CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Laguna Seca race notes

FORSYTHE CHANPIONSHIP RACING DRIVER BRYAN HERTA FINISHES FOURTH AT LAGUNA SECA. Despite just eight days of preparation, two-time defending race champion Bryan Herta finished fourth today at Laguna Seca. Herta's fourth-place result was his best...

FORSYTHE CHANPIONSHIP RACING DRIVER BRYAN HERTA FINISHES FOURTH AT LAGUNA SECA. Despite just eight days of preparation, two-time defending race champion Bryan Herta finished fourth today at Laguna Seca. Herta's fourth-place result was his best this season in six starts with his previous top finish being fifth at Long Beach. Polesitter Helio Castroneves captured his third win of the season and the third of his career, while Penske teammate Gil de Ferran finished second and Dario Franchitti finished third. Other top finishers powered by Ford-Cosworth included Kenny Brack (5th), Patrick Carpentier (9th) and Christian Fittipaldi (10th).

HERTA FINISHES WELL AT LAGUNA SECA. With his fourth place finish today, Bryan Herta has finished sixth or better in seven of his eight career appearances at Laguna Seca. In addition to second- (1992) and a first-place (1993) finishes in Indy Lights, Herta has finished 25th (1995), second (1996), sixth (1997) and first (1998 and '99) in CART.

BRACK A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY. Kenny Brack has been a consistent performer in his rookie CART season. Including today's fourth place result, consider that Brack has posted five straight top-10 finishes dating back to Chicago, and has finished fifth or better in four of his last five starts. Altogether, Brack has recorded eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 16 CART events.

BRYAN HERTA (#77 Ford-Cosworth) - 4th - YOU HAVE TO BE VERY PLEASED WITH YOUR RESULT. - "Yeah, I'm really, really happy. I think it's more than really could've been expected given the circumstances and everybody did a great job for us this weekend. Thanks to Gerry (Forsythe) and all the guys on the Player's team, Forsythe team, Ford, Firestone and everybody that made it happen for us. You know, it was a fun weekend - a great weekend. I've got a lot of good memories from it."

WERE YOU LOOKING FOR MORE OR IS THIS A MORAL VICTORY? - "I think you can really trace it back to Friday qualifying. If we hadn't missed that session maybe we could've qualified in the fast group or maybe we could've been a little higher up on the grid. That seemed to be the key. We could run with them, but in the end especially we didn't have the fuel to try and pass them, we just had the fuel to run with them. As a matter of fact I ran out on the cool down lap. I think we used up everything we had for them today."

DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU COULD DO MORE OR ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THIS? - "You always go back and say, 'if we hadn't missed that session on Friday maybe that would've made a difference,' but starting from race day I think we gave them everything we had and so I'm really happy."

ARE YOU GOING TO RUN THE REST OF THE YEAR? - "I've really got to thank Gerry Forsythe for making this happen because he's the guy that put his all together for me. If we get to do more this year then that'll be great."

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - 5th - ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR RESULT? - "Yeah. A top five finish is good. If we can keep the car in the top five all the time that'll be good. Obviously you want to get on the podium, (but) we had no chance to do that today. It was 'follow the leader' for oh, six of us I guess. No one made any strides. I tried to turn the fuel up a little bit and the guy in front turned it up a little bit. Then I turned it down a little bit and the guy in front turned it down a little bit, and that's the way it was run."

GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT HEADING TO ST. LOUIS. - "I think we should have a good set up. I've never been to that track but I've been to many other ovals so I should be alright hopefully."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - 9th - THIS WAS A PLEASANT ENDING TO AN OTHERWISE ROUGH WEEKEND. - "Yeah it was. I'm pretty happy. We needed to score the points and when you cannot win and the car isn't good enough to win you have to bring it to where you can and get the points and I wanted to do that this weekend. I wanted to finish in the car still seeing the sun at the end of the day and not upside down (laughter). It's pretty dark when you're like that. But I'm pretty happy. It's not a win, but in racing that's the way it is. The car you get is where you go and maybe we had a 10th-place car but we finished ninth. The guys did an amazing job in the pit stops and that's all we could do today."

YOU SEEMED TO BE DRIVING VERY AGGRESSIVELY TODAY. - "Yeah I did and I'm happy. I didn't make any mistakes; I didn't go off the track and stop so that was a good job today. I'm happy."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth) - 10th - "Nothing really exciting happened today. The engine worked trouble-free today but the car was just a disaster. It was basically undriveable. Power down was horrible and it was oversteering in the quick corners and I don't know how I made it to the end without spinning. Apart from that, (Jimmy) Vasser touched me going into the corkscrew on the first lap - that's why I lost two positions. Then (Paul) Tracy ran into the back of me during the middle of the race but I didn't lose any positions to him. I don't think that even if those things hadn't happened we wouldn't have gone much farther forward. We were bad the whole day. We weren't competitive today."

WERE YOU FEELING THE EFFECTS OF THE FLU DURING THE RACE? - "No, it was a lot better this morning. It puts you down a little bit in the middle of the race but you just have to go and continue. It's part of your job."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#6 Big Kmart/Texaco-Havoline Ford Cosworth) - 14th - "I thought we were going to go with the masses in terms of pit strategy. The car was okay but it wasn't great. If the yellow hadn't been that long, if it had been two laps shorter, we probably would've been fifth. It took them (CART) too long to get the field sorted out so our strategy didn't pay off."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - 16th - "On the first set of tires I was a little loose but towards the end of the run the car regained some stability. Then we had brake problems and I had to continuously pump the brakes going into the corners and the car just wasn't there to make up any ground today. It's very disappointing because once you get behind on this track it is very difficult to pass. I'm just going to take each of the next races one at a time and try to finish and score some points."

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - 23rd - "We had a problem with the engine (failed spark plug), but I was running with a big loss of power. We were down quite a bit but the car was great. I'm just disappointed for all of my guys because I think we could've been up there. It's very unfortunate because this morning the car was awesome and we were able to stay up front with some of the fast guys even with the loss of power we had and with the engine problem. It was already pretty bad at the beginning of the race, but I wanted to finish the race."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack