Jimmy Vasser finishes third in inaugural Grand Prix Americas. Notes: CRISTIANO DA MATTA CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP - Team Rahal driver Jimmy Vasser made his second podium appearance of the season (2nd - Long Beach) with a third place finish in the ...
Jimmy Vasser finishes third in inaugural Grand Prix Americas.
CRISTIANO DA MATTA CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP - Team Rahal driver Jimmy Vasser made his second podium appearance of the season (2nd - Long Beach) with a third place finish in the Grand Prix Americas on the streets of downtown Miami. However, Cristiano da Matta put an end to the championship battle by winning the race and his first CART points championship by finishing ahead of Bruno Junquiera (fifth). Teammate Christian Fittipaldi finished second followed by Vasser, Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani (fourth), who recorded his fifth top 10 result of the season.
JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford) - Finished 2nd - "The car ran good and it's too bad we had to start so far back with a car like that. I was really held up a lot by some of the guys, Kenny Brack for a while and Tony Kanaan, and I lost a lot of time. We had one mishap on our second stop. The rear wheels were spinning because I thought I was in neutral and I wasn't and it's too bad for the guys because I made a mistake there. I feel bad for (Paul) Tracy because he was just a victim of circumstance but he's been on the other end of that stick so I'm sure he understands."
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR PASS ON TRACY. "I don't know if you noticed but I made some moves on guys down there earlier in the race and I thought my car was good under braking and I thought I had a shot on (Alex) "Tags" (Tagliani) so I took it. I got by him but I just slid by a little bit too far and hit Tracy."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford) - Finished 4th - "It was very difficult to pass today. My crew did a great job on the first pit stop and I picked up a position but I think the tire pressures were too high and the car started to slide and I had no grip. I touched the wall a couple of times and actually the car was catching me by surprise as I was turning."
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN JIMMY (VASSER) AND PAUL (TRACY)? "Paul was doing well except under braking. I saw him lock up the brakes and I tried to go inside of him but I saw Jimmy coming and I backed off as he hit Paul. I lost a position but I saved the car."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR. (#9 Gigante Ford) - Finished 6th - "It's a shame, you know, because I made a mistake. I think our strategy was going very, very good, the car was brilliant and the guys gave me a great car. It's a shame that it rained yesterday because I'm sure we would've been much farther up on the grid. We had a communication problem. Tony (Kanaan) came out in front of me on cold tires and I wanted to pit early to not loose a lot of time and they didn't hear me. I said, "repeat" and I thought they said, "pit," so I came in and they weren't ready for me and we lost a lot of time."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford) - Finished 11th - "The car was pretty good and at one point we were the fastest car out there and were passing some people but unfortunately I made to mistakes. The team did a great job fixing the car - the steering arm - in less than four laps. Then we went out to finish but I was pushing hard and I hit the wall again, but then we drove around with an injured car and just finished the race. I feel sorry for the team because they gave me a really good car, probably the best car all year, and I blew it. But we finished the race and scored some points."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford) - Finished 16th - "I got in a little bit too deep and I thought I could make the turn but I changed my mind and tried to go down the escape road and hit the wall head-on instead."
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND MARIO DOMINGUEZ? "It was very disappointing because he came in too fast, spun me around and I lost a lap right there, but the car was alright after that. It's just very disappointing."
HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS? "It was very slippery and was actually very difficult because you don't have enough time to breathe and we're always running around as fast as we could."