Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target; Pre-Race Fact Sheet/News Release: Chicago What: Target Grand Prix presented by Energizer - Round 11 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, July 29. Broadcast: 4 p.m.
Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target;
Pre-Race Fact Sheet/News Release: Chicago
What: Target Grand Prix presented by Energizer - Round 11 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.
When: Sunday, July 29. Broadcast: 4 p.m. Eastern, live on ABC. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on CART.com. Qualifying --- Saturday, July 28. Practice - Friday, July 27.
Where: The 1.029-mile oval in Cicero, Ill.
History: Since the inaugural Target Grand Prix in 1999, Team Target has dominated the race, leading 243 of the 450 laps and scoring one victory (Montoya in 1999) and one pole (Montoya in 2000).
Memo Gidley's second-place finish at Cleveland on July 1 was his career-best and the highest finish of the season for Team Target.
Gidley led 67 laps at last Sunday's Michigan 500, bringing his total laps led to 124 in four races.
In the last three races, Gidley has led more laps than any other CART driver.
At the inaugural Target Grand Prix in 1999, Jimmy Vasser finished third and Juan Montoya claimed the checkered flag.
Team Target drivers have finished no worse than 12th in the Target Grand Prix.
Including the Indy 500, Bruno Junqueira has finished in the top 10 five times this season (ninth at Long Beach, seventh at Nazareth, fifth at Indy, fourth at Milwaukee and ninth at Michigan).
Bruno Junqueira claimed the first pole position of his CART career in his third race on May 6 at Nazareth.
Junqueira's top finish is fourth at the Milwaukee Mile on June 6.
Junqueira placed fifth in this year's Indy 500, his first-ever race on the famed 2.5-mile oval.
Gidley has competed in 26 CART FedEx Series events since 1999.
Junqueira and Gidley replace Juan Montoya, the 1999 CART champion, and Vasser, the 1996 CART champion.
Junqueira claimed the 2000 European F3000 Series championship, earning four victories.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing won 34 of the 92 CART FedEx Series events from 1996 through 2000.
Team Target has claimed four CART FedEx Series championships (1996-1999) and won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000.
Team Target drivers have claimed 32 of the 102 pole positions since 1996.
For the fifth straight season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing is raising money for Target House at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by donating $5,000 for victories, $1,000 for pole positions and $25 for each lap led. The team has donated more than $230,000 since 1997. This year, the team has donated $4,425.
TEAM TARGET ENERGIZED FOR TARGET GRAND PRIX
Gidley and Junqueira prepared for Windy City battle
Target Chip Ganassi Racing travels to the Windy City this week to prepare for the Target Grand Prix presented by Energizer, an event the team has dominated since its inception in 1999. In the inaugural race, former Team Target driver Juan Montoya led 132 of the 225 laps en route to his sixth victory of the year. Jimmy Vasser joined his teammate on the podium with a third-place finish. In 2000, Montoya snared the pole position and led 112 laps before experiencing mechanical problems that ended his bid for two in a row.
The new Team Target pilots appear poised to begin where their predecessors left off. Last weekend in Michigan, Memo Gidley rocketed from his 16th starting position to lead the Harrah's 500 just 36 laps into the event. Gidley led 67 laps before relinquishing control of the race to make an emergency pit stop for an oil refill. Gidley lost four laps and finished 14th.
In the last three races, Gidley has led more laps (124) than any driver in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The 30-year old Californian expects another strong effort this weekend in Chicago.
"Last week was another step in the right direction for this team," Gidley said. "We had the car to win the race in Michigan, no question about. I'm disappointed we didn't have a chance to celebrate the team's first victory, but it's encouraging to know we can be competitive week in and week out. This week in Chicago is very important for us. Target is sponsoring this race and I want to reward them with a victory for giving me the opportunity to drive one of their cars."
Rookie Bruno Junqueira continues to excel on oval tracks this year. In five oval races, Junqueira has scored one pole and recorded four top-10 finishes. The 2000 FIA F3000 champion is confident he can continue his strong performance at the 1.029-mile oval in Chicago.
"I'm feeling very comfortable on the ovals this year," Junqueira said. "It all started in Nazareth where I was able to win the pole. Then at Indy, we finished fifth and it really helped our confidence to do well at such a big race. I'm looking forward to racing in Chicago this week. Chicago is a city that I really like and it would be great to win there. This is kind of a home race for us with it being Chip's track and a Target- sponsored race."
Team Target Managing Director Mike Hull believes his team will have another strong performance this weekend in Chicago.
"The whole team really seems to bring their intensity level up a notch for this event," Hull said. "We feel like this is our track. It's like in football, where you never want to be beaten on your home field. Chicago is like our home field and we want to win there. Our team has had some strong performances over the last few weeks, and I expect that trend to continue this week in Chicago. We would like nothing more than to give the people at Target a victory on Sunday afternoon. And I think we have a great chance to do just that."
The Target Grand Prix presented by Energizer airs live on ABC-TV this Sunday, July 29 at 4 p.m. EST.