CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Chicago Friday notes

CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We are still working on making the car have a better balance so we can go faster. We are fighting and overall lack of grip. In mid-turn, I have an oversteer when I get on the power which makes the back end loose. You have to qualify well here. Qualifying is everything here because it's difficult to pass. We have some things we need to work on before we're ready to qualify. Overall I thought we would be better by this point but Newman/Haas has incredible depth to the team and they have years of experience to lean on so we should be all right. We have some work to do before I am ready to defend my win here but we are going to give 100 percent like we always do."

· 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: "In the morning practice we were basically no where but we made a lot of progress in the afternoon session. We have too much understeer this morning and the front end of the car didn't have as much grip. We made some big changes between sessions and made some progress. Now we need to make the same amount of progress before qualifying. Qualifying is important here because overtaking is very difficult. I'm looking forward to my first Saturday at Chicago Motor Speedway as well as my first race here. The championship is still open for everyone and we want to stay in the thick of it."

· 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 .

-NHR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Kenny Brack