ANDRETTI WINS MOTOROLA 300 FORD FAST FACTS * ANDRETTI'S WIN IS THE 38TH OF HIS CHAMP CAR CAREER * ANDRETTI'S WIN IS FORD'S 200TH PAVED OVAL WIN * ANDRETTI'S WIN COMES 30 YEARS TO THE DAY OF HIS FATHER MARIO'S WIN ...
ANDRETTI WINS MOTOROLA 300
FORD FAST FACTS
* ANDRETTI'S WIN IS THE 38TH OF HIS CHAMP CAR CAREER * ANDRETTI'S WIN IS FORD'S 200TH PAVED OVAL WIN * ANDRETTI'S WIN COMES 30 YEARS TO THE DAY OF HIS FATHER MARIO'S WIN AT THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 * ANDRETTI'S WIN MARKS THE 20TH WIN ON MEMORIAL DAY FOR FORD * ANDRETTI HAS LED 290 OF THE 708 LAPS CONTESTED AT GATEWAY OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Finished 1st - "Helio was really coming on. But, I have to give credit to Firestone. We decided to try to get track position and not take on tires after our last stop so we went out and did a very quick stop. We took a gamble because we didn't know if the tires were going to make it the rest of the way. The tires were just incredible. They just kept going, going and going. They have a lot to do with this win. Also, the entire K-Mart/Texaco team called a perfect race. I questioned our decision to some on our second to last stop. I think me and Dario (Franchitti) came in together and I thought to myself that we gave away a lot of good track position but they kept telling me that this will help us in the end and it did. It allowed us to beat the other guys out of the pits on the last stop and it turned out to be perfect strategy. The Ford engine ran perfect and the Swift chassis ran perfect. I knew we were going to have our hands full at the end because Helio was coming on and he had fresher tires. Normally the tries have about 20 laps on them that they are really good and then they go out a bit and hold. I know I had to hold off his challenge for a while and was pretty confident that if I did that then I should be able to hold him off the rest of the race. There were a couple of times that he got pretty close but he never got close enough. He did a good job and I knew what had to be done and I was just praying at the end that the tires would hold up and we were actually running some pretty quick times. At the end, especially during the last couple of laps (Scott) Pruett and Al (Unser) were complete gentlemen getting out of the way and that showed they are true professionals there. They didn't mess up the show. They were very good to all three of us. Unfortunately they were a bit too good to the other two. We had a good fight there at the end."
AT THE END OF THE RACE IT SEEMED LIKE HELIO TRIED TO MAKE A MOVE ON YOU BUT THEN YOU MOVED DOWN TO PROTECT YOUR LINE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THAT? "I lost my air going into turn two and I know I had to really get on the throttle hard and not back off. Helio did that a bit earlier and he got a pretty good run. He got close but not close enough to make a move."
LAST YEAR WAS A PARTICULARLY TRYING YEAR ESPECIALLY AFTER HOMESTEAD. DID YOU EVER WONDER WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS TIME? "You just have to have faith. We have been pretty competitive but we have had a couple of bad races, we can just wipe Brazil off and not talk about it, but we were in a position to win Motegi and in a position to win at Homestead so we have been competitive. This year we started off with a pretty steep learning curve in switching tire manufacturers and we had to do some heavy learning. We are getting pretty close on the ovals but we still need to do some work on the road courses."
MICHAEL, YOU WON ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT SUCCESS? "It feels good. It's nice to win at a track I have not won at before and to win on Memorial Day and I just found out that dad won 30 years ago and all that. It's nice. It was a long time since I won a race and it feels good."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH PASSING WAS GOING ON OUT THERE? "It was. I thought passing was a little easier too. I don't know why."
YOUR DAD EMBRACED YOU AT THE END OF THE RACE, WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU? "I think he was happier than me. He was just really ecstatic and congratulating me and it was really just a nice moment."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - Finished 9th - "We were as fast as anyone out there maybe with the exception of Helio (Castro-Neves). It was a little disappointing because we had a few problems on the pit stops which hurt us. The car was very strong today."
YOU DID MANAGE ANOTHER TOP-TEN FINISH POSITION AND YOU DID MANAGE TO GAIN A FEW VERY VALUABLE PPG CUP POINTS . . . "On the bright side, yes, we did manage to score points again and that will help us as we continue to battle for the Championship.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford - Finished 21st/Gearbox Oil Cooler Line Break - YOU HAD A VERY EVENTFUL DAY TODAY . . ."We were running very strong today. But, on my first stop into the pits my clutch was slipping and that caused the car to jump on me and I almost ran over one of my crew members and then we had this problem with the oil line later in the race. We had a car capable of a top four or five finish. It's disappointing because we would have definitely scored points towards the championship today."
THERE IS A LOT OF RACING GOING ON OUT THERE, PROBABLY THE MOST WE HAVE SEEN THIS SEASON. WHAT'S IT LIKE OUT THERE? "There is more passing out there than I thought there would be. It makes for some pretty exciting times."
P.J. JONES -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Finished 8th - "I wish we could have held on for a little better finish. The bottom line is that we have to start to qualify better. I ran 140 laps on my last set of tires and that's a lot to ask of them. The car started to go away with about 20 laps left and I had my hands full a few times. We probably should have put tires on during our last stop, but on the flip side of that we would not have made up the position in the pits that we did so you can look at it both ways. I may have been able to pass some cars with new tires but you can't really second guess yourself. You could do that all day. I am happy with the finish and not it's on to Milwaukee where I hope we can continue to build on the success we seems to have started since Nazareth."
YOU SEEM TO BE BECOMING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE SWIFT CHASSIS . . ."Yeah, it's getting there. We have not had it 100-percent yet but each week we improve the car and seem to get it figured out just a bit more."
MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - YOUR HARD CHARGING STYLE GOT YOU RESULTS AGAIN. EVERY TIME YOU START IN THE TEENS YOU MANAGE TO BRING HOME TOP-FIVE FINISH (HOMESTEAD START 15/FINISH 5, RIO 13/4, GATEWAY 13/5) . . . "We could have gotten on the podium today but the tires on the left side didn't hold up. It was a very competitive race and we played it very well. A sure spot on the podium got away but we will get it back soon. I can't say enough about the team. We are working very well together and we keep knocking on the door and we will get one pretty soon."
BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Finished 23rd/Contact - ON THE INCIDENT THAT PUT HIM OUT OF THE RACE . . . "I had no where to go. I am not sure how (the incident) was triggered. It is so hard to pass out there that if a guy sees an opening he goes right at it. I think one of the Kool cars went dive bombing on (Patrick) Carpentier and one of those guys hit me and spun me up into the wall. There was nothing I could do. It is a shame because although the car was not great but we were hoping to hang on and make the car better and try and get some points today. It has just been one thing after another this year. We are going to come back strong for Milwaukee. I am so upset right now all I want to do is get to Milwaukee, put some points up and then go to Portland and win the race."
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