CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Top three press conference, part II

An interview with: Patrick Carpentier Michael Andretti Paul Tracy part 2 of 2 MERRILL CAIN: We quickly want to run down the point standings as they stand right now. Cristiano da Matta in first place with 120 points in the season. Bruno ...

An interview with:
Patrick Carpentier
Michael Andretti
Paul Tracy

part 2 of 2

MERRILL CAIN: We quickly want to run down the point standings as they stand right now. Cristiano da Matta in first place with 120 points in the season. Bruno Junqueira second with 70 points. Dario Franchitti in third with 64. Patrick, and as we said Michel Jourdain, Jr. tied for fourth with 62 points, followed by Kenny Brack with 60 points.

Q: Can you talk about the length of the race? Good, bad, how you feel?

Paul Tracy: It's a long race. Even a hundred laps is a long time around here. We're lucky that it's not hotter because normally it's hotter than this and more humid.

There was virtually no yellows other than the first one. We went start to end at full rich, as fast as you can go. It was definitely a long race, and I was tired at the end. Anybody that says they weren't tired is full of crap because it was a tiring race.

This track is a bumpy track, and it's fast.  It puts a lot of strain on
you.  It's a long time.

Patrick Carpentier: It was actually really, really tough. At the end my hands were still pretty red. think it was a really long race. The last 15, 20 laps were pretty painful in the car with the bumps and the steering wheel. These cars are pretty heavy, so it's tough to handle in the corners. Like Paul said, we're lucky it was not as hot as, say, Chicago, because it would have been really tough.

Q: Describe your race from the start. You said for you it means as much as your first win last year in Michigan.

Patrick Carpentier: Yeah, it's different this time. I don't think any win can replace the first one you get. But I'm just really happy. It seems like this one happened when it was least expected.

At the beginning of the race, I was not too happy with my start. Dario got a better jump than me. Then we had a system failure for three or four laps. Everything was locked out on the dash. I couldn't see the gears. I didn't have any traction control, nothing. I thought it was going to be a long race.

They explained to me what to do with the buttons to reset the whole thing. It finally came back before the next restart. We had it working perfectly from there until the end of the race.

I was just running to catch Dario at the front.  He was running a good
pace.  Some laps I could catch him, some laps he was getting away from
me.  We kept playing like that the whole time.

When I saw him pit a little bit early, I thought that was pretty good, because I just tried to drive really, really hard. We had a clear track. We did some good laps. After that we came back in front.

These guys were catching me a little bit at the end, too. But from what we gained early on in the race, we had enough of a cushion to drive really hard, but not too hard.

Q: They said after the race in Toronto you had a fire somewhere low in your anatomy. Can you tell us why you were fired up this weekend? Is it because of what happened last weekend?

Patrick Carpentier: I think I was the same as last weekend personally. I don't think there was any change this weekend. Last weekend we had a problem in the car every 10, 15 minutes, so that makes it very tough to get going in the weekend. We had problems on every qualifying and practice session, the whole race and for the morning practice. So it's difficult to do anything. This series is so competitive, if you miss one session, you are already behind. It was very tough.

And this weekend we came in and everything was perfect. I mean, the team was a little bit down because I got to a point where I said last week, "Whatever's going to happen is just going to happen. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."

Maybe sometimes when you want something so much, it seems to get away from you. When you stop wanting it so much, it makes it easier to happen.

That's the difference with me.  But I think there's a difference with the
team, too.  Last weekend was one of our worst weekends.  I think
everybody grew from that.  I think Ford-Cosworth put even more forward
this weekend.  We had a lot of guys that did a perfect job.
We just had no problems, zero problems.  I think my guys were the fastest
in the pit lane.  So that helps, too.

Q: Your contract is up. Your thoughts on what this is going to do for your negotiations?

Patrick Carpentier: I don't know. Actually, I'm not in a hurry to settle it. We'll see what's going to happen. I'd love to drive for Player's next year. I got some other meetings this week that are extremely important to me for next season, too. So we'll do that and we'll just see what happens.

I think Team Player's is going to start to come through more and more. It doesn't matter. I bought a boat a couple weeks ago, so I'm going to go on that, go to Vancouver, and that's it.

Q: Paul, can you talk about what you saw in the first turn starting off?

Paul Tracy: I didn't really see anything. I was on the far outside. I didn't really see what happened on the inside. It's so hard to see. When there's a car beside you, you can't see what's over there.

I got myself to the far outside and braked on the line in-deep and turned in on the outside. When I came out, I started 11th. When I came out of the corner I was sixth or seventh. I kind of avoided all of the first turn stuff. I've been pretty lucky that way here.

Q: Pat, your last contract was kind of late. This one is ongoing. Do you feel pressure when you're not racing to get the results to help you get what you want?

Patrick Carpentier: No. Whatever happens, happens. We'll see what's going to happen.

Team Players is like a family and I've been with them for five years. I'd love to come back. I'll only come back if they're happy to have me back. I don't want to force my way in.

Q: Paul, we asked Michael and Pat about next year. What about yourself? Do you know anything at this stage, how things are beginning to percolate for you and Team KOOL Green next year?

Paul Tracy:  I don't know anything yet.  I had a conversation with
[owner] Barry [Green] last night.  He wanted to let me know what's going
on.  He basically told me he doesn't know what's going on.

I'm pretty much open right now to talk to anybody. I've been putting that off, giving Barry the opportunity to put the program together because my loyalty is to Team KOOL Green, so I'm waiting. But the clock is ticking now. The next couple, three weeks is the time you move.

I want to be in CART. I've stated that all along since the beginning of the year. That's where I want to be. I would hope that Team KOOL Green is going to be in CART. That I don't know. Barry doesn't know. But I'm waiting to find out.

Like I said, the clock is ticking.

Patrick Carpentier: Paul and I are starting our own team (laughter).

Q: Brown & Williamson [KOOL parent company] said at the end of August that's when they get the budgets together and could move forward. Is that too late for you?

Paul Tracy: Yeah, a little bit. That's a little long for me. That's a month from now. My contract renewal or option date came up the first week in May. That's something I was able to negotiate through performance. I've been waiting since the beginning of May. I've been without a contract next year saying, "Give me a couple weeks, give me a couple weeks to put a program together." I've been waiting. I haven't been going around the back of other people's buses trying to find a deal yet.

I'm prepared to wait a little longer. But, like I said, the clock is rolling on.

Q: There was still about a hundred laps left, but was there a since of relief when Cristiano went out?

Paul Tracy: I didn't even know he went out. I saw that he pitted early. I thought he was doing a different type of strategy. I thought he was doing a lighter fuel load strategy or something. I didn't know what the reason was for.

Patrick Carpentier: Man, I was so disappointed (laughter).

Q:   When we arrived here Thursday afternoon, I bumped into you and
Pierre [Derocher] at the airport.  Pierre said you were on the airplane
saying jokingly, "I'm going to blow da Matta off this weekend."  It
happened.  How serious were you about it at that point?

Patrick Carpentier: What you're telling me is I got to be careful what I tell Pierre now.

No, I'm very happy. But I'll be honest with you, Cristiano was fast. If his car wouldn't have broken down, man, to catch this guy would have been extremely tough. I was driving everything I could out of the car, and he was pulling away from me and Dario and everybody. As more laps were going, the more he seemed to start putting a little more and we were starting to struggle just trying to keep up with him.

I'll be honest, he would have been hard to beat.  But it's a team thing.
Everything counts, the car, the preparation.  For once this weekend for
us, we had everything going.  So it was good.

Merrill Cain: Thank you very much. Congratulations on a great race. We'll see you in a couple weeks in Vancouver.

-cart-

Cleveland press conference, part I

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain
Teams Williams