IRL: Pikes Peak: Toyota preview

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT IRL WIN Toyota will be looking for its fourth consecutive win, and fifth in six races, at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Sunday. Al Unser Jr. (Corteco Toyota) won the most recent IndyCar Series round at ...

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT IRL WIN

Toyota will be looking for its fourth consecutive win, and fifth in six races, at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Sunday. Al Unser Jr. (Corteco Toyota) won the most recent IndyCar Series round at Texas, following wins by Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Toyota) at Indianapolis, and Scott Sharp (Delphi Toyota) at Motegi. Dating back to last season's CART competition, Toyota has now won 14 of its last 24 major open-wheel races.

BALANCE CONTINUES TO PAY OFF FOR TOYOTA

Toyota's policy of providing a "single spec" engine to every Toyota driver has paid off big dividends through the first one-third of the IRL season. Five different Toyota drivers have been the highest finishing Toyota in the five IndyCar Series events (Scott Dixon-Miami, Helio Castroneves-Phoenix, Scott Sharp-Motegi, Gil de Ferran-Indianapolis, and Al Unser Jr.-Texas).

During that stretch, four different Toyota drivers have won races, and eight of the nine Toyota- powered drivers who have competed in every race have finished fourth or better in at least one race this season. Overall, 11 different Toyota-powered drivers have top-10 finishes this year.

TOYOTA & TARGET LOOK FOR ROCKY MOUNTAIN REPEAT

A repeat of Toyota's last trip to Colorado certainly would leave the manufacturer's IndyCar Series program on a Rocky Mountain high. Target Chip Ganassi Racing led a one-two-three Toyota sweep of the CART Champ Car podium last August through the streets of Denver. Current Target Toyota driver Scott Dixon placed second just behind Ganassi teammate Bruno Junqueira, and just ahead of eventual series champion and fellow Toyota driver Cristiano da Matta.

RUNNING UP FRONT

Toyota-powered cars have led 330 of the last 333 laps run in IndyCar Series competition, which are 626 of the last 632.5 miles. A Toyota led 199 of 200 laps at Texas last weekend, and 131 of the final 133 laps at Indianapolis.

Overall this season, Toyota-powered Indy Cars have led 726 of 1,000 laps run in IndyCar Series competition. Individually, after leading 145 laps at Texas on Saturday, Tomas Scheckter has now led more laps than any other driver in the series with 244, which is just 30 laps fewer than the total of all the non-Toyota-powered cars in the series combined (274).

EIGHT TOYOTAS IN TOP-10 IN POINTS

Eight Toyota drivers rank in the top-10 in points following the Bombardier 500 at Texas. Al Unser Jr. has climbed up to second with his Texas victory. Helio Castroneves is third, followed by Gil de Ferran (fifth), Scott Sharp (sixth), Scott Dixon (seventh), Tora Takagi (eighth), Felipe Giaffone (ninth), and Tomas Scheckter (10th).

PPIR NOT TOYOTA'S FIRST TIME TO CLIMB PIKES PEAK

While this will be Toyota's first trek to Pikes Peak International Raceway as it competes in this weekend's IRL event, it certainly will not be the first time the manufacturer has climbed Pikes Peak. Rod Millen took a Toyota-factory backed effort to the overall championship of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb five times in six years between 1994- 1999 and still holds the all-time record up the mountain with a 10:04.06 run in 1994.

"Quotes"

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports:

"We couldn't be happier with how things have been going recently. The key has been a great effort throughout the entire program. We're getting a great contribution from all of our drivers and teams, as well as great performance from our Toyota engines. We've won three in a row on the bigger tracks, now we need to prove that we can win on the one-mile ovals like Pikes Peak."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Rod Millen , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing