U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix Pre-Race Quoteboard PAUL TRACY ( ...
U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix Pre-Race Quoteboard
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "When I think of Cleveland, I think of it in terms of wins and losses-- winning from the pole there in 1993 and losing all those pounds over the years, sweating them off in a cockpit that can sometimes be like a cauldron when Cleveland has one of its heat waves. There's always plenty of action on the Cleveland track. I guess things are going to happen when you're racing in tight quarters, like in turn 1, and then being able to go flat-out, wheel to wheel on the runway sections. And now with night racing, expect the unexpected. That's why I'm looking forward to it. Cleveland is the type of circuit that I've had quite a bit of success on, so the hope is that Team Player's will be fast right out of the box this weekend and we can keep that momentum going. We're in that stage of the season where the schedule is very hectic, and being able to score podium finishes in the last two races has got us back on top in the championship. But as competitive as this series is, the least little setback will knock you off your perch. We're going into Cleveland with the attitude that this is time to show we're made of championship stuff."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I like to race in Cleveland. I think it is a great track for the fans because they can see all of the race track and it's very wide so it's a track where you can see a lot of passing. Unfortunately I haven't had very good luck there yet but I think we can turn that around this year. I was fourth last year but my engine blew late in the race but the No. 1 PacifiCare car will be really strong on that type of track and we will try to fight for the win. It's going to be the first experience for me as well as CART on a road course at night but the night race in Milwaukee was such as success and I think Cleveland will be even bigger. The fans were already great there for the regular race and I think this will be an even bigger party for them. It was so hot for the race last year that I think the drivers and the fans will enjoy this even more. I'm really happy to come back and race at night. Cristiano (da Matta) was leading the race last year before his engine blew so I know Newman/Haas has a good set-up for this track. The PacifiCare team is going to try to win our first race of the season and gain some points on the rest of the Championship contenders and try to pull out a gap because it's really tight right now."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Cleveland is always a special race for Team Rahal, because we are basically the home team. I was really surprised last year at all the fan support we had from the crowd just because we were Team Rahal. I know a lot of the Columbus fans travel to Cleveland and with Bobby being from Cleveland the town has adopted Team Rahal as the local team. It is always great to go to the track and see the Gigante shirts and to have the fans cheer for you. Of all the races we have in the US, Cleveland and Mid-Ohio are Team Rahal's tracks. The only places I saw more Gigante shirts last year was in Mexico. I have always enjoyed racing at Burke Lakefront and with this years event being at night I think it will be a great show. As I said after I won at Milwaukee, if I can duplicate that result then I want all the races to be at night. It will certainly be a big challenge to Champ Car and the race officials to light the airport as this lighting job is even bigger than the one they had a Milwaukee. I have confidence that Champ Car will do the same great job lighting the airport that they did at the Milwaukee Mile. I actually preferred the lighted conditions to the normal afternoon sunshine. As a driver I had consistent light instead of having to deal with shadows, clouds and the changing light. We have had a strong car at all the road and street courses this season so I see no reason that the Gigante car shouldn't be very competitive this weekend. Team Rahal has had some strong runs at Cleveland in the past, but they have never won the race. Bobby won at Cleveland when he was a driver, but the team has never finished better than second. I just want to score as many points as possible this weekend, but it would be nice for the team to finally get a win at Cleveland."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I was in Cleveland a while ago for a promotional event for the race and I got the sense that everyone-- drivers, teams and fans alike-- are really interested in seeing what's going to happen at this first night race in Cleveland. I know the experience we had racing at night in Milwaukee several weeks ago was a lot of fun. But there are a whole new set of variables with night racing in Cleveland-- is the setting sun going to be a factor on that first turn, for instance? Fortunately we'll have some practices to get used to the conditions. Winning in Cleveland for the second straight year would suit me just fine. I got a lot of satisfaction from Team Player's victory there last year, my first road course win, especially because getting a victory in Cleveland is a bit like winning the marathon. There are so many things to deal with, like going from a bumpy surface to a flat one, staying focused mentally and maintaining your physical stamina under the extremely hot temperatures in the cockpit. With this year's race being at night, the heat might not be as big a factor. Anyway, I plan to take it easy heading into the race. I want to store up my energy because I'm going to need it."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It is going to be exciting to race at night in Cleveland. I am looking forward to it. It will be a new adventure for everyone. The team is very excited for our next race. Winning in Portland has helped the motivation of the team tremendously, and I think all of us will be on the top of our game. That doesn't mean that we are going to go there and just dominate; as a group, we are going to be a lot stronger. If we have downs, I feel we will be able to recover a lot quicker and react quicker throughout the weekend so we can be competitive. I know I am looking forward to Cleveland."
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team is going to fly on the runway in Cleveland. We have a lot of momentum right now and the team has worked very hard. The Visteon/Patrick Racing engineers should have a very competitive setup for this race, plus I have always liked racing on the Cleveland circuit. The track has quick corners, good braking areas and there are several places where you can overtake. That should make for a fun race for the drivers and a good show for the fans. After the success CART had with their first night race at Milwaukee, Cleveland will be even better. Cleveland was already a successful race, so putting it at night under the lights should mean an even bigger crowd. I think it will be a big challenge for the people lighting the track because it is harder to light a road course than an oval. It is going to be a big project. But, I have no doubt it will be done well and that we will have a safe track to race. I don't see any problems and I am looking forward to the race."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I have heard that the Cleveland race is a good one from a driver's perspective because the track is so wide open and you can push yourself harder without the increased risk of hitting the wall like on street courses. I'm looking forward to the race. We are due for a good result after not finishing the past two races. It is good to know that we could have finished third in those races but that also makes it harder to accept than if we were running farther back. We have the potential to run well but I hope we can also start finishing the races again. Apart from our two wins we have not scored many points and we plan to turn that around in Cleveland."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I think the race this year in Cleveland will be awesome and one of the most unique experiences of my racing career. Racing on the Fourth of July weekend will add a lot of excitement to an already great atmosphere and everyone is looking forward to seeing the airport road course lit up at night. Cleveland is a fantastic place to drive a Champ Car because it's so wide and so fast. With the developments we've been able to make in the car this year and in the recent testing, I'm confident we'll be competitive."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The fact that this race takes place at night on a fun, fast track and with drivers that will do whatever it takes to win will make this an interesting race. The sparks coming off our cars will add to the Fourth of July fireworks and make it a great time for the fans. The airport course is challenging because it's a wide track with fast corners and no reference points. It's interesting because it has many escape routes and no walls, so we can try more things on track without damaging the car. The dip in the middle of the last chicane is also a challenge and it'll be interesting to see what happens in this area under the lights."
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC/Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I had my best race of the season in Milwaukee under the lights, so hopefully racing at night is a good omen for us. The Reynard seems to like the cooler conditions, not to mention last year's winner won in a Reynard. I'm really happy with the way things are progressing with the RAC Walker Racing team this season; we keep make improvements each weekend and I'm sure Cleveland won't be any different."
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to the Cleveland race. Last year a Reynard chassis won the race, so we're pretty sure we can be competitive there. This will be the first time I've raced on an airport, so that will be exciting as well. On top of that, it's a night race, which makes it even more interesting. We've been doing very well the last few races and I think our progress will continue. It should be fun."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Racing under the lights at Cleveland on the Fourth of July weekend will be spectacular. I have been looking forward to this event all year, it will be a big weekend for American Spirit for sure. It is a great racetrack, its fun for the driver, the wide track allows us to hang it out there. I can't wait."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Cleveland should be a lot of fun. I really enjoyed racing at night in Milwaukee and I think Cleveland could be even better. I've heard great things about the track. It sounds like the type of track that suits me. We just had a good test at Road America. The team is doing a fantastic job and I'm sure they'll give me the car I need to get back into the top 10."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I had an excellent race last year in Cleveland, winning from pole while driving the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. It is a really unique track for us, no other track is like it. Being that it is an airport it is very wide, with no barriers, which is a blast. At the same time, being that it is an active airport, it is traditionally very bumpy, so I am excited to see how the Champ Car runs there. It is a huge honor for me to be one of the few American's running for an all American team on America's biggest holiday. It should be an awesome Fourth of July celebration. We had a decent weekend Portland, and I am looking forward to building on our progress at Cleveland."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Competition Team Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Cleveland is always an exciting race, and I think being under the lights will only make the event better for the drivers and fans. It's a massive lighting project! Musco did a great job in Milwaukee last month, and I'm sure they're up for the challenge of lighting Burke Lakefront's runways."
MAX PAPIS (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) "Racing at night at Cleveland will be pretty cool. I am one of the few guys that have experience driving a car at night at speed on a road course, having recently competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans where you actually drive quite a long time at night. I'm not so sure how the lighting will be at Cleveland, but that definitely will make a huge difference in terms of being able to drive around the circuit. Even if there is going to be good lighting at the track, it is still going to be very, very difficult for a number of reasons. One thing that I've noticed is that you have reflections in the mirrors, and that's something that distracts you quite a bit because you are not used to seeing the car behind you in the way that you are going to see it at nighttime. The other big factor will be depth perception; it's pretty different at night. Of course, the lights are going to be up and it will be as close as you can have it to daylight, but the difference that it makes is that everything seems farther away from you, and I think that makes things quite difficult. Since Portland, we have been very busy testing at Elkhart Lake and Mid-Ohio and are looking forward to using the information we have learned to help us have a good weekend at Cleveland."