CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Newman-Haas race notes


CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We were hoping no yellows would come out after our second stop but Michael brought out one at the perfect time for Gil and Dario. They were able to build a huge gap in front of us because we were behind some guys that were tight on fuel. We should have been able to keep up with Gil after our last stop but the traffic hurt our track position and they ended up being able to pit under yellow and get back on track in front because of the big lead they had built. It's tough to pass here so we were stuck behind them. Our strategy turned out to be the wrong strategy the way the yellows flew but we were able to collect some points at the Texaco/Havoline race. We'll get them next time. The car was okay the first part of the race but the final stint after my last stop, the car was loose. Strategy is such a big part of our races these days. For instance, Memo started 23rd and moved his way up to the front by topping off during some yellows because he didn't have as much to loose."

· NOTE: Was his third event in Houston and first with NHR as well as first as the "Texaco/Havoline" driver in the Texaco/Havoline-sponsored race. Is currently only 63 points out of first place in the Championship with 100 to Gil de Ferran (163) with three races to go.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "We had a good car on Friday and Saturday but having to qualify in the first group hurt us. Passing on this type of track is tough so a good qualifying position in half of the battle. We needed to score a good amount of points and get back in the second group. We have been on the bad end of the strategy gamble more times than not. Sooner or later it has to come our way. The good news this weekend was that the car was good for most of the weekend. It wasn't the best car on the track but we have something to work with. We will keep working hard the reminder of this season as well as begin focusing on begin competitive next season."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran