Da Matta Wins Million, Toyota Triumphs At Fontana - Today's victory is the sixth of the season for Toyota - establishing a new program-high, exceeding last year's total of five - and the manufacturer's 11th overall. Today's win is the second...
Da Matta Wins Million, Toyota Triumphs At Fontana
- Today's victory is the sixth of the season for Toyota - establishing a new program-high, exceeding last year's total of five - and the manufacturer's 11th overall. Today's win is the second for a Toyota on a superspeedway (Juan Montoya won the 2000 Michigan race) and Toyota's sixth oval track victory in the last 13 Champ Car oval events.
- Today's victory marks Toyota's second in a row and its fourth in the last eight CART races.
- Today's victory was worth $1 millon in prize money for Cristiano da Matta's (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) and was his third of the season and the fourth of his career - all coming with Toyota power. Da Matta becomes only the fourth active driver to win on all four types of Champ Car circuits - short oval (Chicago, 2000), permanent road course (Mexico, 2001), street course (Australia, 2001) and superspeedway (today here at Fontana). Today's victory is Newman-Haas' second straight at Fontana after Christian Fittipaldi won last season's season finale here at the California Speedway.
- The victory also marks Cristiano da Matta's third podium finish in the last five races and his fifth of the season. He also placed in the top 10 in 13 of 20 events this year.
- Cristiano da Matta edged Max Papis for the point for laps led today, 53-52, thus earning the bonus point that puts him into a tie with Helio Castroneves for fourth-place overall. Each has three wins and a second this year, but da Matta wins the tie-breaker with his third at Rockingham, England. Da Matta ends the season with 141 points - scoring 63 points in the season's final five races.
- Toyota-powered cars led 125 of the race's 220 laps with seven of the nine Toyota drivers leading at least one lap.
- Bruno Junqueira's fourth-place finish victory is the third top-five finish of his rookie season and his seventh top-10 this year.
TOYOTA RESULTS - MARLBORO 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
#6 Cristiano da Matta 2/1
#4 Bruno Junqueira 8/4
#40 Jimmy Vasser 9/12
#11 Christian Fittipaldi 5/13
#12 Memo Gidley 11/14
#5 Tora Takagi 20/15
#18 Scott Dixon 10/17
#22 Roberto Moreno 23/19
#17 Mauricio Gugelmin 15/20
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "Cristiano da Matta showed today that he's one of the elite drivers in the world. He's proven he can win on every type of circuit and we're proud that he's been associated with Toyota since he began his Champ Car career. In many ways, we've matured together. I can't say enough about TRD and the Toyota RV8F. To finish like we did, winning the last two races, four of the last eight and the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota right here in our backyard is a great feeling."
Cristiano da Matta, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota: "I had a great car today. I could run high or run low and the car was always strong. The Toyota engine was very good today. We had a lot of power and also were getting very good mileage. Even in a 500-mile race, I didn't have any worries about the reliability - I didn't have a single engine failure in 20 races this season."
- TOYOTA motorsports