CHAMPCAR/CART: Norberto Fontana returns at Detroit

Indianapolis, Ind. (June 15, 2000) - Argentine rookie Norberto Fontana returns to the cockpit of his ...

Indianapolis, Ind. (June 15, 2000) - Argentine rookie Norberto Fontana returns to the cockpit of his #10 Della Penna Motorsports Toyota/Reynard Champ Car for this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit after missing two race events recovering from his incident in Japan.

"We've been a bit unlucky this year," Fontana said. "We knew the ovals would be challenging, but nothing like it has been. I tried to go to every event to run a quiet race and learn from the experience, but something always seemed to go wrong - crashes in Japan and Nazareth and gearbox problems in Rio.

"Hopefully, now we'll get a second chance on how our season is going since I have more experience on the road courses and have much more experience with this type of racing."

Fontana missed the Firestone Firehawk 500 in Motegi, Japan (May 13) due to briefly losing consciousness after heavy contact with the Turn Two wall during Friday morning's practice session. Then, the team opted to not contest the Miller Lite 225 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin (June 4).

"Norberto was not feeling well and, as we discovered later, he had developed a problem with his inner ear as result of the Japan crash," Della Penna said. "In addition, the car had sustained heavy damage during the Nazareth event and I just didn't feel we were prepared for Milwaukee.

"We need to concentrate on getting back to basics and focus on finishing races, getting that consistency I think will help improve our season."

According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART's Director of Medical Affairs, Fontana's incident in Japan had disturbed a balancing mechanism in Fontana's inner ear. When these tiny particles became dislodged, it caused vertigo. Fontana has been performing positioning exercises since his symptoms developed to properly relocate the particles.

"I've had to be still and perform these exercises since last Monday," Fontana said. "I drove a go-kart for about 60 laps Tuesday and yesterday and have been able to workout a little, so I feel much better. I actually feel better driving because I've been stiff from not being able to do much."

This weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, Round 7 of the FedEx Championship Series, will be broadcast live at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Norberto Fontana