CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Target heads to Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia -- (Oct. 9, 2000) -- On April 27, 1998, Team Target driver Jimmy Vasser and former Team Target driver Alex Zanardi claimed the top two spots on the Nazareth podium. Vasser won the race, finishing...

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia -- (Oct. 9, 2000) -- On April 27, 1998, Team Target driver Jimmy Vasser and former Team Target driver Alex Zanardi claimed the top two spots on the Nazareth podium. Vasser won the race, finishing just ahead of Zanardi, who claimed 14 additional podium finishes that year, en route to his second straight CART championship. Fifty-three races later, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers once again finished one-two, with Vasser taking the Grand Prix of Houston checkered flag and defending CART champ Juan Montoya placing second. Despite Team Target's recent dominance, a fifth consecutive CART FedEx championship appears to be a long-shot for the duo. With his fourth podium finish of the season, Montoya remains 31 points behind leader Gil de Ferran. And Vasser, who earned his first win since the 1998 race in Fontana, Calif., moved within 36 points of de Ferran to keep his hopes for a second CART title alive. "It was a great feeling to get back on top of that podium -- it had been awhile," Vasser said. "We've really started to figure out this car and everything seems to be clicking. It looks like it might be a little too late, but you never know. If all the planets are aligned correctly, and we keep racing like we did in Houston, there's still a chance we can come from behind and pull off a miracle. We haven't given up on the championship." In addition to a second championship, Vasser is also seeking his second Honda Indy 300 victory. The 34-year-old claimed the checkered flag in Australia in 1996, propelling him to the CART championship. "It's always a treat to return to Australia, but there's business to take care of this year, and we want to return to the states with a lot of points and shot at the title," said Vasser, who boasts four top-ten finishes at Australia. "I enjoyed being back on top of that podium in Houston, and I'd love to get there at least one more time this year." Despite his lack of experience on the Queensland street course, Montoya is also confident that a return to Australia could improve his shot at a second straight CART championship. "We showed at Houston that Team Target can still race and we're not ready to quit," said Montoya, who placed 16th in his first and only race on Austalia's 2.795-mile temporary street course. "We're going to keep on doing what we can to earn points. If Jimmy and I can race like we did last weekend, but we still miss the championship, then we have nothing to be ashamed of. A lot can happen in a race, so you just have to be positive and do your best." Montoya, the defending Indy 500 winner, is eager for his chance to improve on his 16th-place finish in last year's Honda Indy 300, one of just three events in 1999 in which he failed to score a point. "Australia has a fun track, but it takes a little while to get used to it," said Montoya, who finished 48 of the 65 laps in last year's race. "I'm looking forward to getting back there, earning some good points and trying to find a way to win this championship."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Zanardi , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing