CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake: Newman/Hass quotes


CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone:

On 2001 race:

"It was a pretty strange race because we had that situation with the water running down the back straight and all. The race was stopped and that cost us a lot because I was running fourth but pitted just before the race was stopped. I went all the way back to ninth and because everyone was allowed to top-off their fuel before the race was restarted it hurt us -- I remember that. We had to come back and recover our positions at that time. I came up behind de Ferran and just couldn't get around him, so I had to run the rest of the race behind him, and I had Helio that was just behind me. It was a tough battle between us three, and it was a fun race but I just wish I could have scored more points. You know, just outside the top five we are not happy. When we're within the top five we are a lot happier.

On Road America 2001 playing a large part in our current success:

"On the race weekend we made a few changes and they indicated a good path to take on the car setup that actually put us in the position that we are today, that we are competitive on almost every track we go to. I think the place where we started to figure everything out was in Elkhart Lake (last year) during the practice sessions.

On challenges of a four-mile course and what do you like about it:

"Road America is a long track. It's just like the old style road course, which is very interesting to drive. It still has many, many fast corners. You know, you go to those more modern road courses the turns are slower, usually because of safety. Road America still has the fourth gear, fifth gear corners, and you know everybody likes that as well as the elevation changes. Whatever (kind of car) a driver takes there, they always like it because it has all types of corners. So there will always be some part of the turn that a driver will enjoy. For me, I enjoy it all.

On the challenge of tracks like Road America:

"I think you have seen in the past, more drivers that weren't so good win races on the ovals and maybe super speedways, but if the driver wins a race in Elkhart Lake or Mid Ohio you can know for sure he's good."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone:

"I have always liked Road America - since the first day I drove there. It's one of my favorite tracks and we have always run well. The team has always given me a car that has worked well at Road America and it has certainly made my life easier. As my first CART win came at Road America, it will always be a special place to me and I hope I can continue to run up front this weekend and get another win as well as give Lilly their first win in racing.

On 2001 race:

The car in front of me was about to pit and I was going to be in the lead but Michael (Andretti) tried to pass me and we came together. Of course we probably have different views but it was just a racing incident. He tried to get by me and I tried to stay in front and we touched and it allowed Bruno to pass both of us and take the win. Of course Michael was luckier than I was because he finished the race in second place and I stopped on course. I think we will be strong in Elkhart Lake but I think the Player's Team will the cars to beat."


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