CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Fontana Friday notes

FASTEST: Kenny Brack 31.676 230.597 mph 11th Cristiano da Matta 32.022 228.106 mph 15th Christian Fittipaldi 32.241 226.556 mph CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...

FASTEST: Kenny Brack 31.676 230.597 mph
11th Cristiano da Matta 32.022 228.106 mph
15th Christian Fittipaldi 32.241 226.556 mph

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We are picking up where we left off at Michigan Speedway earlier this year. We had to work hard over the weekend to get the car they way I liked it because it was engineered for Michael and Christian more than for me. By the end of the weekend the car was pretty good and we picked up from there today. We pretty much took it easy today and were just checking things since we completely rebuilt the cars from how they were last week in Australia. We made some long runs for race setup and the car felt good. There is no need to push the car or driver to the limit today because we are pretty confident that the car is already pretty good. We'll see tomorrow. We have an outside chance at third place in the standings but we are going to take it one day at a time and see what we come up with on Sunday. A top-five finish in the Championship is our goal."

· NOTE: Will be his third event here and first with NHR. Retired in the '00 event after a piece from Paul Tracy's race car hit his front suspension and caused him to crash. Engine failure led to a 23rd place finish in 1999. Not only finished his first ever 500-mile race in CART earlier this season in his first 500-mile race with NHR in Michigan but also challenged for the win with 5 laps to o go despite having his airjack break on the first of numerous pit stops forcing him to go one lap down to the leaders with each longer stop. Ran as high as second in the race and ran the second fastest race lap.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I am really happy with the car in race trim - very happy. The car feels good, especially in the afternoon session. We are going with the same game plan like last year and aren't overdoing it. We don't want to push too hard and risk forcing something bad to happen. The game plan worked out for us last year so we are hoping it will again this year. It hasn't been the best season for me or the team this year so it would be good to end with a win like we did last year. That was a good morale booster during the off-season. It's good to be the defending winner for all of those months and we want to do it again. Oh ya, the million bucks wasn't bad for morale either!"

· NOTE: Led 35 laps en route to victory in the 2000 event. Will be his fifth race here. In four previous starts, he scored two podium finishes (1st in 2000, 3rd in 1999) and finished in the top-9 all four times (7th - 1998, 9th in 1997). In the 1999 event, he set the fastest race lap. He has led a total of 72 laps at this track (35 in 2000, 37 in 1999). IN 500-MILE EVENTS: Fittipaldi surpassed his previous best 500-mile finish of 2nd place in the 1995 Indy 500 when he won the 2000 Marlboro 500 at The California Speedway. He led one lap in the previous 500-mile race this season in Michigan before he made contact with the pit wall while entering the pits for his first pit stop and retired in 18th place.

Qualifying for the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota will air 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN's live race broadcast begins 3:30 p.m. ET. Sunday's race will also air live 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 Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta