CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland Saturday quotes

Courtesy of SpeedCenter, reproduced by permission Saturday Quotes from drivers and managers at Burke Lakefront: ...

Courtesy of SpeedCenter, reproduced by permission

Saturday Quotes from drivers and managers at Burke Lakefront:

#5 ROBBY GORDON, Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special Reynard Ford-Cosworth: Gordon qualified his back-up car yesterday, but went out in his primary car this morning. "I'm still very loose on the entry. I'm real edgy, so I just can't hustle the car or else I spin. Every time I hustle the car, I go off track." On his off-track excursion during the session: "I heard there was some time out there, so I went out to look for it," Gordon laughed.

#12 JIMMY VASSER, Target/Chip Ganassi Reynard Honda: "This is the second time this year our team has gotten the front row, and you can't be disappointed with the pole and front row for the team. I may not have been as ultimately quick as yesterday, but I could run more consistent good laps today, and I think we've got as good a race car as anybody out there. We ran almost an identical time to yesterday; I think the track may have been a bit better but not much."

"It's great to get an extra point for the championship. Now, the goal is to run smart and clean all day tomorrow and bag some more points."

#28 BRYAN HERTA, Shell Oil Reynard Mercedes: "No question the gamble (changing tires) was worth it. We ran the Goodyear option tires yesterday [Friday] and I think we were just one of three teams to qualify on it yesterday. But this is a unique natural course and the option tire was not as good. We backed-to-backed the two tires this morning [in practice] and made the decision to go with the primary tire. You could run a similar lap time on both tires, but it came a little easier on the primary tire."

#4 ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "I couldn't beat Jimmy's time today. I was right on the limit and almost equalized it, but I couldn't beat him. ... I have a lot of confidence for tomorrow's race. We were quick again today and we have a good race car. The car should be quick and consistent. I'm looking forward to the race. I think we'll have a good race."

#6 MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Lola Ford: "We were ready to go with our new tires on. The engine just let go with no warning. We didn't defeat ourselves, the engine defeated us. I think we could have been fifth fastest. That's the best we could have hoped for us here. It's always better if the engine blows during qualifying rather than the race, but it's never a good situation. We've had to work hard this year for the results we've gotten. Cleveland won't be any different."

#10 EDDIE LAWSON, Delco Electronics High Tech Team Galles Lola Mercedes: "Well, we made some pretty big gains yesterday, and a little bit more today, but so did everyone else. The car is consistent, but we're just a day behind. I think I'll have a good race car tomorrow. We ran a number of laps in the 60s (seconds) and the car felt good. The guys have been working really hard to get me comfortable, and we're almost there."

#11 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Kmart/Budweiser Lola Ford: "We found a little more grip today to improve the handling. The car jumped more this afternoon and that basically kept us from going faster. The car feels pretty good, though. We started the last race in 11th place and finished on the podium. Hopefully, we can do as well here in Cleveland. We're disappointed with 10th place. We wanted to be a little more up there, but we'll make do."

#31 ANDRE RIBEIRO, LCI International Lola Honda: "We have improved each session, and we definitely have a good car for the race. Traffic was a factor once again during qualifying on my fast lap and I ran out of fuel at the end. The car is as good as it was yesterday, and we are ready for the race.

"This is a good track for passing. The key to winning here is to keep the equipment for the end of the race, and I think we probably have the best equipment package right now."

#32 ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate Beer/Quaker State Lola Honda: "We managed to get a good balance. Yesterday, we had too much grip on the front and back. We combined what we learned with what Andre learned. I knew we could do it. It was just a matter of finding the right balance on the car. The circuit is very bumpy, but this is a characteristic of this track. Our car is very good over the bumps and we have a strong car for the race."

#8 GIL de FERRAN, Pennzoil Reynard Honda: "I was hoping for a good result here. (Last year, when de Ferran earned his first career IndyCar pole) made us feel very confident. We're not prone to run so well in the heat, I don't know why, but we hope to solve the problem. The Honda engine is fine, it's just a little problem in balancing the chassis."

#49 PARKER JOHNSTONE, Motorola Reynard Honda: "The car slowly came loose. It was not a happy car, and we had no time to repair it. I knew I could go fast on the second set of tires. Oh, well! The left front (suspension) camber plate failed. We started in the back in Portland, and had a pretty good race, and we'll try to do the same here"

#20 SCOTT PRUETT, Firestone Patrick Racing Lola Ford: "The car was slipping out from under me throughout the qualifying session. The Firestone tires were perfect and the Ford engine ran strong today. I just think we tried to do too much to the car after the morning practice session. We just couldn't get all the beads on the string. I'll sit down with the engineers and we'll get it figured out for tomorrow."

#17 MAURICIO GUGELMIN, Hollywood/PacWest Reynard Ford: "The weather didn't affect qualifying as much as many people thought. Although it is warmer and we're running in the middle of the day, we made considerable improvement to the chassis, which made the weather less of a factor. We've gotten about all we can out of the car right now, we're just a little bit down on horsepower."

#21 MARK BLUNDELL, VISA/PacWest Reynard Ford: "It's definitely a driveable package, and I'm happy that the team's given me a good race car, but it took about all my strength to put a good lap together. When you're drained physically, then usually you're drained mentally, and it's tough to maintain your concentration level. That's how it is for me right now, but the car is very much improved and we should have a good car for tomorrow."

#5 ROBBY GORDON, Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special Reynard Ford: "We made some gains. We have the loose entry almost sorted. We still have a little bit of a problem, but we're working on it. Once you drive the car and have some confidence that it's not going to step out, you can go quicker. I feel pretty confident about where we're at as far as in comparison to the rest of the Fords."

#25 JEFF KROSNOFF, MCI Reynard Toyota: "It has been an eventful weekend. Every session, we've had some wrench thrown into the machine. We keep coming back and doing our best. I guess this is our bad luck weekend. We still have the race to go and that's what we have to concentrate on. Overall, I'd have to say it's pretty good for as much time as we've had, which is probably less than anybody else."

#16 STEFAN JOHANSSON, Alumax Reynard Mercedes: "Well, we did make some progress today - we were about six tenths of a second quicker than we were yesterday in provisional qualifying. Unfortunately, it didn't make a lot of difference. We have been battling to get more grip overall in the car. Regardless of what changes we have tried to make, the car has not responded."

#9 EMERSON FITTIPALDI, Marlboro Hogan Penske Mercedes: "The Hogan Penske team made improvements to the chassis and suspension settings between last night and this morning, and I was confident I could improve my position from yesterday.

"The team sent me out with my second set of tires, but I never got a clear lap. I got caught behind two Toyota cars and by the time I could get through, the checkered flag was flying. The improvements will serve us well tomorrow, however."

#2 AL UNSER, JR., Marlboro Penske Mercedes: "We're working real hard on the Marlboro car right now. We're happier than we were yesterday and I feel more comfortable with our balance, but we're still not there. We trying some new ideas for tomorrow's morning warm-up, and I guess after that, we'll hope for the best. It's great when the car comes out of the trailer and all you have to do is fine tune the car, but this isn't one of those weekends. I'm confident we'll get our job done tomorrow, the most important thing for us to do is concentrate on getting as many points as we possibly can."

#19 HIRO MATSUSHITA, Panasonic/DUSKIN Lola Ford: "After missing most of the morning practice with a blown motor, we are lucky to keep our grid position. As with yesterday, the back end is still rolling over at the exit of the corners. The rear continues to roll through each turn, then breaks loose under throttle. We have stiffened the rear shocks and springs, but it is still not consistent."

#1 RAUL BOESEL, Brahma Sports Team Reynard Ford Cosworth: "We have improved the car, we improved our time from yesterday a few tenths (of a second), and I could have still gotten more out of the car. I came in from my first run and just before I started to leave the pits something went wrong with the engine. We just didn't have much time to improve our time. As far as my chances in the race, I don't know. Right now, it doesn't look too good."

#36 JUAN MANUEL FANGIO, All American Racers Eagle Toyota: "I think I have to collect a check from the race track because I was cutting the grass a little bit in the infield. I locked the rear tires going into Turn 9. I did as much as I could to keep from hitting something in that turn, because that is where you can get in real trouble, with the tires and walls and things like that. So, I pretty much went around the first one, but I couldn't control it going into the second turn."

"Basically, the Eagle Toyota is getting closer and closer. We went back to the prime tires and I think they will stay better for a longer period of time."

#98 PJ JONES, All American Racers Eagle Toyota: "We've been struggling a little bit since we got here. We're right there, it's just a matter of getting it a little bit better, I think. We had a little faster time because the track is a little bit better and the car is a little bit better; it's a little bit of everything. We're trying to get the Eagle Toyota to work a little bit better and we'll keep working at it."

#3 PAUL TRACY, Marlboro Penske Mercedes: "We're working hard to get the most out of the Marlboro car. You can't go fast until the car is right, so we're just working to get the best possible set-up, we're always looking for more grip. We made some progress from yesterday and were able to pick up a half a second, but we still lost a position and now we're in eighth ... the competition is so tough. It's not where we want to start, but it's going to be a long, hot race and the car is good so we're just hoping that we'll be there in the end."

#99 GREG MOORE, Player's/Indeck Reynard Mercedes: "I'm very happy, because this is my best IndyCar qualifying position ever. It's fun, especially as this is where I clinched my Indy Lights championship last year. I've always liked this track, and I know what I have to do to perform. It took me a few laps before landing the fast one. I just can't go out on the track and do a fast lap, I have to get used to the track and warm up. The car was better than yesterday, especially on the bumps. I'm very confident for tomorrow; the Player's team gave me a very good race car."

#18 BOBBY RAHAL, Miller Racing Reynard Mercedes: "I didn't think we had too bad of a car today. It was sliding around quite a bit. But I'm confident about our car for the race. We have to get through that first turn at the start. I've been knocked out at the start before (in 1993) and it's easy to get hit from all sides. We can go about five wide into that corner, and you have to pick your line through it. That sounds easier than it is."

AL SPEYER, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Manager: "This is the third consecutive race where Firestone tires have occupied at least the front row in qualifying. In Detroit we had the top five, in Portland last weekend the top three, and this weekend, the front row and five of the top six. There's no doubt that type of consistent performance sends a message to everyone that the hard work and dedication of our engineers has gotten us this competitive in just a year and a half."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi