After wins at Michigan and Chicago, Toyota heads to Gateway looking for its third consecutive oval track victory. Each of the manufacturer's three Champ Car wins this season have come on ovals (Milwaukee was the third). In addition to the...
After wins at Michigan and Chicago, Toyota heads to Gateway looking for its third consecutive oval track victory. Each of the manufacturer's three Champ Car wins this season have come on ovals (Milwaukee was the third). In addition to the three victories, Toyota-powered drivers also have earned a second and four fourths in the seven oval races this season.
Polls are commonplace in any election year, but Juan Montoya has made poles to be the standard on short ovals in his 2000 campaign. The reigning FedEx Series champ will go for a sweep of the short oval pole positions this year at Gateway. To date, Montoya has been on the pole at Nazareth, Milwaukee and Chicago. Montoya also won the pole at Gateway a year ago. For his career, he's sat on the pole at five of seven short oval events he's run.
In addition to his pole positions, Juan Montoya has dominated each of the short oval races this season including his first win of the year at Milwaukee in June. Montoya has led 110 of 225 laps at Nazareth, 179 of 225 laps at Milwaukee and 111 of 225 laps at Chicago. Combined, the Colombian has 400 of a possible 675 laps on short ovals this season.
Dating back to a year ago, Montoya also led 462 of a possible 911 short oval laps run in Champ Car competition. Career-wise, the 24-year-old has led 862 of 1,486 laps he's run on CART's bull-rings for an amazing 58 percent.
Juan Montoya's oval dominance hasn't been limited to the short ovals this season. Montoya has led 632 of the 1,270 laps run in oval competition in 2000 - just under 50 percent. In simple terms, the reigning FedEx champion's total is 29 more than the next eight highest lap leaders combined!
Montoya has registered fastest race laps at five of the seven oval tracks run to date this season - Homestead, Motegi, Milwaukee, Michigan and Chicago. In addition, Montoya has scored 67 points on ovals this season compared to just 18 on road courses.
While Juan Montoya has statistically dominated Champ Car oval competition, it was fellow Toyota driver Cristiano da Matta that walked away with the victory at the most recent short-oval event in Chicago in late July. The second-year driver led the last 51 laps on the way to his first career victory.
Toyota Champ Car drivers Memo Gidley and Oriol Servia took time out of their hectic race schedules to throw out the first pitch at the Anaheim Angels game this past Monday. In addition, the two drivers took afternoon batting practice with the Halo's, as well.
Buddy Rice can clinch his first Toyota Atlantic Championship title this weekend at St. Louis. The Arizona native earned his eighth 2000 podium finish in 10 races this past weekend at Laguna Seca. He has five wins this year. Rookies Daniel Wheldon and Martin Basso are the only drivers left with a mathematical chance of catching Rice. Wheldon closed to within 14 points after taking his second victory of the season in Monterey. The young Brit also has registered six pole positions this season. Basso retains a slim chance of capturing the title - but will be eliminated from title hopes should Rice score just two more points this season. In addition, if Rice can gain eight points on Wheldon this weekend, he'll join the illustrious ranks of Toyota Atlantic champion.
Jim Aust , Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We've been at our best on the ovals this season, so we're really looking forward to arriving at Gateway and getting back on the right track. We've let a number of opportunities slip away this season, and it's important for us to try to get another one in the win column."
<pre> Date: September 17, 2000 Broadcast: ESPN 2, 2:30 p.m. ET Race Length: 236 laps for 299.720 miles Track Length: 1.27-mile oval 1999 Winner: Michael Andretti Toyota's Best Finish: 12th, PJ Jones, 1999 Toyota's Best Qualifying: 9th, Robby Gordon, 1999 Track Speed Records: Qualifying: 1997, Raul Boesel, 187.963 mph Race: 1998, Alex Zanardi, 109.647 mph
Manufacturer Points: Honda 269; Ford 268; Toyota 216; Mercedes Benz 63