CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Target Michigan preview

Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target; Michigan 500, Michigan International Speedway What: Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota - Round 10 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, July 22. Broadcast: 1:30 p.m.

Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley, Team Target;
Michigan 500, Michigan International Speedway

What: Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota - Round 10 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, July 22. Broadcast: 1:30 p.m. Eastern, live on ABC. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on Qualifying --- Saturday, July 21. Practice - Friday, July 20.

Where: The two-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich.

History: Since 1990, Team Target has recorded 11 top-ten finishes including three victories (Vasser '96, Zanardi '97, Montoya `00) at Michigan. Team Target has scored a podium finish here every year since 1996.

Fast Facts:

Memo Gidley's second-place finish at Cleveland was his career-best and the highest finish of the season for Team Target.

A Team Target driver has finished in the top 10 every year at Michigan since 1995.

A Team Target driver has qualified in the top 10 at Michigan every year since 1991.

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 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 25 CART FedEx Series events since 1999 with his career-best second-place finish coming at Cleveland on July 1.

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 101 pole positions since 1996.

For the fifth straight season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will raise 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 $2,750.

Junqueira and Gidley primed to defend team's MIS title

Team Target returns to Michigan this weekend with aspirations of repeating last year's dazzling victory by former team driver Juan Montoya. Montoya staged an epic battle with Michael Andretti, as the two drivers dueled wheel-to-wheel over the last 20 laps. The duo exchanged the lead seven times, with Montoya eventually taking the win by just .040 seconds, marking the third closest finish in CART history. In the last seven races held at Michigan International Speedway, a Team Target driver has placed seventh or better. Drivers Memo Gidley and Bruno Junqueira are looking to continue that trend this weekend.

Last year, while driving for DellaPenna Motorsports, Memo Gidley climbed from his 21st starting position to finish tenth in his only career start at Michigan International Speedway. Gidley is excited to return to the flat, two-mile super speedway.

"Michigan is a track I really enjoy running on," Gidley said. "If you're smart in how you utilize the draft, it's a place where you can slowly work your way to the front. It's such a long race you have to be both patient and aggressive. You also need to have a car that has the right setup on it to win here.

"The guys here at Team Target have proven they have what it takes to get to victory lane. My engineer, Bill Pappas won here last year with Juan (Montoya) so I'm very confident we can have a great race here this weekend."

In his previous oval races, rookie Bruno Junqueira has quickly developed a knack for this new style of racing. He scored a pole in the first oval race of his career at Nazareth, qualified fifth at the tricky Motegi super speedway and recorded a career-best fourth place finish at Milwaukee. In addition, he placed fifth on the world's most famous oval -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Junqueira believes that trend will continue this weekend.

"I remember watching the race in Michigan last year and thinking, `Wow, that is incredible!'" Junqueira said. "Seeing those guys running side by side at almost 240 mph was really amazing. Now I get a chance to be one of those guys. I'm really looking forward to the race. Team Target has an excellent car on the ovals and I think we have a great chance for our first win of the year. The No. 4 Target Toyota/Lola won here last year, and I'm hoping to make it two in a row."

2001 will mark the final year that the CART FedEx Championship Series will race in Michigan. Team Target Managing Director Mike Hull is confident his team can bring home a victory in the last race at the two-mile oval.

"Michigan has been a great track for us," Hull said. "We've had a lot of success there, including last year's victory by Juan (Montoya). This team has a very good setup for this track and we're confident we can bring home a second straight victory for Team Target here in Michigan. The team has been working very hard all season long and it would be great to reward those people with a win this weekend."

The Michigan 500 presented by Toyota airs live on ABC-TV Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m. EST.


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