end of the car better on short ovals and ignored the front end. Now we have to fix the front end but it is a lot easier to fix than the back end. We think we have a good car for the race because the back end is good and that is important on this track. Everybody will be wide-open in the race with the new pit stop rules. I think there will be a lot of action on the track since no one will be trying to conserve fuel. It should be an exciting race. I just hope we have more luck that we did last year since we didn't even complete one-quarter of a mile before we were taken out. The first goal is to make it to the end of the race. If we can do that, we should be able to collect a good amount of points toward the Championship."

· NOTES: Da Matta won three consecutive events in the series (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) and became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). After leading 30 laps and building a strong lead in Long Beach, a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. A win in Milwaukee would be his fourth in the past six CART events. Will be his fourth race here. His highest Champ car start here was 3rd place in 2001 (based on points) and highest finish was 11th in 1999. His highest overall finish to date here came in the Indy Lights series where he finished 4th in 1997. He started third in the 2001 event but a racing incident between Kenny Brack and Helio Castroneves led to Castroneves losing control of his car and colliding with da Matta on the first turn of the first lap. He is currently in third place in the point standings, only seven points back from leader Dario Franchitti who has 34.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "We had a huge push in the car so we couldn't maximize the Toyota power. We changed a lot on the car from the morning session and are still trying to figure out the right setup. We didn't know what to expect with the car after making a bunch of changes between the end of the session and our qualifying attempt. It was a gamble. This morning the car was too neutral and I almost lost it in one of the turns. We put the car on the set-up pad and found out that we were just a little off on our settings so we corrected them and made some changes. We are going to work on our race set-up in the morning warm-up and try to come up with a good balance for the race. It's a long race and anything can happen. We just need to improve the handling of our car and have a little luck."

· NOTES: Will be his sixth race here. Has four top-10 finishes in five starts here. The last race he won was also on an oval - the 2000 season-finale Marlboro 500. Best finish was sixth place in 1996 and best start was third in 1996. He is currently in 10th place in the point standings, only 19 points back from leader Dario Franchitti who has 34.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: A 30-minute pre-race warm-up will start at 9 AM local time with the Miller Lite 250 set to begin at 11:45 am.

WHERE TO WATCH: Coverage of Saturday's qualifying session will air on SPEED Channel beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET (Live) while CBS Sports kicks off it's CART coverage this season with the Miller Lite 250 beginning at 12:30 p.m., ET (Live) on Sunday, June 2.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta