CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Motorola preview

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- If there is such a thing as home race advantage, General Manager Kim Green figures that Team Motorola has as good a chance as any to climb to the top of the podium this weekend.  Green, a native of Western Australia leads a ...

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- If there is such a thing as home race advantage, General Manager Kim Green figures that Team Motorola has as good a chance as any to climb to the top of the podium this weekend.  Green, a native of Western Australia leads a contingent of Team Motorola crew members and driver Michael Andretti on a global crossing to the land "down under" for this weekend's Honda Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia, and while the pragmatist is not one to make predictions about outcomes in the fickle world of motor racing, recent performances by Team Motorola leave him optimistic about his team's chances on the Aussie shore.

"Team Motorola has had a good car these last couple of events and circumstances have kept us from showing everyone how good we are," says Green.  "Right now we're focused on moving up in the points and with only three races left in the 2002 season, the climb up the ladder begins with qualifying in Australia. Last year we started sixth in Australia and Michael got us on the podium with a second place finish.  Hopefully we will qualify well on Friday and Saturday and then work towards a win on Sunday."

"Obviously for me personally, I'd like to win this one.  I'm very excited to be heading home for the Surfers race.  There is always a great atmosphere around the event but of course there is some extra pressure because you always want to do well in front of your family and friends."

With three podium finishes to his credit in Australia including a win in 1994, Michael Andretti is also looking forward to this weekend's race.

"I love coming to Surfers and I've done pretty well here in the past. The city and all the fans really get excited about the Honda Indy 300 and it just makes it a great week," says Andretti.  "I do feel like there is more pressure on us because it is a home race for Team Green and both Barry [Green, team owner] and Kim's family come out to the event, but it's certainly an added incentive to have a good weekend. Right now we need to focus on getting points. Team Motorola can finish in the top five but we need to stay on track and come away with as many points as we can from the last three races."

Andretti and Team Motorola are currently eighth in the championship with 90 points. Cristiano da Matta, who clinched the championship in Miami, has 212 points, while Bruno Junqueira is second with 143 points.  Andretti's technical partner Dario Franchitti is third with 129 points while Franchitti's teammate Paul Tracy is tenth with 87 points.

Michael Andretti is in his 19th Champ Car season and currently leads all active Champ Car drivers in number of wins with 42, number of poles - 32, number of starts - 306 and laps led - 6,564.

The first practice session for the Honda Indy 300 will be held on Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m E.T (10:00 a.m. Friday in Australia), with provisional qualifying on Friday morning at 12:15 a.m. ET (2:15 p.m. Friday in Australia).   Practice will continue on Friday evening at 7:45 p.m. ET (9:45 a.m. Saturday in Australia) with final qualifying set to begin at 12:00 a.m. ET on Saturday (2:00 p.m. Saturday in Australia).  On Sunday, the race will be shown live on Speed Channel beginning at 12:00 a.m. ET (2:00 p.m. Sunday in Australia).

-tm-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Kim Green , Cristiano da Matta