CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Michigan racenotes

CARPENTIER WINS HIS FIRST RACE SINCE 1996 - Player's Forsythe driver Patrick Carpentier inched out Dario Franchitti and Michel Jourdain, Jr., at Michigan International Speedway [MIS] to win his first career CART race and his first race since...

CARPENTIER WINS HIS FIRST RACE SINCE 1996 - Player's Forsythe driver Patrick Carpentier inched out Dario Franchitti and Michel Jourdain, Jr., at Michigan International Speedway [MIS] to win his first career CART race and his first race since Laguna Seca in 1996 [Toyota Atlantic]. Carpentier's victory came in his 79th Champ Car start, was his fourth career podium appearance and his best finish this season. Jourdain, who ran with the lead pack all day, finished a strong third to score his first career Champ Car podium finish, which was also the team's first since 1998 [Milwaukee - Helio Castroneves]. With less than 20 laps to go, CART points leader Kenny Brack made contact with his teammate, Max Papis, and both drivers made contact with the wall, ending their day.

Ford-Cosworth suffered no mechanical failures during the race weekend with five of its seven entries still running at the end of the race [Brack and Papis out with contact] ... Patrick Carpentier's victory was the 25th for Cosworth Racing at MIS since it entered Champ Car racing in 1977 ... Ford-Cosworth has now won three races from the pole this season [Brack at Milwaukee; Papis at Portland], and each of the last two 500 miles races [Fontana '00 - Christian Fittipaldi].

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/ Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 1st

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FINALLY GETTING THAT FIRST WIN, ESPECIALLY AFTER YOU'VE BEEN SO CLOSE.

"When I was second on the last yellow flag the car I had behind me was the exactly the same as I had in Detroit [Dario], and I could remember Detroit pretty well and I thought to myself, 'not this time, I want to win this one.' I knew we could lead towards the end because I had a little bit more and I could be flat around the whole racetrack quite easily. I was hoping to be close enough to try to win at the end and it was a little bit of luck. At the end of the last few laps we were battling hard and almost touching wheels when suddenly "Tag" [teammate Alex Tagliani] came along. The first time he came in I said, 'man, what is he doing?' but I was quite happy I must admit. [laughing] He did a good job and I guess that's what teams are for and it helped the team and myself to our first victory.

"CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CRITICAL PASS YOU MADE TOWARDS THE END WHEN YOU GOT THREE-WIDE?

"We're passing all the time so it's hard to know which one it was, but no matter where I was on the race track I was trying not to lift the throttle so I could get a shot at these guys down the straightaway. One time Michel [Jourdain] was in front of me and I got up behind him, which cut my air a little bit and I almost hit the wall. I had to lift a little bit and I lost a lot of ground, but there was still five or six laps to go and I was hoping to catch them before the end. I think it's amazing with these wings because it's like playing a video game. The guy up front is slower than the guys behind and he cannot get away from them, so I think it makes for some really exciting racing. I was just hoping to be second on the second to last lap, and it's just timing because I had my foot to the floor most of the time and today we had a bit more luck than we've had in the last three years.

"WHEN WERE YOU FIRST AWARE OF TAG'S PRESENCE?

"I have no idea. I thought he was further back in the field because I knew he was a lap down. I was battling with these two guys [Franchitti and Jourdain] and suddenly he came really fast. He had a really good tow and he came down to the apron and just went flying by us, but I knew he wouldn't be able to stay there for long because once you're out there it slows you down. But I was just hoping that I wouldn't have to battle with him and lose positions at the end, but he was very nice and just moved over a little bit and gave me the space I needed to finish first.

"TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE TO CONCENTRATE FOR OVER THREE HOURS.

"It's always difficult, not necessarily physically but just the length of the race is very long and hard. You've got to focus all the time and you've got so many guys everywhere. My spotter did a great job today because sometimes there were guys coming on the outside that I never thought had enough room to go outside and they still went, so I had to move because I didn't see them a few times. You need as many eyes as you can because at that speed with all these cars you just need to be aware of what's around you a lot more than what the car's doing when it's good.

"WHAT DID YOU SEE WHEN [KENNY] BRACK AND MAX [PAPIS] GOT TOGETHER?

"I was right behind them when they touched. I could see it coming when I think Max started pushing into Kenny's sidepod and I was flat out trying to get by before the start of the crash. I was very lucky because I usually I used the high line but on that lap I went down really low and I didn't have to avoid them. We got lucky so many times because sometimes you just loose the air on your front wing and instead of turning the car just goes straight and it changes direction very fast and there's nothing you can do about it."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 3rd -

YOU RAN AT THE FRONT ALL DAY, SO COULD YOU TAKE US THROUGH THOSE FINAL FEW LAPS?

"It was an unbelievable race. I'm really proud to be part of this series and obviously the team did an amazing job. All the pit stops were perfect and if we didn't gain positions we didn't lose positions in the pits. The plan was just to stay with the lead group like we did for the first 450 miles and attack at the end, and everything went according to the plan. I was sure that it was going to be between Dario [Franchitti] and I, but then Alex [Tagliani] appeared from nowhere and got in the way and I had to lift a lot. How I didn't take Dario out was a miracle. My car just went straight and my right front went in between his two left tires and I thought we were going to hit each other, but I managed to get it back down.

"TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE TO CONCENTRATE FOR OVER THREE HOURS.

"It was really hard because there were a couple of times I thought I was going into the wall. There were a few times that I was completely on the brakes going straight into the wall but I was able to save it, and I'm sure that everybody in the race was like that. It was so hard to run, but that's why we get paid and we just have to do it. It was really hard, but the yellows helped a little bit because they came at the right times to help the concentration. But in a way it hurt me because I was running with the lead group all the time and a couple of those yellows got a couple of guys back into the fight, but it was tough to concentrate for all of this time."

BRYAN HERTA (#77 Forsythe/Indeck Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 5th -

"I had a great car and I couldn't ask for too much more. The only place I really struggled was when I got two or three cars in front of me in a row in the turbulence and the car was pretty loose. I really struggled in that situation, but other than that the car was great all day.

"YOU HAD A GREAT RUN BUT IT LOOKED LIKE YOU GOT SHUFFLED OUT AT THE END.

"Yeah, I thought I had a great strategy on the restart to try and get a big break on those guys on the restart and I did, but it ended up working against me because all it did was give them a big run at me. When they caught me they had so much momentum they just drove right past me. They got by me and I got back in the tow, but I just ran out of time to work my way back through again.

"YOU HAD ONE OF THE DOMINANT CARS TODAY.

"No questions we had one of the dominant cars today, but this kind of racing if you want to call it that, is more about luck than anything. You put yourself in a position but you go low and the other guy goes high and you loose the draft and another guy passes you. S0 much of it is out of your control with this kind of drafting that it's a little bittersweet."

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 6th -

"The team did a fantastic job today. My teammate won his first race, so it's pretty good for the team. I'm really, really happy that we're improving every weekend and two weekends in a row the team can celebrate."

ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 11th -

"We were running okay and doing what we wanted to do, which was be safe the first part of the race. I still don't understand how we got a lap down because I couldn't believe it and I didn't know how. It's not the first time that has happened to us so we're going to have to study the lap chart and see what's going on. But the car was good and strong all day long. In the middle of the race when I was running with the front pack I felt like I was as strong as they were and it's a shame that we were a lap down because then we could've been up there. At the end I managed to pass [Tora] Takagi and [Roberto] Moreno and at least we got 11th place and a couple of points after everything we've been through in 500 miles, so it's not too bad."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 16th -

"We had the car to win. I was very happy today, but my disappointment is tremendous. I had everybody covered and I want to wait until I see the video.

"ARE YOU AND KENNY [BRACK] OKAY?

"I am okay, but I'm pretty hurt inside. I'm very disappointed for Team Rahal, my mechanics, all the Shell mechanics, but I want to see the video."

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 17th -

"We were racing hard for the lead we both believed that we had cars that were good enough to win today. I was high and Max was low and we just got too close to each other. It's very unfortunate for Team Rahal, and both cars were strong enough to win the race. It was a long, tough race and we were in the position we wanted to be for the end."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Michel Jourdain