CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing Vancouver race notes

PATRICK RACING DRIVER ADRIAN FERNANDEZ FINISHES A CAREER-BEST THIRD IN THE MOLSON INDY VANCOUVER. With the third-place result, Fernandez recorded his eighth consecutive points paying finish dating back to the race in Cleveland. Fernandez was also...

PATRICK RACING DRIVER ADRIAN FERNANDEZ FINISHES A CAREER-BEST THIRD IN THE MOLSON INDY VANCOUVER. With the third-place result, Fernandez recorded his eighth consecutive points paying finish dating back to the race in Cleveland. Fernandez was also the recipient of the "Budweiser Hard Charger Award," presented to the driver who makes the greatest improvement in track position from the beginning to the end of the race. Fernandez began the race in the eighth row after a fifteenth place qualifying run, and worked his way through the field en route to a third place finish. Paul Tracy claimed his second consecutive victory (Road America), while teammate Dario Franchitti finished second.

ANDRETTI MAINTAINS HIS LEAD IN THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP. Despite scoring just one point with a 12th-place finish, Andretti maintains his lead in the driver's championship. Andretti (126) leads Paul Tracy (120), Adrian Fernandez (117), Gil de Ferran (116) Roberto Moreno (115) and Kenny Brack (105) with just five races left in the 2000 season.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#40 Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 3rd -
"Fantastic. I'm very happy for the guys because we didn't have the car all weekend and were struggling to get some grip at the back of the car. Today we did the same things we always do - just be patient, let things settle and just wait to see. The car started to develop and when we needed to push we pushed. At the beginning Michel Jourdain, Jr. was very strong and I just managed to stay there, but we managed to pit during the second yellow flag early in the race and that was key for us. Then John Ward made a key decision when that last yellow came. We pitted there and then we got up to position and that was just fantastic because from there on we managed to stay there with (Cristiano) da Matta. We knew he had to pit so it was just a matter of staying cool and not making any mistakes, which was difficult today. Conditions were very cool, it was hard to bring the tires up to temperature, and we just managed to keep the car on the track and that was pretty difficult. So just to finish was fantastic without hitting anything (laughter). Well I hit somebody. I have to apologize to (Alex) Tagliani. I was running with him and I came into turn one and I just went a little bit too deep - I couldn't stop, and he came into his line like he should've done and unfortunately I hit him. After that it was just a good race for us."

WITH FIVE RACES TO GO YOU STILL HAVE A SHOT AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? - "Very excited. We've been very consistent. It doesn't matter if we're - people will say 'You're 15th and you're fighting for the championship. What's happening?' We're not panicking. We've done that many times before and we know we can do it. It's just consistency. A lot of things can happen in a two hour race like this, especially in conditions like this, so the main thing in this type of racing is that you have to be patient. Sometimes people don'' have the patience, and that's what we managed to achieve in the last few races - patience, be fast and have good (pit) stops and strategy. It's the whole thing. You cannot say it's me, you cannot say it's John Ward, it's just the whole organization. The team is working fantastic and we've been able to make the right calls, the preparation of the car is fantastic. We changed a turbo after the warm up this morning. We were lagging some speed on the main straight and they saw we were having some problem with the turbo, so they changed it and we didn't have any problem after that, so it was fantastic. I think what it will take is to just keep scoring - finish in the top five from now on and hopefully another one or two wins and we're going to be close. Paul (Tracy) is on a roll, but hopefully we'll score some wins in the next five races."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 4th -
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAY TODAY. "It was a pretty good day - we managed to collect some good points. I'm happy (but) I'm obviously not overjoyed. I wanted to finish in the top three, but it was a good day and we'll go onto the next one." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING TO LAGUNA SECA NEXT WEEKEND? "Laguna (Seca) is going to be a tough race physically, and we'll see what we can do there."

MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 8th -
KIND OF A WEIRD RACE OUT THERE. "I still have to understand what happened. It was a strange race. We had a lot of wheelspin in the car and we still have to figure out how some of those guys in front magically don't have it."

HOW DID YOU TEST AT LAGUNA SECA AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING THERE NEXT WEEK? - "Laguna is a track that suited us pretty well. We were always pretty fast, but our goal is to get on the podium (and) hopefully we can do it. But today we thought as well we could get on the podium, but we didn't have it."

KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 9th -
WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND JIMMY VASSER? - "There's nothing to talk about. I don't know what happened. I think he misjudged the situation slightly and drove into my rear wheel and that was it basically. I haven't reviewed any tapes but I know he hit me."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING TO LAGUNA SECA? - "We tested there a couple of weeks ago and some work to do when we finished that test. We weren't really that fast, but we know at least what not to do, so that's good. We'll see when we get back there next weekend."

ROBERTO MORENO (#20 Visteon Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 10th -
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RACE. "It was okay. Our team played two different strategies - it paid off for Adrian (Fernandez); it didn't for me. It's one of those things that happens. It's the first time it was a bad strategy all year, so I can't complain about anything and the guys did a great job. We started with a car with a big change on the weekend and we made it work for the race. Adrian followed that up and also made it work for him. It's just the strategy he used was much better and it paid off in the end. When you're there trying to make a decision, it's not that clear yet until you see the things at the end."

YOU WORKED ON A LOT OF THINGS IN THE TEST AT LAGUNA SECA. DO YOU THINK YOU LEARNED SOME THINGS THAT GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE? - "The test there was good for us to discover this new thing we did on the car which made it work here. Although we weren't fast in the test there, we discovered this and made the car work better, so I'm sure we'll go back there and have a better knowledge of the car."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 12th -
"We went for a one-stop (fuel) strategy and supposedly I had enough fuel to finish - on the telemetry - but it ran out, so something went wrong somewhere. It's a big loss. We should've just gone to a two-stop strategy and then we would've probably finished fourth or fifth, so it's really disappointing."

HOW DIFFICULT IS THIS RESULT CONSIDERING WHERE YOU WERE IN THE POINTS? "It hurts a lot because we were right there with everybody."

HEADING INTO LAGUNA SECA HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR CHANCES ARE? "Not as good as they could've been. We're in trouble. I mean the Penskes are going to run real well there and he's (Gil de Ferran) only a few points behind now."

ALEX BARON (#19 Sports Today Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 13th -
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE TODAY? "I think the main agenda for us was just to finish today. I mean I wish we could've finished a little higher, but the way the weekend started out - we had a bit of a problem and didn't even qualify in the second session. We'll take what we can get and take what we learned this weekend and apply it to next weekend. We're pretty far behind on development and we've got to catch up pretty quick so we've got to get to work for Laguna." IS LAGUNA SECA A PLACE YOU FEEL CONFIDANT GOING TO? "Yeah, I've been to the circuit quite a few times, but we need to change the car quite a bit before we go there."

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 18th -
"Unfortunately Pat (Carpentier) touched the wall in turn nine and he got sideways and I was already into the chicane and was in between the tires and his tires, so I was not about to accelerate or slow down - I was there, and it's not a corner where you can go into side-by-side. After that (Adrian) Fernandez pushed me into the tires and we broke a direction I think, or the alignment of the car was wrong, and it was just too bad because after that we were not competitive at all."

TARSO MARQUES (#34 Panasonic Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 22nd -
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE ON THE TRACK? "The car was handling better during the weekend and we gained some positions during the yellows, but we were quite competitive. I had a few cars in front of me, but unfortunately under braking the rear tire exploded and I couldn't even turn the car. It's a shame because the car was better than we were expecting."

HAVE YOU MADE ANY GAINS WITH THE SWIFT CHASSIS? "This was the hardest track for us - we couldn't find any good handling at all. We tried a completely different set up for the race and it was showing to be a little better, but it was still very early."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's Ford-Cosworth) - Finished 24th -
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "We were battling and everything was fair in the beginning and Kenny (Brack) was really slow. I think he was having a bit of a problem with his car and we couldn't pass and were stuck behind (him). In one of the corners I went sideways before the hairpin and it's like 40 feet in between and for some reason Alex (Tagliani) thought there was an opportunity there, but it's impossible. At 120 miles per hour in 30 feet you cannot put a car in there. (But) he put the car in and was not all the way up and just pushed me into the wall."

A PRETTY FRUSTRATING WEEKEND FOR YOU ALL THE WAY AROUND. "Yeah it is. It's sad because I think we had decent cars when we arrived - we were fifth and eighth, me and Alex, in the practice yesterday morning, but just problems and problems over problems. In the last four races we've had so much bad luck. We want to prove that we can be fast and be up at the front, but we cannot prove it when we're on the race track, so it's sad for me and sad for Player's. But we had a good test a Laguna (Seca), so we've just got to look forward and keep going until the end of the year."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Michel Jourdain