TOYOTA motorsports CART FedEx Championship Series Motorla 220 At Road America Date: August 19, 2001 Broadcast: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET (Live) Race Length: 55 laps for 224.64 miles Track Length:...
CART FedEx Championship Series
Motorla 220 At Road America
Date: August 19, 2001
Broadcast: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET (Live)
Race Length: 55 laps for 224.64 miles
Track Length: 4.048-mile road course
2000 Winner: Paul Tracy
Toyota's Best Finish: 5th, Jimmy Vasser, 2000
Toyota's Best Qualifying: 11th, Cristiano da Matta, 1999
Track Speed Records:
Qualifying: 2000, D. Franchitti (145.924 mph)
Race: 1999, C. Fittipaldi (137.697 mph)
Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda - 212 2. Ford - 185 3. Toyota - 174
What to look for at Road America:
FITTIPALDI, NEWMAN/HAAS RETURN TO HOME AWAY FROM HOME - Race car drivers are generally pretty quick to point out the importance of feeling comfortable in a race. In that case, it is hard to imagine that anyone could feel much more comfortable in a racecar than Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota) when he is in a Newman/Haas car at Road America.
In the past four seasons, Fittipaldi has a win (1999), a third and a fourth at the 4.048-mile track that some bill as America's finest permanent road course. Even with the amount of success he has enjoyed, it pales in comparison to that of his Newman/Haas team, which has four Road America wins in the series past 11 races in Elkhart Lake. Overall, the team has had six top-four finishes in the past six years at Road America, including a 1-2 finish in 1999. In addition, the team has qualified even better than they've raced with eight top-five qualifying positions in the past six years.
LAPPING THE FIELD - It is not unusual for a rookie to show some signs of inconsistency during his first season, but Scott Dixon has been just the opposite in his inaugural Champ Car campaign. The recently turned 21-year-old leads the CART FedEx Championship in laps completed by finishing 1,668 of 1,714 - good for an amazing 97.3 percent of the laps run this season.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Roberto Moreno has used the most recent road-course swing to move squarely into the battle for the top 10 in CART points. Moreno drove from 15th to sixth at Mid-Ohio where he was one of just a few drivers able to pass on the tight circuit to gain his fourth top-eight finish in the last five road course events. During that time, he finished second at Portland, third at Cleveland and appeared to be on his way to a possible victory at Cleveland before he was caught up in Bryan Herta's spin with 10 laps remaining. He eventually earned an eighth at Cleveland. If past history is an indication, things should bode well for him at Road America this weekend as well - he placed fourth at the Wisconsin track a year ago. He also led the race with as few as five laps remaining.
ON THE ROAD, II - Count Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) as one of the drivers happy to see the CART road-course swing continue. To date, the diminutive Brazilian has scored 55 of his 70 points on road courses this season.
DA MATTA, DIXON TIED FOR SIXTH IN POINTS RACE - Cristiano da Matta and Scott Dixon enter this weekend tied for sixth overall in the CART FedEx Championship Series points race. Ironically, the two of have taken exact opposite paths in scoring their 70 points. Da Matta, who holds the tie-breaker over Dixon, has scored the majority of his points on the road courses (see above), while Dixon has registered 53 of his 70 points on oval tracks.
TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS TO ELKHART - After venturing north to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, two weeks ago, the Toyota Atlantic Championship heads to Road America this weekend. Hoover Orsi arrives as the most recent Atlantic winner and points leader. Atlantic grads have been prominent in recent weeks with wins by Patrick Carpentier and Michael Andretti, along with CART podium finishes by Carpentier, Alex Tagliani and Target Toyota driver Memo Gidley, as well as by Jacques Villeneuve in Formula One and Sam Hornish, the IRL series point leader.
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "Our teams have run into a series of bad breaks in lapped traffic and in the pits recently. Our Toyota-powered teams must start to make their own breaks and get back into the title hunt. We ran extremely well at Road America last year. Juan (Montoya) had more than a 10-second lead before he was forced out of the race due to a gearbox problem. We need to finish what we started a year ago."