CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...
CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I'm not in as good of a position this year as I was last year to win the race. I started fifth last year and obviously you have to work very hard for every single pass. I'm not even thinking about winning this race at this point. We have a lot of work to do to be ready for the race. We still need to get a handle on our short oval set-up. We were good in Milwaukee but haven't been at other places and it shows this weekend. That balance of the car is not bad we just have no overall grip. (On his avid following of the Tour de France:) Lance Armstrong is going for his third Tour de France win tomorrow and I am going for my third CART win. He has dominated the majority of the Tour and hopefully I will do the same in the race tomorrow but coming from 20th place is going to be difficult. We'll just have to hope the race comes to us and we make the right calls when the caution flags come out."
NOTE: Hopes to score back-to-back wins here this weekend for the first time in his three year Champ Car career. Will be his third Champ car race at the CMS and first with NHR. Da Matta won his first CART Champ Car victory last season after beating his NHR predecessor, Michael Andretti by 1.6 seconds to take the win. In his 1999 start at Chicago, he ran as high as 7th but finished 14th. Only 17 points out of first place in the CART standings in fifth with 67 points to leader Kenny Brack who has 84.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I've only qualified this far back once in CART and that was for my first race in Michigan (Walker Racing) where it didn't matter or put you out of contention because it was a long race and you could pass easier. I would say that this is the worst position I have been in due to the fact it is tough to pass here. The balance of the car was good but we just had no grip. I think we really suffered because I was the first guy out after the blowers dried the track off. There was a film that the blowers left and there was no grip. I was sideways on one of the laps and had to get off of the throttle. The car wasn't that bad. We thought we could have been in the top-10 which would have been a world better than where we are right now. We'll just hope the race comes to us. It's been a weird season and the yellows have helped drivers before so I hope they help us in the race. We were struggling with our short oval set-up but despite that we thought we would be much better than we showed so far."
NOTE: Is currently 35 points back from first place in the point standings in 10th place with 49 to leader Kenny Brack, 84. Will make his first ever start at the CMS in the event's three-year history. Last season, Fittipaldi suffered a crash, which resulted in a mild concussion during the Friday morning practice session and was therefore unable to compete based on CART rules. In 1999, Fittipaldi was unable to compete in five events including the one at CMS after sustaining a subdural hemitoma in an August 2nd testing accident caused by a gearbox failure.
Qualifying for the Target Grand Prix will air 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 4 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .