Visteon Ford driver Roberto Moreno was Ford's representative in the top three, posting the third quickest time of the day. Fellow Ford drivers Carpentier, Fittipaldi, Papis and Andretti secured spots five through nine respectively after the ...
Visteon Ford driver Roberto Moreno was Ford's representative in the top three, posting the third quickest time of the day. Fellow Ford drivers Carpentier, Fittipaldi, Papis and Andretti secured spots five through nine respectively after the first day of practice at Nazareth Speedway.
However, the day wasn't without incident as Dale Coyne Racing's Gualter Salles, Team Rahal's Kenny Brack and Team Player's Patrick Carpentier all found the wall during today's afternoon session.
Salles wrote off his Lola Ford fifteen laps into the session after the car swapped ends on the Brazilian. After further examination of Salles and the car, Dale Coyne decided to withdrawal the car from this weekend's race and focus on preparing it for next week's race in Long Beach.
Brack had equal difficulties around the .946-mile oval, spinning twice in the afternoon session. Brack damaged his Shell Ford badly enough the team decided to load the car on a trailer and transport it back to the team's shop in Hilliard, Ohio. Brack and Papis will share Papis' 7x car for the remainder of the weekend.
Carpentier also tagged the wall in the closing minutes of the afternoon session. He however did substantially less damage to the Team Player's Ford. The car should be repaired by morning and available should the team need it.
PATRICK CARPENTIER -32- Player's Ford-Cosworth - 5th Quick
"I was pretty happy for most of the session. I was hoping that we would end up first or second. Then we put a fresh set of tires on and I didn't warm up the tires slowly. I stood on it and the rear end broke loose. I was looking at the dash the same time and I lost it and went into the wall." IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE YOU HIT VERY HARD . . . "I didn't. The car had time to slow down quite a bit, so we didn't damage it too bad. The car was excellent, so hopefully the backup car will be the same."
WITH TEMPERATURES FORECASTED TO BE EVEN COOLER THAN TODAY'S, HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN IS THAT?
"Restarts will be a concern. Getting heat in the tires is not much of a problem with us. That time was just a little bit of a mistake. I just need to warm up slowly before I stand on it."
ALEX TAGLIANI -33- Player's Ford-Cosworth - 16th Quick
"Driving Champ Cars here is a big difference than driving Atlantics. On an oval, you always shoot for a good car because you can't make up time for what the car is not capable of doing, you have a very small margin of error and you are on the edge at all times. We know we have a small problem on the car right now. It's not as easy to drive as it was in Homestead. It needs a lot of work inside the cockpit to get this car around the track. So, right now, our concern is whether or not we will have the time tomorrow to test and work on the car because of the weather."
MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - 7th Quick
"I feel that for the first short oval race, everyone seems a little excited, especially with the weather conditions forecasted for tomorrow. In the afternoon typically people are doing long runs, but this afternoon you have people doing long and short runs. We tried both today and I am happy with the racecar. We are in the top six and from there we can win the race."
OF TOMORROW GETS RAINED OUT, HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN IS THAT GOING TO BE FOR YOU?
"Zero. I am exactly where I want to be and from sixth I can win the race."
KENNY BRACK -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - 12th Quick
"I am okay, but the car isn't. I went down the back straight and shifted into fifth and everything felt okay. When I shifted though, the car went into neutral. So, I shifted to get back into gear and I am not sure what happened then. But the rear end of the car came back around and I didn't even turn the wheel. The crew thinks I may have shifted past fifth into neutral then I shifted the car into gear and shifted down into fourth, which makes sense. We were running on full tanks and the car felt good."
NOTE: Team Rahal has sent Brack's damaged Shell car back to the teams' shop in Hilliard, Ohio. The 7x of Max Papis will serve as the backup for both Papis and Brack this weekend.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - 5th Quick
"I think my car is good. We put some new tires on the end but I couldn't get a clean lap."
IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR TEAMMATE FOUND SOMETHING . . .
"Well, he's running good, but my car is a little different than his. This morning I was third and now Roberto is third so that just tells you that we have a good combination."
IF IT RAINS TOMORROW, WHAT KIND OF POSITION DOES THAT PUT YOU IN?
"I don't think it will be much of a problem. I feel I have a good car where I can put the power down consistently in the same place and when the other people start to get loose, that, when I can take advantage of that."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - 8th Quick
"I was hoping to be a little better than what we were. We struggled to get it back at the end of the day. But I am much happier than I was earlier and we are on to something that should make us more competitive."
IF TOMORROW GETS RAINED OUT, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH WHERE YOU ARE AT?
"No. I would like to be further up than we were. At mid session I was not happy, but I am happier now than I was then."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth - 6th Quick
"We are good, but I thought we were going to be a lot better than that. I just didn't get a good run on new tires at the end because the track went yellow. I hope that it doesn't rain tomorrow, because I think we are more competitive than that."
GUALTER SALLES -34- Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth - 27th Quick
"I thought the car was good in the morning. This afternoon we were concentrating on working with the car on full tanks. On the fifteenth lap of the session, the car got loose turning onto turn two and I lost the car. I was a passenger after that. I hit the wall really hard."
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
"I have a stiff neck and I am a little dizzy - the hit was really hard. The car was really damaged; it's going to have to go back to Lola to be fixed before Long Beach. It's a bad deal. But thank god I am okay."
DALE COYNE, Team Owner, Dale Coyne Racing - "We are going to withdrawal Gualter's car form the race this weekend. He is pretty sore and I think it's better if we just focus on doing a good job in Long Beach."