CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Michigan Friday practice


CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "Today was my first time back on a Superspeedway since the Marlboro 500 in November of last year. The team has had a good Superspeedway set-up for many years now but we are working on tweaking a few things to suit my style. I ran with full tanks for most of the session because we were working on the race set-up instead of the qualifying set-up. I am reasonably happy with our progress but we have a little work ahead of us to get the car suited to my driving style. The team has had a lot of success over the years on tracks like this so I know they have a big book of data to refer to. Based on practice today, I think the race will be as close as last year with as much drafting and passing but just a little slower. That should make the race good for the fans and exciting for the drivers. I have been competitive in the last two races here but did not finish because of things out of my control. I'm looking forward to not only finishing my first 500-mile race but also finishing it well. We need to score some points and get back into the title hunt."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I'm pretty happy with the car. We're pretty much picking up where we left off with our Superspeedway set-up and I am pretty happy with the progress. We worked on our race set-up for most of the afternoon session. When we ran full fuel we were on new tires and were pretty happy. Since we had a heavy fuel load, we weren't concentrating on setting a fast lap as much as we were on getting a good balance in the car for the different conditions the race will pose on Sunday. We ran alone as well as in the draft and I am pretty happy with the feel of our car in both situations as well as full and light fuel loads and old and new tires. The draft is pretty much the same as I expected from when I tested with the four other guys a month ago. I figure that getting a tow is worth about four miles more. I think Newman/Haas will definitely be a contender this weekend. We need to get some points toward the championship and make up some ground. This race pays the same amount of points but is twice as long as most of our other races. We'll be fighting for every point we can get on Sunday and hope to put in a long day's worth of work."

Qualifying for the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota will air 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 1:30 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 .


Kathi Lauterbach Director of PR Newman/Haas Racing 317-297-8064 office 317-297-8065 fax

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Series IndyCar