CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Newman/Haas Racing Friday report

Chevron driver Da Matta sixth fastest in provisional qualifying for Grand Prix Americas in Miami; Lilly driver Fittipaldi eighth. CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

Chevron driver Da Matta sixth fastest in provisional qualifying for Grand Prix Americas in Miami; Lilly driver Fittipaldi eighth.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "We never ran our second set of tires because it just kept going red. After running second this morning we expected a higher provisional qualifying position but we'll keep working hard to get back up there tomorrow. This surface is very slippery out there."

* NOTES: He ran his first race in the CART series at this track in 1995 while driving for Walker Racing and was the highest finishing rookie with his fifth place. He is currently 5th place in the point standings and could finish as high as second place based on the maximum of 91 points available in the four remaining events.

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Chevron Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "You don't know what kind of grip to expect because the track is breaking up. Other areas are like driving on ice. (On clinching the championship:) You have to play your strategy with the car you have in your hands and right now we have a sixth place car. We have some work to do overnight to make the car better so hopefully we'll come back stronger on Saturday. There are four races left and four chances to clinch the championship but the sooner the better."

* NOTES: Has had eight front row starts this season. He has won EIGHT of past 17 CART events dating back to his first three-peat (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) where he became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). Led 30 laps in Long Beach and built a strong lead before a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. Wins in Laguna Seca, Portland, Chicago and Toronto enabled him to tie two others (Unser, Jr., and Zanardi) with a CART record fourth consecutive win although he failed to score a fifth consecutive win in Cleveland after he lead the first 19 laps from pole but retired with mechanical failure. Led 36 laps in Vancouver before a drive shaft failure ended his race. Was in second in Mid-Ohio when he slid off-course and ultimately finished 13th. His win four races ago in Elkhart Lake was his eighth in 14 races. Will be his first event at the track. He is currently leading the standings with a total of 191 and could clinch the championship if he scores a total of 10 more points over the weekend than second place Bruno Junqueira.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The morning practice session will take place from 9:50-11:00 AM ET which will be followed by a one-hour final qualifying session from 1:15-2:15. SPEED Channel will televise qualifying live.

-nhr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira