CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Target Mid-Ohio preview

What: Miller Lite 200 - Round 12 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, August 12. Broadcast: Noon Eastern, live on ESPN. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is...

What: Miller Lite 200 - Round 12 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series.

When: Sunday, August 12. Broadcast: Noon Eastern, live on ESPN. Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on Qualifying --- Saturday, August 11. Practice - Friday, August 10.

Where: The 2.258-mile permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio.

History: Since 1996, Team Target has recorded three victories (Alex Zanardi in 1996 and 1997 and Juan Montoya in 1999). The team has also scored eight top-five finishes since 1993. In 1996, Team Target swept first and second positions in both qualifying and in the race and led every lap of the race.

Fast Facts:

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 nine laps at the July 29 Target Grand Prix, bringing his total laps led to 134 in five races, which places him fifth in laps led for the season.

Gidley's fifth-place finish at the Target Grand Prix was his second top-5 finish of the year.

At the Miller Lite 200 in 1996, Jimmy Vasser finished second and Alex Zanardi claimed the checkered flag.

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 27 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 103 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. So far this year, the team has donated $4,650.


Junqueira and Gidley seek elusive first win of the year

Lexington, Ohio - Team Target heads east this weekend to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a track where the team has enjoyed great success over the past few years. Since 1996, the 2.258-mile permanent road course has hosted three Team Target victories. The most memorable win came in 1996, when the team took the first two spots on the podium. Alex Zanardi scored the victory and Jimmy Vasser grabbed the runner-up spot. The two drivers combined to lead every lap in that race.

This season, the mid-season addition of Memo Gidley has energized the team, as the 30-year-old Californian has recorded two top-five finishes in his first five races. Gidley currently stands third in laps led on road courses this year and fifth in laps led overall. Gidley continued his impressive season last week in Chicago as he turned in a season-best fourth-place qualifying effort. Gidley was near the front of the field all day long and was running in second place with 20 laps to go. On the restart, Gidley was forced to slow down to avoid an accident in front of him, causing him to lose several positions on the track. Gidley would finish the day in fifth place.

Gidley's excitement about being a member of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has grown with each wave of the green flag.

"These last two months have been incredible," Gidley said. "To be competing for victories in three of our five starts is great. This is what I've waited and hoped for over the last few years. I'm thankful to have this chance to show how competitive I can be, given the right situation.

"I thought that we had a chance to win in Chicago last Sunday. We were running in second place right behind Kenny (Brack) and on that last restart a bunch of cars got stacked up in front of me and I had to get out of the throttle to avoid an accident. We lost a few positions and ended up fifth, which is very good, but I was hoping for another podium finish. Our team is full of confidence right now, and I think we're poised for our first victory. I've won here at Mid-Ohio in the past in Formula Fords and it's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit."

Teammate Bruno Junqueira, who participated in a rookie test session at Mid-Ohio in June, is excited to race on the road course in Lexington, Ohio. Junqueira believes his previous testing experience will help him going into this weekend's race.

"This track is very similar to the tracks in Europe that I've raced on in the past," Junqueira said. "It has some high-speed corners and several elevation changes. When I tested here, I was able to get a feel for the braking points and how the car reacts with different fuel loads. The last track I was able to test on before the race was Nazareth and I won the pole there and finished seventh. I'm hoping my previous testing at Mid-Ohio will give us even better results. I'm looking forward to racing there this weekend."

Team Target Managing Director Mike Hull agrees Gidley's experience and Junqueira's Mid-Ohio test will help his team this weekend.

"Mid-Ohio has always been one of my favorite tracks on the circuit," Hull said. "It's a very scenic track with sharp corners and elevation changes. Our success in the past has made this a very special place for this team. I'm confident Memo and Bruno have all of the tools they need to be successful there.

"Memo has two Champ Car starts and has won at Mid-Ohio in the past in Formula Fords. Bruno tested here in June, so both drivers should be able to help each other and share information. We've been close to a victory this year, which makes us even more determined than ever to get that first win."

The Miller Lite 200 will be broadcast live on ESPN this Sunday beginning at noon EST.


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