CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Ganassi Nazareth preview

What: Lehigh Valley Grand Prix - Presented by Toyota, round four of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, May 6. Broadcast: 1 p.m. Eastern live on ABC. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice,...

What: Lehigh Valley Grand Prix - Presented by Toyota, round four of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, May 6.  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, May 5.  Practice - Friday, May 4.

Where: The 0.946-Mile Oval in Nazareth, PA.

History: Team Target has won two out of the last three races held in Nazareth. Since 1998, Team Target has led 392 of the 675 laps.

Fast Facts:

Team Target's rookie drivers, Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, replace Juan Montoya, the 1999 CART champion, and Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART champion.

Junqueira claimed the 2000 European F3000 Series championship, earning four victories. Minassian was runner-up to his new teammate, claiming three checkered flags.

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).

Former Team Target driver Juan Montoya won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, his first-ever race at the famed oval. Team Target announced on March 5 it would return to Indianapolis in 2001 to defend its title.

Team Target drivers have claimed 31 of the 94 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.

Junqueira and Minassian prepared for oval debut

Target Chip Ganassi Racing rookie drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian will make their oval racing debut this weekend in Nazareth, PA. The tricky .946-mile tri-oval will host the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. Team Target has a winning history at Nazareth, as they make a run at their third victory in the last four years.

In 1998, Jimmy Vasser captured the checkered flag and teammate Alex Zanardi finished second. In 1999, Juan Montoya was dominated the race. Montoya won the pole, led for 210 of the 225 laps and won the race leading to the second straight victory at Nazareth for Team Target

Mike Hull, managing director for Team Target feels that his team is ready to challenge for another victory in Nazareth.

"We have had success here at Nazareth in the past, and our team is confident that we can continue that tradition. With every lap that they make, they continue to learn and improve on their performance. The practice times of both Bruno and Nicolas at Nazareth are comparable to those of the veterans in this series and that is an encouraging sign.

We have had two excellent testing sessions and I think we have a good chance to win there on Sunday."

Minassian welcomes the challenge of racing on a short oval.

"I am really starting to enjoy oval racing, especially here at Nazareth," Minassian explained. "It is very wide and has several lanes of racing. We have tested here twice over the last few months and I have really enjoyed testing at Nazareth. With all of the turning and shifting that you do here, it is very similar to a road course. This place is very technical. You need to know exactly when to brake, shift and accelerate to turn fast laps."

Junqueira, the driver of the No. 4 Toyota/Lola, is ready for the team's first victory of the year.

"We have done a lot of off-season testing on oval tracks," Junqueira said. "We have tested here twice and I am becoming very comfortable with the car and how to drive this track. I was able to learn a lot about this place in those testing sessions. My team has given me data and information about where to shift, what lines to take in the corners and where to brake. And since this team has won here 3 out of the last 4 years, I listened to every word they said. I feel very confident going into this weekend. I'm ready to give Chip and this team our first victory of the year."

The Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota can be seen live on ABC with the green flag to be waved at 1:00pm EST.

-TTCG

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Alex Zanardi , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing