CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Newman-Haas Racing post practice quotes

KMART DRIVER FITTIPALDI 10th QUICK WHILE TEXACO/HAVOLINE/KMART DRIVER DA MATTA 23rd - BOTH CONFIDENT OF MOVING UP ON SATURDAY FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH <pre> PRACTICE TIMES 1st              Tony Kanaan       ...

KMART DRIVER FITTIPALDI 10th QUICK WHILE TEXACO/HAVOLINE/KMART DRIVER DA MATTA 23rd - BOTH CONFIDENT OF MOVING UP ON SATURDAY FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH

<pre> PRACTICE TIMES

1st              Tony Kanaan        1:07.759    (Must be wanting to reciprocate on bet with da Matta*) 10th        Christian Fittipaldi    1:08.732 23rd         Cristiano da Matta    1:09.644

</pre> OVERALL:     Newman/Haas Racing is hoping to win their third consecutive CART FedEx victory this weekend after wins by Christian Fittipaldi in Fontana, Calif. and Cristiano da Matta in Monterrey, Mexico.  Fittipaldi is sporting a new paint scheme this weekend.  For the first time in many years, Fittipaldi is not in a black car but rather a blue car signifying the return of the icon - "The Bluelight Special."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola:  "We were obviously hoping to be a lot quicker than we were today so was are going to go through all of the data to figure out all of the places we can improve.  We used this as a testing day since there is no in-season testing now.  Tomorrow morning we will work more on speed and putting a good lap together to get ready for qualifying.  I have my work cut out in qualifying since I am in the slow group because I did not get any points in Mexico.  Maybe the "Bluelight Special" will bring us a good finish in this race so we can qualify in the fast group next time, and, more importantly get our season going."

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola:  "We had good tests at Sebring (Fla.) and expected to run well here right off of the truck but we have developed the car since those tests are were trying a few new things.

"Obviously we found some things that did not work out entirely but we still learned a lot today, which is what the practice sessions are for. We concentrated on trying new things with the car and did not run new tires in the afternoon session so we can expect to be quicker than we actually were.

"We need to get a good balance in the car from front to back but the biggest thing we need to improve on is traction.  Tony ran well today.  I guess the is rying to buy me a new bike since I have to buy him one now."

*Cristiano da Matta and friend Tony Kanaan made a bet prior to the season-opener in Mexico that if one of them won, the winner would have to buy the other one a new bicycle.  As the winner of the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, da Matta has been considering which bike to buy his friend.

Meanwhile, Kanaan looks like he intends to reciprocate on the bet.

Fittipaldi convinced both da Matta and Kanaan to cycle with him near their homes in Miami, Fla.  Their bike rides alternate in length between one-and-one-half hours to five hours depending on how much time they are available that given day.

The race will be televised live on ABC TV on Sunday, April 8 at 4 PM ET.  

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Cristiano da Matta