CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Rockingham race notes

Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack claims second in the shortened Rockingham 500 BRACK RETAINS LEAD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack finished second in the shortened Rockingham 500 to retain his lead in the championship...

Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack claims second in the shortened Rockingham 500

BRACK RETAINS LEAD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS - Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack finished second in the shortened Rockingham 500 to retain his lead in the championship points as the FedEx Championship Series heads back to North America. Gil de Ferran led race-high 84 laps to win his first race of the season, while Cristiano da Matta finished third. Helio Castroneves, who originally finished third, was penalized to fourth place after CART reviewed tapes of the race and determined that he made a pass beyond the blend line on his out lap following his final pit stop. Brack managed to get by de Ferran on lap 139, but de Ferran re-passed Brack on the final lap to claim the victory. The race was initially shortened from 210 laps to 168 laps because of the late start time (approximately 5:00pm local time) before being shortened again to140 laps because of the darkening conditions. Brack retained his lead in the championship points with 147, followed by de Ferran (141 points), Michael Andretti (127 points), Castroneves (123 points) and Cristiano da Matta (90 points).

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 2nd
TAKE US THROUGH THE CLOSING STAGES OF THE RACE WHEN YOU CAUGHT GIL AND PASSED HIM BEFORE HE GOT PAST YOU AGAIN. "I think Gil [de Ferran] was very competitive and I managed to get by him because we were a little faster there in the middle, but then in the end we couldn't hold him off. I don't know what happened in the last corner because I thought we had it covered, but we obviously didn't."

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PASSING THE LAPPED TRAFFIC. "They're very unpredictable. I think we were very competitive, both of us [de Ferran], and it was down to traffic in the end. That's why I got past him and that's why he managed to get by me in the end too. I wasn't sure and you can never be sure until you cross the finish line because something can always happen. We had a very good race so I have no complaints. It was tough, it was exciting and it was all that oval racing should be I think."

TALK ABOUT THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF PRACTICE TIME. "It's the same for everybody and I think that the car ran good. If we would've had another day we would've been able to fine tune a little bit more, but I don't think it was necessary." WHAT ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "There's four races to go and they're all going to be crucial. It's too tight in the points battle to have any other ideas because if you miss one race or miss out in one race then things can happen, so it's really crucial to score points now. We won four races this year but we're only ahead by six points. We have to finish high up in the points and win more if possible."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 11th
"I was very pleased today. We were fighting a push all race long because we were expecting a little higher temperatures. The car was really loose in the first stint and we got it better. I made an unbelievable start, but when I came off of Turn Four I lost traction and the car went sideways a little bit. I went all the way down the front straight backward full on the throttle, but I recovered and I'm very proud of the points we took home."

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO FIND A GOOD SET UP TODAY WITH THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF TRACK TIME? "It was very difficult. We got very close and almost made it right but it wasn't as good as we wanted it."

DID YOU MAKE ADJUSTMENTS DURING THE RACE? "It was more like guessing, but I'm pretty proud of my guys and of what we accomplished today."

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 14th
"I'm a little bit disappointed because I thought we had a good car. I don't know what it was, but on my own the car was great and I was able to keep up. As soon as I would get close to a group of two or three other cars the car was very loose in turbulence and I wasn't able to get a good handle on it. I tried to play with the weight jacker all day long to make sure that we could finish the race, but it was something that I couldn't understand and that's why I wasn't very good on the restarts compared to the way we were in Germany. But maybe the cold temperatures affected us and caused the car to be a little stiff." ARE YOU GLAD TO GET THIS RACE BEHIND YOU? "I'm very glad. I think this is one of the most dangerous tracks that I've ever been on. There was not one lap where I wasn't thinking about something that might break on the car because the speeds we were going and the way the track is configured is very dangerous."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 16th
"Nothing went right for us this weekend and it wasn't a good day. We missed the practice before the race [ran four laps] and I didn't know what kind of car I would have at the start so a few guys passed me. After that I went into the pits a little too hot and hit one of my tires that hit one of my guys. Then one of my guys lost his watch so we didn't know how much fuel we needed to put in and that was basically it. I saved fuel the whole race, stayed in seventh gear the entire time and I was off the throttle over 80 percent of the track. For me it was a very boring race except for in the end when we opened it up a bit and I set the fastest lap, but it's very slim consolation for me."

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO GET INTO A GROOVE THIS WEEKEND WITH ALL THE WAITING AROUND? "It was very tough. Just the 10-minute practice this morning was very important because if you get that then you know what kind of car you have and what it's going to be like when you start the race. But because we missed most of it I had no idea. We changed gears and everything and I didn't even know if the car was going to last one lap."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 19th
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU SPUN THE CAR? "On the first tank of fuel the car started getting looser and looser during the run and it spun around and I didn't catch it."

DID THE COLD TEMPERATURES GIVE YOU PROBLEMS FINDING A SET UP? "I don't think the temperatures affected us. We had a pretty good car this morning right out of the box and were one of the fastest cars at the beginning of the session. I just don't think our race set up was as good as it could be and the car wasn't that consistent during the race."

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO FIND A SET UP WITH THE SHORT TIME ON TRACK? "The car was good for a couple of runs, but it's a very different track from what we usually run. We just needed to make a few adjustments that would've made the car a lot better, but starting on championship points makes it very difficult to move to the front."

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta