CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Post-Race Ford Racing

CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Post-Race Ford Racing
Jun 27, 1999, 5:34 AM

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Finished 3rd - YOU HAD QUITE A FEW PROBLEMS TODAY. OVERALL ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME? "I think we have to be pretty happy with the results. It all started on the grid. When I got ...

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Finished 3rd - YOU HAD QUITE A FEW PROBLEMS TODAY. OVERALL ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME? "I think we have to be pretty happy with the results. It all started on the grid. When I got in the car the radios were not working. I couldn't hear the team but they could hear me. So we had a real problem during the race except for when it was yellow. I could talk to them at that point but when it went green I couldn't. I was making all the calls on my own with the tires and everything and I think those calls were okay. On the first pit stop they said I went to fast exiting the pits. I think they told me that I went 51 which is one mile per hour over the limit. I guess our speed limit thing is set a little wrong so that was a little disappointing. I think I made the right call on the first set of tires. I took on rain tires earlier than most guys and made up a ton of spots there and that put us right back into the race there. When we were out there in the rain it was like driving on ice. Over on the back part of the track it was as bad as you can get, it was really slippery. I think the driving out there was pretty good. With it being as slippery as it was I thought you would have seen more cars into the wall than you did. It was really bad but we were able to keep it on the track. In the end Juan (Montoya) was gone. I was starting to work on Gil a little bit and then my engine shut off. I thought my race was over. I reset the computer and it kicked over again and basically kept running. So considering all that I will take third today." CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE ENGINE PROBLEM YOU HAD? At one point my engine just shut off. I thought I was going to be out of it. But I reset it and it came back on. I lost ten or so seconds so that was a little disappointing." WHAT WAS YOUR REASONING FOR PUTTING ON RAIN TIRES WHEN YOU DID? "I got a stop and drive through penalty and then it started to rain after that. And it turned out to be the right call. I wanted to be one of the first guys on rain tires."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big Kmart Ford-Cosworth - Finished 12th - "Well there is nothing to say. I blew it like five times today. I don't think I have ever made this many mistakes in a race as I did today. First, during the start of the race I went on the inside and I got to a point where there was no angle for me to turn in and everybody just blew by me on the outside. I lost a lot of positions there. Before the rain came out I was looking at the sky and thought it was going to go by. I thought to myself that that maybe I was going to make it and then I didn't make it. It caught me by surprise and then I spun a couple of times because I was on slicks. I was having a hard time making it back to the pits and when I did I spun. So once we got the race restarted again I said, ok, I am going to start to make up position here. I got by Mike (Andretti) and missed the line a little bit and spun so then I was two laps down. At that point I just wanted to bring the car home. At least we scored a point."

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Finished 6th - WAS IT A LITTLE DISHEARTENING TO SPIN ON THE FIRST LAP AND LOOSE ALL THOSE POTIONS THAT YOU MADE UP IN QUALIFYING? "All you can do is say okay, now I am 24th. You just have to get your head back and get with the program and make up positions every time you can." HOW DID THE RAIN AFFECT YOU? "I have never seen a track get as wet and slick as quick as this one did. There was so much water coming down that even under yellow the car was tricky to drive. Everybody was tip toeing around. There were rivers running across the track so when you would go through those the car would go straight through them. CART did a great job again. They waited out the storm, they got the track dryers out there, the vacuums out there, and got the track in raceable condition quick. They did a great job all race. There were a lot of instances where cars were parked just off line and they managed to get them off the track without going full course yellow. I think you have to say that the CART officials and the safety guys really earned their money today." YOU HAD AN ON TRACK RUN IN WITH MEMO GIDLEY LATE IN THE RACE THAT COST YOU A FEW SPOTS. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THAT INCIDENT? "I don't think I can say what I want to. The guy drove like an idiot today. I know Memo and he is not a bad guy. Maybe he is feeling pressure because it is only his second race and trying to establish himself but the things he did today were not proper. I lost two spots because of him and I lost a lot of time in the beginning of the race because of him too." YOU AND PAUL TRACY HAD ONE HECK OF A BATTLE WITH ABOUT 30 LAPS TO GO. . . . "It was a good race. The move I made on Paul and the move I made on (Al Unser) Jr., I tell you, I was at maximum attack. I was sideways and I had everything laid out in that move. I just barely made the corner and pulled it off. It is just sick to work so hard to get those spots and then to loose them to something stupid." MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Finished 16th - "I had a very good start moving up from 22nd to 17th in three laps but then after that everything went down hill. Today was the end of a very difficult weekend. Everything that could go wrong went wrong both on my side and the teams side. So, we just have to turn the page and go on."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford - Finished 19th/Contact - WHAT CAUSED YOU TO HIT THE WALL? IT LOOKED LIKE THERE WAS A BIG PUDDLE AT THE APEX OF THE CORNER. WAS THAT A FACTOR? "That was basically it. I clipped the puddle and that got me completely sideways and that was it." HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO DRIVE OUT THERE DURING THE RAIN? "The visibility was very difficult. I couldn't see where I was going. I basically was trying to figure out where the car was going because it was very difficult to see. After that my car was good on wet tires but the setup was not very good for the tires. My car started to oversteer a lot . When we put dry tires back on the car was pretty good. It was just a matter of keeping it on the track."

P.J. JONES -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Finished 15th - "We had a tough day. I got held up in the beginning. I was trying to get by a few cars but was being held up. You know, when it started to rain I was going to come in a lap earlier than I did and I should have done that. I blew that call because on the next lap I spun. That cost me the twenty to thirty seconds that I needed to stay back on the lead lap." DID THE RAIN CATCH YOU OFF GUARD A BIT IN REGARDS TO HOW QUICKLY IT STARTED AND HOW MUCH THERE WAS? "Oh man, you couldn't see anything."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR -19- Herdez Viva Mexico Ford-Cosworth Finished 27th - "After trying to get by Memo Gidley I spun. Then after I tried to get going again I couldn't get third gear to win and then that caused fourth gear to fail. It's too bad because we had a good car today."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley
Article type News