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AUGUST 8, 2002

Christian heads for lions...

The Good old Boys of NASCAR will have some fresh meat next year with the arrival from CART of Brazil's Christian Fittipaldi, who has signed a three-year deal to race for Petty Enterprises in Winston Cup racing, starting next year with a mixed program of Busch and Winston events.

Fittipaldi has been racing in CART since 1995 after three seasons in Formula 1 with Minardi (1992-93) and Arrows (1994). He did not score his first win in CART until 1999 but has been a consistent frontrunner since then, although in the last couple of years he has been overshadowed by Cristiano da Matta.

"Christian will be another bright new star in our sport," said Kyle Petty. "It's exciting for us to have landed him. He's got tremendous experience and he's been very successful in every series he's raced in from Formula 3000 to F1 to CART. With our knowledge in this sport and his ability and experience as a driver, we're confident that he can win races and contend for championships in the near future."

It remains to be seen who will replace Fittipaldi at Newman-Haas Racing but the smart money appears to be on Dario Franchitti.