CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid Ohio Pre Race Quotes

Mid Ohio Miller 200 Pre Race Quotes ALEX ZANARDI (Target Reynard Honda), on the challenges of Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is definitely the most challenging track on a single lap, in qualifying for instance. Obviously, you have to have a good car,...

Mid Ohio Miller 200 Pre Race Quotes

ALEX ZANARDI (Target Reynard Honda), on the challenges of Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is definitely the most challenging track on a single lap, in qualifying for instance. Obviously, you have to have a good car, but it's still difficult to put together a good lap. There are a lot of blind corners and a lot of ups and downs. It's a physically demanding course and very tiring during the race." On maintaining his lead in the quest for a second consecutive PPG Cup: "It's nice to have a cushion in the standings, but the season is a long way from being over. This series is too competitive and there are too many very strong teams and drivers to start thinking about the championship yet. We just have to keep doing what we've been doing, which is winning races and being very competitive every week." On his status as two-time defending champion at Mid-Ohio: "It's always nice to go back to a place where you've had success and where you feel comfortable, and I definitely feel at home at Mid-Ohio. This kind of course suits my background, because I learned to drive on these permanent road circuits. Nevertheless, it's very difficult to win a race and it takes a lot of things to go right to be successful. The last two years we've been able to put together the right setup. Morris [Nunn, Zanardi's race engineer] has a lot of experience, so the car was very good right out of the box. I probably gave him the right input to make the car even better, and I drove pretty well there the last two years. So, it's a combination of a lot of things that have gone right that has allowed us to have success there."

JIMMY VASSER (Target Reynard Honda), on the demands of Mid-Ohio: "It's definitely one of the most physically demanding tracks for the drivers. On this particular course, it's important to get the car balanced and save the tires for the last portion of each stint. I think Mid-Ohio is a fantastic track, and it's always an exciting race for the fans and the drivers." On his consistency in the FedEx Championship Series, which includes top-eight finishes in 16 of the last 17 events, dating to last year at Mid-Ohio: "It's a real credit to my crew chief, Grant Weaver. He's given me a car that just doesn't let me down. It's also a reflection of the dedication my team has. While we have the reliability of the Honda engine and Firestone tires, it's the crew that has the most influence. We all like to finish races, and that's what we set out to do - finish every race."

BOBBY RAHAL (Miller Lite Reynard Ford), on his memories of Mid-Ohio: "I won the Lumbermens [North American Sports Car Championship] race there; I've won IMSA races there; I've won SCCA races there; I've won Championship Car races there. I just have great memories of this track. Great history. I'm not sure I'll get misty [as he competes at Mid-Ohio for the final time]. But I'm not making any guarantees." On Team Rahal's proximity to Mid-Ohio [the race shop is located roughly 60 miles southeast of the track, in Hilliard, Ohio]: "Mid-Ohio is a great race for our team and for the people who support us. It's great to be able to have so many of our employees, family members and friends up from Columbus for the race. It's also great having our friends at Miller Brewing Company play such a key part in the event. Their support means a lot to us."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford), on driving at Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is a great race track. It's very similar to some of the tracks that I have raced on in Europe. It's very challenging as well as one of the most physically demanding tracks that we race on. You can tell if you're in good shape after driving at Mid-Ohio. I work out regularly, but I can still feel the difference of driving at Mid-Ohio from the other tracks. I like the area where you go up over the 'woop-ti-doo's in the back of the track. It's fun. You have to be very precise through there." On Bobby Rahal's impending retirement: "I wish Bobby would have retired about 12 or 13 years ago. I would have had three more championships if he did. I've finished second to him three times in the championship [in 1986 ,'87 and '92]. He's a great competitor. He's very tough. I can't pick one great moment of racing against him because there were so many good moments. One thing I can say about Bobby is that we always had good, clean racing together. I don't think we ever came together. I have a lot of respect for him."

BRYAN HERTA (Shell Reynard Ford), on his qualifying success at Mid-Ohio, where he has started third or better in all three career appearances and is the defending pole winner and track record holder: "Being the track record holder and defending pole sitter doesn't do anything more than put a target on our backs. It certainly doesn't mean we'll have an easy time of things this week. It means we have a pretty good feel for this track, and a pretty good setup. It will be up to us to keep whatever advantage we've developed and turn it into points."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Kmart Swift Ford), on the demands of Mid-Ohio: "I really enjoy racing at Mid-Ohio. The track is the most physically demanding that we race on. It's tough because there are a lot of different corners, you go up and you go down. If you are in good enough shape to drive at Mid-Ohio, you can drive anywhere. It's a driver's track. It can separate the men from the boys." On last year's CART open test at Mid-Ohio, which marked Fittipaldi's return to driving after sustaining a broken leg in Australia: "The first time I tested a race car after my accident at Australia was at Mid-Ohio. Whenever I think of Mid-Ohio, I think of that. I'm 100 percent recovered from the accident. The test went pretty good last year. I was definitely in better shape when I came back for the race, though." On Bobby Rahal's impending retirement: "It's a great loss for the sport, no doubt. I think Bobby was one of the biggest names in motor racing in the last 20 years. Especially here in the United States. It's sad to see someone like Bobby retiring, but, at the same time, I'm happy for him because I think he had a great career. He accomplished a lot. I think that everything he accomplished, he can pass on his experience to new drivers that are coming up and he can dedicate himself to his team. He's definitely a very strong figure in the sport."

GIL de FERRAN (Valvoline/Cummins Special Reynard Honda), on competing against Bobby Rahal: "I like racing against Bobby, because Bobby will make you work really hard. He will not give you anything for free. He will not let you go. He is like the ultimate competitor, but he is one of the fairest guys I've ever come across on the race track. He's never put me off the race track, or even attempted to do so. Bobby is a great ambassador for the sport. Here's a guy who is a three-time champion. He won Indianapolis. He won driving for his own team. He won driving for other teams. He achieved every level of success imaginable. More important than that, he is a nice guy." On Rahal's decision to retire: "Those decisions are so personal. I have so much respect for those kinds of decisions. As a driver, I can tell you the decision to race or not to race comes from the innermost place in your body. If he has decided to retire, I can tell you there is a voice inside him - very deep inside him - telling him to retire. I take that as a fact. I don't get sad or happy. I just respect it. Some people don't understand that, I guess. Racing is a huge challenge psychologically and mentally, amongst many things, because of the risk involved. A decision like that is very personal."

SCOTT PRUETT (Visteon Reynard Ford), on the challenges of Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is one of the most physically demanding tracks we race on. There is no time to rest. You are turning, shifting and stopping all the time. Being in good shape is paramount. It is also a track that is unique in the setup it requires. Both Adrian [Fernandez, Pruett's Patrick Racing teammate] and I tested there and were pleased with the results. I am anxious to race there."

Source: CART Online

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal