Andretti ready for championship charge

Champ Car ace Michael Andretti believes that his assault on this year's CART championship has been kick-started by winning in Toronto last weekend, and that his Motorola team is more than capable of taking him to his second title

Andretti ready for championship charge

After a six-year stint with the Newman-Haas team, Andretti switched to pastures new for 2001 and a third car run by the Team Green outfit. A second place at Milwaukee was the closest the 1991 champion had come to making it onto the top step until he fought from the back in Toronto on Sunday to take his first win of the year.

Andretti's victory netted him 20 points, moving him into second place in the standings, just 11 points behind championship leader Kenny Brack. And Despite his slow start to the season, the 38-year-old hopes Sunday's win has opened the floodgates to a full championship charge.

"I think it could have been a little better," said Andretti. "But now after last weekend I feel better that we finally broke the ice and won a race and I am hoping that it will just get us on a roll. But I think this team is very much capable of winning it [the title]."

Dario Franchitti is in a similar position to Andretti after the Scot's Cleveland win two week's ago vaulted him up the standings. The top four contenders are covered by just 19 points, with Helio Castroneves in third just ahead of Franchitti.

The championship is exactly halfway through and with 11 rounds still to run there is still a long way to go. But Andretti believes that the key to winning the title is not winning races, but reaching the chequered flag.

"I think winning the championship is about finishing in the top five," he said. "That is going to be so crucial between now and the end of the season and the guy that is able to do it consistently will be the one who wins the championship. That's what we need to focus on - just finishing those races and hopefully winning another one or two along the way. But the main focus has got to be finishing them."

The teams head to Brooklyn and the Michigan International Speedway this weekend for their second race in seven days. Andretti started second and finished second at the two-mile oval last year, and will be hoping for at least the same on Sunday.

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