CHAMPCAR/CART: PPI Fontana preview

CRISTIANO da MATTA, ...

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #97 PIONEER ELECTRONICS/WORLDCOM/TOYOTA-REYNARD

CART Season:                    2

Best CART Start: 2 (Toronto, 2000)
Best CART Finish: 1 (Chicago, 2000)
Points Standings: 10

Setting Records: Da Matta's fourth place finish at Surfer's marked his ninth top ten finish of the season, eight of which are top fives... the most top five finishes ever, by a Toyota-powered driver. Pit Crew Challengers: The #97 Pioneer Electronics/WorldCom Champ Car team is ranked fourth to date in the series standings for fastest pit stops. The top five teams will compete in the Craftsmen Pit Crew Challenge on Friday, October 27th, from 5:05 - 5:30 pm. Each team must make three stops, and the team with the fastest cumulative time will collect $50,000.

Speedway Special: As a gift to Cristiano, Pioneer Electronics has commissioned a special paint job for the #97 Pioneer Electronics/WorldCom/Toyota-Reynard Champ Car, along with Da Matta's helmet. The car will adorn a Brazilian flag as a tribute to Da Matta's native land. Da Matta's helmet is the same design as his fathers, with the exception of the colors. This weekend, da Matta's helmet will be identical to his father Antonio's, a racing legend in Brazil.

Cristiano on Fontana:
"I am excited for the weekend, there is so much happening. We will be competing in the pit stop competition, and I am so proud of my guys. They have done an incredible job all year, and they definitely deserve to win this. Also, Pioneer has given me a special surprise, by painting the car and my helmet. I am very honored to drive this car, and I love what they have done. It will be very special to where my dad's colors on my helmet. The last time I wore his colors, was in 1990. I was racing, and having a problem with my helmet, and the only other helmet we had was my dad's, that was a special memory, and now we can do it again. This is a very big weekend for Toyota, so I am happy to be part of their team as well. Most of all, it is the end to a very good season. I had my first win this year, and am running in the top ten. That is very important to me. Of course, I would like to have given Cal a top five championship finish, but we posted some very good results, and I am proud of that. I am going to do my best to win this thing this weekend - for everyone at PPI."

ORIOL SERVIÀ, #96 TELEFÓNICA/TOYOTA-REYNARD

CART Season:                     1      

Best CART Start: 7 (Portland, 2000)
Best CART Finish: 3 (Detroit, 2000)
Points Standing: 15

Top Ten Finisher: Servià started 14th in Surfers, and ran as high as third, before recording his tenth top ten result of the season, finishing ninth. The rookie has collected points in 12 of the 13 races he has finished this season.

Lap Leader: Servià finished a very respectable eighth in his maiden 500 - mile event. The rookie sensation led two laps at the Michigan 500, his first time ever leading a Champ Car race.

The Winner is: After receiving over 1,000 responses to the "Name that Color" contest, Servià chose "Incredible Hulk" as the name of the color of his car. Servià said he chose the color for the following three reasons: A) "It was the only name that was not related to another color or fruit." B) "It was the first TV series I remember watching." C) "I think that more than one person has thought that at some point Hulk was driving the Telefonica car!"

Pit Stop Perfection: The #96 Telefónica crew completed their pit stops faster than anyone else in the paddock two weeks ago in Surfers. The team made two stops, with a cumulative time of 1:07.592.

Servià on Fontana:
"Well, I am looking forward to another super speedway event. The first and only time I have led a race this season was at Michigan, which was my first 500 - mile race. I am very pleased with the experience and everything I have learned this year. The Telefónica crew, and everyone at PPI Motorsports have been quite incredible, they have completely exceeded my expectations, and Cal and my crew have taught me a lot. Of course I am disappointed about being ranked 15th going into the season finale, but I am proud that I have collected ten top - ten finishes at this point, and earned points in almost every race I finished. Consistency is very, very important in this sport, and we will have to be consistent again this weekend in order to finish this race, but most importantly to finish up front."

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Series IndyCar