CICERO, Ill. (AP) -- Cristiano da Matta made it one more win for Brazil.
He withstood a challenge from Brazilian compatriot Bruno Junqueira in 90-degree heat Sunday and won the Chicago Grand Prix for the second time in three years.
This was Da Matta's third straight victory, his fourth of the year and sixth in nine races.
Da Matta arrived at the track at 6 a.m. to watch Brazil's 2-0 victory over Germany for the World Cup title. He then celebrated with Brazilian drivers and joined them in getting haircuts in tribute to soccer star Ronaldo. The entire back of their heads were shaved to stubble.
"After the game, I met with my engineers and you just start to get into your work and forget about it," da Matta said. "The happiness is in the back of your mind all the time. But, for me, driving is a lot more important than soccer."
Da Matta didn't have reason to be happy when he finished 15 laps behind in CART's first oval race of the season in Motegi, Japan.
He then ran in the top six in on the Milwaukee Mile oval before a fuel pump problem spoiled his day.
"Now, we qualify third here and win the race," da Matta said. "There's a big difference inside the car."
Most of the top CART teams spend much of May preparing for and racing in the rival Indy Racing League's Indianapolis 500. Da Matta's Newman-Haas Racing team skipped the event.
"I knew we had to get our act together," he said.
On Sunday, he led a race-high 82 laps, including the final 16 of 250. It was his second victory in three years at the track where da Matta earned the first of his eight career wins in 2000.
Junqueira finished second by 0.639-seconds -- about five car-lengths. Dario Franchitti, who started from pole and led the first 68 laps, was third.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.