What to look for at Rockingham: TOYOTA EYES 11th WIN IN LAST 17 CART RACES Coming off a victory at the most recent CART event in Denver, Toyota will be looking for its ninth victory of the season, and its11th win in the last 17 Champ...
What to look for at Rockingham:
TOYOTA EYES 11th WIN IN LAST 17 CART RACES Coming off a victory at the most recent CART event in Denver, Toyota will be looking for its ninth victory of the season, and its11th win in the last 17 Champ Car events, this weekend in Rockingham, England. Included in that stretch are three victories in the last four oval events, with triumphs at Fontana (2001), Motegi and Chicago this season.
TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT OVERSEAS WIN As the only U.S.-designed and built engine in CART racing today, Toyota will look to continue its streak of exporting winning American technology to its third straight overseas Champ Car win this weekend in England. The manufacturer has won the last two overseas events: Motegi, Japan this year and in Australia last October. In fact, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-built ToyotaRV8F has already won in four different countries this season: the United States, Japan, Canada (Toronto) and Mexico (Monterrey).
JUNQUEIRA HOPES TO CONTINUE OVAL SUCCESS With a win from the pole (Motegi) and a second-place finish (Chicago) in three 2002 oval races, Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota) has scored 10 more points (40) on ovals than any other CART driver this season. He will be looking for that type of success in England this weekend with the hope of narrowing the points gap between he and series' points leader Cristiano da Matta. Overall this season, the second-year Champ Car driver has two wins among five podium finishes and three pole positions. Junqueira's rapid rise to second place in the standings is one of the biggest stories of the CART season after finishing 16th with 68 points in 2001. This year, he has nearly doubled his points (126) through this season's first 14 races. The Brazilian currently sits 52 points behind da Matta, and he is 17 points ahead of third-place Dario Franchitti with five races remaining.
TOYOTA'S DAMATTA WINS THIRD-QUARTER DRIVER OF THE YEAR Cristiano da Matta (Havoline Toyota) received 15 of 17 first-place votes in earning third-quarter Driver of the Year honors. Da Matta, who leads the CART points standings by 52 points, won three races and four poles during the quarter. A panel of 16 leading journalists from across the U.S., and a fan vote on ESPN.com, determined the winner.
Da Matta can clinch the 2002 Champ Car title by scoring 61 more points this season or a combination of his points and the second-place driver not scoring that amount. With a win this weekend at Rockingham, da Matta could eliminate all but four drivers from title contention with four races remaining on the schedule.
LOOKING FOR A TARGET? It will not be easy to find a Target store in the United Kingdom, but if you are looking for Target Toyotas, then the easiest place would be in the top five of the starting grid. To date, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has qualified at least two cars in the top five in nine of 14 events this season, easily the highest number in CART this season.
ROCKINGHAM ONLY TRACK WITHOUT A TOYOTA TOP-TWO Although there has only been one race held at the English oval, Rockingham is currently the only track where the Champ Cars race that Toyota has not finished either first or second. Cristiano da Matta registered Toyota's top finish at the track a year ago with a third. Toyota has won at 12 of the 17 tracks where CART has previously raced.
BRITISH BACKGROUND Early in their careers, a number of current Toyota-powered drivers raced in the United Kingdom. Cristiano da Matta and Oriol Servia (Visteon Toyota) both competed in the British Formula 3championship. Da Matta also joined teammate Christian Fittipaldi (Lilly Toyota), Bruno Junqueira and Kenny Brack (Target Toyota) as former participants in the European-dominated FIA Formula 3000 series. Fittipaldi (1991) and Junqueira(2000) captured F3000 championships, while Br0x00e4ck placed second in a controversial finish for the title. In addition, Fittipaldi and Tora Takagi each competed in England during stints in Formula One, while Junqueira and Br0x00e4ck served as test drivers for the Williams and Arrows F1 teams, respectively.
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We came out of a grueling August stretch with a pair of wins and three second-place finishes, and now we need to continue that momentum at Rockingham. Toyota has a 34-point lead in the Manufacturer's Championship right now, but it's no time to become conservative. Our focus is still on winning races and finishing on the podium."