Zakspeed/Forsythe driver Bryan Herta finished third in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland, scoring his first podium finish of the season and his first since winning at Laguna Seca in 1999. Dario Franchitti was the first to take the checkered...
Zakspeed/Forsythe driver Bryan Herta finished third in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland, scoring his first podium finish of the season and his first since winning at Laguna Seca in 1999. Dario Franchitti was the first to take the checkered flag, while Memo Gidley finished second for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack finished sixth for Ford-Cosworth, while Alex Tagliani scored his best result of the season (9th).
Kenny Brack (84 points) extended his lead in the drivers' championship with his sixth-place result, and now leads Helio Castroneves (70) by 14 points and Dario Franchitti (65 points) by 19 points ... Bryan Herta has now scored six top-10 finishes in eight career appearances at Cleveland. Herta's best finish came in 1995 when he finished second, but he's now also finished third twice ('97 and '01), fifth ('96), sixth ('99) and ninth ('00).
BRYAN HERTA (#77 Zakspeed Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 3rd
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR DAY.
"I went wide at the start. I saw someone coming that was about to T-bone me so I drove off into the grass to miss that, which put us way back. But then we fought our way back through [the field] and had good fuel strategy and fuel mileage. I knew when I had that run there on Dario [Franchitti] that I wasn't going to get too many chances on him so I really went for it. When I didn't make it I got a lot of dirt on my tires and spun down at the far end, but fortunately I was able to get it going real quick. I'm really happy to finish third. The way our season has gone this is like a win for us."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR?
"My car wasn't very good on cold tires. It took about seven or eight laps for them to come in, but from then on it was pretty much as fast as anything out there. But through the first seven or eight laps we were hurting a little bit. Given all the adversity that we've gone through today and this season, this just feels so good. I'm so happy to be on the podium."
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 6th
"We had a very good start at the beginning of Turn One, so after that kind of start I was hoping for a better position today and I thought I had a shot at a podium finish. We had to save fuel all day and we had to make a late stop for fuel which left us farther back. In the end it was a fuel game and we lost today. It's frustrating to run that hard and lose out to guys who run for fuel. That happened to us last year in several cases, but it's part of the racing game. We came from 17th and extended our points lead so I can't bet that upset. I just want to get back on the podium very soon, maybe in Toronto."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/ Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 9th
"I'm very happy. We had some problems with the car getting really loose at the start. I was fast and took some positions at the start, but after a couple of laps when the track started picking up grip the car got grippier in the front and it was really difficult to keep it on the track. After that we lost all the telemetry in the steering wheel so it was very hard to come into the pit without getting a speeding penalty and for the team to know what mileage we were getting on the track. Considering all those things, I think we did a good job. Once we got a handle on the car with the front wing and the front tire pressure it was very fast. I think we went in a direction with the set up that we never did before, so I think it's looking good for the rest of the season."
ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 17th
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE START?
"I just think everybody hit each other. It's very wide and suddenly it becomes very narrow and I just banged wheels with people. My rear winglet was broken and loose, but probably on lap 12 [Bruno] Junquiera touched a cone in the chicane that went flying into the middle of the track at it broke my front wing. Then I had a car that was not balanced both in the front and the rear with no downforce. From that point on I was very slow, but I was able to finish the race."
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 18th
"We had a good car during warm up this morning, but we broke a steering arm and weren't able to get that set up back after the morning spin. We had to adjust the car from the warm up and it wasn't the same and it wouldn't turn. I had a big push and I couldn't come around the corners. On the second [pit] stop we tried three turns of front wing and it still pushed too much, so we had a tough car to drive. With the faster guys coming from the back I thought we had a good chance to attack today and move up, but the car wasn't right from the start. It's too bad because it felt good this morning. We had a good car last week and a not-so-good car this week."
MAX WILSON (#25 Redback Networks Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 19th
"I had a little bit of everything happen to me today. I led the race and we were I don't know how many laps behind at the end, but it happens and that's racing. We were a bit unlikely on the pit stops, but the car was good enough to finish in the points."
HOW DID YOU TAKE THE LEAD ON THE FIRST LAP?
"I had a good run behind Mauricio [Gugelmin] and had better acceleration than he did, then under braking I took both him and [Adrian] Fernandez. From that point on I lead for a bunch of laps before Memo [Gidley] overtook me, but I knew I was still in second. Then on the first pit stop everything started to go wrong, but it was just bad luck I think."
WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR FIRST PIT STOP?
"Bruno [Junquiera] was blocking my pit so I had to pass through. Then when I stopped the light on my speed limit button didn't work so when I took on I was penalized for speeding and had to do a drive through. On my second pit stop the same thing happened, and then I was something like a lap behind and was just trying to overtake some guys. Unfortunately my car was very loose under braking so I spun at least twice in the hairpin, but at that point everything was gone so I was just trying to finish the race."
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT THAT YOU CAN CONSISTENTLY RUN WITH THE LEADERS?
"You know I think this kind of track should be one of the toughest for us because it's very bumpy. This is a kind of track that teams can test a lot of things in their shops that gives them an advantage over the smaller teams. If we did well here, I think we can do well in a lot of different tracks too, so I think it's very positive for us."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 25th
"I saw the accident and I was trying to miss it when suddenly somebody hit me from behind. I think it was Patrick [Carpentier], but I'm not sure. They told me on the radio that somebody hit Pat and then he hit me. I'm really upset because it's crazy. People try to make up 10 positions at the start here every year and it's not smart."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 26th
"Oriol Servia came in like crazy and he was way too fast going in and just hit my car. Unfortunately he got Tony [Kanaan] also, and I was sandwiched between those two guys and that was the end of my race?
ARE YOU OKAY?
"Yeah, I hurt my wrist and have to go see the doctor. It's hurting pretty bad right now so I'll go have them take a look at it."