CHAMPCAR/CART: Gidley replaces Minassian for Portland race

Bruno Junqueira And Memo Gidley, Team Target Pre-Race Fact Sheet/News: Portland What: Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 - Round seven of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, June 24. Broadcast: 4 p.m. Eastern, live on ...

Bruno Junqueira And Memo Gidley, Team Target
Pre-Race Fact Sheet/News: Portland

What: Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 - Round seven of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, June 24. Broadcast: 4 p.m. Eastern, live on ESPN. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on CART.com. Qualifying --- Saturday, June 23. Practice - Friday, June 22.

Where: The 1.969-mile permanent road course in Portland, Ore.

History: Since 1995, Team Target has recorded four podium finishes, two victories (Zanardi '96, '98) and two poles (Zanardi '96, Montoya '99). From 1996 to 1999, Team Target led 190 of 372 laps at Portland.

Fast Facts:

Including the Indy 500, Bruno Junqueira has finished in the top 10 four times this season (ninth at Long Beach, seventh at Nazareth, fifth at Indy and fourth at Milwaukee).

Bruno Junqueira claimed the first pole position of his young, six-race CART career on May 6 at Nazareth and started second last week in Detroit.

Junqueira ranks 12th in the 2001 CART point standings, 51 points behind leader Kenny Brack.

Junqueira's top finish is fourth at the Milwaukee Mile on June 6.

Junqueira placed fifth in this year's Indy 500, his first-ever race on the famed 2.5-mile oval.

Memo Gidley will pilot the No. 12 Target Toyota-Lola in place of Nicolas Minassian this weekend.

Gidley has competed in 22 CART FedEx Series events over the past two years with his career-best sixth-place finish coming at Road America in 2000, while driving for Della Penna Motorsports.

Junqueira and Gidley replace Juan Montoya, the 1999 CART champion, and Vasser, the 1996 CART champion.

Junqueira claimed the 2000 European F3000 Series championship, earning four victories.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing won 34 of the 96 CART FedEx Series events from 1996 through 2000.

Team Target has claimed four CART FedEx Series championships (1996-1999) and won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000.

Team Target drivers have claimed 32 of the 97 pole positions since 1996.

For the fifth consecutive season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will raise money for Target House at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by donating $5,000 for victory, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led. The team has donated more than $230,000 since 1997. This year the team has donated $1,325 to Target House.

TEAM TARGET HEADS NORTHWEST WITH NEW LINEUP

Gidley replaces Minassian for Portland race

Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads to the Pacific Northwest with a new team member this weekend as the CART FedEx series rolls into Portland. The scenic 1.969-mile permanent road course, host to the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 presented by Texaco, will mark Memo Gidley's debut with Team Target.

On Tuesday, the team announced that Gidley would replace Nicolas Minassian in the cockpit of the No. 12 Target Toyota/Lola. Gidley has appeared in 22 CART FedEx series events over the last two years with his career-best sixth-place finish coming at Road America in 2000, while driving for Della Penna Motorsports. The 30-year-old American is excited about the opportunity to drive for the 2000 Indy 500 and 4-time CART champions.

"It is an honor for me to race for a great organization like Target Chip Ganassi Racing," Gidley said. "Every day for the last two years I've prepared for the situation that I am in now. I really appreciate Chip giving me this opportunity to show what I can do on the track. I've been looking for a ride since the start of the season and I've had interest from some other teams, but nothing had materialized until now. This is a first-class organization with a tradition of winning. When I got the call this morning, I can't tell you how excited I was. Now I need to focus on my job, and that is to win a race for this team. This is a really a dream come true for me."

Gidley is anxious to continue Team Target's winning tradition at Portland. Since 1995, the team has mastered the Portland road course, capturing four podium finishes, two poles (Zanardi '96, Montoya '99) and two wins (Zanardi '96, '98).

Bruno Junqueira, the 24-year-old Brazilian, has recorded three top-five starts and three top-five finishes this year, including last week's strong second-place qualifying effort in Detroit. Junqueira experienced transmission problems that ended his day on lap 41, but was encouraged by his solid performance early in the race.

"It's a shame what happened last week with the car," Junqueira said. "It's just one of those things that can happen during a race. The car was very fast during the first 35 or 40 laps of the race. I was running right behind Helio (Castroneves) and had a few opportunities to pass him. I just didn't want to make a mistake that would put us both out of the race. I knew that I had a fast car and I was just being patient. I'm happy I was able to keep pace with the guy who eventually won the race. It's disappointing to have such a fast car and to not have an opportunity to finish the race. I have a lot of confidence in this team. Our first win is coming soon and I hope that it comes this week in Portland."

After a disappointing weekend, Team Target managing director Mike Hull is confident his team can bounce back with a strong performance in Portland.

"Portland has been a good track for us in the past," Hull said. "We've had a number of podium finishes and a pair of wins over the last few years. It is a very challenging track in that it changes so much over the weekend and even during the race. One factor that causes those changes is the weather. It could be sunny and warm and then be overcast and cool in a very short period of time. You have to always be watching the weather and try to make subtle changes to the car. It's a very difficult race to win, no question about it. It's one of my favorite stops all year long. Portland is truly a beautiful place."

The Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 will air live on ESPN at 4 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 24.

-TCGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Kenny Brack , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing