CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Toyota fast facts

TOYOTA motorsports 2001 CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES FAST FACTS Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota Date: May 6, 2001 Broadcast: ABC, 1 p.m. EST (Live) Race Length: 225 laps for 212.850 miles Track Length: 0.946-mile ...

TOYOTA motorsports 2001 CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES FAST FACTS
Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota

Date:   May 6, 2001
Broadcast:      ABC, 1 p.m. EST (Live)
Race Length:    225 laps for 212.850 miles
Track Length:   0.946-mile oval

2000 Winner: Gil de Ferran

Toyota's Best Finish:  4th - Juan Montoya (2000)
Toyota's Best Qualifying:  1st - Juan Montoya (2000)
Track Speed Records:  Qualifying: 1998, P. Carpentier, (184.419 mph)
Race:  1999, J. Montoya (120.225 mph)

Manufacturer's Championship: 1.Honda 38 2. Toyota 37 3. Ford 14

What to look for at Nazareth: </pre> TOYOTA OFF TO BEST CHAMP CAR START EVER - After a win and a second place finish in the season's first two races, Toyota is off to its best-ever start to a Champ Car season in 2001. The 37 manufacturer's points earned to date are 11 better than its previous best start of 26 after two races last season.

TOYOTA LOOKS TO CONTINUE OVAL DOMINANCE - Toyota's Champ Car program heads to Nazareth looking to continue a string of dominance on oval tracks that has seen the manufacturer win four of the last five CART oval races. Toyota won four consecutive oval races at Milwaukee, Michigan, Chicago and St. Louis before seeing its string stopped at Fontana last fall. The only driver/team to interrupt the streak was Christian Fittipaldi and Newman/Haas - who now race for Toyota. Apparent victories at Nazareth and Motegi also slipped away due to fluke incidents.

NAZARETH WINNERS - Two current Toyota drivers have previously won Nraces at azareth Speedway including a Nazareth sweep in 1998. Jimmy NVasser won the 1998 Champ Car race, while current FedEx Championship points leader Cristiano da Matta was winning the Indy Lights race there that weekend. Da Matta also won the 1997 Lights event at the track.

AND NAZARETH CART FIRST TIMERS - Four of this weekend's Toyota pilots will be making their first Champ Car start at Nazareth. Rookie points leader Nicolas Minassian will be leading the way after earning points in each of his first two races with an eighth and an 11th for seven points. He is joined by Target Chip Ganassi teammate Bruno Junqueira, Walker Racing's Tora Takagi and PacWest's Scott Dixon. Dixon is the only one of the CART rookies to have previously competed at Nazareth, where he finished fourth in Indy Lights in 1999.

All four tested at Nazareth two weekends ago with Junqueira topping the time charts with a 20.4-second run. Each of the rookies lapped within a half second of one another. The "Target Twins," Junqueira and Minassian were returning to the site of their first official test with the Target Ganassi team last November.

DA MATTA TAKES POINTS LEAD TO NAZARETH - Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline Toyota) will bring his CART points lead into Nazareth after winning the season-opening race in Monterrey, Mexico, and then registering a second-place finish at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Quotes:

Cristiano da Matta, Texaco/Havoline Toyota:
"Nazareth is my favorite oval track. It's very technical. There may not be as much passing as some of the other ovals, but it's very challenging. There are some ovals where a lesser driver can win with a good car - not at Nazareth. It takes a good driver with a good car."

Bruno Junqueira, Target Toyota:
"I like this track. It is very challenging. You can't run flat out (without lifting) like some of the other ovals. The wing package has slowed down the cars a bit through the corners, so we'll be about a second slower than what we were in November."

Nicolas Minassian, Target Toyota:
"Nazareth is a very difficult circuit. It's unlike any other track I have seen, but I enjoy it."

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports:
"After the postponement of the Texas race this past weekend, we're looking forward to getting back on track at Nazareth. We had great success last year with ovals, and we're hoping to continue our winning ways. It would be great to come home with a victory at a track that we have been the presenting sponsor for the past four years."

-TM-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta