Long Beach: Driver pre-event quotes

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Round 2, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 12-14, 2002, Long Beach, California Quote Board: Joey Hand ...

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship
Round 2, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 12-14, 2002, Long Beach, California

Quote Board:

Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift 014.a

"Long Beach is the race that everybody wants to win, and I want to win it bad! Long Beach is a true street race and the track suits my style. It's a kart racer's track -- very tight, and not a lot of room for error. Most importantly, you really have to hustle the car, go over the curbs, and let it out right to the wall to lay down a fast lap. It's exactly the type of place I grew up racing on. This is also the first time I'll be racing on a track that I've raced an Atlantic car at before, which should play in our favor. I've really been waiting for this one since last year and we're looking forward to a great weekend in Long Beach."

Rocky Moran Jr. #4 Sigma Autosport Swift 014.a

"I can't wait for this race, I simply can't wait! For me this is the coolest race and definitely one of the most important in terms that it's my home race and one that I have been attending since I was two-years-old. I love everything about the Long Beach Grand Prix. I love the track, the fans, the atmosphere, everything. This will be my fourth race and I'm hoping this will be different than my other ones as I haven't really had the best of luck. That could change this season as I've got a car capable of winning. My goal here is to get on the podium and that's possible."

David Wieringa #3 Sigma Autosport Swift 014.a

"Long Beach is a great event and one that is big for our series. I haven't been on this track, but from what I can see it will be a challenge. Jim (Griffith) has done well at Long Beach during his career and we've got a lot of great feedback from past races. It's going to be a tough race, but I think we will do well and have a great time. If we can stay out of trouble, we'll be there at the end. Like Rocky, I can't wait to get on the track and run hard."

Sepp Koster #5 Michael Shank Racing/Blue Bay Golf Resort/Utert/Respons Swift

"Since Long Beach is considered the most prestigious race on the CART calendar, I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. Especially because the break in the schedule has been long and I want to erase the bad memory from Monterrey. I feel that I didn't show the true potential of the MSR team and what better place to turn things around than, hopefully, sunny Long Beach. And will be my last race in the older model Swift --- we'll have one of the new cars starting at Milwaukee --- but I will try to show that it's still in contention for the podium."

Rodolfo Lavin #11 Michael Shank Racing/Corona/Modelo Swift 014.a

"I think our team is in pretty good shape right now. Our street course set-up has worked really well on the new car and we're going to be testing for two days before leaving for Long Beach, so I'm really looking forward to going there and fighting hard for a podium finish. But to do that, I think we will need to qualify in the top five because there will not be enough time to move up if you are too far down the grid. And the guys in the front will be especially difficult to pass, so you want to be right there with them or in front of them. As for the points, it is still very early and the competition is real strong this year, but I don't see why we can't be fighting for the championship at the end of the season."

Ryan Dalziel #28 Michael Shank Racing Swift 008.a

"I think we've got quite a lot to get done over the couple of tests we've got next week, so hopefully that will put us in a good position going into Long Beach. I've watched the race on television for a couple of years, but I really don't know the circuit in my head at all. I'm just going to make sure to learn the track as much as I can before the first practice session. I think at this race we might struggle a little bit more with the old car than in Mexico. But we went to Mexico just to get points because we didn't want to be to far away from the championship by Milwaukee, because by Milwaukee I'll have one of the new cars and I won't have an excuse then for not being on the pace. I'm hoping really just to finish in the top five next weekend, unless it rains again. Then maybe we'll be looking at a win."

Michael Valiante #19 Lynx Racing Swift 014.a

"Long Beach is an incredibly intense experience, both on and off the track. This year's crop of Atlantic drivers is the most competitive in years, and it's going to take three days of intense effort and focus to do well. We had a good setup for the race here last year, and we've worked on refining that into a car that should give us a shot at the podium. Last year was my first-ever Atlantic race, and my first time at Long Beach, at a place like this experience counts for a lot, so we should be in the hunt."

Grant Ryley #23 Lynx Racing/Northwest Speedwerx/Cupertino Electric Swift 014.a

"This race last year was my first ever Atlantic race and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that tears were running down my face as I was sitting on the starting grid. This is the Indy 500 of street races, and to even have a chance to participate, no matter how well you do, is something that stays with you forever. Last year, my transmission broke on the warm-up lap, and they fixed it in pit lane and then it broke again. Hearing the cars take the green flag while I was sitting on the pit was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever done."

Alex Figge #14 Worldspeed Motorsports Redline/Glycomax/Ironclad Swift 014.a

"It feels like I've been waiting my whole life to race at Long Beach. It's the one you always hear about, and I'm really excited about finally getting out there myself. We feel like we're as prepared as we possibly could be for this weekend. We just had a great couple of days testing and we're all pretty pumped up. I think we have a good shot at doing well and I'll definitely benefit from World Speed's Long Beach expertise."

Ryan Hunter-Reay #1 Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print/Medlock Ames Winery Swift

"Long Beach is one of CART's biggest events on the schedule and it is such a big part of the history of American open wheel history, so I am very excited to race there. We did not race in Long Beach in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series, so it will be my first time, but it something I have thought about many, many times. I love racing on street circuits, it is my favorite type of racing. I have been on the track, it will be challenging yet straight-forward, I think it will really suit my driving style. My team has done well here in the past so I am confident they will give me a good car out of the box. I am really looking forward to it."

Roger Yasukawa #9 Hylton Motorsports/Autobacs/Ueno Clinic/Pacific Creative

"Long Beach will not only be my first race in the CART Toyota Atlantic series, but it is also my home race. It won't be easy, but street courses are by far my favorite type of track, so I know I will be comfortable with the circuit. This is one of the races that I have dreamed about competing in, I come every year and I knew someday I would be here to race and that time has come. We have tested three days at two different tracks in the past week and I feel I am well prepared for Long Beach."

Waldemar Coronas #88 Scuadra Fortia/Aviacsa/Standox/Maizoro Swift 014.a

"I feel confident for the Long Beach race. We think we can improve our results in comparison with our top-ten finish at Monterrey (Mexico). We don't know how well we can make it at Long Beach, but we have been testing and I am sure we will be in good shape for the race. I am looking forward to get Long Beach, since this is my first time at this track."

Eduardo Figueroa #86 Scuadra Fortia/Aviacsa/Standox/Maizoro Swift 014.a

"Monterrey was a hard race, we needed to work further on the development of the car. However, we have been working hard on the car and testing, too. I workout with a new fitness coach, because I want to do the things in a professional way and every day the team looks better. We are happy and motivated for doing a good job, looking forward for a great season, a learning season to accumulate racing experience. The most important is that we are already in the Toyota Atlantic Series! I have never been at the Long Beach circuit, but I heard that it's a nice race with a lot of tradition and while I am waiting for the race, I feel the days are longer... I wish the race would be tomorrow!"

Alex Garcia #8 Transnet Racing/Dixien Swift 008.a

"We've been working really hard, getting ready for this race. Over the last few weeks, we've been working on the 008 set- up we'll be using at Long Beach, as well as the new chassis that we will use in Milwaukee. Once we get to Long Beach, we'll have to get a feel for a track we've never raced before. Considering it is a street race, the track is really fast, the competition is tough and you have to maintain total concentration. There is no margin for error. I am looking forward to getting on the track for practice and getting ready to compete in the race."

Luis Diaz #33 Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014.a

"Long beach is one of my favorites tracks because is has so much tradition. However, the circuit is demanding physically and mentally for the drivers because it is very bumpy. If you make a mistake you can easily hit a wall. I think we have a very good chance to be competitive because the team is experienced at Long Beach and has a history of success. Dorricott Racing has won twice before at Long Beach. There is a lot to be said for the experience gained by winning at Long Beach. Our team always works the hardest of any other and that makes a difference in the long and short run. I hope to have a good result for them and for my sponsors."

Alex Gurney #34 Dorricott Racing/Behr/Castrol Swift 014.

"Things didn't go according to plan for me in Mexico although it was a great debut for the team. Long Beach is THE big race for me. I'll be going all out for the win and to get back in the championship race."

-cart/atlantic-

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