What: Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota, round five of the 20-race CART FedEx Championship Series. When: Saturday, May 27, 1 p.m. (local time). Practice - Friday, May 26. Where: Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth,...
What: Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota, round five of the 20-race CART FedEx Championship Series.
When: Saturday, May 27, 1 p.m. (local time). Practice - Friday, May 26.
Where: Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth, Pa.
History: Juan Montoya earned the pole position for this year's Nazareth race, which was snowed out on April 9. Montoya also started from the pole position and won the race in 1999. Jimmy Vasser started 11th and finished 11th last year. Vasser won at Nazareth in 1998.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is pursuing an unprecedented fifth straight CART FedEx Series championship. Juan Montoya is the defending CART champion.
* Juan Montoya won from the pole three times in 1999. In addition to Nazareth, he accomplished the feat in Cleveland and Vancouver.
* Montoya has started third or better in 16 of his 25 CART races (including Nazareth).
* Jimmy Vasser has finished fifth or better in eight of his last 12 races.
* Team Target has 30 victories in its last 75 starts.
* Vasser is tied for second in the series point standings, trailing Paul Tracy 56-42.
* Either Montoya or Vasser has finished on the podium in 11 of the past 24 races.
* Team Target drivers have 56 podium finishes in the last 76 races.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing will race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 28.
* Team Target has moved into a new shop in Indianapolis in 2000. The 70,000-square-foot facility features 10 car bays, nine truck bays, a show room, a sales area, a workout room and a cafeteria.
Nazareth, Pa. -- Through the first four races of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series, Team Target's Juan Montoya has qualified third or better in each event. He qualified on the pole in Japan, second in Miami and Rio and third in Long Beach. Despite his qualifying success, however, Montoya has yet to finish a race in the top-five. The defending CART champ, who again starts on the pole for the snow-delayed Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, heads to Nazareth looking for his first win of the season. Actually, Montoya could notch two victories during the Memorial Day weekend, because he and teammate Jimmy Vasser, who is tied for second in the CART point standings, also will race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
"I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time," Montoya said. "Our team is really starting to work well together, and the Toyota-Lola has been great. We all know we could have won in Japan, and we think we'll be right back in the points race after this weekend. The chance to race in Nazareth and the Indy 500 in the same weekend is a great opportunity."
Montoya, who earned the pole and won the 1999 Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, isn't worried about the challenge of racing in two events in two days. "Someone asked me the other day if I was looking past the Nazareth race to Indy," Montoya said. "No way. When you're driving 200 miles per hour, the only thing you can think about is what's happening right then and there. If your mind is somewhere else, it's dangerous and you don't belong there. These are two separate events, and I will approach them like I do every race -- trying to win."
Vasser, who finished fourth in the 1994 Indy 500, won the 1998 Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix. He, too, hopes to take a pair of checkered flags over the Memorial Day weekend.
"I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a race weekend," said Vasser, who last raced at the Brickyard in 1995. "This is going to be a lot of fun for Team Target. We've been running well this whole year and we're still improving. It would be amazing to win two races in one weekend. Heck, it's a great feeling to win one race in a weekend. We just plan to race like we've been doing all year and we'll see what happens."
Vasser remains within striking distance of the CART points lead. The sixth-year Team Target driver trails Paul Tracy by just 14 points (56-42).
"It's been awhile since I've been up there in the point standings," Vasser said. "It's a nice feeling. The whole team can be proud of our performance this season, but no one's ready to rest on their laurels. We still have a lot to accomplish, starting with Nazareth."