Chevron driver da Matta won four of the last seven CART races with his victory in today's Bridgestone GP of Monterey from the pole - won both "Monterey" races after season-opening win in Monterrey, Mexico. Lilly driver Fittipaldi finished second...
Chevron driver da Matta won four of the last seven CART races with his victory in today's Bridgestone GP of Monterey from the pole - won both "Monterey" races after season-opening win in Monterrey, Mexico.
Lilly driver Fittipaldi finished second -- best result since 2000 win in the season-finale at the California Speedway.
Fast Facts - June 9, 2002
* SIXTH CART WIN: Cristiano da Matta, 28, won his SIXTH overall CART FedEx Championship Series event today as well as his FOURTH victory in the last seven races. Wins in Australia and Fontana in 2001 plus a win in the 2002 season-opening race in Mexico enabled da Matta to become the first driver to win three in a row since Juan Montoya accomplished the feat in 1999. At the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, da Matta looked set to score a CART record four consecutive victories after leading 30 laps but made contact with another car while leaving his pit box on the second of three stops and ultimately finished eighth after starting second. In his debut with the team, he won the 2001 CART season-opener in Monterrey, Mexico. He drove to his first CART victory on the oval track in Chicago in '00 where he defeated Michael Andretti by 1.6 seconds. This is his fourth season with Toyota power and second in a Lola Champ car chassis. It was his 65th Champ car start.
* DA MATTA AT LAGUNA SECA: Was his fourth Champ car race here. Set the quickest lap times in each of the four practice sessions at the annual pre-season CART Sneak Preview as well as three of the four sessions through final qualifying on Saturday. Best start here was today's pole position and previous best finish was 15th in 2000. Won the 1997 Indy Lights series race here.
* 63rd WIN FOR NHR: da Matta brought Newman/Haas Racing its 63rd victory in its 321st race.
* ADDED NAME TO ILLUSTRIOUS LIST: With his victories for Newman/Haas Racing, da Matta added his name to the list of wins from previous team drivers Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy and Christian Fittipaldi. Only Nigel Mansell and da Matta scored wins for the team in each of their debuts.
* 14 OVERALL FOR TOYOTA: Today's victory marked the 14th for Toyota since joining the series and SIXTH by da Matta. Juan Montoya won races for Toyota in Milwaukee, Michigan, and St. Louis while Jimmy Vasser won the Houston race and da Matta won in Chicago - all in 2000. In the 2001 season, da Matta in Mexico, Australia and Fontana; Scott Dixon won in Nazareth; Bruno Junqueira won in Elkhart Lake; and Roberto Moreno won in Vancouver. To start of the 2002 season, da Matta won in Monterrey, Mexico as well as TODAY and Bruno Junqueira won in Japan. Today's victory is the third in five races this season for Toyota and marks the manufacturer's fifth win in the last seven CART races.
* 111th WIN FOR LOLA: The LAGUNA SECA victory marks the 111th for Lola, and the 59th by NHR of 111.
* CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1998 - Indy Lights Champion after leading the series with four victories, three poles and eight podium finishes; also ran in and won the Annual 12 hours Granja Viana Go-Kart Race; 1994 - Brazilian Formula 3; 1993 - Brazilian Formula Ford; 1992 - Sao Paulo Karting Championship; 1991 - Brazilian Karting Championship; 1991 and 1990 - Minas Gerais State Karting championship.
CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Chevron Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "For me it was a perfect day. I was worried about the start but I had good guys around me and I managed to get a good start. At one point we had a good lead on the field but a change we made to the car on the third stint made it not as good and we caught traffic at the same time which made it more difficult to deal with. Because of that, we changed our strategy and decided to pit earlier. After that I was pretty comfortable because the car was back to the performance that we had at the beginning of the race and we were able to build a 20 second lead. It's not only great to win for the team and Chevron which is based near here but we are leaving this race with the points lead and that is the most important thing of all. I think they should add more races in cities named Monterey since that is where we have won our two races so far this season! Portland should be another good race for us. I can't wait!"
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "The Lilly crew did an excellent job and that's why they are 'P1' (position one) in the Craftsman Pit Stop Contest. We had quick stops all three times and gained a position on each of them. But the real reason we were able to finish second was because the team gave me a good car and I managed to run pretty quick laps and make up ground on Kenny before my last stop. That's what got me by Kenny for second place. We are good on these types of tracks so we need to capitalize on the points available when we come to them. I'm am aiming to win $1 million for the Championship, $1 million for another win at the California Speedway and $50,000 for the guys in the pit stop contest. To finish one-two really motivated the team. It would be a dream weekend for me to continue this momentum to (next weekend's race in) Portland which is a very special place for me."