CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Fittipaldi 7th and da Matta 9th in practice

* OVERALL: Newman/Haas Racing hopes to repeat its 1-2 finish in 1996 with its new combination of drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. So far, the team has won two races (Michael Andretti - 1996, 1990) and six poles (Michael...

* OVERALL: Newman/Haas Racing hopes to repeat its 1-2 finish in 1996 with its new combination of drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. So far, the team has won two races (Michael Andretti - 1996, 1990) and six poles (Michael Andretti - 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989; Mansell - 1994, 1993), in Detroit.

1st     Dario Franchitti               1:14.838 / 112.852 mph

7th Christian Fittipaldi 1:15.386 / 112.031 mph
9th Cristiano da Matta 1:15.470 / 111.907 mph

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I'm pretty happy with the car so far. We ran new tires very early in the session before the track was at its peak with rubber down and the car was good. After CART threw the red flag to check on why there were so many punctured tires, we came in and looked at our closely and noticed two punctures in the rear tires. We put new ones on the back but still had old ones on the front so it was pretty hard to run a fast lap and put the car higher on the charts but we were working on the balance of the car anyway. I think we will be in good shape for tomorrow anyway. We have traditionally run well in Detroit. Luckily the team has had a good setup for this track since it's in Kmart's hometown. Hopefully everyone will see the fastest Bluelight Special they have ever seen this weekend."

* NOTE: Hopes to one-up his best Detroit finish with a spot at the top of the podium. Will be his fifth start in Detroit. Best result was second place in 1996 where he led 64 of 72 laps before making a slight mistake with seven laps to go and handed to win over to then teammate Michael Andretti. Best start of sixth place also came in 1996. In the 2000 race, he charged from his eighth place start into second place before Gil de Ferran made contact with his car while attempting a pass.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "The track is very different from the last street course we ran on in Long Beach so we are working on different issues here. I would say, progress wise, that we are where we were in Long Beach on Friday and we challenged for a win there so I think we are making good progress. We made a little gain from the first session and we know some of the areas we need to work on so we are narrowing it down to get a good car for the race. It's pretty hot out there. It's good that I am a Brazilian because we can handle the heat."

(On Texaco's promotion for the MCI Most Popular Driver Award:) "I was able to get Tony (Kanaan) and Christian to do some campaigning for me to get a jump on the competition. Christian has a "Vote for da Matta" decal on his helmet and Tony has one on his bike. It's good that I have such great friends who are campaigning for me instead of themselves. I'm trying to decide who to get as my campaign manager. I worked with MCI in the past and am confident they won't have a problem with the ballot count."

* NOTE: Is third in the CART standings. Will be his third Champ car race Detroit, da Matta finished 23rd in 2000 due to mechanical failure and 19th in 1999 because of contact while driving for PPI Motorsports. His only podium finish in Detroit came in 1998 where he finished second en route to his Dayton Indy Lights championship title.

Qualifying for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will air 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 2 p.m. ET. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com.

-NHR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Cristiano da Matta