CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Ford Racing Notes - Friday

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 3rd - "There is a lot more in the car than what we showed today. The red flags during the session couldn't have come at a worse time for us. Every time we had a good run going the red flag would...

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 3rd - "There is a lot more in the car than what we showed today. The red flags during the session couldn't have come at a worse time for us. Every time we had a good run going the red flag would come out." HOW IS THE TRACK SURFACE? "It's hard to get the car to work through the bumps, especially in the corners. It makes the car very twitchy. But at the same time it's kind of fun. When you come to Cleveland you expect that though. It's part of the challenge of the track. I think the track will improve overall as the weekend goes on. It was very dirty this morning and it's taking a little longer for the track to come too but each lap we put on it the better it gets." EARLY ON IN THE SEASON YOU STRUGGLED ON THE OVALS. AT ANY POINT DID THE LACK OF SUCCESS START TO GET TO YOU? "It was frustrating that's for sure. We spent a lot of time during the off season working on our oval package. But when we were not having success early on we started to loose confidence. We tried and tried to fix things and change the way we went about things but we ended up just getting lost. It was never a situation of loosing confidence. Everyone really stuck together. In a situation like that it is very easy to start pointing fingers but I give credit to Bobby Rahal for helping us all work through that. It's not a situation of the ovals not being as important as the road courses because it is very important for me to run good on ovals. But it is nice to be up front on the grid again. I guess I got my Mojo back." MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 20th - "It was a very difficult day for us today. The Miller Lite car wasn't what we wanted today. Early on in the session we had a big understeer and were sliding around a lot. Plus the session was broken up by quite a few red flags. Right now we are just looking for that middle ground for the setup. The track is not that good right now but that's no excuse. We have to improve our car for Saturday."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford - Qualified 15th - "The track still doesn't have good grip. Last year we were very strong here but we have not found it yet this year but we are getting closer. We just have to work a little harder getting the car to work through the bumps. We need to qualify better tomorrow so we can get on the podium on Sunday. Last year I qualified 17th and ended up finishing 5th but we can't expect to make up that much ground again." MANY OF THE DRIVERS COMMENTED ON THE BUMPS. ARE THE BUMPS GIVING YOU PROBLEMS? "This is the bumpiest place we race. Even more so than some of the temporary street courses. But it is a fun place to race at the same time. The bumps just make it a bit more challenging to set the car up."

P.J. JONES  -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 6th  -  "I am very happy
with this time today.  It's been a tough couple of weeks and this is a good
way to start the weekend.  This track really seems to suit the car.  We just
need to get the car a bit more consistent.  The guys and I needed a shot in
the arm and this helps.  This is good for us."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 4th - "Today was a bit disappointing. I got into the turn a little too hot and spun the car." YOU HAD A VERY GOOD TIME GOING RIGHT BEFORE YOU SPUN AT THE END OF THE SESSION. WAS THAT A LAP THAT COULD HAVE PUT YOU ON THE POLE? "We had a car capable of the pole today. The car was really working well. It wouldn't have mattered much though because typically in Cleveland everyone goes a lot faster on Saturday anyway."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 8th - "During my best lap Dario went off and that hurt us because I had a great time going. I only needed twenty more seconds to complete the lap. My telemetry told me that up to that point I was going a tenth of a second quicker which would have put us up in the top three or four." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF RACING IN CLEVELAND? "I really like racing here. It's a challenging place and the track setup really allows you to hang it all out and go for it."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR -19- Herdez Viva Mexico Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 23rd - "We had quite a few problems with the rear of the car today. We are working hard to make the improvements that will help us tomorrow. My spin didn't help us either because we lost time because of that. The car has a lot of potential we just need to find it."

LUIZ GARCIA, JR. -71- Tang Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 24th - "We are making progress. We are getting faster but we couldn't make full use of our second set of tires. The bumps are not upsetting me that much though. Our major focus with the car is getting the oversteer problem we have fixed. But I am confident we can improve this weekend."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal