CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland winner's press conference



"You know... just imagine, just as a comparison, a little bit... more or less like that, you dream about getting to the moon. You study, and people say, 'Are you crazy? How are you gonna get to the moon?' But you know, you believe, so you push, you push, you push. You do this, you do that. Eventually, you find a way to get there, and then you make a way, eventually you're there. That's more or less what happens. And when you get there... that's... that's just a thrill to be in that position. There's been many times in my career that only I believed in myself. Even my best friends, they say, "Are you sure you should continue doing that?" I say "Shut up. Just get away from me." It's so me. It's my love, this sport. It's what I do best in life. As long as my family is secure and healthy, I dedicate my life 100% to this. I have a mile-long list of people to thank, who helped me and believed in me to get to this position since 1988 when I really had to struggle to that (F3000) championship. It's just unbelievable. I'm building up, as I say. Every time I get better. I'm becoming very sensitive to set-up of the car. Yesterday, we did a few things in the middle of qualifying that worked really well and paid off for the race today. Everything was fine. The car was fantastic. The Ford engine was good. Something we've been working on very hard lately has been restarts. I think we've found what makes it go a little bit better. Many other people had an advantage on us before, and I think we've caught up on that now. And the car is very competitive from the word go."

"Basically what helps you is when you have a clean circuit in front of you, you can drive a different style and actually save fuel in the process. And then when you find a car in front of you, you've got to change a little bit, the style, in order to get close to it. But that's basically what happens when you have a clean circuit in front of you."

"Yes indeed, we actually got there at 7:25 (a.m.) and the door was closed. There was somebody in a car in front of the church and I asked, 'What's happening here? I've never seen a church closed on Sunday.' She said, 'Wait five minutes. They're gonna open.' So we sat in the car and waited, had a little prayer, and came here. I'm serious. I'm not joking."

"We'd been saving fuel all the way through. At the end, I had no problem with fuel. It was OK."

"I was crying. I'm sorry. And then I said, 'I better wake up here.' And I got going again. Don't worry. Once he got three seconds behind me, everything dried up, and I got going again. Well it looked like we had a good lead to finish the race, and you start thinking about things you shouldn't. That gets to you. You don't imagine the emotion inside of me that came out. It's just a bit too early, that's all. I dried out and got going again."

"As I said before, each race that I do with this team, the Visteon team, I improve myself. Being out of a car for a long time, it gets you down. So many problems I've had, so many things I had to fight. And you cannot concentrate and just be a driver. That dries you out. Once you get that, it takes time. You've got to work race by race and you build up. And that's coming back. I was telling Jim McGee recently, and I said, 'Look, I need to get that little extra a driver does when you're trying to qualify. It's all coming back to me. And I tell you, I'm still a little short of what I would like to call 100% position. I'll get there very soon. I'm sure. The team is giving me all the possibilities to do that. It's just a great championship, competitive, very difficult. I don't underestimate anybody. The championship is still wide open. It's a long road to the end. We're just gonna have to work harder."

"No. Jim McGee had convinced Pat Patrick on that. He had a hard time looking at me, he said 'You don't look like a race car driver. You look like a jogger.' That's a little joke. He was already convinced when we went to talk. Our first talk was at Elkhart Lake last year. We actually did the deal a week before the Fontana race. Not a lot of people knew that. I wanted to announce in Brazil, to the Brazilian press. It had been a long time since the last time I had done that. So I waited until I went for Christmas to do that, and the team backed me up on that."

"Basically, I was commemorating (CELEBRATING) too early. That's what happened. And with five laps to go I started to think I won the race. You should never do that. That's why I say there is still some more to come out of me, because you've got to get rid of all those things and just get on with it. It takes time. I'm human. This emotion was big. It was like seeing my first daughter being born. It's just amazing. But once it's out, it's out. Once you've done that, you go to the next one."

"I didn't do a donut. I basically went past the corner, because I had so much water in my eyes. I couldn't see the corner. So I went out and I had to turn around. That's what happened, guys. I'm sorry."

"I don't know. I won't know until I see the tape. I'm sorry. I went through OK. I knew the cones were there. I looked in the morning. I don't know whether it was a good or bad idea. I'm sorry. Certainly, from where I was there was no problem at all."

"I never had a helmet with me. I always left my helmet at home. I've never went to a race track thinking that somebody's gonna get hurt and I'm gonna get in the car. I always went to a race track to talk to guys about next year and being involved. Remember that, please."

"Jim McGee has been looking at me like a race car driver since last year at Elkhart Lake. Since we first talked, it was just a matter of putting the little details into the right place. We come to an agreement because he respected me from that day. He really believed in me."

"I don't know. I was just called in; I came in. I don't know why. I don't know; I'm sorry. Until I talk to Jim McGee, I don't know why we did that. Certainly, the light was not on in my car yet. I could have gone a bit more, I believe. Actually, before the day started, I told Jim that if we're in the lead, if we're around the first two places, I want to sustain the pace of the lead. If I was in front, I wanted to use some fuel to get out front a little bit. I didn't want to try to save the way I always did completely. I was in control of that, and I started leaning the fuel to a point to where it wasn't fast. Then I went up again to where it was competitive and saving. So I ask him and he said OK, no problem, continue like that."

Not on the engine side. The engine ran fine all day long without any problems. I wasn't even thinking about that. I didn't even know that Christian (FITTIPALDI) had a problem. I have a thing with Jim, where the less he talks to me the better it is. He only tells me something if something goes wrong or if there's something I have to do different. Otherwise, we use the pit board a lot."

KENNY BRACK, #8 SHELL FORD - "It was a weird weekend for us, because we started off being very fast here on Friday. We wheeled the car into the transporter thinking that we'd wheel it out again on Saturday and continue. We thought we'd have a good car. Well, it just didn't work for us on Saturday. Yesterday, the car was just all over the place and we couldn't straighten it out for qualifying. So we ended up going to the 15th position by the time it was all said and done. We discussed it yesterday, and changed the whole set-up overnight. We wheeled the car back out onto the track this morning and it was fast. That's how we started the car. We were lucky in the first corner, I guess, because that was just a big mess. I don't know what happened or who tangled with who. It was just a big mess. I just tried to get through there, and I managed to get through without getting hit or hitting anything. It was, I guess, more luck than anything. >From there, I think we made it up to 9th or 10th there, we had a fast car. With pit strategy and all, we managed to overtake a few cars. In the middle of the race, they leaned me down and I was dicing with Montoya a lot, but it wasn't easy because I had no fuel. I called Scott (ROEMBKE) a few things over the radio, but he didn't let me have anymore anyway. I had to let Montoya go, but then we got it back in the end. So I guess Scott was right there overall. In the big picture, he did a good call, but I didn't like it at the time. We managed to catch up to (MORENO) a little bit, but we were running pretty lean in the end, too. Obviously, we didn't have enough fuel to go full rich. I tried to push enough to get close to him, but I just couldn't get to him. So I had to settle where I was. On top of that, Cristiano (DA MATTA) was getting pretty close behind, too. But we stayed pretty stationary I guess for the last five laps or so." WHAT ABOUT THE CONES ON THE START? "You know, I haven't done a start here without the cones, so I can't tell you whether it hurt or not. What I can tell you is that all hell broke loose down there. In my opinion, it hurt a lot." DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO GET A PODIUM FINISH? "Yeah. It's good to know that I'm not too rusty at least. I don't think it's more rewarding to me. Every podium finish to me is very rewarding, so you have to take them any way they come." DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GETTING YOUR RHYTHM BACK ON THE STREET COURSES? "I think that the biggest challenge in this series is to read what the car needs to be for different circumstances. I was certainly very surprised yesterday, having a good car on Friday and all of a sudden it was completely undriveable, about six-tenths off the pace, anyway. That's just more strange to me than anything. And then we change the set-up completely this morning, and we seem to get the car back to where it needs to be. That's more the kind of experience you need to have in order to consistently be on top in this series."

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Series IndyCar