CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach wrapup

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 APRIL 7-9, 1995 THAT'S A WRAP FOR SUNDAY, (but we're not quite finished yet) LONG BEACH, Calif. -- SpeedNet -- This weekend we saw a few new record set which may...

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 APRIL 7-9, 1995

THAT'S A WRAP FOR SUNDAY, (but we're not quite finished yet)

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- SpeedNet -- This weekend we saw a few new record set which may never be broken: Michael Andretti set a new track record for qualifying, Al Unser Jr., won his sixth LBGP in eight years, and total attendance for the three days was 284,000 (205,000 paid). All this happened here, and the circuit is scheduled to change next year (there is a map hidden in the offices of the organizer, but it is not yet ready for publication).

Quotes of interest from the post-race press conference were slim, but there were a few funny moments. The first thing Unser said when he sat down: "Well, I finally made the press room!" He had missed the previous two meetings which follow each qualifying round.

Second place finisher Scott Pruett said, "Today was the most fun I've had since I've been Indy car racing." Unser's reply: "Well, just don't have too much fun!" That had the assembled press roaring of course.

Both Pruett and third place finisher Teo Fabi thought they could have won the race. "We had a brake problem when we made our first stop," said Pruett. "It took a long time for the crew to work on the brake caliper (and) that dropped me back to 20th."

Fabi was quick to thank his crew for doing a good job, but was disappointed that their race strategy didn't turn out right. "We made a mistake pitting on the first yellow," said Fabi. "That hurt us...we have a new team...this is only our fourth race." Fabi, sitting next to Unser, was drooling over the win which might have been his (never mind the Forsythe-provided press release which said Fabi was "happy with 3rd."

Here's a jem from Mr. Tracy: "He kept squeezing over and squeezing over and I was on top of the curbs. You could only fit one car through there and I was on the inside and he pinched over on me." Maybe I need to see that incident again...

In the media center we were unaware Michael Andretti had lost first gear with 25 laps to go, but SpeedNet snoop Aaron Rommel said it was quite obvious to spectators at the hairpin. As for the incidents today, have we seen the last of Michael Andretti's admittedly over-aggressive behavior? "I've got to get in that points collecting mode," said Andretti after he finished 9th today. "Nazareth is a Penske track and its going to be tough. I'll try to collect points."

Trivia Questions I don't know the answer to: 1) When was the last time 28 cars started a race and none dropped out for 16 laps? 2) When was the last time AJ Foyt had a car finish fourth or better?

Bryan Herta: "I caught it the first time but the front tires grabbed and shoved the car into the tires at Turn 7."

Carlos Guerrero finished 11th in his first Indy car race but, if his car hadn't broken a header, he might have finished fifth.

A total of 10 cars finished one lap down to the leader, and 16 cars completed 100 of the 105-lap distance. Neither stat is too impressive, unless you consider that it is probably a record for the Indy cars at Long Beach.

Can you believe it? ...Scott Pruett is now atop the point standings by eight points over Mauricio Gugelmin. Four races. Four different winners. Ten different podium finishers in four races. Can you say, "competitive?" Can you say 'its better to finish second than to win?'

[I'll post more info and final thoughts in about 24 hours, after I've a chance to view the ABC tape and sift through my notes... RH]

/end --- OLX 2.2 =FE SpeedNet: Motorsports at the speed of thought! (310-641-9627)

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Series INDYCAR