CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Mid-Ohio Friday notes


CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We changed very little on the car from the first session to the second one and only used one set of tires and ran fourth quick in the afternoon. I'm very happy with the car. Since we only ran one set in the afternoon session I can run all three sets of tires tomorrow or stick with the usual two sets and be in good shape with conserving our seven sets of tires for the weekend. We had a good set-up for this race last year and ran well so I am hoping for the same this year. The track is very physically demanding and I think we all got a good work out today but it was manageable. I train to stay in good shape so that fatigue is not a problem in any race. This is probably the most demanding track we race on from a physical standpoint. The red and white (Penske) cars are strong like they were last year but we will keep working hard to close the gap on them. The top-three quick in the morning session looked just like the race results last year with Helio, Gil and myself. We are going to do everything we can to reverse that and win the race."

· NOTE: Is currently 55 points back from first place in the point standings in 11th place with 49 to leader Kenny Brack, 104. Ran third fastest lap in the morning session and fourth quickest in the afternoon session despite utilizing only one set of tires rather than the usual two sets. Hopes to improve on last year's third place finish, which was his best ever at Mid-Ohio in five starts. Suffered engine failure in 1995; finished seventh in 1996; suffered transmission failure in 1997; finished 13th in 1998 after the team struggled; did not compete in 1999 after he suffered a subdural hemitoma from a testing accident caused by a gearbox failure; finished third in 2000 after starting fifth.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We only ran one set of tires this afternoon but the car is still not where we need it to be from a performance standpoint. We are still working with the balance of the car so we can put a really good lap together as well as have a good car for the race. We made a little gain from the first session to the second but we haven't been able to fix the problems. We were able to hide them a little bit but not get rid of them."

· NOTE: Only 37 points out of first place in the CART standings in fifth with 67 points to leader Kenny Brack who has 104. Will be his third Champ car race at Mid-Ohio and first with NHR. Da Matta finished 17 last season after starting seventh as a result of contact with Tracy and Kanaan. Finished 9th in 1999. Has been strong on road courses this season.

Qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will air 1 a.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 10:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN-TV's live race broadcast begins 12 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 .


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kenny Brack