CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana: Toyota preview

What to look for at California Speedway: TOYOTA BRINGS CHAMPIONSHIPS HOME TO FONTANA -- Toyota will bring home something new to California Speedway for this weekend's The 500 Presented by Toyota: the 2002 CART Manufacturers Championship.

What to look for at California Speedway:

TOYOTA BRINGS CHAMPIONSHIPS HOME TO FONTANA -- Toyota will bring home something new to California Speedway for this weekend's The 500 Presented by Toyota: the 2002 CART Manufacturers Championship. Kenny Br0x00e4ck's fourth-place finish in the rain at Surfers Paradise, Australia clinched Toyota's first championship with two races remaining and an insurmountable 46-point lead over Honda and 75 over Ford. In addition to the Manufacturer's title, Cristiano da Matta made it a Toyota sweep for the two major CART FedEx Championship Series' awards when he clinched the Driver's Championship in Miami in early October.

TOYOTA EYES TWO IN A ROW AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY -- With the Manufacturer's Championship wrapped up, Southern California-based Toyota can now look forward to repeating its 2001 victory at its home track. Cristiano da Matta won last year's "The 500" Presented by Toyota, giving Toyota its second win in CART's last four 500-mile races, with Juan Montoya having won the 2000 Michigan 500. One of the drivers to interrupt Toyota's 500-mile dominance is now a Toyota-powered driver. Christian Fittipaldi, da Matta's teammate at Newman/Haas Racing, won the 2000 Fontana race just prior to the team's move to Toyota power in 2001.

TOYOTA LOOKS TO EXTEND OVAL SUCCESS -- Toyota is looking to extend a string of oval-track success this weekend in Fontana. Dating back to 2000, the manufacturer is looking for its ninth oval victory in CART's last 18 oval-track events. During that stretch, Cristiano da Matta and Juan Montoya each earned three victories, while Scott Dixon and Bruno Junqueira have one apiece. `Over the past 17 oval events, Toyota has eight wins, Ford five and Honda four. Toyota-powered drivers have won two of the four oval events this season with Junqueira winning in Motegi, Japan, and da Matta in Chicago.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING -- In addition to winning the 2002 CART Manufacturer's Championship, Toyota also leads all manufacturers in victories (nine), poles (11), front-row starts (18), laps led (1,075), road-course points (227) and oval-track points (tied with 72). Toyota-powered drivers Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira are first and second in the CART Drivers Championship.

THE POLES ARE IN! TOYOTA STARTS UP FRONT -- With just days remaining before the Nov. 5 elections, polling has reached center stage. For Toyota, poles have been the rule of the day all season. Toyota-powered cars have started from the pole positon in 11 of the 17 CART FedEx Championship Series races this season. While Cristiano daMatta has secured seven of those pole positions, Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Bruno Junqueira and Kenny Br0x00e4ck have won Toyota's two oval-track pole positions this season in Motegi, Japan and England, respectively. Junqueira has also won pole positions at Road America and Denver.

DA MATTA LOOKS FOR RECORD-TYING WIN -- Cristiano da Matta, the defending champ of "The 500" Presented by Toyota, can tie the all-time CART record for victories in a season (eight) with a win at the California Speedway this weekend. Da Matta leads the series in virtually every statistical category including victories (7), pole positions (7) and laps led 600, which is more than twice as many as any other driver. So far this season, he has earned victories in Monterrey, Mexico; Laguna Seca; Portland; Chicago; Toronto; Road America and Miami.

JUNQUEIRA LOOKS TO CLINCH SECOND -- Bruno Junqueira could clinch a Toyota one-two finish in the CART Driver's Championship if he outscores Dario Franchitti by 15 points and Patrick Carpentier by nine points this weekend at "The 500" Presented by Toyota. This season, Junqueira has two wins and three pole positions; he has excelled on the high-speed ovals, winning from the pole position in Motegi, Japan and earning the pole at the Indianapolis 500.

"Quotes"

Jim Aust,Toyota vice president of motorsports: b^0x001cWe're thrilled to bring the CART Manufacturers Championship back home to the California Speedway. Everyone involved with the program has worked so hard to get to this point, but our work's not over yet. A win here in Southern California would be the icing on the cake of a great season. There's no greater test or more tremendous single accomplishment in open-wheel racing than a 500-miler --proving both speed and reliability."

-toyota-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing