CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Racing Cleveland post-race notes

- Cristiano da Matta's third-place podium finish today was the first of his Champ Car career after a previous best of fourth on three occasions. Da Matta earned seven victories and 13 podium finishes in 27 Indy Lights starts and the 1998 Indy...

- Cristiano da Matta's third-place podium finish today was the first of his Champ Car career after a previous best of fourth on three occasions. Da Matta earned seven victories and 13 podium finishes in 27 Indy Lights starts and the 1998 Indy Lights championship before moving into the FedEx Championship Series last season.

- After starting fifth, Cristiano da Matta fell to 17th after getting hit twice on the first turn of the race. He then gained 14 spots on the race track. In addition, Juan Montoya fell back to 12th on the same incident and then finished sixth. Montoya climbed as high as second before stopping for a splash of a fuel late in the race.

- Da Matta's third place was his fourth top-five finish this season. He previously has earned fourth-place finishes at Rio and Motegi, and a fifth last weekend in Portland.

- Toyota drivers turned the two fastest laps of the race today. Juan Montoya registered the fastest lap on Lap 75, while Cristiano da Matta had the second fastest race lap on Lap 63. Montoya was the only driver over 127 mph during the race.

- With 14 Manufacturer's points today, Toyota has now earned 132 points in just nine races this season, 52 higher than Toyota's previous best total of 80 set last season.

- Four of the five Toyota drivers scored FedEx Championship Series points today. Only Oriol Servia was unable to score after his first-lap retirement. Three Toyota drivers now rank in the top eight in points for the first time in history. Jimmy Vasser currently sits in a tie for fifth, while Juan Montoya is seventh and Cristiano da Matta is eighth.

Quotes

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "For the second week in a row, the first lap melee really hurt us - basically costing us any chance at victory with Cristiano (da Matta) and Juan (Montoya) falling way back. On the other hand, Cristiano (da Matta) ran an absolutely tremendous race. He was hit twice on the first turn and fell all the way back to 17th and still came back for his first podium. I think everyone can see that he's going to win this season. Right now, it's just a matter of time. I'd also like to congratulate Norberto Fontana for picking up his first CART points with a strong run."

Cristiano da Matta, #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota: "It was a very eventful race. I basically fell to almost last. When that happened, I couldn't believe it and I was very, very mad, but they were telling me on the radio to relax because we had 99 laps left. The Toyota engine ran very well today. It was very fast and consistent all day. I'm happy with a third because it's my best finish ever, but in the big picture I think we could have done better."

<pre> Race Results Finish Qualified #97 Cristiano da Matta 3rd 5th #1 Juan Montoya 6th 6th #12 Jimmy Vasser 8th 12th #10 Norberto Fontana 11th 22th #96 Oriol Servia 22nd 11th

Manufacturer's Championship: Ford 158; Honda 138; Toyota 132; Mercedes 42

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Norberto Fontana , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Toyota Racing