CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Team Target preview

What: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, round two of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, April 8. Broadcast: 4 p.m. Eastern live on ABC-TV. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of...

What: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, round two of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, April 8. Broadcast: 4 p.m. Eastern live on ABC-TV. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on Qualifying ­­- Saturday, April 7. Practice - April 6.

Where: The 1.968-mile temporary street course in Long Beach, Calif.

History: Team Target has won 4 out of the last 5 races held in Long Beach.

Fast Facts:

* Team Target's rookie drivers, Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, replace Juan Montoya, the 1999 CART champion, and Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART champion.

* Junqueira claimed the 2000 European F3000 Series championship, earning four victories. Minassian was runner-up to his new teammate, claiming three checkered flags.

* Target Chip Ganassi Racing won 34 of the 92 CART FedEx Series events from 1996 through 2000.

* Team Target has claimed four CART FedEx Series championships (1996-1999).

* Former Team Target driver Juan Montoya won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, his first-ever race at the famed oval. Team Target announced on March 5 it would return to Indianapolis in 2001 to defend its title.

* Team Target drivers have claimed 31 of the 93 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.

Junqueira and Minassian eagerly await second FedEx Series race

Long Beach, Calif. -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing rookie drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian hope to continue a winning tradition this weekend in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since 1996, Team Target has compiled a stellar record on the 1.968-mile street course, winning four out of the last five races.

The team's first victory on the streets of Long Beach came in 1996 when Jimmy Vasser took the checkered flag on his way to the team's first CART championship. Alex Zanardi captured the 1997 and 1998 races en route to his back-to-back championships. In 1999, a little-known rookie named Juan Montoya, racing on his first CART street course, crossed the finish line first, giving Team Target four straight Long Beach victories. Montoya also went on to win the CART championship that year, the team's fourth in a row.

The pilot of the No. 4 Toyota/Lola, Bruno Junqueira, is confident the team's winning ways at Long Beach are not over.

"This team knows how to win here, it is as simple as that," Junqueira explained. "My engineers have a good setup on the car, which makes me very confident we can do well here. I've never raced on this track before, but it's like the track in Monaco with long straight-aways and tight corners. I really like the Monaco track and, because I won there last year, I'm confident I can also do well in Long Beach."

Team Target managing director Mike Hull believes his two rookie drivers will benefit from the team's prior success at Long Beach.

"This will be the first time Bruno and Nicolas have been on this track, and that will put them at somewhat of a disadvantage," Hull said. "But these guys adapt very quickly to new situations and are fast learners. With the success we've had over the last five years, it's clear that our team knows the formula to win at Long Beach. Can we win here with two rookies? We did it in 1999 with Juan (Montoya), so I'm confident the answer is yes."

With almost a month between the last two races, Team Target's Nicolas Minassian is eager to return to the cockpit of the No. 12 Toyota/Lola.

"I feel like it's been months since I've been in the car," Minassian said. "Although it's been nice to have some time off, I can't wait to get to Long Beach. This is a place where our team has dominated over the last few years, and I think we have a great chance to win our first race. We had a decent car last month down in Mexico, and we came away with two championship points. I think we can do a lot better this week and hopefully come up with a win."

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach airs live on ABC-TV with the green waving at 4 p.m. EST.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Alex Zanardi , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing