The Grand Prix Americas presented by sportsbook.com pre-race quoteboard PAUL TRACY ( ...
The Grand Prix Americas presented by sportsbook.com pre-race quoteboard
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It should be interesting in Miami if we get the same kind of race weekend we had during our first visit there last year. Miami's been known to get some of those afternoon showers, and they just happened to come at the wrong time during Saturday qualifying, and I ended up qualifying near the back of the grid. At times it was a real adventure, with the wind blowing coconuts onto the track. Then, on race day, I managed to make my way up from 16th and even led a few laps before being punted off the track late in the race, while running third. It was quite a roller-coaster weekend. Miami can be a difficult ride, especially if you aren't able to get much grip. But I'm not one to drive tentatively, and with the championship on the line in each of the four races we have left, I'm going to try to continue to do everything I can to squeeze the most out of every lap. Overall, Team Player's has had a lot of success on street courses this year and there's no reason why that shouldn't continue this weekend in Miami."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Last year the race in Miami was really difficult for me. I started 10th and began moving up in the field and was leading the race but we made a mistake with the strategy and finished fifth and gave Cristiano (da Matta) the chance to win the Championship. Now that I am driving the PacifiCare car for Newman/Haas I hope to bring them the same result they had last year with Cristiano. The race is going to be really important for the Championship. Now is the time that every point is important. To get a win and to get closer to Paul Tracy in the championship is going to be really important for me. The Miami track is in a very nice part of downtown. It's not a long track and that's why CART decided to hold single car qualifying so that everyone will have a chance to get a clear lap in qualifying. It's going to be really exciting for me to race in Miami. It's going to be the first time I have raced at home since I moved there at the end of last year. I'm so close I could walk to the track. I have a lot of friends from Miami that are coming to the race and also a lot that are coming from Brazil and I hope I can have a good race for them. I think half of Brazil is coming to the race and I hope I can get a good result. I am planning a big Bar-B-Q for the PacifiCare Newman/Haas team at my house on Wednesday to start the week and another one on Sunday night at one of the clubs in town. Hopefully I'll have a good race and will be very happy for the party."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante/Office Depot Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I am looking forward to this weekend after a few weekends off. The atmosphere around the Grand Prix Americas last year was fantastic, and I am sure with an entire year of planning it will be even better. We are at the point of the year where we can't afford not to be on the podium this week if we are to have a hope of winning the championship. There are only four races to go and we have to score as many points as possible at every race. Even if we win this week we still need trouble to find Paul [Tracy] and Bruno [Junqueira]. I can't control what happens to them so I can only focus on the Gigante team and what we have to do to guarantee our own success. I said earlier in the year that the points we missed out on a Long Beach and Portland would hurt us and now we are seeing the effect of those missed opportunities. The Miami track is a short narrow course so qualifying well will be critical to being successful. We had a really good car at Miami last year and Jimmy [Vasser] ended up on the podium so I know we have a good set-up going into the weekend. We just have to take advantage of what we already know and improve the car."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 McDonald's/Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Racing in Miami will be very cool. For sure I know a lot of people there now. I'm going to sleep in my own bed and it should be a fun weekend. The track will be similar to the one in Denver (finished second) which was tricky. The surface was slippery and the turns were tight. There is also the chance for some Florida showers, which should make things even more challenging. Basically the fight for the Championship is gone now for us. There is a saying in racing "It's first or nothing." That's going to be our motto for the last four races and hopefully we can put the McDonald's / Lilly car in winner's circle as much as possible. The team finished 1-2 in Miami last year and also at the last race. It would be great to do it again in Miami."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "You can't afford to lose your concentration for even a split second on the Miami street course, or you may find yourself losing it in the corner and slipping right off the track, the way I did last year. Actually, I only got to race about 35 laps last year, but at least that was enough to give me a feel for the course heading into this year. Like a lot of street courses that we race on, it's bumpy and rather slippery. But that's just something you have to cope with. With the time off after our stretch of five races in six weeks, I'm focused and ready to go. Now, it's almost like having a mini-season of four races, and even though the goal of winning the drivers' championship is out of reach, my objective is to try to get as many wins and podiums as I can in these last four races, and then we'll just see where I end up in the standings once it's over. I'm confident that we can do well in Miami. We've had some difficulties with brakes the last couple of races, but when we get that solved, Team Player's should have its usual fast car that's capable of clocking the fastest race laps and keeping us in a position to win."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm anxious to see the new design of the track for the Grand Prix Americas. Last year was my first experience on the tough street course and I know many changes have been made to it, so I am eager to see what it is like this year. The Rocketsports engineers and I have planned the set up for the Lola based on last year's track and hope it (the car) meets the demands of the track this year. Like every other team, we'll just have to wait and see. It'll be cool to see the first Champ Car - Motorock event come together in Miami. I've become the 'Rocket Man' on the track, but I'm stoked to see the Rocket Man, Elton John, on stage."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "We are very optimistic about Miami especially after our good performance throughout the weekend of Denver. We also had a very good test in Sebring recently, so I am looking to close the last four races of the season very strongly. Miami is a place where we have a lot of fans and friends. The atmosphere downtown has always been fantastic and this year should be even better than last year."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to racing this weekend in Miami. It's such a glamorous city and the atmosphere is great for everyone on the team. The track resembles Denver and that's good for us because we had a very good set up in Denver. We really want to keep the momentum going with a good result going into Mexico City. It's been nice to have a break before this race. I was able to go to Australia to help them promote the race which was a lot of fun. Since then I've been at home in Mexico, visiting with friends and family. So I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to go for Miami!"
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC/Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I'm very optimistic about the Grand Prix Americas race weekend. From what I know of the track, I think the grip level, bumps and tight corners will be very much like Denver where we had a great weekend in the RAC Walker Racing Champ Car. Single-car qualifying is also a bonus for me as I'm generally pretty quickly up to speed. I captured third provisionally in Denver and I really want to have that same result for Saturday in Miami."
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I think that after the last race we are looking forward to Miami; the way the tracks are, they aren't all that different. The car was really good in Denver and we expect the same here, although, it probably won't be as great as in Denver because here the Lola's will be stronger with more down force. We were more competitive in Denver due to the altitude. Overall though, we're expecting a good event here in Miami."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to racing here in my adopted hometown of Miami! It's been good to have a break for a couple of weeks - I was able to take my family to Brazil for a little vacation. But now I can't wait to get back behind the wheel. It's good to have a break but it's even better to be racing! Street circuits are always a balancing act for the drivers and the engineers - this layout at Bayfront Park is even more challenging because it is tight. Most importantly, I'm excited about being back in the car in front of an enthusiastic crowd and I'm optimistic for a good result."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Miami is the perfect city for a Champ Car event. There is a lot of energy in the air, it is a great event. I had a pretty good run there last year and I am looking forward to returning. Even though we have had a couple of weeks without a race, the engineers have been busy, I am sure Ed (Nathman) has come up with something good for my Reynard at Miami."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I grew up in the area, spent every bit of free time as a kid at local karting tracks practicing, practicing and dreaming. To race a Champ Car in Miami in front of my home crowd is a dream come true, it will be just awesome. I have been really busy working to promote the race, the city has done an excellent job, I think we should have a great turnout this weekend and in traditional Miami style, a very festive atmosphere. The track is tight and a bit tricky, finding the optimal balance for the track is crucial. The Atlantic series did not compete here last year, so this will be first time racing on this circuit. Since I live here, I have checked it out many times and I like the circuit. Maximizing every session is going to be crucial because qualifying up front is everything on a circuit like this."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I think it's going to be a great event! The sun and the atmosphere of Miami will give the fans a great show. Personally it will be great to finally race "at home"! But especially I want to keep the good form of the last races, and to bring a good result for the team."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Miami is one of the few tracks this season that I haven't driven on in the past through the Champ Car Ladder System. I was in Miami a few weeks ago though for the Verano al Ritmo de Corona (The Rhythm of Corona) concert and had a chance to drive around some of the streets that will make up the circuit so I have some idea of the layout. It's a tight little track, so I'm very happy about Champ Car's decision to run single-car qualifying. It's a much better opportunity for everyone to put in their best lap without interfering with others' laps."
MIKA SALO (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I am ready to get back into the car again after three weekends without a race. We just finished a test in Sebring last Friday, and I got a lot of seat time, which is the best thing for me right now. We definitely have learned many things since Denver, and hopefully that will show when we arrive in Miami. Before Denver, I had only had one test in the car, so now that I have done one race and another test, I am getting to know the car and the team a lot better. With single-car qualifying, it is important to feel confident that you can go right out and turn quick laps, and the Sebring test really helped in that regard. As for Miami, it is one of my favorite cities in North America. It has a real international feel and a unique atmosphere, and I am looking forward to spending some time there."
GEOFF BOSS (#11 Cross Pens Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to getting back to Miami. I won my first professional race there, the 1995 Barber Dodge race. I won the pole and led the whole race from flag to flag. It was the last year before they moved down to Homestead and I've really missed the downtown track and the vibrant crowd that made the Miami street race such a great event. As a rookie this year in CART we may be asking a lot to look for another 'first win' in Miami- but you never know, stranger things have happened!"
ALEX SPERAFICO (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Miami is going to be my second race in the series, so I believe for this race I can have a better performance during the weekend, after worked with the team in the tests and the race in Toronto it's easier to go for the second race more relaxed and focus even more to achieve a good result. So I think is going to be a good weekend and I want to get the best of it."