CHAMPCAR/CART: Molson Indy Toronto Pre-Race Notes

* Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift) continued his breakthrough FedEx Championship Series season with a victory at Road America last week, marking the ninth time in 10 starts this season that he has scored PPG Cup points, a series high.

* Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart Ford Swift) continued his breakthrough FedEx Championship Series season with a victory at Road America last week, marking the ninth time in 10 starts this season that he has scored PPG Cup points, a series high. Fittipaldi is also the series leader in laps (1,471 of a possible 1,473), and miles (2,238.701 of a possible 2,242.913) completed.

* FedEx Championship Series points leader Juan Montoya (Target Honda Reynard) has posted podium finishes in three of his four starts on road or street courses this season. Included are victories at Long Beach and Cleveland and a runner-up effort at Portland. Montoya also led a race-high 46 of 55 laps from the outside pole at Road America last weekend before transmission problems forced his exit while in the lead after completing 48 laps. Montoya has started on the front row in each of his past three road/street circuit appearances, with poles at Portland and Cleveland in addition to last week's outside pole effort.

* Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Honda Reynard) has finished on the podium in three of the past four FedEx Championship Series events, including a victory at Portland, runner-up effort at Cleveland and third at Milwaukee. He also has qualified among the top three drivers for the past three events, including second at Cleveland and third at Portland and Road America.

* Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift) owns five career victories at Toronto, including four in consecutive starts in 1991, '92, '94 and '95 (Andretti did not compete in the FedEx Championship Series in 1993). Andretti, whose other victory came in 1989, won the 1991 pole position and has finished fifth or better in 10 of 12 career starts at Exhibition Place, including fifth in 1987, third in '88, second in '90, fourth in '97 and second last year. He has a career total of 414 laps led at Toronto, including 103-lap, flag-to-flag victories in 1991 and '92.

* Al Unser Jr. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola) owns a pair of victories at Toronto, (1988, '90) and is the only active driver to have competed in all 13 FedEx Championship Series events held at Exhibition Place. He owns a career total of 229 laps led in Toronto.

* Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) became the first back-to-back Toronto pole winner in the history of CART competition last year, then went on to lead a race-high 76 laps before suspension problems brought a premature end to his day. He holds the track qualifying record of 105.694 miles per hour (58.618 seconds), set last year.

* Robby Gordon (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift) has scored PPG Cup points in five of six career appearances at Toronto, with a best finish of fifth in 1995. He also earned one of his four career pole positions at Toronto in 1994.

* Jimmy Vasser (Target Honda Reynard) has finished with PPG Cup points in five of seven career appearances at Toronto, topped by his third-place result last year.

* By starting Sunday's Molson Indy, Al Unser Jr. will break Bobby Rahal's record of 264 CART career starts. Unser Jr., who joined the series in 1982, tied Rahal by starting last week's Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America. He is the only active driver to have started all 13 FedEx Championship Series events contested at Toronto, with wins in 1988 and '90. All told, Rahal made 265 career Champ Car starts, including the 1982 Indianapolis 500, which was not run under the CART umbrella.

* Rookie and FedEx Championship Series points leader Juan Montoya needs to lead one lap at any of the final 10 events of the season to take possession of the CART rookie record for laps led. Montoya's 46 laps led at Road America last weekend tied him with Alex Zanardi, who established the rookie mark in 1996 at 610 laps led. Montoya and Zanardi are currently tied with Mario Andretti (1987) for seventh place on the CART single-season laps led list. Michael Andretti holds CART's single-season laps led mark at 1,136. Andretti, who is also CART's career laps-led leader (5,992), needs eight more to reach the 6,000 mark for his career.

* Jimmy Vasser would move into a tie for 15th-place on the CART career starts list by starting Sunday's Molson Indy. Vasser, currently tied for 16th-place with Teo Fabi at 116 career starts, could tie Kevin Cogan and Hiro Matsushita at 117 by starting Sunday.

* Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard) will make his 100th CART career start Sunday, making him only the sixth active FedEx Championship Series driver to reach that mark, joining Unser Jr., Michael Andretti (240), Scott Pruett (135), Paul Tracy (122) and Vasser. Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes) and Robby Gordon, with 98 and 96 starts, respectively, figure to move into the select group soon.

* Gugelmin will make his 99th consecutive FedEx Championship Series start Sunday, tying him with Rick Mears for sixth place on the CART consecutive starts list. Gugelmin's streak began at Mid-Ohio in 1993. Vasser, meanwhile, will make his 97th consecutive start, tying him with Bobby Rahal for eighth place in CART annals. His streak began at Laguna Seca in '93. Unser Jr. leads the list with 192 consecutive CART starts from 1983 through '95.

* He was Cosmopolitan magazine's Single Guy of the Month for May 1999, and ever since, Christian Fittipaldi's performance on the track has been "cosmopolitan" as well. Fittipaldi's past four podium finishes in the FedEx Championship Series have come in four different countries. The streak began with a third-place effort in Australia last year, and has been followed this season by finishes of third at Japan and Brazil prior to last week's victory at Road America. Fittipaldi's five-year FedEx Championship Series career also includes a podium finish in Canada, third at Vancouver in 1996.

* Fittipaldi's victory at Road America last week extended a run which has seen international drivers capture seven of the past eight FedEx Championship Series events contested at Road Ameirca. The run began with a victory by Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, Christian's uncle, in 1992, and continued with victories by Canadian Paul Tracy in 1993, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1994 and '95, Italian Alex Zanardi in '97 and Scotsman Dario Franchitti in 1998 prior to Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi's win last Sunday. Michael Andretti's 1996 victory at Road America stands as the only triumph by a U.S. driver at the venue in the past eight years.

* Following Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America, seven transporters which form the CART's base of operations at FedEx Championship Series events were ferried across Lake Michigan in preparation for this weekend's Molson Indy. The transporters - which included three technical transporters, the communications trailer, the CART Mobile Medical Facility, the steward's trailer and the Featherlite service trailer - were ferried from Manitowoc, Wis. to Ludington, Mich., saving approximately 425 miles and nine hours of driving. Total weight of the equipment ferried was more than 520,000 pounds.

* Michel Jourdain Jr. (Herdez/Viva Mexico! Ford Lola) comes to Toronto following a career-best seventh-place finish at Road America Sunday. Jourdain Jr., who was making his 51st career start, exceeded his previous career best finish of 10th, established at Vancouver last year. His previous season-best finish had been 16th, at Nazareth, Rio de Janeiro and Milwaukee.

* Ford comes to Toronto off its first podium sweep of the season at Road America. Christian Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti finished one-two, respectively, for Newman/Haas Racing, and were followed across the finish line by Adrian Fernandez of Patrick Racing. It was the first podium sweep for Ford since last year at Mid-Ohio, when Fernandez and Scott Pruett finished first and second for Patrick Racing and were followed by Bobby Rahal of Team Rahal. The podium sweep was the second for an engine manufacturer this season, following Honda's sweep at Portland with Gil de Ferran, Juan Montoya and Dario Franchitti, respectively.

* Honda-powered drivers have won the last nine FedEx Championship Series events contested on temporary street circuits, dating to the beginning of the 1998 season. Alex Zanardi won the first four of those, at Long Beach, Detroit, Cleveland and Toronto, respectively, last year. Dario Franchitti followed with victories at Vancouver and Houston, followed by another victory by Zanardi at Australia. Juan Montoya has continued the streak this season with victories at Long Beach and Cleveland. The last non-Honda-powered driver to win a FedEx Championship Series street race was Mauricio Gugelmin, who piloted a Mercedes to victory at Vancouver in 1997.

* Qualifying for the Molson Indy will air 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, with ABC-TV's tape-delayed broadcast scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET. The race will also air on the CART Radio Network, and both qualifying and the race will be broadcast on the CART website, at www.cart.com .

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