CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Ford Racing Notes

ANDRETTI DRIVES TO THIRD AT HOUSTON FOLLOWED BY FELLOW FORD DRIVERS PAPIS AND HERTA Michael Andretti was yelling at the guys in the pits today, but it turned out that the decisions they made helped him land on the podium when the checkered flags...

ANDRETTI DRIVES TO THIRD AT HOUSTON FOLLOWED BY FELLOW FORD DRIVERS PAPIS AND HERTA

Michael Andretti was yelling at the guys in the pits today, but it turned out that the decisions they made helped him land on the podium when the checkered flags waved. Andretti's pit strategy played a crucial role in his success on the downtown Houston street circuit.

Team Rahal drivers Max Papis and Bryan Herta survived an eventful day filled with a blown tire and a pit speed violation and battled back to a very respectable fourth and fifth place finish respectively.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - Started 12th / Finished 7th - "Today's race came down to pure luck. Who ever caught the yellow situation to pit for the last round of stops made it and whoever stayed out there didn't. At the time it was the right thing to do, but the strategy changed. It didn't go my way. It was a pure luck condition. I was getting the best mileage I ever had with my engine and I was also lifting like hell. Franchitti, who I was battling with, was running full-rich. There was no way to keep him behind me." YOU HAVE A BIT OF DAMAGE TO THE RIGHT SIDEPOD OF YOUR CAR THAT I ASSUME HAPPENED WHEN YOU AND FRANCHITTI GOT TOGETHER. DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO MAKE THE MOVE ON YOU WHEN HE DID? "No. I would not have done that if I was in the position in the Championship the he is. I know that he knew I had to stop. He was very lucky. He bumped into me big and it worked out well for him today, but it could also not have worked out well for him. If it wouldn't have worked out he would have thrown the Championship away. He was just very, very lucky."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Started 11th / Finished 3rd - "It was a good race for us today. I was yelling at the guys I the pits a lot today, but they made some good calls so I have to apologize to them, but that's okay. The calls they made today got us on the podium. We had to do a lot of fighting in the back of the pack today. I don't know if we had enough for Dario and Paul today but we will take it. It was important for us to have a good day for Texaco." AFTER A DISAPPOINTING RACE HERE FOR YOU LAST YEAR WHEN YOU WERE FORCED TO RETIRE BEFORE THE START OF THE RACE, WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE RACING ON THE TRACK? "You definitely can pass out there and I know that was an issue earlier. There were a lot of marbles out there because we were running soft tires but they were not in the areas that we were braking on. So they were not a real factor. All in all I would say the track is good to race on, it was difficult, but good. It did get real hot out there. With only one real long straightaway to get air in the cockpit it felt like you were in a sauna. It makes for a long day." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS REGARDING THE STARTS OF THE RACES. TODAY IT TOOK THREE ATTEMPTS TO GET THE GREEN FLAG . . ."I don't know what is up with the starts. They threw the green flag on the worst one. They are looking for the perfect start and that was the worst of the three. The starts today are so crucial because you can win with a good start where in the past it was not as important."

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Started 2nd / Finished 5th - AFTER HAVING TO BATTLE BACK FROM A FLAT RIGHT REAR TIRE EARLY ON AND THEN STRUGGLE WITH A CAR THAT DIDN'T HAVE FIRST GEAR, YOU MANAGED TO GO FROM 24TH TO FINISH FIFTH TODAY ON A TRACK THAT MANY SAID WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO PASS ON, THAT'S QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT . . . "Thanks. It was a fun day BECAUSE I GOT TO PASS A LOT OF CARS AND FIGHT HARD ALL DAY. But, it was also frustrating because we had a car that could have finished in the top-three for sure. I don't think we could have caught (Paul) Tracy but I think we could have beat everybody else." YOU MANAGED TO PUT SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND CARPENTIER IN THE POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP. MOVING INTO ELEVENTH PLACE IN THE POINTS RACE USUALLY IS NOT BIG NEWS, BUT IT HELPS YOUR CAUSE TO QUALIFY FOR A SPOT IN THE HAWAIIAN SUPER PRIX . . . "That's good. I am looking forward to the race in Hawaii."

MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Started 5th / Finished 4th - "I have to thank my trainer because I feel like I am in great shape and that helped me drive us to fourth place today. The Miller guys did a very good job today but we were robbed by the pit lane speed violation that cost us a stop-and-go penalty. If people would pay enough attention to other things in the series the same way they do this today I think it would be a good step for our series."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - Started 10th / Finished 12th - "It was hard to keep the motivation out there after getting black flagged for the pit speed violation. It was a hard race to just get one point." A STOP-AND-GO PENALTY FOR EXCEEDING THE PIT LANE SPEED LIMIT BY ONE MILE AN HOUR DOESN'T SEEM FAIR. HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FOR YOU? "Well the rules are the rules. We had a problem with our telemetry. We didn't deserve to be up there today, we made too many mistakes today. You can do it with the performance we had today."

JAN MAGNUSSEN -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Started 9th / Finished 13th - "I was good in the beginning. I was just following the lead group. After our first pit stop I dropped back a little bit but I got back to where I was before the pits. At the last stint the car was good at the beginning and then I lost rear grip and was just trying to hold off Hearn. I got onto the power and the car just snapped around. I am disappointed because I felt that we could have had a good result." YOU LOOK EXHAUSTED. HOW MUCH DID THE HEAT PLAY A ROLE? "It was a tough race because of the heat. My left foot was sore about two-thirds into the race."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Bryan Herta