Da Matta and Newman/Haas dominate in Monterey. Cristiano da Matta continued his mastery of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Christian Fittipaldi charged into second place to give Newman/Haas Racing a 1-2 finish in the Bridgestone Grand Prix of ...
Da Matta and Newman/Haas dominate in Monterey.
Cristiano da Matta continued his mastery of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Christian Fittipaldi charged into second place to give Newman/Haas Racing a 1-2 finish in the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey, the first time the tire manufacturer has been title sponsor at the track.
Da Matta led all but five of the 87 laps and crossed the finish line an impressive 19.087 seconds ahead of the field. It is da Matta's sixth career FedEx series win and second this season on Bridgestone Potenza tires, following his victory in the season opener at Monterrey, Mexico. Fittipaldi pushed his car to the max in fighting to the runner-up spot, his best finish this season.
Bridgestone has a storied racing history dating four decades, but 2002 is the tire maker's debut year in the FedEx Championship Series. As the Official Tire of CART, each entry in the 19-car grid competes on Bridgestone Potenza racing radials.
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone Motorsport Project Supervisor:
"There was no stopping Cristiano today. His car was invincible. A significant point is that no matter what set of Bridgestone tires he put on the car, it continued to perform at its unbeatable standard. That's a testament to the consistent performance of the Potenzas, throughout each stint and from set to set. Christian, meanwhile, drove the wheels off his car to get second place. He had the confidence in the tires to push harder and harder with each successive lap and the Potenzas held up to the test."
Quote from race winner Cristiano da Matta, Chevron Toyota/Lola/ Bridgestone: "Great car, great stops, great strategy, great tires, great everything. It was a perfect day. The Bridgestone tires held up very well today."
Quote from runner-up Christian Fittipaldi, Eli Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone: "It was a great day for the team. It was tough for us early because we got stuck in traffic. After I got a clear track, the car was pretty quick and I managed to get into second and make it to the finish. The Bridgestone tires are too good as usual. What's pretty interesting and actually very good toward the tires is that I end up going a little bit quicker at the end of a stint than at the beginning. The tires are hanging in there; they're good and consistent. But it's also because the car is a lot lighter. I have driven with other tire manufacturers before where I start quick and end up slow, and that's not very good."
Race temperatures ranged from 116 to 119 degrees track and 72 to 80 degrees ambient.