CHAMPCAR/CART: Target Chip Ganassi Racing Cleveland preview

Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target What: Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland - Round eight of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, July 1. Broadcast: 1 p.m. Eastern, live on ABC. Broadcast live on CART Radio ...

Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target

What: Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland - Round eight of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, July 1. Broadcast: 1 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, June 30. Practice - Friday, June 29.

Where: The 2.106-mile temporary road course in Cleveland, OH.

History: Since 1995, Team Target has recorded six podium finishes, three victories (Zanardi '97, '98, Montoya `99) and four poles (Vasser '96, Zanardi '97, Vasser '98, Montoya `99). From 1996 to 1999, Team Target led 61 percent of the laps at Cleveland (228 of 370).

Fast Facts:

A Team Target driver has finished in the top 10 every year at Cleveland since 1991.

Rookie Bruno Junqueira has qualified in the top six in four of the last five races.

Including the Indy 500, Bruno Junqueira has finished in the top 10 four times this season (ninth at Long Beach, seventh at Nazareth, fifth at Indy and fourth at Milwaukee).

Bruno Junqueira claimed the first pole position of his young, six-race CART career on May 6 at Nazareth and started second last week in Detroit.

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.

Memo Gidley will pilot the No. 12 Target Toyota-Lola in place of Nicolas Minassian this weekend. Gidley placed 25th in his Team Target debut last weekend in Portland.

Gidley has competed in 23 CART FedEx Series events over the past two years with his career-best sixth-place finish coming at Road America in 2000, while driving for Della Penna Motorsports.

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 97 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 97 pole positions since 1996.

For the fifth consecutive season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will raise money for Target House at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by donating $5,000 for victory, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led. The team has donated more than $230,000 since 1997. This year the team has donated $1,325 to Target House.

QUOTES

Bruno Junqueira - No. 4 Target Toyota/Lola

"This team has had great success at Cleveland in the past. Our team has a great setup on the car for that track and I can't wait to get there. Our qualifying this year has been very fast and consistent. We've had four top-six starts in the last five races. This is a very competitive series and it's a credit to our team that we've done so well in qualifying this season. The field in Portland was separated by just over a second from first to last place. This weekend, I'm looking forward to continuing the winning tradition that Team Target has in Cleveland."

Memo Gidley - No. 12 Target Toyota/Lola

"Last weekend was disappointing for our team. Even though I was starting near the back of the pack, I felt that we had a car that could compete for a top-10 finish. The first-lap incident we were involved in ended those hopes. This team has really accepted me and I already feel like an important part of this organization. I'm hoping we can have a solid finish this weekend. Cleveland is my kind of track. It's a place where you can really throw the car around and be aggressive."

Memo Gidley

When did you know you would be racing for Team Target?

"I found out last Tuesday. Mike Hull, the team's managing director gave me a call and asked me if I wanted to drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. It was probably the fastest decision I have ever made. I told him `Yes' immediately and then I went in to have a seat fitting. It was the call I've been waiting for. To race with a team such as Target Chip Ganassi Racing is a dream come true."

Has it been difficult adjusting to a new car, new team etc. over the last week?

"No, not really. The team has accepted me with open arms and they have given me the tools I need to succeed. I haven't driven a Champ Car in almost eight months, that was the most difficult part. The Toyota/Lola package is very good, and each lap out in Portland, I was getting faster and faster. I hope that trend continues this week in Cleveland."

Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed at Team Target?

"There has always been pressure on me to succeed. Ever since I started racing motorcycles, I have always pushed myself to get better. There is pressure here as well. I want to succeed here at Team Target because I truly love racing. It is my passion. That's why I've spent all of my weekends at the track when I did not have a ride."

What have you done to stay in shape in case an opportunity like this was to come about?

"I have been working out for four or five hours a day, riding my bicycle, lifting weights, using the stairmaster, etc. I've also been racing my shifter kart several times a week to stay mentally sharp."

You were taken out of the race on the first lap last week, do you think that hurts your chances of staying with Team Target?

"It doesn't help my chances, because I feel that I could have had a solid race. But I don't think that it hurts them either. The car was fast with our race setup on it. But I was taken out of the race before I could complete a lap. These incidents happen in racing. I am hoping for a strong performance this weekend in Cleveland."

Is it true that you sleep in a Laz-E-Boy chair at night?

"Yes, that's true. I tend to sleep-walk at night and the chair helps to keep me from sleep-walking. When I am on the road, I sleep on the couch or I'll sleep in a chair and rest my feet on the edge of the bed."

-TCGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley , Bruno Junqueira , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing