Team Player's rookie Alex Tagliani proved he knows how to get around the streets of Long Beach. He drove his Ford-Cosworth to fourth place on a day filled with attrition and first time front runners. At one point in the day, the Ford Racing...
Team Player's rookie Alex Tagliani proved he knows how to get around the streets of Long Beach. He drove his Ford-Cosworth to fourth place on a day filled with attrition and first time front runners.
At one point in the day, the Ford Racing team looked like the ones to beat. Pit strategy allowed Newman-Haas teammates Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi to pace the field at the half-way point in the race followed by Visteon driver Roberto Moreno, who before suffering gearbox gremlins, made it evident he was the one to beat.
Dale Coyne Racing's Takuya Kurosawa became the first driver to ever lead a Champ Car event. Kurosawa took the lead on lap 55 and led the next seven circuits around the 1.968-mile Long Beach track.
ALEX TAGLIANI -33- Player's Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 11th / Finished 4th -
"I am very happy for all my guys - Alex Timmermans and the entire team. In Homestead we could have been on the podium, but sometimes I pushed too hard on the tires and the brakes. Today, I just wanted to bring the car home."
YOU GUYS HAD SOME GREAT STOPS TODAY . . . "The guys did a great job. We need to work as a team to get good results like this and today we did."
HOW HARD WERE YOU PUSHING TO GET PAST VASSER AND GET ON THE PODIUM? "I tried very hard. I wanted it bad. But, going into corner one and eight I locked the wheels and then I thought that it might have been a little too risky to go for the podium finish I thought it might be a better to just bring the car home in fourth place."
MEMO GIDLEY -32- Player's Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 10th / Finished 21st / Mechanical - "The car was strong. We were capable of winning the race. We were running consistent - it's a shame because it was a good one."
WHAT HAPPENED? "I came into the pits in seventh and the guys got me out in sixth but unfortunately there must have been an air bubble in the fuel tank or something and not all the fuel must have got in because I ran out lap later."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth- Qualified 4th / Finished 24th / Contact - "There was a big explosion. I had no control of the car. I don't know what happened. The engine exploded in a big way."
ROBERTO MORENO -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 8th / Finished 9th / Contact - "It was a tough day. We had a really strong car but then we ran into gearbox problems. I lost second gear and every time I would go into the corner, I had to drive with one hand and try to shift down in the middle of the corner to get some revs up. Every time I was in second gear and I would lift, the car would make a big noise so I had to go straight into third. The sections that are most important in this circuit are all second gear corners. Half of them I had to drive in third. It's too bad, but at least I was able to gain some valuable points."
MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 6th / Finished 20th / Contact - "The brake problem happened all of the sudden. I overtook Oriol (Servia) and we were running a very good strategy from Bobby. I got onto the brakes and the pedal went down. I was very disappointed because we could have finished in the top-three this time."
KENNY BRACK -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 7th / Finished 17th / Contact - "I got a run on Tony (Kanaan) and I turned in and we got together. I didn't know he was still there. To me, we braked and he disappeared and I took my line. I thought it was my corner."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 14th / Finished 14th / Fire - "We had something in the exhaust fail and it caused the oil from the rear shocks to catch fire. The car started losing power and I knew we were in trouble. We could have finished fifth which is an improvement considering where we started. "
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 13th / Finished 18th / Fire - "The car started to run pretty bad right before I was supposed to come in. I almost couldn't make it to my pit. It's a shame. We were running competitive in the race. We had a bad Friday and a bad qualifying but we were competitive in the race." HOW IS THE LEG? "I am ok. I just fell and twisted it a bit."
GUALTER SALLES -34- Panasonic Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 24th / Finished 22nd / Mechanical - "The boost was the problem. It was on 37 inches in the beginning of the race. I don't understand. Every session something happens. I am really pissed off right now."
TAKUYA KUROSAWA -19- MTCI Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 23rd / Finished 19th / Contact - "The car was good. I was driving really hard today. I was unlucky in the last eight or nine laps. The mechanics did a great job after the problems we had this morning with the engine. We had to change one and they did a good job. It was good to be up front.