CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Team Motorola preview

Fast Facts: Saturday will be Andretti's 293rd start in the CART FedEx Championship Series. A record for active Champ Car drivers. Andretti won the Firestone Firehawk 500 in 2000 after starting in eighth position. Andretti led 26 laps en route to...

Fast Facts:
Saturday will be Andretti's 293rd start in the CART FedEx Championship Series. A record for active Champ Car drivers.

Andretti won the Firestone Firehawk 500 in 2000 after starting in eighth position. Andretti led 26 laps en route to his victory.

Andretti has scored 14 victories in his career on ovals. His last oval victory was at Twin Ring Motegi in 2000.

INDIANAPOLIS--Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti are coming into Round 3 of the CART FedEx Championship with renewed enthusiasm after their victory at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 14.

"Long Beach was a very big win for Team Motorola," said general manager Kim Green. "In this series, to be in contention for the championship, you need points every weekend and this victory was certainly a good start to help Team Motorola reach that goal."

Team Motorola is now in second place in the championship with 22 points, five points behind the leader Cristiano DaMatta.

The event at Twin Ring Motegi is also going to be a big weekend for Team Motorola as they are switching from the Reynard to the Lola chassis.

"The guys have been working around the clock to get the Lolas prepared," explained Green. "Right now, we're going to run the Lola at Motegi and see how it goes and after the race we'll make a decision about the balance of the season. It will be a lot of work for the crew either way we go so it was really nice to have the victory in Long Beach to give them a much needed boost."

Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti is looking forward to the trip east and hopes the momentum from Long Beach will carry over to next weekend at Motegi.

"Long Beach was awesome but if we are able to also get a win in Motegi, that would be huge for us and for Honda," said Andretti. "With Motegi being the home track for Honda, you feel a little extra incentive to bring home their first victory and believe me, Team Motorola would love to do that for Honda."

This year will be the fifth year that CART races at Twin Ring Motegi and Andretti is looking forward to replicating his 2000 victory.

"I like Motegi, it's a really good track," Andretti said. "The track has two completely different corners so it's very challenging to get the set-up working just right, you really have to have a compromise in set-up to get through both ends of the track. It's a track that allows passing and it's really fun to drive."

Andretti is also looking forward to the challenge of driving the Lola at Motegi.

"I don't think things are going to change a lot with the Lola because we haven't really done any testing with the Reynard on the oval this season," explained Andretti. "We did test the Lola on the Homestead oval, and although the Homestead track is completely different than Motegi I think we were able to feel the basics of the set-up and basic reactions of the car so that should help."

Andretti is beginning his 19th Champ Car season and currently leads all active Champ Car drivers in number of wins at 42, number of poles at 32, number of starts with 292 and laps led with 6,560. In the past four visits to Motegi, Andretti has scored a victory (2000), fifth (1999), 14th (1998) and 23rd (2001).

Team Motorola and Andretti begin practice on Thursday, April 25, at 9:45 a.m. The Bridgestone Potenza 500 will be shown on SPEED Channel on Saturday, April 27 beginning at 12 p.m. EDT.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Kim Green