CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Portland Friday notes

1st Helio Castroneves 58.318 / 121.547 mph 2nd Christian Fittipaldi 58.532 / 121.103 mph 4th Cristiano da Matta 58.706 / 120.744 mph CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

1st Helio Castroneves 58.318 / 121.547 mph
2nd Christian Fittipaldi 58.532 / 121.103 mph
4th Cristiano da Matta 58.706 / 120.744 mph

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We tried a lot of different things on the car to make we happy and comfortable. We were back on the grid because we were trying so many different things but we knew the car was going to be up front when we put new tires on at the end of the session. It is going to be tough in qualifying but I am pretty confident. Newman/Haas Racing has a good baseline set-up here and has always run well in Portland. The track likes us and we certainly like it. If we can start in the top four or six positions, I honestly think we can win."

· NOTE: Will be his seventh start in Portland. Hopes to improve on his best finish of third (2000 and 1996). Highest qualifying here was third place in 1997 on his return to racing from an injury in Australia. Could not yet walk and had to also be lifted in and out of his car. Ran in second place until the last lap when he dropped to fourth after two drivers, who gambled on the track drying and made a late pit for racing slicks, passed him. Started in the top-10 all but one time in Portland. Finished in the top-12 all but twice.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "The car was much better in the first session and we didn't improve it very much in the second one. We will work hard to make some improvements for qualifying. The team has given me good race cars since the beginning and I am confident we will continue this here in Portland. I like racing on this track because it is so challenging. Today was no exception. "Texaco has 700 guests here this weekend and it will be good for us to do well in the race. We always try as hard as possible to do well but it would mean a lot to these people to be here in person and watch us race well."

· NOTE: Is fourth in the CART standings. Will be his third Champ car race in Portland and first with NHR. Da Matta looked set to score his first Champ car podium finish when he ran in second place in the 2000 Portland event but wrong fuel strategy cost him a podium finish as he had to make a last minute pit for a splash of fuel and finished fifth. Had he used less fuel and run in third instead, da Matta figures a third place finish would have been possible. Da Matta finished 5th in '00 and 11th in '99.

Qualifying for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco will air 7 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN's live race broadcast begins 4 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 Helio Castroneves , Christian Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta