CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Gateway race notes

PATRICK CARPENTIER AND ROBERTO MORENO FINISHED SECOND AND THIRD, RESPECTIVELY, IN THE MOTOROLA 300 AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY. Polesitter Juan Montoya won his third race of the season as well as claiming his third CART oval triumph of the ...

PATRICK CARPENTIER AND ROBERTO MORENO FINISHED SECOND AND THIRD, RESPECTIVELY, IN THE MOTOROLA 300 AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY. Polesitter Juan Montoya won his third race of the season as well as claiming his third CART oval triumph of the season. Carpentier, who started the race fifth, was the only other car besides Montoya's to finish the race on the lead lap in tying his career best result. Moreno's third place finish was his fourth podium of the season and his best result since winning his first career Champ Car race in Cleveland. Cristiano da Matta finished fourth while Oriol Servia came home fifth. Other top finishers powered by Ford-Cosworth included Max Papis (6th), Adrian Fernandez (10th), Kenny Brack (11th) and Christian Fittipaldi (12th). Points leader Michael Andretti was dominant through most of the race, lapping almost the entire field before suffering broken exhaust valve train on lap 196, which dropped him to 20th.

CARPENTIER SETS FASTEST LAP. Patrick Carpentier recorded the fastest lap during the Motorola 300 on Sunday. Carpentier negotiated the 1.270-mile oval in 26.770 seconds or 170.788 miles per hour on lap 218 in his attempt to catch eventual winner Juan Montoya.

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - 2nd - "We had a bit of a struggle on Friday and were able to improve the car a lot on Saturday. We had a little bit too much push in the middle of the race and I couldn't pass a lot of cars. We had too much push. And towards the end we had a change on the last pit stop and the car got pretty neutral and was really, really fast and stayed that way all the way to the end. I was hoping to catch Juan (Montoya) but it was practically impossible. I was driving as fast as I could in case he was going to have a problem or something like that, but we'll take second and we're pretty happy with that."

ROBERTO MORENO (#20 Visteon Ford-Cosworth) - 3rd - "I had a terrible warm up. I got into the car today and I couldn't drive it. I did two laps; I came in and said 'I can't drive it.' I did three more laps and I couldn't drive it. So we tried to approach our understeering problem that we'd been having throughout the weekend and were too aggressive. Afterwards we all sat down, we talked about it (and) we went back to the car as it was on Friday on full tanks and it worked. I didn't know it was going to work that way. Throughout the race the only problem I had was tire pressures. Once we got that handled the car handled really well and went quite fast. Jim McGee did another good strategy again (laughter). (And his) fantastic strategy paid off. (It) put me up front and kept me there. He's just great on that and it got us to the podium. Towards the end he asked me to save some fuel and I did that and was still fast and was able to keep my position. Just a great day, coming from where we were this morning to a very good car in the race."

WE ONLY HAD ONE CAUTION FLAG TODAY. WAS THAT JUST LUCKY OR WAS THERE SOME REASON WE HAD SOM MUCH GREEN TODAY? - "If you look throughout the season we're having less and less yellows. It's just been the pace this year. I always say that the wings have made the cars safer and indeed they did."

AFTER YOUR RECENT GEARBOX FAILURES, HERE YOU ARE SECOND IN THE POINTS. - "It's great. What can I say? We paid off finally. It's difficult when you're running strong and you run into gearbox problems. We've had gearbox problems since Long Beach if you remember correctly, and we've fixed that and hopefully we won't have any more. One mistake throughout the season has been good, so it's good to be here in the hunt for the championship (laughter)."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - 6th - "The car ran very strong all weekend. Unfortunately we had engine trouble over the last 40 laps. It was noisy and we lost some horsepower and I couldn't really battle with the guys in front of me anymore. But overall I think we had a mediocre weekend. We showed we had the speed and I had a lot of battles but that was it."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#40 Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth) - 10th - "The car was not great, it was okay but it wasn't great. It was hard to pass and we were just behind traffic. The car was a little bit loose in traffic but apart from that maybe the time we had to do the pit stops we weren't having the speed to gain on everybody and that's where we lost it."

YOU CONTINUE TO SCORE POINTS AND ARE WITHIN STRIKINIG DISTANCE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP. - "Yeah, definitely. We are not that far behind and anything can happen. There's still 60 points to get so it's not over."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING TO HOUSTON? - "We need to get a good result and keep trying to get to the top again."

KENNY2 BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - 11th - HOW WAS YOUR DAY? - "Very tough, very tough. The engine ran fine and everything else, but for some reason we were very good in the beginning but around lap 90 or so everything turned to crap and we were loose until the very last pit stop. We adjusted and adjusted and then it came back after that, but we shouldn't have to change the car that much during the race. We need to have the car be more consistent throughout the race."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth) - 12th - "We didn't have a great car, but a lot of people didn't. Many cars out there were nothing special and were just hanging on. Unfortunately our last set of tires were really bad and we had a different car than we had on the other two sets (of tires). We had adjusted the car progressively as we went through the race and when we got to the last set of tires, for that group that was on the same lap as us, we could've done better."

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - 14th - "We started the race and the car was good for a couple of laps and after that the car began to oversteer and we came down a couple of times on the front wing and we had to run fully stiff in the front. It was not the fastest car out there and we were quick after the first change of tires, but I lost a lap to Michael (Andretti) in traffic and I just wasn't able to be very consistent with the car. The car was loose all day and it's pretty tough on an oval to be running loose." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING TO HOUSTON IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS? - "I'll be confident there because we learned a couple of things on our car with the geometry and some things for the street courses, so I think we have a good chance."

ALEX BARRON (#19 Sports Today Ford-Cosworth) - 17th - "We had oversteer from the first lap on. We eventually made it better but it was just too late in the race. I got pushed up into the marbles because once I got lapped there was not much I could do. After I got up into the marbles I had to pit because I just couldn't turn the car was loose and I couldn't turn it. It's a pretty disappointing day and I just hope we can do better in Houston."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING TO HOUSTON? - "I kind of grew up doing that sort of stuff (street courses) so I think I'll be alright. I don't know if the track will be the same now as it was in '98 but I think we'll get up to speed fairly quick. It's just a matter of staying up with the amount of steps everybody else makes in terms of their progress throughout the weekend."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#6 Big Kmart/Texaco-Havoline Ford Cosworth) - 20th (exhaust valvetrain) - "We were one lap shy of lapping the field, and that would've been great. We lost power and I was just trying to hang on and the thing just blew up. It was a huge, huge, huge loss because of the championship. I guess we're snakebitten."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta