FITTIPALDI HOLDS OFF ANDRETTI FOR FIRST CAREER WIN Fernandez third completes Ford-Cosworth Podium Sweep Ford Facts: * Ford-Cosworth sweeps the podium for the first time since Mid-Ohio in 1998 * Ford-Cosworth powered cars claimed...
FITTIPALDI HOLDS OFF ANDRETTI FOR FIRST CAREER WIN Fernandez third completes Ford-Cosworth Podium Sweep
Ford Facts: * Ford-Cosworth sweeps the podium for the first time since Mid-Ohio in 1998 * Ford-Cosworth powered cars claimed four of the top five and five of the top seven position at Road America * The last time Newman-Haas finished 1-2 was Detroit in 1996 * This marked the first time teammates have finished one-two since Adrian Fernandez and Scott Pruett did it at Mid-Ohio in 1998
PAUL NEWMAN - Co-owner, Newman-Haas - "This is very exciting for us. Everyone needed this win and what a way to end it. This is terrific!"
CARL HAAS - Co-owner, Newman-Haas Racing - "This is just fantastic. What a great race for the fans and with Michael finishing second it only makes this better. This is great. We have had a tough season so far and this is just marvelous. This is great for the team, Kmart, Texaco and how about that Ford engine. It really ran this weekend. It ran in qualifying and it ran in the race. They did their homework before coming here. That Ford engine is up on everybody in power. You can't ask for much more. I am walking on clouds right now." HOW HAPPY ARE YOU FOR CHRISTIAN? "He has more talent than people give him credit for. He has been on the verge all season and I am just so happy for him."
MIKE JANES - Track Support Manager, Cosworth Racing - "This is a great boost for us. Not only were we fast but we were reliable. I think from the beginning of the year when you look at the problems we worked through at Spring Training to come here and be 1-2-3 says a lot about the program and where it is going. It is a great feeling and promising for the future."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - Finished 1st - "When we started the race Juan (Montoya) was running really strong. I was looking at him and thought that it was going to be tough to catch him. I didn't think we could match him unless he had problems. Both Mike and I were running the same pace. At times I would brake a little late and make a small mistake and make a little gap and then close back on him. I think all of the cars out there were running very similar. I was a little bit quicker than Michael on the low-speed stuff and under braking but Michael was quicker than I was on all of the high-speed stuff. The first time I passed him I didn't manage to hold him off but the second time I did hold him off and also managed to open up a little gap. I saw that I was closing the gap to first place and then something happened to Juan coming out of turn two. At that point I was trying my best and thought I could really close up on him. After he broke I knew all I had to do was bring my toy home and not make any mistakes in the last couple of laps. I knew I just needed to keep running strong because Michael just started racing yesterday and he doesn't have a lot of experience! I am very happy for the team and all the sponsors that stayed behind me through two very tough seasons and I am also happy for my parents who have given me great support through all my racing years and for Fernando who also helped me a lot." WHAT WERE THE EMOTIONS LIKE AT THE END OF THE RACE? "I was very, very happy. I have been waiting for this day for quite some time. This is even sweeter because in 1996 I had a nice race here with Michael before my car stopped four laps from the end. But that's racing. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck. But the same way Michael was a little lucky three years ago I was a little luck here today. So I guess things turned around a little for me today." THIS YEAR YOU ALSO GOT YOUR FIRST POLE (RIO). WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS SEASON THAT HAS ALLOWED YOU TO HAVE THE SUCCESS YOU ARE HAVING? "We have been going very strong all season. We have lacked a little bit over the last two races but we definitely picked it up again for this race. I only made one change to the car this morning after practice. I was very confident this morning. I told the guys that the car feels very good and I only wanted to change one thing. Basically the car was very competitive all week." WHEN JUAN SPUN AND CONTINUED ON IT WAS NOT TOO LONG AFTER THAT HE STARTED HAVING TROUBLE. WHEN DID YOU THINK HE WAS HAVING TROUBLE AND BEGIN TO REEL HIM IN? "I saw that Juan was having a little trouble and that I could catch him a lot under braking. Like Michael said, when you start smelling that blood you stand on it. You keep trying to catch him and eventually try to pass him." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JUAN NOT FINISHING IN THE POINTS? "Unfortunately sometimes it is your day and sometimes it is not. I think it was very good for the series though. I feel sorry for Juan because I am pretty sure he would have finished in the top-three. But all three of us who finished on the podium have had problems this year and fortunately it happened to him today and we were able to make very good use of it."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Finished 2nd - "Everything was just really good today. The Ford engine was really great this weekend. Just look at the finishing order -- one, two, and three were all Ford. That says something about the engine. This is a horsepower track. We tried not to take tires on the last stop and we thought it was going to work. But when I came out of the pits (Greg) Moore got between us and I couldn't get up close to those guys when they were on cold tires. The tires were still holding up but I knew I didn't have enough for them." TELL US ABOUT THE FINAL PIT STOP. YOUR INITIAL PLANS WERE TO GO FOR TIRES AND THEN YOU DECIDED NOT TOO. . . "We figured that the only way I was going to get by Christian was to try something different. So we thought we would try to get him when he was on cold tires and I was on warm tires but then as we were coming out of the pits Greg (Moore) got between the two of us and that basically blew it all. It was a little disappointing. It probably would have paid off." Christian interjects "We didn't take tires either." Andretti continued "Oh, you didn't tires either? Well then never mind! I almost got him on the second stop. I had a little bit of a run on him but it was not enough. It was hard to get by anyone. We were all so even." WHEN JUAN SPUN AND CONTINUED ON IT WAS NOT TOO LONG AFTER THAT HE STARTED HAVING TROUBLE. WHEN DID YOU THINK HE WAS HAVING TROUBLE AND BEGIN TO REEL HIM IN? "I didn't know he spun. We were reeling him in and it would have been a great race at the end. He probably still had us at the end but we were not giving up and neither was Christian. When you smell a little blood you have to go for it." HOW DID CHRISTIAN GET AROUND YOU? WAS HE RUNNING A DIFFERENT FUEL STRATEGY? "Christian decided to lean his car out a little bit which allowed him to go a extra lap which is basically how he managed to pass me. In doing that he was coming out of the pits in front of me because I was coming out of the pits later on colder tires he was making up a lot of time. So they did a better strategy there and that's how they won the race." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JUAN NOT FINISHING IN THE POINTS? "It feels good. You hate to see anyone in that position but after you have been in that position a few times you feel like it is just evening the score a little bit."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford - Finished 3rd - YOU HAD A VERY EVENTFUL DAY TODAY. ON SEPARATE OCCASIONS YOU MADE CONTACT WITH FITTIPALDI AND ANDRETTI. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY? "From the beginning it was a very fast paced race. I had my own incident with Christian (Fittipaldi). Apparently coming out of turn two he pushed the pit button instead of the pass butting and practically stopped in front of me and I hit him pretty hard. This was before the race started. So thankfully we changed the wing, it didn't look damaged but we changed it to be safe. From there we managed to maintain fifth place. My car was working really well." ON THE INCIDENT WITH ANDRETTI . . ."With Michael (Andretti) my car was working really good up into the corner and had a good run and thought I had a good shot at him. But when I went to brake I locked the rear wheels and got into the back of him. Thankfully we were both able to continue. Then on my next stop I stalled it on the pits. From there I had to come back and pass Paul (Tracy) and I then made a mistake going into one of the corners and I locked the tires and Christian took advantage of that and passed me on the main straight. As Michael said, this is a great accomplishment for Ford. They have been working very hard on fuel economy, power and the driveability of the engine and they have made big progress in all of those areas. Overall it was a good day for us to come back from all the problems we had to finish where we didn't. I am very happy to be back on the podium." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JUAN NOT FINISHING IN THE POINTS? "We have had three mechanical problems this year and those raced we could have finished in the top-five. Miami for example we could have finished second so it just evens things out a little in the fight for the championship. Everyone has their share of bad fortunes."
P.J. JONES -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Finished 17th/Contact - "The car was not great but it was not terrible either. I had no real warning that anything was going wrong with the brakes but when I went to apply them going into Canada corner the pedal went down to the bulkhead. I don't know what happened. I went straight through the gravel trap and into the tires. It was not even close. There was nothing I could do." YOU STARTED 21ST AND CHARGED UP TO TENTH. YOU HAD A SOLD RUN GOING UNTIL THE BRAKE PROBLEM. . . "I was not going to win but I think we had a top-ten car. But it didn't work out that way. I just can't buy a break these days. There is nothing I could do."
MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Finished 5th - AFTER THE INCIDENT ON THE FIRST START WHEN MEMO GIDLEY'S CAR ENDED UP GOING OVER TOP OF YOU, HOW MUCH OF THAT DID YOU SEE? I NOTICED THAT YOUR HELMET HAD MARKS ON IT AND THAT YOUR STEERING WHEEL WAS BENT. . . "I didn't even see it. All I knew was that I thought my day was over. I didn't think they should have red flagged the race. But when I saw the red flag I ran back to the pits. I have to thank the Miller crew because they did a great job of getting the backup car ready." HOW GRATIFYING IS IT TO KNOW THAT YOU GOT A SECOND CHANCE AND WERE ABLE TO DRIVE THE CAR TO A FIFTH PLACE? "It was a good feeling. I think that this finish shows that we have the hunger to succeed. I thought I was out and the day was over. The engine was awesome. I really have to thank the Ford guys. They gave me an engine that allowed me to overtake three guys right in the beginning. We had a better setup not than we didn't in qualifying. I think we are now back on track."
BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Finished 15th/Suspension - "I got a pretty good start on both green flags. In fact I think I got three spots on the first lap. We were running ninth until the electronic went dead. We fixed that on the second stop but then the suspension and steering got worse toward the end of the race. The steering wouldn't work right and I thought it was best to just park the car. We will look forward to Toronto."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. -19- Herdez Viva Mexico Ford-Cosworth - Finished 7th - "I am very happy because this is my best result of the season and for the first time on 1999 we got some points. I hope this is the beginning of a series of good results. In the turns that car was very good but we were running a little too much downforce which made it difficult to overtake. We were close to getting the perfect balance."
LIUZ GARCIA, JR. - 40 - Tang Ford-Cosworth - "Everything was going really smooth after he first pit stop. I was just trying to keep a good pace and not make and mistakes. When I left the pits on the second time I first had a problem with the dash and then the gearbox started jamming. Then going into the carousel I couldn't get a gear I was running in neutral. Then going into the carousel the engine shut down. I tried to restart it but I couldn't even get a gear to restart it. I don't know exactly what happened because there are three different problems that are not really related. It was a very frustrating day."