CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver pre race quotes

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola), assessing his FedEx Championship Series season to date: "As far as the grade I would give our season so far, I think it would be a 'B'. In the early part of the season we weren't finishing...

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola), assessing his FedEx Championship Series season to date: "As far as the grade I would give our season so far, I think it would be a 'B'. In the early part of the season we weren't finishing very well, and that has kept the grade down. Hopefully, we can bring the grade up to an 'A' by the end of the season. I don't know why I run so well in Vancouver. When people ask, the only thing I can say is that it must be the water here. I think it is a beautiful city and I like the race track, so maybe that's why. Last year was probably one of the dumbest mistakes of my career. I spun in the wet before the green [flag] came out and dropped way back. After that, you just have to regroup and try to get points even though we were a lap down starting the race. I think it would be awesome to win both Canadian races. Toronto was a great victory for the team and it propelled us for the following races and into the championship hunt. I would love to add a win in Vancouver to our Toronto victory also because it means so much for the championship because this race is late in the season. Whatever points we could get in Vancouver are important for the championship."

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Toyota Lola), on the unpredictability of the FedEx Championship Series: "The last race was a good example of how things can change quickly in this series. The points leader [Michael Andretti] didn't finish the race and we were looking like we might be able to jump back into the championship race, but it didn't turn out that way. I think we'll get some lucky breaks in these remaining races, since we've had a lot of bad luck so far. We're not going to give up when we still have a shot at Team Target's fifth [consecutive] championship. I'm happy we're returning to Vancouver. I took the pole and won the race there last year, so we have a lot of confidence going back. I'll be disappointed if I'm not on the podium after the race."

GIL de FERRAN (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on the key to a successful stretch run at the FedEx Championship Series championship: "As the championship winds to a close, it's especially important to score points at every race to close the gap on the points leader [Michael Andretti]. So strategically speaking, each race is becoming more and more important. Overall, we've been running well on road courses and street circuits even though I didn't have a good result in Toronto [de Ferran finished 16th]. I'm fairly confident Marlboro Team Penske will run competitively in Vancouver."

PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on adding a Vancouver victory to his resume: "It's no secret I like street courses -- I've won on them all except Vancouver, it's always been a challenge. But Team KOOL Green has always done well on the streets and we seem to be moving in the right direction with the car. If we play it smart, we should score some big points. I do enjoy racing in Vancouver. It's a chance to race in front of some very supportive racing fans. They've always given me a lot of encouragement and taken an interest in my career. I'd really like to give something back to them by breaking through with a win. So far, this has been a season of streaks, where we had the real good start, then went into a slump for a few races and now, hopefully, we're in a stretch where we're putting up points again. We have to maintain that pace in order to keep making our way up the standings." DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on continuing his past success at Vancouver: "It's been a few races since we've been on the podium, but that certainly isn't because of a lack of effort by everyone at Team KOOL Green. We've been in the top 10 in qualifying in nine of the last 10 races, including the pole at Road America. We were poised for a win or at least a podium finish there before we ran into some gearbox problems. There isn't much you can do about that, except grit your teeth and hope that your luck will change in the next race. Maybe Vancouver is the place where things will start to turn around and we can get on some kind of roll for the last part of the season. Fortunately, it's a track I've run well at in the past [won from pole in '98] and I always feel like I've got a chance to win when we're racing on the street circuits."

MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), remembering his friend, Greg Moore: "I have to think of the good things I did with Greg. He was a special friend and person, and we will all remember him in our own way. I talk to Greg's parents regularly. They know we all still care about all of them very much. I'd love to win the Vancouver race. We had a very good test last week at Laguna Seca. We learned a lot about our road setup and our test at St. Louis oval was excellent. I'm anxious for these next races."

KENNY BRACK (Shell Ford Reynard), on his quest for that elusive first career FedEx Championship Series victory: "We have been close (to winning) this year. Twice this year I was leading and stalled in the pits. It is very frustrating. I've had a car to win. Now I want to prove we can put the Shell car in the Winner's Circle. I haven't seen some of the upcoming tracks but I think we can continue to be in the championship fight. Getting a victory or two is our goal. Now we're coming back to my background - road circuits. I've never been to Vancouver nor have I seen the track. But I like Canada a lot."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on Marlboro Team Penske's optimism following last week's CART Open Test at Laguna Seca: "The whole team is upbeat going into this weekend after our strong test at Laguna Seca. Marlboro Team Penske's performance on street courses has been pretty good this year [a win in Detroit, the pole and a second place finish in Long Beach, the pole in Toronto], so I'm hoping for a solid showing this weekend for all of the great fans in Vancouver that support the CART FedEx Series."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola), on street course competition: "In the sense that I have grown up racing on street courses and road courses, you could say that I have more experience on them but that doesn't necessarily mean that street racing fits my style better than oval racing. I just think that sometimes you have better weekends than others. Like at Mid Ohio, we finished third there and we haven't done well there in years. The car was just real good that weekend. We think it will be good at Vancouver as well. All street courses have their own characteristics, but the Vancouver track is more like Toronto than any other street course we run during the season. Sure it was disappointing to drop out of the last race when we were in second place but that is behind us and you have to look forward to the next event and try to make it the best possible result. I had a good weekend in Vancouver in 1996 and we will try to get on the podium again this year. Vancouver is one of my favorite cities that we race in. I'm looking forward to coming back. It has a very nice atmosphere and they really love their racing there, which is also nice."

JIMMY VASSER (Target Toyota Lola), on maintaining the momentum generated by a strong finish at Road America: "It was a good feeling to get a top five finish the other week in Elkhart Lake. It had been awhile, so the timing was good. Hopefully that's a sign of some good things to come. We haven't been on the podium since Rio, so returning to the top three is one of my goals for these final six races. I joined Juan on the podium last year in Vancouver [third] and finished second a few years ago [1997], so we're heading to a place I've had some success and enjoyed racing. I'm expecting a good weekend for the No. 12 car."

LUIZ GARCIA JR. (Hollywood/Embratel/Tang/Banco Sofisa Mercedes Reynard), on the challenges of the Vancouver layout: "Vancouver would be a great place to end my bad luck streak. Like Toronto, I like Vancouver a lot and had a good time here last year in the race. Like all street courses, it will be demanding and there will be a lot of attrition. My good luck started in Canada at Toronto and maybe Vancouver will end my bad luck. The fans are going to be in for a great race."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske