CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Michigan fast facts

TOYOTA motorsports 2001 CART FedEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES MICHIGAN 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA <pre> Date: July 22, 2001 Broadcast: ABC, 1:30 p.m. ET (Live) Race Length: 250 laps for 500 ...

TOYOTA motorsports
MICHIGAN 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA <pre> Date: July 22, 2001 Broadcast: ABC, 1:30 p.m. ET (Live)

Race Length:                250 laps for 500 miles
Track Length:               2-mile oval

2000 Winner: Juan Montoya

Toyota's Best Finish:       1st, Juan Montoya, 2000
Toyota's Best Qualifying:   5th, Scott Pruett, 1999

Track Speed Records: Qualifying: 2000, Paul Tracy (234.949 mph) Race: 1990, Al Unser Jr. (189.727 mph)

Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda 158 2. Toyota 142 3. Ford 130 </pre> What to look for at Michigan:

TOYOTA TEAMS COMBINE FOR 9 OF THE LAST 13 500-MILE WINS - A year ago, Toyota won the Michigan 500 when Juan Montoya edged out Michael Andretti in what some termed the greatest race in CART history. This year, the chances of repeating look good with four of the five Toyota-powered teams combining to have won a remarkable nine of the last 13 500-mile races entered by CART teams to go along with eight pole positions.

Since 1996, the Target Ganassi Racing team has won an amazing five 500-mile races, including three at Michigan International Speedway (1996-1997, 2000), along with the 1998 Fontana race and last year's Indianapolis 500. During that time span, only Patrick Racing can come close to matching those exploits. The team won two races (1995 Michigan and1998 Fontana) and three superspeedway poles.

Of course, Newman-Haas and PacWest can't be overlooked either. Each team has one 500-mile victory in the past six years. Newman-Haas won last year's race at Fontana, while PacWest won both the pole and the race at the same track in 1997. In addition, Mauricio Gugelmin registered the fastest qualifying lap in CART history (at the time) by winning the pole with a lap of 240.942 mph.

VASSER A 500-MILE MAN - No other active driver in CART enters this weekend's Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota with more success in 500-mile races than Jimmy Vasser (Visteon Toyota). Vasser has two 500-mile victories (Michigan 1996, Fontana 1998) and three superspeedway pole positions. In addition, the 1996 CART champion has finished in the top-10 at 10 of his last 13 500-mile races.

...AND THE REIGNING CHAMP - Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota) arrives at Michigan as the most recent CART 500-mile winner after his victory at last season's Fontana finale. In addition to its victory at Fontana last year, Newman-Haas also placed second at Michigan behind Montoya's Toyota last July.

DIXON LOOKS TO CELEBRATE 21st WITH MIS WIN - With a victory (Nazareth), a third and a total of three top-five finishes in his first nine Champ Car races, Scott Dixon (Panasonic PacWest Toyota) has had a lot to celebrate so far in his rookie season. He'll add at least one more reason, and hopefully two, on Sunday when he turns 21 years old on the same day as the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota. The New Zealander is fresh off a fifth at Toronto and has registered five top-10 finishes in his last seven races. The success has pushed the 2000 Indy Lights champion into seventh-place overall in the CART standings (just four points out of the top five) and to a substantial lead in the CART Rookie of the Year contest, 54-23 over Bruno Junqueira.

TOYOTA LOOKS TO CONTINUE OVAL RUN - Toyota arrives at MIS having won five of the last eight CART oval events including Scott Dixon's victory at Nazareth in May. During that time, Toyota has registered victories at Milwaukee, Michigan (both Juan Montoya), Chicago (Cristiano da Matta), St. Louis (Montoya) and Nazareth (Dixon). In addition, current Toyota driver Christian Fittipaldi won of the three non-Toyota victories last season at Fontana.

ROOKIES SHINE ON OVALS - One of the biggest adjustments when entering the Champ Car ranks is the pure speed involved on the ovals, well in the case of two Toyota-powered rookies they've performed more like veterans on the circle tracks. In Scott Dixon's case, the benefit of two years of running ovals in Indy Lights has helped him score the second-highest number of oval points in CART this season with a win, a third and a ninth in the three oval events.

For Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota), the ovals have been a completely new - and successful - experience. The reigning FIA Formula 3000 champion earned the pole position at his very first oval track race at Nazareth. In four oval career oval races, he's earned two top-five finishes (including the Indianapolis 500) and three overall top-10 results. In addition, he's qualified in the top-five in each of his CART oval qualifying attempts.


Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "Michigan ranks among our fondest memories. Juan Montoya's victory here last year proved that a Toyota engine could win at 500 miles. Second, simply to be involved with, let alone win, one of the greatest races ever run was a tremendous thrill - and for it to take place at a Toyota-sponsored event made it that much more special. This weekend we'll have a new challenge with this being the first race our engines will run at the CART mandated 36" of turbo boost for superspeedways. We're definitely in support of CART's attempts to slow the cars down. We don't think it's necessary to run 235 to 240 miles per hour to put on a great show."

-Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Mauricio Gugelmin , Scott Pruett , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing