CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Portland race notes

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I want to apologize to the Kmart team for what happened at the beginning of the race when I went off track by myself. I had a small "off" by a few centimeters. It hurt us and we fell way back but most of all I am happy for the points after we came back and finished third. What screwed me up was when the track started drying in the end because you would run on a dry part then a wet part for the last six or seven laps. It really cost me a lot. If it would have stayed more wet, I could have made more gains. I always look forward to the race here in Portland because we always run well. We had a slow start to the season but there are many races in front of us for the Championship and we are coming back strong. The thing that makes me happiest today is the amount of points we scored. The top two had one hell of a race and didn't make any mistakes and that is why they are up there and I am not. Overall, considering everything, finishing third is pretty good. We charged back at the end of the race."

· NOTE: Was his seventh start in Portland. Has been called the "Rainmeister" due to his ability to control the race car in wet conditions.

Jumped from 11th in the CART standings to fifth today. Was his fourth top-five finish in the past four events. (Also ran in fourth place in Milwaukee but made contact with the lapped car of Nicolas Minassian and finished 18).

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "When we were under yellow I was keeping my tires warm and was on top of the situation but Max did something strange and I hit him in the back and went off track. The track was very slick and that is why you saw so many cars going off because we didn't have any traction. It's disappointing that we dropped so far back and didn't get back up there. We still held fourth place in the points but it looked like we were capable of scoring a lot of points this weekend. I felt I had a good car in dry conditions and wet conditions. It just didn't work out for us today but we are pretty confident we will be competitive again in Cleveland."

· NOTE: Is fourth in the CART standings. Was his third Champ car race in Portland and first with NHR.

-NHR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Nicolas Minassian