CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Target Cleveland preview

Cleveland -- With eight races completed in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya have experienced flashes of brilliance, but neither is satisfied with where they rank in...

Cleveland -- With eight races completed in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya have experienced flashes of brilliance, but neither is satisfied with where they rank in the point standings. Although trailing points leader Roberto Moreno by just 14 points, Vasser believes it is time for Team Target to regain its consistency and become a team with which to contend. "No one is getting nervous because we all know we have the ability to win on any track, but with just over half of the season remaining, we think it's time to start putting together a good string of races and moving up in the standings," Vasser said. "We all have confidence that the Toyota-Lola can win, so it's just a matter of time before we visit the podium again." Vasser, who has earned two poles at Burke Lakefront Airport (1996 and 1998), is eager to return to Cleveland and a chance to gain on Moreno. "I've grown to enjoy racing at Burke," Vasser said. "We had some bad luck in Cleveland last year, so hopefully I got that out of my system. This is a good time of year to start earning valuable points and that's our goal heading into the weekend." Vasser's teammate Montoya is also confident that a return to Cleveland is exactly what he needs to get his season back on track. Montoya earned the pole and the checkered flag in his first and only race in Cleveland. "Cleveland was definitely one of my favorite races from last year," said Monotya, who won from the pole three times in 1999. "There's a lot of opportunity for passing and the track's layout suits my driving well. One of the trademarks of Team Target over the years is consistency. Our team is making that one of our main goals for the remaining races. Jimmy once said that if you don't finish races, you can't score points. The Toyota-Lola is capable of finishing and winning races. We'll be back in winner's circle soon, hopefully starting in Cleveland." Montoya, whose impressive streak of seven straight races starting third or better was ended in Portland (eighth), is ready to begin a new streak. "Qualifying is an important part of the race, but as drivers have shown in recent years, you can win at Cleveland no matter where you start," Montoya said. "I had a nice run of poles this season, so it would be nice to start a new one in Cleveland."

{TB} What: Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland, round nine of the 20-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, July 2. Local start time: 1 p.m. Eastern. Broadcast: 1-3 p.m. Eastern on ABC-TV. Qualifying - Saturday, July 1. Practice - Friday, June 30.

Where: The 2.106-mile temporary road course at Burke Lakefront Airport.

History:        Juan Montoya earned the pole and won in Cleveland in 1999.   
Jimmy Vasser started 15th and finished 23rd last year.    

Fast Facts:

Team Target's Juan Montoya has started on the pole in four races (Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit).

Team Target's Jimmy Vasser ranks fifth in the CART point standings with 54 points. He trails leader Roberto Moreno by just 14 points. Montoya ranks eighth with 46 points.

Montoya has started third or better in 18 of his 28 CART races.

Montoya is seeking his third victory of the season. The defending CART champ won the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 and the Miller Lite 225 on June 5.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing is pursuing an unprecedented fifth straight CART FedEx Series championship. Juan Montoya is the defending CART champion. Vasser won the title in 1996.

Vasser has finished in the top 10 in 12 of his last 18 CART races, dating back to the 1999 race in Toronto. He has finished fifth or better in eight of his last 17 races.

Montoya has earned half of the 16 bonus championship points available to date for either winning the pole position or leading the most laps. He has swept the pole and laps-led points at Japan, Nazareth, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Including the Indy 500, Team Target has 32 victories in its last 80 starts.

Either Montoya or Vasser has finished on the podium in 12 of the past 28 races.

Team Target drivers have 57 podium finishes in the last 80 races.

St. Jude Target Chip Ganassi Racing is again donating money to Target House at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Target House is a comfortable place for the families of St. Jude patients to stay while their children receive treatments. The team will donate $5,000 for each race win, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led. During the 1997 season, the team raised $46,275 for Target House. Target matched the donation and awarded St. Jude Hospital a $100,000 check. In 1998, Team Target's success on the track resulted in a $71,875 donation to St. Jude. In 1999, the team raised $68,250 for Target House, which opened May 17, 1999. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude is the largest center in the U.S. for the treatment and research of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. After Portland, Team Target's season total is $22,625.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Moreno , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing