CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...
CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "The car wasn't that good but I've started worse than eighth before. We'll just try to gain some positions in the pits and put ourselves in a position to finish in the front. We still have some work to do before we are ready for the race but we will work hard to get a good balance in the car and work to finish the season strong."
· NOTE: Won the season opening race on the road course race in Monterrey, Mexico and led the Championship for the first four races. Will be his third Champ car race here and first with NHR. Best finish at this track is a victory in his first race at this track -- the 1997 Indy Lights event. In 1999 Champ car race here he retired due to oil pressure failure. Finished 15th in 2000.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "The car was not good at all. We tried a few new things but none of them helped. Pit strategy has worked in the favor of some guys who started in the back a few times this season so hopefully it will work in our favor here. Strategy is very important at this track. At the end of the day last year, we had the wrong pit strategy and it bit so we are due this year."
· NOTE: Will be his sixth event here. Highest finish is ninth in 1998 and highest start was an eighth place in 2000 and 1996. Ran as high as fifth place in last year's event despite battling flu-like symptoms all weekend but pit strategy dropped him to a 10th place finish. Is currently 13th place in the Championship with 61 to leader Gil de Ferran, 163.
Qualifying for the Shell 300 will air 2 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN's live race broadcast of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, round 19 of 21, 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 - which will provide audio to nearly one million American servicemen and women worldwide through the American Forces Radio Network - and on CART's official website, which will also carry Friday's qualifying, at www.cart.com .
Following the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, the series will make its final international trip of the season when they travel to Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia for the Honda Indy 300 on October 28.
The 2001 season-finale Marlboro 500 will take place on November 4 in Fontana, Calif. Kmart driver Christian Fittipaldi is the defending winner.