CHAMPCAR/CART: Fontana: Ford Racing Friday notes and quotes

Alex Tagliani leads practice at the California Speedway. Notes: FORD-POWERED CARS SWEEP THE TOP THREE PRACTICE POSITIONS - Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani led Friday's practice session at the California Speedway by lapping the two-mile...

Alex Tagliani leads practice at the California Speedway.

Notes:

FORD-POWERED CARS SWEEP THE TOP THREE PRACTICE POSITIONS - Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani led Friday's practice session at the California Speedway by lapping the two-mile super speedway in 31.252 seconds with a speed of 233.726 miles per hour. The two Team Rahal cars were the next fastest during practice with Jimmy Vasser putting in a lap of 31.354 seconds (232.988 mph), followed by Michel Jourdain, Jr., at 31.439 seconds (232.336 mph). Herdez Competition's Mario Dominguez turned the 11th-fastest practice lap of the day at 31.716 seconds (230.307 mph) while Tagliani's teammate, Patrick Carpentier, couldn't get a handle on his car's setup and was 18th (32.358 seconds; 225.737 mph).

Driver Quotes:

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford) - Fastest in practice - "The car was good in traffic and we did some race simulations both in traffic and by ourselves, but the car is very good and it's going to be sound for the race. What we're actually trying to do is improve the car for qualifying because I was running really quick during practice at Rockingham and I ended up qualifying ninth, so we're trying to improve that. But in the end the pole position isn't that important because it's a 500-mile race and there's a lot of passing here. If we get the pole and the point that goes with it that's great but it's not the end of the world if we don't. I had a good tow this afternoon, but qualifying times will be slower tomorrow because we'll be driving by ourselves. I did a few laps drafting with Dario (Franchitti) and Tony (Kanaan) and everything went well."

MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford) - 11th-fastest in practice - "It's a lot of fun to drive on these super speedways ... it's just unbelievable driving at these speeds. This is what brings a driver the most joy - when you're going as fast as you can and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Obviously the car is good, (engineer) Tom Brown is very good at the ovals and he makes the right changes when there's a problem. He always seems to know exactly what to do and that makes me very confident. I'm enjoying it; I still have a lot to learn but we're getting there."

DOES THE FACT THAT YOU RACED HERE BEFORE IN INDY LIGHTS HELP YOUR CONFIDENCE? "It helps because I kind of know what to expect, but it's a completely different ballgame. In an Indy Lights car you're doing 190 miles-an-hour, but you're doing 230 miles-an-hour here and every 10 miles an hour is a big deal and it feels like it's a 100 mile-an-hour difference."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford) - 18th-fastest in practice - "This morning the car was fine but for some reason this afternoon I just cannot drive it. I have to lift in the corners even when I'm by myself and I'm more than a second off the pace, but something is wrong with the chassis."

-ford-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Mario Dominguez , Michel Jourdain , Tom Brown