PPI Motorsports Pre-Race Notes & Quotes Event: Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston Track: Downtown Streets of Houston, Texas 1.527 - Mile Temporary Street Circuit Date: October 1, 2000=20 TV: ABC-TV, Sunday, October 1, 2000; 4:00 PM...
PPI Motorsports Pre-Race Notes & Quotes
Event: Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston
Track: Downtown Streets of Houston, Texas 1.527 - Mile Temporary Street Circuit
Date: October 1, 2000=20
TV: ABC-TV, Sunday, October 1, 2000; 4:00 PM (EST)
Series: CART FedEx Championship Series, Round 18
CRISTIANO da MATTA, #97 PIONEER ELECTRONICS/WORLDCOM/TOYOTA-REYNARD
CART Season: 2
Best CART Start: 2 (Toronto, 2000)
Best CART Finish: 1 (Chicago, 2000)
Points Standings: 9
In the Points: With his recent fourth place finish at Gateway, da Matta scored an additional 12 points toward the championship. Da Matta is currently ranked ninth with 100 points, but sits just 37 points behind the series leader Gil de Ferran with 137 points.
Top Ten Finisher: Da Matta has finished in the top ten eight times this year, seven of which were top five finishes.
Perfect Pit Stops: The #97 Pioneer Electronics/WorldCom Champ Car team is currently ranked fourth in the Craftsmen Pit Crew Challenge.
Last Year at Houston: Houston was a points paying race for da Matta last year, as he qualified 17th and finished 11th at his Houston debut.
Cristiano on Houston:
"I like this track. I had a good race here last year; I was running in the top ten until I had a few mechanical problems. We still managed to finish the race in the points. I think we should do very well here. I have had a very good car all year on the street courses, so I think we should be very competitive. This could very possibly become a fuel race, so we will for sure have to strategize well. I spent the last week at home in Brazil with my family, so I feel very well rested. I spent a lot of time on riding my bike with my brother, we are training for a triathlon, and so I feel very fit as well. I am looking forward to giving my guys another good result, and moving us up in the championship."
ORIOL SERVIA, #96 TELEFONICA/TOYOTA-REYNARD
CART Season: 1
Best CART Start: 7 (Portland, 2000)
Best CART Finish: 3 (Detroit, 2000)
Points Standing: 15
The Rookie Points Chase: Servi=E0 finished fifth in St. Louis, earning ten additional points toward the Rookie of the Year points chase. Servia is currently ranked second in the rookie title battle, with 56 points, eleven points of Alex Tagliani who sits in third position.
Moving Forward: Servi=E0 started 19th two weeks ago at Gateway, and finished a very impressive fifth. This effort marked Servi=E0 best ever-oval finish. The Champ Car rookie has finished in the top ten eight times this season, including a third place podium finish in Detroit.
Servia on Houston:
"I have never raced in Houston before, because in Lights we didn't race here. I have spent a lot of time watching tapes of previous races, and yesterday I spent the afternoon with my engineer John Dick and we did several laps on the track. This track does not seem too difficult to me, most of the turns seem to be similar to each other. It will be important to find a strong momentum and stick with it. It was also be extremely important to qualify well here. With the track as tight and narrow as it is, clean passing will be difficult. I am afraid some impatient mistakes could be made on a track like this, with people desperate to pass in the narrow areas. I was very happy to have finished in the top five at Gateway. That was my first top five finish on an oval in a Champ Car, so I consider that an accomplishment, however, next time I want that top five to be a win! I think we have very good possibilities with our car here, and of course I really enjoy racing on street circuits. Fortunately I have been competitive on these types of circuits all year, and our car has been very good. I am feeling very good about the weekend."