CHAMPCAR/CART: Montoya, Vasser aim for checker at Fontana

Fontana, Calif. -- (Oct. 24, 2000) -- Together during their Team Target racing careers, they have tallied 19 victories, 21 pole positions, two CART titles and one Indy 500 victory. Although both Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya, the bookends...

Fontana, Calif. -- (Oct. 24, 2000) -- Together during their Team Target racing careers, they have tallied 19 victories, 21 pole positions, two CART titles and one Indy 500 victory. Although both Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya, the bookends of Target Chip Ganassi Racing's four consecutive CART championships, will race for new teams in 2001, they find themselves looking back on their stints wearing the bulls-eye as the season concludes with Sunday's Marlboro 500, Presented by Toyota. Vasser joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 1995 and earned the team's first CART championship in 1996. He finished third and second in the point standings the following two seasons as former Team Target driver Alex Zanardi claimed the titles. Although he's entering the final of his 109 races with the team, Vasser continues to race with the same consistency and passion that made him such a popular and valuable member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 1995. "I've been very fortunate to be surrounded by such a talented and classy group of individuals these past six seasons with Target Racing," said Vasser, who has two straight podium finishes. "The memories and friends that I've made over the years will be with me forever." Vasser, who earned the checkered flag at the 1998 race at Fontana hopes his final race as a member of Team Target will result in another visit to victory circle. "Returning to a race where you've had some success is always a nice feeling," said Vasser, who finished fifth last year at Fontana. "It would be great to find a way to get one last checkered flag as a member of Team Target. We've really been running well recently. I've been pleased with how the car has performed, so I don't see any reason we can't challenge for another race win." One driver who will surely battle Vasser all the way to the checkered flag is Montoya, the defending CART champion. Montoya concludes his remarkable two-year run with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, eager to make one final trip to the top of the podium. "I feel bad that I couldn't give the team one more championship," Montoya said. "It would have been great to give Team Target a fifth straight title to repay them for being so good to me these two years. We gave it our best shot, so I'm proud to have been a part of such a great team." Montoya, who finished fourth in Fontana in 1999, is also anxious for the opportunity to earn his unprecedented third 500-mile victory of the season. The 24-year-old Colombian won the Indy 500 on May 28 and the Michigan 500 on July 23. "I've always liked to go fast, and you can't go much faster than on big ovals like Fontana," Montoya said. "Our Toyota-Lola has been great on 500 miles races this year. I would love to finish up with one more win. It's been a lot of fun, but we're not done yet."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing