CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Houston preview

<pre> TEXACO/HAVOLINE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON Date: October 7, 2001 Broadcast: ESPN, 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m PT Race Length: 100 laps for 152.7 miles Track Length: 1.527-mile...

<pre> TEXACO/HAVOLINE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON

Date: October 7, 2001 Broadcast: ESPN, 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m PT Race Length: 100 laps for 152.7 miles Track Length: 1.527-mile street course 2000 Winner: Jimmy Vasser Toyota's Best Finish: 1st, Jimmy Vasser, 2000 Toyota's Best Qualifying: 3rd, Jimmy Vasser, 2000 Track Speed Records: Qualifying: 1999, Juan Montoya (93.651 mph) Race: 1999, Paul Tracy (78.960 mph)

Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda 278 2. Ford 240 3. Toyota 236 </pre>

TOYOTA RETURNS TO SITE OF FIRST ROAD COURSE WIN - When the Champ Cars arrive at the Texabco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, it will be an anniversary of sorts for the Toyota program. It was one year ago at Houston when Toyota won its first road course event and claimed its first one-two finish with Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya, respectively. The victory came after four Toyota oval wins.

MORE ROAD COURSE SUCCESS - Toyota will be looking for its third consecutive CART road course victory this weekend at Houston. Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota) and Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota) have won the two most recent road course events at Vancouver and Road America, respectively. Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota), coming off a third-place finish in England, also has a road course win under his belt this season. He won the season-opening race in Monterrey, Mexico.

VASSER BACK TO DEFEND HOUSTON CROWN IN A TOYOTA - Jimmy Vasser (Visteon Toyota) will be back to defend his 2000 Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix title this weekend. While Vasser once again will be running with Toyota power, he'll be returning with a new team (Patrick Racing), a new chassis (Reynard) and a new teammate in Roberto Moreno. Vasser won last year's race while racing with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

RACIN' IN THE STREETS - Roberto Moreno will be shooting for his second consecutive street course victory and third podium finish in the last four downtown street courses on the CART schedule at Houston. The popular Brazilian has already recorded a third at Detroit and a victory at the most recent street race in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Overall, Moreno has earned 69 of his 74 championship points on road courses this season.

DA MATTA BACK ON THE RISE - Cristiano da Matta has moved back into the CART top-five in points after a third-place finish at Rockingham. The podium was da Matta's first since Long Beach in April. Since that time, he has suffered from a variety of bad luck including back-to-back first-lap incidents (neither of his own doing) at Motegi and Milwaukee. Recently, he's started to get back in the groove with three top-six and four top-10 showings in his last seven races.

BACK IN THE USA - The Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston marks the FedEx Championship Series first race back in the United States since Bruno Junqueira took his Target Toyota to victory at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Aug. 19.

TOYOTA ATLANTIC GRAD SET TO MOVE UP IN '02 - Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Martin Basso has signed a deal to move up to the Champ Car ranks in 2002 with Dale Coyne Racing. Basso is currently third overall in points and has six top-five finishes in the last seven TAC events. He joins the likes of Michael Andretti, Patrick Carpentier, Jimmy Vasser and Alex Tagliani among current Atlantic grads in FedEx Championship competition, while former CART and Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is currently competing in F1.

JIM AUST, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We've had a great deal of success on the road course events recently - winning the last two. Hopefully, we can extend that streak to three in Houston - a track where Toyota serves as the Official Vehicle."

-TRD-

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Martin Basso , Chip Ganassi , Dale Coyne , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Dale Coyne Racing