19 years after rookie award, Fittipaldi wins Indy

July 25, 2014

19 years after rookie award, Fittipaldi wins Indy

July 25, 2014

fittipaldi_1Christian Fittipaldi shone on debut here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1995 in the Indianapolis 500, finishing second and scoring the Rookie of the Year award.

It turned out to be his only opportunity to fight for an Indy 500 win. 19 years later the Brazilian ace has “kissed the bricks” at Indianapolis after a dominant victory with Joao Barbosa for Action Express Racing today in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

fittipaldi_2Fittipaldi was actually looking forward to racing with his Uncle Emmerson at his Indy debut – sadly – Fittipaldi Senior failed to qualify for the race. Neither would race in the 500 again, Emmerson retiring and Christian staying with CART when the open-wheel split took place the following year.

“It’s definitely a very important venue to have these two things happen,” Fittipaldi said.

“Back in 1995, although it was 19 years ago there was a lot of mixed feelings in that race because (Uncle) Emmo who was supposed to be racing that weekend didn’t make the field and I finished second.

“I was happy for myself but I wanted to race with him at least once at Indianapolis but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”

Today’s victory has pushed Fittipaldi and Barbosa into the championship lead. The win was their second of the year – following on from the Rolex 24 at Daytona success.

“It was definitely an awesome race for us. Today it was a nice win, even if it was 19 years after that. It was a perfect day. All of the stars aligned, the team did an excellent job and hats off to them,” Fittipaldi said.

“I’m happy for the win but also I’m happy to be in the lead of the championship again and still in the hunt.

“Turn one turned into being a huge mess. Everyone left the corner without any major damage and we were able to go back to racing. In actual fact, I think that track position was really important.

Fittipaldi is looking forward to heading to the next race at Road America where he won his final CART race in 1999.

“It’s excellent to go back to that place because it’s an awesome track,” he said.

“We don’t want to lose any focus. Actually I think the championship might be starting right now. We need to pay attention to that. We were knocking on the door for three or four races and for whatever reason the race didn’t go our way. We were able to show we could do today.”

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