DA MATTA'S SECOND LEADS SIX TOYOTAS IN TOP NINE - Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) earned his third top-five qualifying effort of the season with a second today at Portland International Raceway as he led a group of six Toyotas in...
DA MATTA'S SECOND LEADS SIX TOYOTAS IN TOP NINE - Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) earned his third top-five qualifying effort of the season with a second today at Portland International Raceway as he led a group of six Toyotas in the top nine qualifiers for Sunday's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 presented by Texaco. Da Matta missed his first pole of the season by just .081 seconds.
Joining da Matta in the top nine were Scott Dixon (fourth), Bruno Junqueira (sixth), Christian Fittipaldi (seventh), Roberto Moreno (eighth) and Jimmy Vasser (ninth).
FRONT ROW TOYOTA - Cristiano da Matta's front row qualifying effort is his second of the season - matching his earlier performance at Monterrey, Mexico. Overall, it's Toyota's fourth front row starting position of the season as Bruno Junqueira also has a pair of top-two efforts. A Toyota has qualified on the front row in three of the four road course races this season.
DIXON EARNS CAREER-BEST QUALIFYING MARK - Scott Dixon (PacWest Toyota) earned a Champ Car career-best fourth in qualifying today. The Nazareth winner had previously registered a 14th at Mexico. The 20-year-old Dixon became the youngest winner in major open-wheel history earlier this year at Nazareth.
JUNQUEIRA MAKES TWO TOYOTA ROOKIES IN TOP SIX - Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota) earned his third starting spot in the first three rows in just his seventh Champ Car start of his rookie season. Junqueira joins Dixon in putting two Toyota rookies in the first six. The duo currently rank one-two in CART rookie points.
NEWMAN-HAAS AND PATRICK PUT TWO EACH IN FIRST NINE - Newman-Haas Racing teammates Cristiano da Matta and Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota) qualified second and seventh, while Patrick Racing teammates Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota) and Jimmy Vasser (Visteon Patrick Toyota) were eighth and ninth as the only pairs of teammates to qualify in the top 10 today. Fittipaldi, Vasser and Moreno each have now registered back-to-back top-10 qualifying efforts on the road courses at Detroit and Portland.
CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota: "Strategy here won't be the same as it has been the last two years with having to decide between a two or three stop race. Shortening the race makes is so different this year. I think that's good for us as it's less of a fuel race and more of a speed race - and the Toyota has a lot of speed.