CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Pre Race Quotes

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on making his first FedEx Championship Series appearance at Laguna Seca Raceway: "After all I've heard and read about the Laguna Seca race and what it means to Team Target, I'm excited to get there and try...

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on making his first FedEx Championship Series appearance at Laguna Seca Raceway: "After all I've heard and read about the Laguna Seca race and what it means to Team Target, I'm excited to get there and try to add to the tradition. This points race has been so intense that I wish I could clinch it in Monterey like Jimmy and Alex did, but I'm having fun and expect to race well there, and hopefully increase my points lead."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the importance of the Shell 300 to his chances for the FedEx Championship Series championship: "We have to collect maximum points at Laguna Seca if we expect to have a chance to catch Juan (Montoya) for the championship. Everyone at Team KOOL Green knows we can do it; we've got a good package in terms of our equipment and the chemistry of the team. But we can't make any mistakes. It's as simple as that."

PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on being competitive on road courses: "Team KOOL Green haven't tested at Laguna Seca this season, but I don't see that as a disadvantage. We've got plenty of good data on the circuit and the cars. We've shown we are as fast as anybody on the road courses. Now it's up to us to execute a mistake-free weekend. If we run a good strong race, we should end up on the podium.'

JIMMY VASSER (Target Honda Reynard), on his recent run of success in the FedEx Championship Series: "We have a lot of confidence heading to Laguna Seca. This time of year, the whole team is usually clicking, and these past few races have proven that. Both Juan and I are benefiting from an experienced team that is communicating and performing at a very high level. It's inspiring to have those kinds of guys around, who are dedicated to doing all they can to win races and championships. You can see the results on the track. Everyone and everything is running on all cylinders, so I'm sure there will be more great Monterey memories to come."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), on improving his position in the FedEx Championship Series points race: "I am a little concerned that we haven't tested the Firestone tires at Laguna. We tested the Goodyear tires in the winter, but not the Firestones. I always like racing at Laguna Seca. I had the best race weekend of my career there. We really could use that sort of weekend now. I won the pole, led every lap, won the race and clinched the championship. That would be great right now. All but the clinching the championship part is possible now. We were very lucky that Dario [Franchitti] and Paul [Tracy] didn't score any points in Vancouver but we need to take a more active role in scoring points in Laguna Seca. I feel terrible about spinning in Vancouver but we have moved on and take each race at a time."

GREG MOORE (Player's Forsythe Racing Team, Ltd. Mercedes Reynard), on the uniqueness of Laguna Seca: "Laguna Seca ranks right up there among the most challenging tracks you'll find in the world. It's exciting for the drivers, as well as the fans, especially when you get a race that's under green all the way. You can do some things on this track and the Player's team is going to put a lot of effort into developing a strategy that will put us among the contenders."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team, Ltd. Mercedes Reynard), on the momentum generated by matching his career best with a runner-up effort at Vancouver: "Finishing second in Vancouver on the weekend really lifted my spirits and made me as determined as ever to take that final step and collect my first race win. I've said throughout the season that I can sense we are making progress. Now that we've got a second place, maybe first place isn't far behind. It's a thrill racing at Leguna Seca. It's a bit like Mid-Ohio, but it's a track that's more elevated. And it has The Corkscrew, where you get quite a rush because you feel like you're dropping into a sort of hollow. But I feel that we're ready for anything after handling the wet conditions in Vancouver on the weekend."

ROBERTO MORENO (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on rebounding at Laguna Seca: "I'm looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca. We were competitive at Vancouver and I know we can be at Laguna Seca as well. Each race that goes by, I learn a little more about the Ford-Swift package and we become more competitive. We just need to be able to score some points and bring the car home up front. I like the Laguna Seca course. It is more like the traditional road courses I have grown up on."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes), on his enjoyment of Laguna Seca: "Laguna Seca is one of my favorite races. I really like the track. Laguna, Mid-Ohio, and Elkhart Lake are my favorite circuits because they are truly racers' tracks. You really have to work on your setup and get a good flow. Laguna is definitely not a 'Mickey Mouse' place. You have to work, especially in the high-speed corners, and I like the elevation changes. It really makes the track more interesting. We've always run fairly well at Laguna. It's a track where you need to have a very clean line because it's a sandy area, and this time of year there's not much grass. There's a lot of sand and dust. Finally, Carmel and the entire Monterey area is known to be one of the best spots in the entire United States."

MARK BLUNDELL (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), on the beauty of Laguna Seca: "Laguna Seca is not only one of the most challenging road courses that we race on, but it's also in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. I'm looking forward to racing there again, and I'm confident that we'll have a good car. We've had strong runs in every event since I came back (at Detroit in August) and this is the kind of circuit that I prefer. It's a really fun course, and similar to what I grew up racing on in Europe."

ROBBY GORDON (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Eagle), on turning his luck around at Laguna Seca: "In past years I've always had bad luck at Laguna Seca. I don't know why exactly, but it's just one of those tracks that always seems to give me a hard time on race day. But then again I've always had good luck at Vancouver and look what happened there last weekend. Even with the hard luck, I enjoy going to Laguna, it's such a great track and great facility. Monterey is a fun town, and everyone usually goes there in a good mood. We had our first test as a new team [Team Gordon] there in February, which went really well and made me believe this concept of starting a team from scratch could actually work. I can still remember my first trip through The Corkscrew in a Champ Car. It's like no other corner in the world."


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Series IndyCar