What: Rockingham 500 - Round 16 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Saturday, Sept. 22. Broadcast: 7:30 a.m. Eastern, live on ESPN. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race...
What: Rockingham 500 - Round 16 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.
When: Saturday, Sept. 22. Broadcast: 7:30 a.m. Eastern, live on ESPN. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on CART.com. Qualifying --- Friday, Sept. 21. Practice - Thursday, Sept. 20.
Where: The 1.5-mile oval in Rockingham, England.
History: The Rockingham 500 marks the inaugural race at the Rockingham Speedway. On ovals this year, Team Target has recorded one pole position by Bruno Junqueira at Nazareth and four top-10 starts. The team has also scored seven top-10 finishes on oval tracks in 2001.
Rockingham, England - Team Target continues its European tour this weekend as it heads to Rockingham, England for the inaugural Rockingham 500. The team is on a point-scoring streak, recording at least one championship point in the last six races.
However, in addition to the challenge of racing on a new track, the team is also focusing its thoughts and prayers on former Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Zanardi. The 34-year-old, two-time CART champion is in stable condition following a major accident in last week's American Memorial 500, in which he lost both legs and suffered a pelvis fracture and a concussion.
"It's obviously been a very difficult week for Team Target and anyone who ever met Alex or had the chance to see him race," Ganassi said. "We're eager to race for the first time at Rockingham, but we're even more excited to hear that Alex has continued his remarkable recovery."
With five races remaining in the 2001 CART FedEx Series, Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley talk about their first season as Team Target drivers, and reveal their thoughts on this weekend's race on the new 1.5-mile oval.
What are your thoughts on racing at the new track in Rockingham, England?
"It's exciting because this will be the first time the people in England have seen us race. It's always neat to run on a new track in front of new fans. In Germany, for example, the people were amazed at how easily they could approach us and get autographs. I really enjoyed interacting with the fans in Germany and I think the fans in England will be surprised at how willing the drivers are to interact with them. The track looks very challenging. There are four tight corners with fairly short straight-aways. I'm looking forward to racing there."
How has this season gone for you since joining Team Target?
"It's been great. The team has really welcomed me into their family. We've had some good results and almost won a couple of races. I'd like nothing more than to give this team a few wins before the end of the season."
Are you more comfortable on the ovals, such as Rockingham?
"This team has a great oval package. We almost won the race in Michigan and we had a chance to win in Chicago. The Toyota/Lola combination has done very well on the ovals this year. The team seems to have a good handle on a fast oval setup, which they have proven over the years. So that helps me to be confident when I step into the racecar. I know that I'll be fast right away."
You won the first race of the year for Team Target in Elkhart Lake. How has that helped you?
"It's given me a lot of confidence. This series is very competitive and there are at least 20 drivers who have a chance to win each week. I think we can win again this year. The team's working very hard and they give me a fast car at every race we go to."
Are you excited to be back in Europe after winning the F3000 championship here last year?
"Yes, It's great to be back here. I have a lot of good memories from last year. But that was last year. I'm now focused on winning this race and winning a few more before the end of the season."
What has been the key to your success on ovals this year?
"Like Memo said, this team has a great oval package. My team has a great oval set-up, which has made it easier for me to adapt to driving on ovals. I think that if we had qualified for the race in Germany, we would have been in the top five. Hopefully, we'll
have that chance this weekend. Our Toyota engine has been very fast on the ovals this year and if things go our way, we'll have a very good chance to win on Saturday."
The Rockingham 500 airs live on ESPN beginning at 7:30 a.m.