Target GP Presented by Shell Pre-=Race Quotes ANDREW CRAIG, President and Chief Executive Officer, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., on CART's inaugural event in Chicago: "We are proud to bring the world's fastest race cars to Chicago....
Target GP Presented by Shell Pre-=Race Quotes
ANDREW CRAIG, President and Chief Executive Officer, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., on CART's inaugural event in Chicago: "We are proud to bring the world's fastest race cars to Chicago. There is a terrific fan following for open-wheel racing in the region, and to race at a world-class facility in America's 'Number 3' market is a fantastic opportunity for us."
CHIP GANASSI, Chicago Motor Speedway president and owner of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, on the inaugural Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell: "There's no doubt in my mind that the Target Grand Prix is going to be a huge success. Target is truly a partner with the team and now with the new track. Everything Target gets involved with is first-class. They've been a big part of our success over the years, and with the points chase heating up now, the fans in Chicago are in for a real treat this weekend on the track and off."
JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on the importance of the inaugural Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell to Target/Chip Ganassi Racing: "I've seen so many new tracks this year that you might think this would just be another track for me, but it is very important for us. We're one point behind in the championship, so with just six races left, of course this race is huge. Also, Target is much more than just a sponsor for this team. Everyone on the team wants to win the Target Grand Prix and give our partner a nice gift for the first race. I've been able to drive on the oval there a few times and it is great. It's very wide, so there should be a lot of passing. I think it's a track we can have success on. We hope to continue another winning streak at the Target Grand Prix."
JIMMY VASSER (Target Honda Reynard), on continuing his recent momentum at the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell: "This is a very important race for us. I know that it's going to be a great event with Target so involved in the weekend. Even the other drivers I've talked to are anxious to see what's in store for them at the first Target Grand Prix. For our team, every race is important from here until [the season finale in] Fontana [Calif.]. We're going to keep racing for wins, and with Juan so close in the points chase, every point that I can earn is taking away points from the competition. This team is shooting for a fourth straight championship, so a podium finish at the Target Grand Prix could be the boost we need put us in position to get another PPG Cup."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the anticipation surrounding the inaugural Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell: "I'm really looking forward to visiting the new Chicago Motor Speedway. By all accounts, Chip Ganassi and his people in Chicago have done a magnificent job with the facility. The track is smooth, wide and should be conducive to plenty of passing and some great racing. Kind of like Milwaukee - only better. We've had good results this year on the short ovals, we just need a bit of luck on the #27 Team KOOL Green car."
PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the importance of the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell at this stage of the FedEx Championship Series: "I had a chance to visit the Chicago track and look around. I think it's a beautiful track. It is really wide and I think it's going to be great to run on. Plus, Chicago is a fantastic city, not to mention a great sports town, and we're going to put on a great show there. In terms of how important the race is going to be, our performance is critical from here on out. We're doing what we need to do to get to the championship and that's score points. To get back on a short oval is going to be important for us. I think we have a good set up on the KOOL car to perform well. Tony [Cicale] and I have a better understanding of the car and the whole team is looking for another good, strong finish. If we could win that would be great. But another good strong finish is critical for the results we need toward the championship."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), on the importance of the Chicago market to the FedEx Championship Series: "It will be great to race in Chicago because it is such a huge market. The race is so close to downtown that there is a potential to have a huge crowd. We get some of our highest TV ratings in the Indianapolis area despite the fact that we don't race there anymore. This will be the closest race for our fans in Indy now and it's easily within driving distance. I hope the race will be a huge success. Another reason the Chicago race is important is because the team [office] is only 30 to 40 minutes away from the track. It's nice to do well in your own backyard. I have that feeling in Nazareth. The team will have that feeling because their family and friends can come to the race. It should be a fun race from what I hear. It is supposedly like Milwaukee, which is good because I have had some success there. I think there will be a lot of passing. Experience is key at one-mile tracks. The more experience you have in setting up a car for a one-mile track, the better. It pays off to not necessarily have the fastest car, but one that is comfortable. (On being an overlooked contender for the Championship) "I'm happy that no one is really looking at us as contenders. I love a sneak attack. I think we have the team and the car combination to win a championship. The Ford engine is great and we understand the car and the tires better now.
ROBERTO MORENO (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on his first oval event with Newman/Haas Racing: "I'm looking forward to competing in Chicago, where I'll be running my first oval for the team. I've done well on ovals this season so I am looking forward to driving the Big Kmart car at Chicago. It is the home race for the [Newman/Haas] team, so it will be important to do well at Chicago."
BRYAN HERTA (Shell Reynard Ford), on preparing to change his oval luck at Chicago Motor Speedway: "Chicago should be an outstanding track and a great event. Our oval record hasn't been very good this year, but with the new track everyone is on equal footing. We'll use some of our old setups from [former series] tracks like Loudon [New Hampshire] and Phoenix since those tracks are close to the new Chicago Motor Speedway. I think everyone in CART is very excited about racing in the Chicago area. I know [team owner] Bobby [Rahal] is since he grew up there [Glen Ellyn, Ill]. It should be a great weekend for the fans and the teams."
MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), on his first oval appearance since the disappointment of the U.S. 500, where he ran out of fuel while leading the final lap: "I think Chicago should be a tremendous event. Our Miller Lite team is very anxious to get back to the ovals since our performance at Michigan. We have a good oval setup now and I think we can run at the front at Chicago. One big help for me will be my pit crew. My crew has been the fastest all year and they lead the [Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge] pit stop championship right now. They can really help me at Chicago, gaining positions."
GREG MOORE (Player's Forsythe Racing Team, Ltd. Mercedes Reynard), on the uncertainty of preparing for the new venue at Chicago Motor Speedway: "We've been on road courses the last two races and then there's a stretch of road events to finish the season, so it's going to be fun racing on the new oval in Chicago. Because it's a new event on the schedule, it's hard to say what set-ups we'll need for the race. We've never tested there, so we might have to go from one package to another to determine which one is the best. The Player's team is very good at adapting to different situations, and I'm sure it will come up with the right package for the Chicago oval. As for the track itself, it's more of an elongated oval that a round one. It has real tight corners, so we'll have two or three gears shifts on each lap."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ltd. Mercedes Reynard), on his return to the FedEx Championship Series after missing Round 14 at Mid-Ohio due to a minimal compression fracture of the third thoracic vertebra sustained in an accident at Detroit: "I'm glad to be back in action after sitting out last weekend's race. I'm feeling fine, and with the help of the Player's crew, I'm aiming to have a strong finish in these last six races of the season. I think it's good timing that I'm returning to action on an oval because it's less of a physical demand that a road course, which has more turns. Also, it's always nice to be visiting a new venue and providing a whole new group of racing fans with the opportunity to see the CART series. TONY KANAAN (McDonald's Championship Racing Team Honda Reynard), looking forward to his second visit to Chicago: "I've been to Chicago only once, and that was to visit McDonald's corporate offices. I'm excited to go there. It's an important weekend for us because it's McDonald's hometown and [team owner] Jerry's [Forsythe] also. I really want to do well. It's a new track and no one has tested there, so it's an even playing field. Ovals are not easy, but we had our first win on an oval. It would be great to get our second one here."
AL UNSER JR. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola), on the upcoming Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell: "I was very honored to be in Chicago last week to unveil the prestigious trophy for the Target Grand Prix Presented by Shell. It's exciting that CART racing has finally arrived in Chicago - a first-class city with first-class fans. Marlboro Team Penske is looking forward to the visit and we hope to take the first trophy home. The new track in Chicago should be one of the most exciting places to watch the Champ Cars. When we're running one-mile ovals, we're turning laps in less than half a minute, so there's always a lot to watch. The key on these short tracks is to be patient and work the traffic to your advantage."