CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Chicago Friday practice notes

CICERO, Ill. (July 27, 2001) - Rookie Bruno Junqueira, driving a Target Toyota, registered the overall fastest time of the day, while fellow rookie Tora Takagi, in the Pioneer Toyota, in preparation for Sunday's Target Grand Prix Presented by ...

CICERO, Ill. (July 27, 2001) - Rookie Bruno Junqueira, driving a Target Toyota, registered the overall fastest time of the day, while fellow rookie Tora Takagi, in the Pioneer Toyota, in preparation for Sunday's Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer at Chicago Motor Speedway.

Junqueira, who won the pole at his first one-mile oval in Nazareth, turned in a 156.212 mph lap to lead the 25-car CART field on the 1.029-mile oval. Takagi made it two Toyotas in the top three as he was just .052 seconds behind Junqueira. The Japanese driver is coming off a career-best start of third at Michigan.

Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline Toyota) was sixth during the afternoon and the seventh-fastest driver on the day. Two other Toyota-powered drivers joined him in the overall top 10 as Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Toyota) and Memo Gidley (Target Toyota) placed eighth and ninth, respectively. Gugelmin later hit the wall in the day's only incident and bruised his leg, but he's expected to be back in the car on Saturday. For the day, five Toyota drivers ranked in the top 10 overall.

Scott Dixon (PacWest Toyota) was just out of the top 10 with an 11th-place showing. Among Toyota drivers, he was followed by Christian Fittipaldi (17th- Kmart Toyota), Roberto Moreno (19th - Visteon Toyota) and Jimmy Vasser (20th - Visteon Toyota). The entire field was separated by less than one second.

Qualifying for Sunday's feature race is set to begin Saturday at 1:30 (CDT). The green flag for Sunday's Target Grand Prix is set to wave at 3:00 p.m. (CDT) and will be aired live by ESPN.

Bruno Junqueira, #4 Target Toyota: "The car wasn't perfect today, but it was very good. (On way he's run well on ovals) I really like high-speed corners and that's what ovals have - high speed corners. It's not easy to pass here, so I hope we qualify on the pole - and then I hope there's no passing at all. Seriously, it's not easy to pass, but I think you'll see some good passes on race day."

Tora Takagi, #5 Pioneer Toyota: "Every race is a first for me. We're getting better on the ovals with more experience."

Cristiano da Matta, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota: "We are still working on making the car have a better balance so we can go faster. We are fighting and overall lack of grip. In mid-turn, I have an oversteer when I get on the power which makes the back end loose. You have to qualify well here. Qualifying is everything here because it's difficult to pass. We have some things we need to work on before we're ready to qualify. Overall, I thought we would be better by this point but Newman/Haas has incredible depth to the team and they have years of experience to lean on so we should be all right. We have some work to do before I am ready to defend my win here, but we are going to give 100 percent like we always do."

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Toyota Drivers Overall - Day 1 at Chicago

Place. Driver

1. Bruno Junqueira 3. Tora Takagi 7. Cristiano da Matta 8. Mauricio Gugelmin 9. Memo Gidley 11. Scott Dixon 17. Christian Fittipaldi 19. Roberto Moreno 20. Jimmy Vasser

-TRD

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Bruno Junqueira , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Dixon , Mauricio Gugelmin , Tora Takagi , Cristiano da Matta