JUAN MONTOYA (Target Toyota Lola), on defending his championship in the Miller Lite 200: "I'm looking forward to my second race at Mid-Ohio. It's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It has a little bit of everything, and you can...
JUAN MONTOYA (Target Toyota Lola), on defending his championship in the Miller Lite 200: "I'm looking forward to my second race at Mid-Ohio. It's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It has a little bit of everything, and you can get some pretty good speeds on the straights. I think we'll have a good race this weekend and put Team Target back into the points race. The whole team is very calm and confident. We know anything can happen out there, so we just have to put the car in a position to win and see what happens. Unfortunately, we can't control what happens to our competition, so it's my goal to just stay ahead of them. A win at Mid-Ohio would be very good for this team at this time of the season. I think we can do it."
PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on his enjoyment of Mid-Ohio: "Racing at Mid-Ohio is a pretty cool experience. The race track setting and the atmosphere surrounding it, with fans coming from miles around to camp and take in the action all weekend, is a throwback to another era. I've almost always performed well there, although I really need to get that first win at Mid-Ohio, after four second-place finishes. Hopefully, this is the year. We're looking to come back strong after the misfortune in Chicago. With the next four races on road and street circuits, a real crucial part of the season is coming up for Team KOOL Green and I think we're ready for that challenge. From race to race, it's been a really unpredictable season so far. It looks like no one is going to run away with the championship. The key is to hang tough and keep battling because despite the recent adversity, we're still only a race win or a podium from being right there in the standings."
KENNY BRACK (Shell Ford Reynard), looking forward to his Mid-Ohio debut: "I'm anxious to race at Mid-Ohio and give our Team Rahal fans a good showing. We have run well on several of the road courses so far, including second at Cleveland. I know Max [Papis, teammate] is fast there and I'll try to get a little knowledge from him. But I also want to beat him and win the race. My engineer, Don Halliday, is very familiar with Mid-Ohio, as is Team Rahal. I feel good about coming into the race with their help. Our last Ohio race was good and I'd like to continue that this weekend."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the challenges of racing at Mid-Ohio: "I don't think there are too many road courses around that are as physically demanding as Mid-Ohio. With 14 turns, very few straights and quite a few bumpy areas to contend with, you have to be at the top of your game. The Team KOOL Green crew has excelled in the past in finding good set-ups and preparing the car for this extremely tough race. We had everything going for us last year winning the pole and then leading the most race laps, but we fell a little short of getting the checkered flag. So, we're aiming to take care of some unfinished business at Mid-Ohio. The goal right now is to continue to give everything we've got, put a string of consistently strong races together and try to work our way back up the standings. The way things have been going in the series this year, a lot can change over the course of the next three or four races."
ROBERTO MORENO (Visteon Ford Reynard), on reversing his previous luck at Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is a circuit where I haven't finished well in the past. I just don't feel very familiar or comfortable with the track yet, but it is a circuit I like. It is a tough track, but you can pass and I have driven well there even though my results don't necessarily show it. At this point in the championship race it is important to do well at Mid-Ohio. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team must finish high in the points if we are going to contend for the FedEx Championship Series title."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), on his past success at Mid-Ohio: "I have had a lot of success racing at Mid-Ohio. From a driver's standpoint, it is one of the most beautiful, challenging and fun, tracks to race on. Hopefully, the success I have enjoyed there in the past will continue. "It is very important for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team to have a good result at Mid-Ohio. After the weird start we had to the season, the team has come on strong over the last two months and put ourselves back in a position to challenge for the championship. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew has done a great job preparing the cars and a fantastic job in the pits. Mr. Patrick and John Ward have also done a tremendous job with the race strategy. The crew's work and our race strategy have been the keys to our success. We just have to stay focused on the details for the rest of the season and we will be right there at the end."
MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), on the demands of racing at Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio takes all of the mental and physical senses possible. Mid-Ohio brings all of my off-track training into the race. It's hard on your body and your mind. But I feel I have an advantage over other drivers with my fitness. There is no track on the CART series like Mid-Ohio. It's very tough on the cars and tires, too. I'm confident with our car."
GIL de FERRAN (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on his optimism heading into Mid-Ohio: "I'm looking forward to this weekend's race for two main reasons - Marlboro Team Penske won the last race on a permanent road course [at Portland] and we were fastest at the Mid-Ohio open test in early June. Hopefully, these factors bode well for a good, points-paying weekend."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on continuing Marlboro Team Penske's road-course success: "After a very good test in early June and our performance on road courses this season, no doubt there are high expectations for Marlboro Team Penske at Mid-Ohio. But it's a very competitive series and everyone has been working to improve so there are no guarantees as to what will happen. After the ovals in Michigan and Chicago, we're now focused on road and street courses for the next four races, where hopefully we can do well and add to our point total."
CRISTIANO da MATTA (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard: "We tested at Mid-Ohio in June, and to be honest, it wasn't the greatest test we've had. However, we have found a lot of success on road courses since then, and we have made several developments, so I think our performance this weekend will not reflect that of our test. Also, we have a very positive momentum with our team right now, especially of course after Chicago. That was great for everyone, so we are looking forward to getting on the track again."
JIMMY VASSER (Target Toyota Lola), on the value of experience in pursuing the FedEx Championship Series title: "Our team has been in so many championship battles the past few years, I think our experience is going to be very helpful in th final stretch, starting with Mid-Ohio. We know what it takes to finish on top and no one is panicking that we're not sitting in front with a 50-point lead. There are still too many races left to be worrying about the championship, but we know we have to score some good points in each race. At Mid-Ohio last year, I just missed the podium [fourth place] - this year, I plan to get there."
TONY KANAAN (Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes Reynard), "I'm ready to go for a road course run. Everything went well, physically, on the ovals at Michigan and Chicago. Now, our bad luck during those races is a whole other story I'd rather forget about and move on. I spent part of two days testing on the road course at Sebring last week (Thursday and Friday) to see how my arm works. I felt great.I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm getting closer and closer all the time. This Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake swing will be the true test. They're a couple of demanding road courses, but they're the kind of tracks I like the best. We tested really well at Mid-Ohio back in the springtime, so I'm really looking forward to this weekend. I qualified well [fourth in 1999] and finished pretty well [eighth in 1998] here my first two seasons, when it was the home track for the team I was driving for [Forsythe Championship Group, formerly Tasman Motorsports], so I've always liked this place. As a team this year, we seem to be creeping up on our first great finish. I hope it's finally going to come this weekend."
ORIOL SERVIA (Telefonica Toyota Reynard), "I am looking forward to Mid-Ohio. The last month has been up and down. We have been running strong, but I have made some mistakes. I am really looking forward to getting back on the road courses, and finishing in the points consistently. We thought we would have a much better run last weekend, but I am really happy for Cristiano, he has been working so hard for this."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), on bouncing back from a DNF in Chicago: "We were pretty consistent at being in the points and running at the front of the pack until we had some misfortune and were unable to finish the last race in Chicago. But it was only the second time in nine races that we weren't around at the finish. It's something that is going to happen over the course of a long season. The important thing is to put it out of your mind and start working on another successful streak. That's what Team Player's intends to do, starting with the race at Mid-Ohio. The next four races are going to be a big test because all of them are on road or street circuits. We've done quite well in the races on this type of course this season but quite often we've struggled in qualifying. Team Player's has been working hard to come up with the right set-ups on road courses, and, hopefully, we'll start to make some progress in this regard at Mid-Ohio, where being near the front of the grid is a key factor."
ALEX TAGLIANI (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Ford Reynard), on his familiarity with Mid-Ohio: "This will be my first appearance at Mid-Ohio as a driver in the CART series, but I'm very familiar with the track and its terrain from my days in the Atlantic series. I raced there four times and managed to win the pole two years ago and then finished second in last year's race. I have to say, from a driver's standpoint, competing at Mid-Ohio is a lot of fun because the fans are really into it and the whole atmosphere throughout the weekend is what motor-racing is all about. Although we haven't always qualified near the front of the grid on street and road courses so far this season, we've always battled hard and been very competitive in the races. We've been in the top 6 three times, and a lot of that can be attributed to some good work by the Team Player's crew during the race. If we can make some progress with our qualifying, we have a good chance to produce a top result in the race."
LUIZ GARCIA JR. (Hollywood/Embratel/Tang/Banco Sofisa Mercedes Reynard), on the return to road-course competition: "It's good to be back on the road courses as they are a lot of fun. Mid-Ohio is a track I like to run on. Last year, I ran really well until a clutch problem forced me out. This track has a lot of space, yet it's unforgiving in spots."