GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA FEATURING THE MOTOROLA 220 "QUOTEBOARD" CRISTIANO DA MATTA ( ...
GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA FEATURING THE MOTOROLA 220 "QUOTEBOARD"
CRISTIANO DA MATTA (#6 Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "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 and 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. 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."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I couldn't be happier with the way things have gone lately. Team Player's has done a fantastic job at every level of the operation and the Reynard-Ford Cosworth package has been flawless. The work that Ford was able to do during the manufacturers' testing session a couple of weeks ago is really paying off because the traction control system has been problem-free. I know this four-race stretch is hectic, but when you have things going as well as they have for us lately, you can't wait to get to the race track. I'm confident, relaxed and just letting it all hang out. One thing I can say about Road America is that I've had almost everything happen to me in the five years I've raced there in the CART series. A few years ago, I ended up in the gravel pit off turn 1 and went into a roll that made all the highlights on the sports broadcasts. Another year, the brake pedal broke, and last year we had the bizarre situation with the water on the track that red-flagged the race in the 14th lap. At least I was finally able to put in my first finish at Road America, although ninth place isn't exactly what I'm looking for."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Last year, even before I raced at Road America, I told everyone that it was my favorite track on the circuit. To win my first race there last year was incredible! I've been looking forward to coming back here for a year now and I'm ready to defend my title. We had a solid fourth place finish last week in Mid-Ohio and that gives myself and Team Target a lot of confidence going into this weekend's race. I'm going up there with the intention of winning the pole and winning the race, so we'll see what happens."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL/Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Road America is a fantastic track, one of the best on the schedule. It is a test of skill that reminds me of courses in Europe and I really enjoy driving here. The event has great atmosphere. This race is a bit more special to me because I got my first CART win here in 1998, so I have some very good memories. It would be fantastic to get another win this weekend to add to that one, and also to make up some ground in the points. Team KOOL Green has our work cut out for us if we want to stay in the championship hunt, we need to score points every weekend."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I am really looking forward to this weekend of racing at Elkhart Lake. It has always been one of my favorite tracks and I have had some success there in the past. It is a beautiful place, a beautiful track and the fans are great. Last year in the race we ran pretty good and I am really looking forward to the weekend. I think we can be very strong at Road America. I know we had some problems at Mid-Ohio but the team is working very hard to put those behind us and make it better."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "This is going to be an exciting weekend for the Andretti's and our sponsors Motorola and Archipelago. Marco will be racing at the same venue with me for the first time and I think with all of us being there, it might make Marco a little nervous but he's done a super job all season and I'm just glad I'm going to get to see him race. For Team Motorola, we've been dialing it in and getting closer and closer to a victory each weekend. I think we're going to be extremely competitive going into Elkhart Lake this weekend and I'm looking forward to that.
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. I think we will be strong in Elkhart Lake but I think the Player's Team will have the cars to beat."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The ideal situation for Team KOOL Green right now would be to get to Road America and qualify well and have a fast car. All the cars are so competitive that it just adds more pressure on us to do everything we can to start at the front. It's takes a good, consistent car to do well at this track. Even though I've won from the back of the field here I would much rather run at the front all day. Right now though we need to head into Road America and score more championship points and move up in the standings. We're very focused, the season is not over yet and we know that we are still very much in the running."
KENNY BRACK (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Elkhart Lake is the favorite track among most of the drivers in CART and I'm no exception. It's a great track that has a little bit of everything a driver wants. Elevation changes, fast corners, long straights and numerous places to pass. I won the pole there last year, but I what I really want is to win the race. Team Target has given me good cars all year on the road courses, so I think that we have a great chance to bring home our first victory of the season this weekend."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I'm happy that we've been able to finish in the points in each of our last seven races, but I'm not completely satisfied because none of those point-paying finishes have been a podium. It's OK to develop some consistency but if you're going to make any move up the drivers' standings, you need race wins and podiums as part of that consistency. In the seven races that we've collected points, there has usually been just a minor thing or two preventing us from getting that race win or podium finish. We just need to fine-tune some things because all the main elements are there to produce a strong result."
SCOTT DIXON (#44 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Last week, I had my best finish of the season. We started 15th, but with some great pit stops and pit strategy, we moved all the way up to fifth. That was a good result, but I still think that this Team Target group is capable of even more. The team has improved each week since I joined them in Milwaukee. The chemistry just gets better and better every week. I qualified third last year in Road America, which was the best start of my career. It's a track that I really enjoy racing on. I know that we're capable of winning races, hopefully this is the weekend for us to do just that."
JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Elkhart Lake is one of the great road courses that we go to and it is truly one of the great road courses in the world. More importantly for us we need to forget about the beauty of Elkhart and go back to our shop in Hilliard and show up with a better game plan than with what we showed up with at Mid-Ohio. No one at the team is happy with how things are going right now. We have every tool at our disposal to be a factor and win races and finish on the podium. Obviously based on the success that Patrick [Carpentier] has had over the last few weeks Ford has made some big strides in their engine program. There are still a lot of races to go this season and we just need to put the problems of the past behind us and focus on being successful each week."
SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Road America is one of the best tracks in the United States. It is a long circuit with slow, medium and fast corners; it has a bit of everything. It is very challenging and fast. I really like the track. It reminds me of the Suzuka circuit in Japan. I didn't have a good race here the past two years, but I am confident for this weekend. Our car is getting better on the road courses, and we had a good test here. I think we can show a better performance on this road course, and I am looking forward to it."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I am really looking forward to returning, but more than that I am looking forward to feeling good again. Sometimes, and this has happened to me before, you feel better in the race car than you do out of the car. I think I will be able to drive better than I can walk right now. I just hope there is no pain, or minimum pain. These all are unknowns until I jump in the car, but I am excited to go back. With my therapy, there are a lot of things that I am doing better but I still cannot put more than 50 percent of my weight on my left side and I am still very stiff. I still use crutches to get around. The swelling has gone down dramatically and the bruises are starting to disappear, but there is still some fluid there. I also found out that my left lower rib was bruised. Compared to where I was, however, I am much better. I can see the progress."
TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's another week and another chance to get the job done. We had a good car at Mid-Ohio last weekend and I thought we were going to have our second podium finish in a row. The Pioneer-WorldCom car was good from the very beginning of practice, so that always makes you feel like this could be the weekend. Unfortunately, something let go with 14 laps to go. Like I said after that happened, you can feel disappointed, but you have to get over it and turn the page and go to the next one. I think we are getting a better and better handle on our new Lola. It's a tough thing to do, but Road America should be a pretty good track for us because it's pretty similar to Mid-Ohio. It's much longer and there are some high speed places where the cars with better horsepower should have an advantage. But there are definitely some places where handling is very important. So I think we have as good of a shot as anybody. As you saw at Mid-Ohio, you just have to have a perfect weekend from beginning to end to win in this series. It's so competitive that any little mistake, or any little failure, will send you home feeling disappointed."