Da Matta racing trucks in Brazil Ever wonder what happened to Cristiano da Matta? After a near-fatal freak accident with a deer at Road America in 2006, da Matta made an amazing comeback to drive sports cars in '08.
With boundless determination, a compelling, feel-good story and proven results, da Matta seemed well-positioned to get back on track full-time. But as quickly as he resurfaced, da Matta was gone again.
He is racing again. Not in the United States, where he enjoyed his greatest success. And not in a sleek, low-slung, open-wheel car like those he drove to the 2002 Champ Car title or in his two seasons in Formula One.
Da Matta races semis, tall, snub-nosed beasts in which the driver sits upright, closer to the windshield than to the pavement below him.
The 36-year-old Brazilian is a rookie in Formula Truck, a series known in America by only the most worldly fans but that is one popular with manufacturers and spectators in da Matta's homeland.
His is not the only recognizable name on the Formula Truck entry list.
Bruno Junqueira, a three-time Champ Car series runner-up, also made his debut this season. Former Indy-car driver Felipe Giaffone has won two of the past three titles. Other regulars include former F1 and Champ car racer Gast¢n Mazzacane and Geraldo Piquet, the eldest son of three-time F1 champ Nelson Piquet.
Da Matta dropped in to see old friends this week while on vacation in the U.S.
He stopped at the Chicago-area headquarters of Newman/Haas Racing, the team with which he enjoyed the most success, and according to the team also at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, where he had been treated after his accident. JSOnline.com
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