Minardi Team USA Heads into Long Beach with High Aspirations

Long Beach, California, (April 11, 2007) -- With the season-opening Las Vegas Grand Prix in the history books, and a second-place finish recorded, Minardi Team USA didn't have much time to celebrate before starting to prepare for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, this weekend. There is no doubt, though, that the second of three consecutive races to kick-off the 2007 Champ Car World Series season begins on an upbeat note for the Indianapolis-based squad, after Robert Doornbos became the first rookie in 14 years to claim a podium finish on his Champ Car debut. Team mate, Dan Clarke, also put in a hard-charging performance, before eventually retiring from the race. Both Robert and Dan spent the few available days between events continuing to train diligently, in order to be physically and mentally prepared for the battle that will undoubtedly take place on the streets of Long Beach this weekend.

"Speedy Dan" Clarke (No 4)

"It's great to be back in Long Beach. It was my first Champ Car race here last year, and was definitely one of my favorites. It will be fantastic to be on a track where I have some experience, and can use what I learned last year to advantage. It was really a catch-up weekend for me in Las Vegas, having not driven the new DP01 Champ Car chassis before, but it was still a great race and it makes me realize what a lucky boy I am being a racing driver. The Minardi Team USA crew was wonderful, and together we showed we have the speed to be on the podium, so I go to Long Beach in a very positive frame of mind."

Robert Doornbos (No 14)

"Of course, I feel good after our debut last weekend in Vegas -- both for the team and for myself. It's obviously early days, but I feel confident we can have a successful season. Hopefully, we can improve even further on last weekend's result, and take home a win. I have heard great stories about Long Beach, and I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be another strong performance."

Paul Stoddart, Team Co-Owner

"Robert's second-place finish in Las Vegas obviously provided Minardi Team USA with a wonderful debut in the Champ Car World Series, and we will be aiming to carry that momentum through into Long Beach. As with many of the circuits we're visiting this season, this one will be familiar to Dan, but new to Robert, and that's where I believe our strategy of having a fast driver with Champ Car experience paired with a fast rookie is a good one. I'm sure Robert and Dan will be able to help each another, and with the undoubted skill of the entire team behind them, both have an excellent chance of producing strong results. Long Beach is one of Champ Car's premiere events, and it's easy to see why -- it's a fast, challenging circuit, set in amazing surroundings, and the Queen Mary berthed beside the track, it puts even the biggest yachts in the harbor at Monaco in the shade!"

Keith Wiggins, Team Co-Owner

"Coming off a good result last weekend, and going to a track we know, I am confident we can continue with a strong performance. I expect Dan's great potential to show, and having seen Robert's performance at Las Vegas, I am convinced we will see similar success at Long Beach. With everyone's competitive spirit riding high, we are all looking forward to a fantastic event."

-credit: tmusa