PATRICK CARPENTIER ( ...
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "We were hoping to get second in the championship right until the end. But, to be honest with you, Bruno put in quite an effort in the last few races, and he was fast here all weekend. I'm pleased by what we were able to accomplish as a team this season. Third place in the standings is the best season of my career so far. It's been a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to being back out there next season giving Bruno and the rest of the CART drivers a run for their money."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "The car was running well at the start, but then we had some problems getting the tire temperature regulated. The temperature was going way too high every time we changed tires. The goal I set coming into this season was to finish in the top 5 in the drivers' standings. I'm disappointed we fell a bit short, but you can look back and say that if things had been different in just one race it may have been the difference between ending up 5th or 8th."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Today was, in one way, a real high point in my career - all of these thousands of fans cheering all around this beautiful track. I could feel them riding with me in the car and spurring me on. But it was also a huge disappointment. After qualifying in ninth and making it to seventh in the first lap, to have the suspension break like that... well, it's very hard. I do still feel lucky though because it broke on the front straight. I feel the worst for all of the fans. We had a legitimate shot at a top six finish today and I feel so bad that we let them down."
CRISTIANO DA MATTA (#1 Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "It was a race that I had to drive harder than any other race this season. We didn't really have a car that was capable of finishing second but that's where the teamwork comes into play at Newman/Haas. Some days the car wasn't that good or the engine or pit stops or the driver but the other areas compensated for the weakness. That is what makes a team capable of winning the Championship. I have to thank the Havoline crew because this is 100 percent their result. They smoked everyone today. They've been the best in pit stops all season. I came in the pits for my last stop in eighth place and got back on track second of the guys on the same strategy. Second place is not a bad way to end the season. (On attempted pass for lead:) I was on the outside of Kenny because I knew I couldn't get him on the inside but I just couldn't make it. I knew it was for the win and he did to. You can't imagine how much I have learned in my two years at Newman/Haas. I will always be grateful to them for everything they have done for me. Despite the result, it is not a happy feeling that I have today because I am leaving a team like Newman/Haas and have to say goodbye to a lot of people that mean a lot to me."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Things don't always go your way. I had a slow third stop that probably cost us the race when a lug nut fell out of an air gun. On the second stop, I didn't understand why they brought me in one lap early but apparently for some reason they didn't get enough fuel in the car on the first stop. The third stop did us in for the win though. I dropped from second to ninth. I ran second to Tony after the second stop and would have taken over the lead when he was black-flagged but unfortunately the race didn't go that way for us. After that the exhaust broke and ended our day. I was very confident of our chance to win the race so it's a huge shame for everyone that the day ended the way it did. It's definitely not the way I wanted to finish my career in CART. I spent eight years here and seven with Newman/Haas and I am thankful to them. I have made many friends at the team and in CART that I am going to miss but I am looking forward to starting my new career in NASCAR."
JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Everything was reliable but we just couldn't get down the straightaway - it was a little bit too long for us. The car was working good but I just couldn't get down the straightaway." (On the start): "Somebody hit me. Kenny (Brack) motored by me at the start when we accelerated and I was comfortably in my spot and I didn't know who it was, but he hit me in the back hard."
ANDRE LOTTERER (#19 J.A.G. Sports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I made two big mistakes and that maybe cost me something special but I'm a rookie and I think it was okay. It all happened quickly, I couldn't prepare anything and I was a bit surprised when I came into the pits today and I overshot my pitbox. I tried to pass Michel Jourdain and I went into the runoff area, but I'm happy because the times were good, I had good speed and I ran the whole race without getting tired. In general I'm happy, it's just that afterwards you always look back and see how you could've been fifth or sixth, but maybe next time. Of course I'd love to be here next year. The only problem was in qualifying because I missed a bit with the technique on the tires and didn't get them up to the right temperature. And then we had some red flags so I was not happy at all with my qualifying effort, but I thought my pace in the race was really good. I learned a lot and I hope people saw what I can do and next year I hope to be with a good team."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I could see the people on the video screen and they were going crazy. It's a shame because for qualifying yesterday everything went wrong but when I stepped into it initially it felt pretty good. We made a few changes for the race today and it was terrible at the beginning so we made some changes during the pit stops and at the end the car was very, very good and very fast. But it's okay. We know we'll all be back next year with Gigante and Team Rahal and I'm very happy with the year I had. Hopefully next year we can fight to win many races and hopefully the championship."
TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Thank God all of my guys are okay. That was very scary. I honestly don't know what happened. We took care of our guys and cleaned up the mess and were still fighting for a race win when we got black-flagged. I don't know if the rule book makes that mandatory or not after a pit fire, but that basically took us right out of the race for the second time in the last four races. What an ugly way to close this chapter of my life in CART. Good luck to everyone."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "All of my memories of racing are from CART and it has been a tremendous run. I'm just disappointed it ended in the wall. I feel bad for all of Team Motorola. I'm sad my CART career is over but also happy because I've done a lot of good things too." (On his contact in Turn 13): "I flat-spotted my right front tire early in the stint and I just pushed it too hard and the car understeered and went straight into the grass. When I got into the grass there was no slowing down until I hit the wall. I thought it was going to hurt more than it did. But I hit at a good angle so I was lucky."
SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We struggled in qualifying, but made some changes today and the car was good, I had confidence for the race. We tried to gain ground with a different pit strategy, but the race did not go our way. It's a shame, we had one of the faster cars out there and tried to put on a good show to end the season. I want to thank my team, Honda and my sponsors for all their help this year."
LUIS DIAZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Bad luck seems to follow this team. They worked very hard and I feel bad for the guys and sponsors. I hope next year these guys are fighting for the championship they deserve. I am grateful to Adrian (Fernandez) and the whole team for the experience, they have been great. I learned a lot this weekend - emotionally, physically and mentally as a driver - and I owe them a lot."
KENNY BRACK (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's been a strange season. It's nice to finish this way. It's really, really fantastic to come here to Mexico and see, first of all, this facility with all the fans. It's really a track that has very high standards. It's been a pleasure to run here all weekend. For me and for the Target Chip Ganassi team, the crew of the #12 car, I think it's been fantastic, too, to finally get a victory. We've been so close so many times this year. We led a lot of laps, but not the last one. Today was finally great to do that. For me, too, I mean, to win on a road course here, I thought I wasn't going to win on a road course (laughter). We've been good this year on road courses, but we haven't won. It's a fantastic feeling for me and the team, Target, Chip Ganassi and everybody."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Today was a tough race. But in the end I'm quite happy to finish second in the championship. I had a very good car all the weekend. But on the start, starting the pole is not that big an advantage. Tony got inside of me. I tried to outbrake him. I hit a bump, because I was in a line I never do it. I just lose my pedal, the throttle, and I couldn't lift the throttle to downshift. I was stuck in fifth gear and locked a little bit, then I went straight. It was a silly mistake. Then I came to ninth, and I was patient to go forward on the grid. I had a very, very fast car, but unfortunately I wasn't able to pass people. My car wasn't that fast on the straightaway today. Once I got to run by myself, I could close the gaps. Our last pit stop for sure my crew did a good job, put me behind Carpentier. I knew the second place in the championship was between me and him. On the restart, I did a very good last turn, outbreak him in turn one. Then I just follow Cristiano, make sure that I'm going to finish in front of Patrick, guarantee the second place in the championship. That's quite good because Cristiano drove very well, but I am not ashamed to finish second in the championship."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We had a six-second lead before the yellow, but I overshot the pits on my last stop. I didn't know by how much, but it was enough to slow the stop down. I thought we might get passed by Christian (Fittipaldi) but when I saw the other guys going by I thought how the heck did they get past me. I guess it was a case of Team KOOL Green being quick on the track today but not as quick in the pits. It's been a weekend of mixed emotions, for sure, and I am going to miss a lot of things about CART. I think Christian summed it up best when he came up to me and said, 'It's been a pleasure racing against you.' I feel the same way about every guy out there."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I don't know what went wrong with the car but it was something in the rear suspension. The KOOL car was bouncing up and down off the ground. I kept catching (Michel) Jourdain but the car kept bouncing. It's a tough way to end the season and my run with Team KOOL Green. It was a bad way to start the race. I'm sorry for Jimmy (Vasser). I locked my brakes and that was it. I'm a little sad today. My crew really works hard for me and I'm going to miss that. "