Team Rahal Driver Max Papis Finishes Second At California Speedway Player's/Forsythe Driver Alex Tagliani Is Third Notes: PAPIS FINISHES CLOSE SECOND - Team Rahal driver Max Papis finished a close second behind Cristiano da Matta in the...
Team Rahal Driver Max Papis Finishes Second At California Speedway
Player's/Forsythe Driver Alex Tagliani Is Third
PAPIS FINISHES CLOSE SECOND - Team Rahal driver Max Papis finished a close second behind Cristiano da Matta in the Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway. After being shortened from 250 laps to 220 laps because of the impending darkness, Scott Dixon made heavy contact with less than five laps remaining to bring out the yellow flag. On the ensuing 'race' back to the line, da Matta edged Papis out by .007 seconds to remain in the lead as the race finished under yellow. Alex Tagliani scored his second consecutive podium result by finishing third, while Bruno Junquiera was fourth and Tony Kanaan fifth. Arciero-Blair driver Alex Barron turned in his second consecutive strong performance by finishing ninth after qualifying 18th, while Michigan 500 champion Patrick Carpentier struggled on his final set of tires to finish 10th.
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 2nd
YOU HAD AN INCREDIBLE RUN HERE TODAY. "First of all I'd like to congratulate Cristiano [da Matta] and Alex [Tagliani] for some very clean and good racing. I still don't understand how a 500-mile race could come down to a 220-lap race, but I knew it was coming down. I felt that the team has done a beautiful job all year long despite all the circumstances. We jumped up into the top six in the championship, which is a beautiful finish to the season, and I feel that I gave it my heart all race long. We tuned the car and it was right where we wanted it to be."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 3rd
TELL US ABOUT TODAY'S RACE FROM A DRIVERS' POINT OF VIEW. "Yeah, it was pretty good, except for when we're running two-wide you need to be confident in everyone that's around you. You also hope that nobody is going to loose an engine in front of you or that nobody is going to pickup a big understeer and touch wheels with you. It's a long race and just boring sometimes. We're just there and lifting and nobody wanted to get by. I just kept lifting and lifting and was only in fifth gear on the straightaway when everybody got by. So it was a question of saving fuel and making sure we could wait for a yellow to come into the pits. That's what we did. And we kept our nose clean and stayed out of trouble."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#16 Herdez Bettenhausen Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 16th
A DISAPPOINTING DAY FOR YOU? "We had a very bad day. It all started with our primary car in the warm-up and then we had a fuel pressure problem during the race, so that's why we had to pit so many times and it killed us."
DID YOU HAVE A CAR GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PODIUM? "We'll never know. We'll never know, but we were fast early."
ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 11th
"The whole race we were strong. We had a bit of understeer, but just enough. The last stop we didn't change tires, but we added more wing. I went out and had tons and tons of understeer and I don't know what happened. I could not even follow them. If there was 10 more laps I might have finished 20th. I don't know and it's a shame."
NO DOUBT A FRUSTRATING WAY TO END THE DAY. "Yeah, because I had planned out the last 20 laps in my mind. We had the long yellow before to think about it and I knew which cars I was going to have to fight. I felt good, but this is racing and only one can win."
ALEX BARRON (#25 Driving 101/Arciero-Blair Racing Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 9th
"We had a good car all day, we had a good balance on it and the motor was running really strong. I was kind of hoping that I could get a couple of extra laps there at the end, I waited a little to long to turn the engine up, but a lot of guys were really running some high RPM's and I'm sure they were using a lot of motor. I was being somewhat conservative just because of what happened last year, but the engine ran flawless and I'm really happy with the outcome. I wanted a little better finish, but I'm glad to just come in the top 10 and finish the race. It feels good."
IT'S A CREDIT TO YOU THAT YOU JUMPED IN THIS CAR FOR THE LAST TWO RACES AND TURNED IN SOME STRONG PERFORMANCES. "We had a little mishap in Australia, my fault, and then we had to run a 2000 car here. I think that gives a lot of credit to the team. To put a 2000 car in the top 10 is really doing something. I just hope we can do something for next year."
DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO SCORE A GOOD FINISH AFTER WHAT HAPPENED HERE LAST YEAR? "Yeah, and I guess that's why I was a little leery about turning the motor up at the end. I was waiting for the last couple of laps because if something happens at least you can coast. But I'm really happy with the outcome. I wish we could've finished a little bit better, but we'll get them next time."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 10th
IT HAD TO BE FRUSTRATING TO START THE RACE THE WAY YOU DID. "Yeah, it was. But we had the same kind of problem at Michigan where we lost a lap. Here we lost two laps, but we were able to get them back pretty quickly and the team did a great job. The car was so fast and the team has done a great job of giving me a fast car on the ovals this season. I think we were faster than anybody out there, but on the last stint we changed tires and it was the worst set of I've ever put on a racecar. The thing wouldn't even turn. I went into the corners and it kept going straight. I had to go on the apron to make the car turn and I've never had to do that on a speedway. And I really couldn't do it too much because Michael [Andretti] was coming down and was cutting the air off and I was going up again. That's how much push I had. Normally when you touch the apron the back end comes around and you spin, but it wouldn't even spin this time and the steering was going off."
IT SEEMED LIKE YOU UNLOADED A FAST CAR ON FRIDAY. "We didn't work a lot on the car and were just really fast. It's a shame. We shouldn't be 10th today, but I guess that's racing."
KIND OF WISH YOU HAD 10 MORE LAPS THERE? "It definitely would've helped me to empty the fuel tank. But this thing was pushing so much that the problem was more severe."
BRYAN HERTA (#77 Forsythe Championship Racing Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 25th
"The car was so good. The voltage regulator quit working and it shut everything down. It just shut the engine off. That would be the third race this year that the voltage regulator has taken us out of a race this year."
IT LOOKED YOU HAD A REALLY STRONG CAR TODAY. "I had a really strong car. We went up to the front early just to make sure we could lead. Then I went to the back to save fuel and we were just riding along and then the voltage regulator on the engine broke and it just shut the engine off. It's a shame, but at least I had a good car and I got to lead a little bit."
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 26th
"I got loose and spun around. I don't know what it was. Another car reported there was some fluid a couple of laps earlier, but I don't know whether that's the case or not. The car ran good all day, but it got really loose in the pack. I tried to back off a bit, but then I got overtaken by other cars. I was doomed if I did and doomed if I didn't."