Cristiano da Matta earned his third top-five finish of the season with a fifth today. The 1998 Indy Lights champion ran in the top three for much of the late-going before a late stop for fuel. Da Matta's PPI teammate Oriol Servia ran in the...
Cristiano da Matta earned his third top-five finish of the season with a fifth today. The 1998 Indy Lights champion ran in the top three for much of the late-going before a late stop for fuel.
Da Matta's PPI teammate Oriol Servia ran in the top-10 throughout the 112-lap event on the way to an eighth-place finish - the fourth top-10 placement of his rookie season.
Both Target-sponsored Toyota's were hampered after getting caught up in a first-lap incident between Kenny Brack and Dario Franchitti. Jimmy Vasser suffered suspension damage and retired immediately. Montoya suffered through handling problems for much of the race after being forced over the curbing on the Lap 1 incident, only to retired due to lack of oil pressure.
With 10 Manufacturer's points today, Toyota has now earned 118 points this season, 38 higher than Toyota's previous best total of 80 set last season.
After his first-lap retirement, Jimmy Vasser fell back to fifth in the FedEx Championship Series points race - the lowest Vasser has been all season. Montoya sits eighth in the points, while both da Matta and Servia remain in the top-15.
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports:
"You could tell this just wasn't going to be our day when both Jimmy and Juan's cars were damaged when they were caught up in the first-lap melee. Jimmy was out immediately and Juan's suspension took a big hit that really hindered his handling during the race. This was one of those races you just have to endure. Cristiano and Oriol both ran well, with Cristiano in the top five for almost the entire race. But it really ended up being a matter of pit strategy and who ended up with the best fuel mileage. We'll just look toward Cleveland and try to put this one behind us."
Cristiano da Matta, #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota:
"I am a little disappointed with fifth because we ran so much of the race in second and third. I think we did a very good job in the race today. It is good to be disappointed with fifth because last year we were celebrating fifth-place finishes."
Race Results Finish Qualified #97 Cristiano da Matta 5th 9th #96 Oriol Servia 8th 7th #1 Juan Montoya 17th 8th #10 Norberto Fontana 21st 24th #12 Jimmy Vasser 24th 14th
Manufacturer's Championship: Honda 138; Ford 136; Toyota 118; Mercedes-Benz 38