CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Milwaukee Friday Notes

Michael Andretti, who posted the second fastest time today in preparation for the Miller Lite 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile, conceded that so far this year, he and his team have not been fast in both the races that happen during a Champ Car...

Michael Andretti, who posted the second fastest time today in preparation for the Miller Lite 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile, conceded that so far this year, he and his team have not been fast in both the races that happen during a Champ Car weekend - the one for the pole and the one on race day. This weekend however, a confidant Andretti believes things are shaping up to be a bit different.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - 2nd Fast - YOU HAVE BEEN STARTING MANY OF THE RACES THIS SEASON FROM FURTHER BACK ON THE GRID. NOW THAT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU KNOW HOW TO RUN FOR THE POLE, DOES THAT SIGNAL TO THE REST OF THE FIELD TO LOOK OUT? "I hope so. It's so competitive it's hard to say. I don't know if we will have enough for pole but in the race I think we have a good shot to go for the win. Right now, things are broken down into two races -- the race for the pole and the race for the race. Lately, we have not done well in the qualifying race and but we have done pretty good in the race for the race. Hopefully we will be good in both races this weekend."

DO YOU THINK THE NEW WING PACKAGE IS GOING TO HELP PASSING? "I think last year there was passing - I was. I wouldn't go back to the (rules) we had in 1998. My gosh, we would be going in the 18s. Side by side racing is gone until they can find a way to eliminate the marbles. I can pass right now if they eliminate the marbles. It's the marbles that are keeping us from doing it. Every time I have to go high to pass a slow guy I hold my breath and hope I don't hook the marbles and spin me into the wall. A few years ago we didn't have that problem when we had real hard tires. Hard tires also slow you down, so it works both ways. But that's hard. What do you do to a company like Firestone who is here to learn and doesn't want to get stuck if somebody else comes in and they are not up on the technology? They want to stay on top. It's a tough situation. My opinion for the series is that there needs to be one tire company in the series and that's it. Bid on the series and that's it. That would be the best thing for racing. Then they could make a real hard tire, slow us down in the corners and eliminate the marbles. That's my opinion. But it's up to CART to come up with some sort of rule."

EARLIER IN THE DAY, MONTOYA MENTIONED SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF A BLOCKING PROBLEM IN THIS SERIES. CAN YOU ADDRESS THAT? "I know he was mad at me in Nazareth from what I heard. He never said anything to me though. I was fighting for my life to stay in the lead lap. I never cut him off, but I wasn't going to let him by and thank god I didn't because at the end of the race I was ahead of him. At a track like this I think you have to fight. When you are three of four laps down, get out of the way. I think that's where the problem is - the guys that are way down. I didn't have a problem at Nazareth with anyone blocking me."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth - 11th Quick - "We are not where we want to be right now. We will work hard tonight on it. I just can't get the power down."

PATRICK CARPENTIER -32- Player's Ford-Cosworth - 9th Quick - 'We didn't try to be fastest today we just did a lot if running. We did a lot of work on race setups. We did almost a full race distance run today. Our race setup was getting a little loose for us at the end of the day so we made some changes and I think we found a few things at the end of the day. I am extremely happy with the car and if the car is the same way during the race, we are going to have a great race."

YOUR FIRST POLE CAME HERE IN 1998 AND YOU ALSO HOLD THE CURRENT TRACK RECORD. IS THIS YOUR KIND OF PLACE? "It is my kind of place. I like those one-mile ovals and have always been comfortable on them. I just enjoy them. But like I tell everybody, a lot of tracks from now until the end of the season are going to be good tracks for me. With the Ford package we have this year and the money Player's has put towards the team, I think we are going to be enjoying ourselves a lot more."

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE HANDFORD WING THAT WE ARE RUNNING HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME? "I like it. We don't have to downshift in the corners. I can stay in the same gear. I also feel like I can feel the car a little more. Downshifting is always risky. A lot of crashes on short ovals have happened during downshifting."

I NOTICE YOU ARE NOT ICING DOWN YOUR WRIST THE WEEKEND LIKE YOU WERE IN NAZARETH. IS IT ALMOST BACK TO 100 PERCENT? "We ran almost a full race distance today. I don't even think about it in the car, which is good news. The real test will be next week when we test in Mid-Ohio. That will be the real test."

ALEX TAGLIANI -33- Player's Ford-Cosworth - 21st Quick - "It hasn't happened too many time this year when we were off this much with the setup. The car is not very balanced. Once we find the baseline for the car we can go from there, but we are just having a hard time finding that right now. We found out some good things in Nazareth and we thought they would help us here too. I don't know why, but that's not the case. Maybe because the track is more flat and the track needs to be driven differently. We still have a few days to figure it out."

MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - 13th Quick - "We ran a lot of laps today. Bobby (Rahal) said that's the most important thing to do here. We didn't get a few qualifying runs in early in the session, but most of our focus today was on long fuel runs.

KENNY BRACK -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - 12th Quick - "We ran a lot today, maybe too much to be honest. That's why I jumped into the backup car for the rest of the afternoon. We tested here a few weeks ago and I was able to learn the track. It's much flatter than anything we ran in the IRL, maybe Orlando is pretty close. Max and the guys really helped me get ready to race here."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - 11th Quick - "Today was a decent day for us. We are still trying to find a few things on the car. We need to work on the race setup some more. We are still trying to figure out where the car needs to be for the race. We have a little more time tomorrow. We are okay for qualifying tomorrow, but we need to find a few things for the race."

ROBERTO MORENO -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - 16th Quick - "We need to work a bit harder to get the setup better. You need to be faster that what we are right now. We have learned a lot on about the race setup but not as much on the qualifying setup."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti