CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Thursday top-three press conference

ERIC MAUK: Thank you for joining us for tonight's press conference after the practice session of the Milwaukee Mile presented by Miller Lite, round six of the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. In today's practice...

ERIC MAUK: Thank you for joining us for tonight's press conference after the practice session of the Milwaukee Mile presented by Miller Lite, round six of the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. In today's practice session, we have Patrick Carpenter, with a lap of 21.146 seconds, 175.693 miles per hour, third best time of the evening session. He is the record holder at the circuit. Patrick, a little different for you out there today?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, it is different actually to run. Some of the guys have their rain lights on which I think is a lot better. Some of them did not and I feel like it was a bit harder to judge the speed you were coming on to without that light. But I liked it. I think there's enough light and it's a lot of fun. I always run snowmobiles in the dark, in the forest. So it's going to be a good show with this new wing package and stuff like that. We are going to be able to do more passing. These cars are fast with those things. It's going to be interesting. As long as nobody breaks the track record, I'll be happy.

ERIC MAUK: Which was tougher, the part where it was not quite dark yet, dusk, or the full-on dark?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: The dark and the cold -- it was -- we changed a few things and then go around. But it's fun. It's going to be a good show.

ERIC MAUK: Second in today's practice our defending race winner, Paul Tracy, who is the co-leader of the CART champ car points standings, at 21.075 seconds 176.285 miles per hour. Paul ran just 38 laps tonight but led 184 laps here last year on his way to his third Milwaukee win. Tell us about your evening.

PAUL TRACY: It's good. I wish we could have ran a little bit more, but just when it got really dark there, I was on all the tires and I ran up a little bit high in turns three and four and got in the gray and that was it. I was just kind of a passenger and brushed the walls of the exit and damaged the rear wishbone and that was it. I had one new tire run and the car was very, very quick. I was pretty surprised at timesJ-- I feel good. The car feels good and we'll see how practice goes tomorrow and qualify tonight.

ERIC MAUK: You have a couple more laps around here. How much different is this track at night than during the other teams you've been here?

PAUL TRACY: It's not so much different. I think the track, this lane configuration, the downforce, I don't know what the lap record is, but I think we are pretty close to it, just about a second off. It's pretty comparable. I think we are going to be in the mid to low 20s tomorrow night and we'll be pretty close. Pretty happy with the tires, Bridgestone, pretty good combination of downforce level, tire and engine pack. I think it's going to make for a good race.

ERIC MAUK: nd Michel Jourdain, Jr. He posted the top time of the day, 21.040 seconds, at 176.578 miles per hour, more an than a full second than faster than last year's pole time. How do you feel about the way things went today?

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: It's good. Good, I'm very happy. This afternoon we went out and the car feels really good. It's great. At the end, it doesn't count, unless it rains tomorrow it doesn't count. Very happy and very proud of the guys on the track and CART. Like Patrick was saying, I don't think there will be a problem with any of the lights, because you cannot seewithout the lights on the rear. So hopefully tomorrow we can go. The most important thing is to be consistent, have a good car in traffic. I think we have a good car for the race.

Q. It's supposed to be about 10 to 12 degrees cooler tomorrow and Saturday. How is that going to affect the track?

PAUL TRACY: I don't think it will affect too much. Like I said, the tires, I think they are a good tire. We are able to grain up the tire. You could see they put a lot of heat into it, there's marbles coming off the tire. The tire, even if it cools down, we'll still be able to generate temperature into it. I feel if we would have come here at night with low downforce, then we would have been in big trouble trying to get temperature. But with these wings there's so much downforce and so much grip in the corner, it's pretty easy to get temperature on the tire.

Q. Can you describe how the racetrack looked physically compared to what you saw in the day?

PAUL TRACY: The track is lit really well. It looks the same. Tonight the track is lit up very well, so it really doesn't look any different at all. It's basically the same feeling.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: They did a good job. The lights are really high. They are never in your vision. They are so high.

Q. Can you describethe difference in the cars between now and when you set the track record in '98?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: It's actually very similar to what we had in '98. I think we even have more downforce than what we did in '98, what's different from then is we have maybe a little bit less power and there's notire war between the manufacturers so the tires are a little bit more harder compound which is better for the race and it creates less marbles. At that time the tires were a little bit softer and a little bit more powerful. They had a tiny bit less downforce than this, I think.

PAUL TRACY: I think that's a big difference, very soft tires, probably about 150 horsepower more than what we had now but the cars I think now are a little bit more balanced and more down force, a little bit more stable. Don't have the big power that we used have, 45 inches.

Q. Does it feel like you're able to race more side-by-side, being close to each other?

PAUL TRACY: I watched most of the session and I passed a lot of people. I was able to watch on TV a lot of guys passing inside, outside, guys running close to each other. That was pretty difficult to do with small wings. So I think it's going to be a good race.

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: I think when you are vying for position, it's hard to tell wherever you are but in the past it was hard to pass even when somebody came out of the pits on cold tires. Now you can go on the outside or get them on the inside going into the corner when they are not as fast. Actually, I think the race, they will have a much better race than the last four or five years.

PAUL TRACY: I think the big problem is you just can't have enough grip to take a second line or go on the outside on the dusty part of the track. Even if you went a little bit slower through the turn, even a guy who came out of the pits, with the small wings, as long as you stayed on the line and didn't make a mistake, it didn't matter what speed you went the guy could not get by you. With these wings, the guy comes out in front of you, he's not fast in the corner, you could stick it on the outside of them, go around the outside. With the grip level of these wings to do that; whereas before, we just didn't have the grip level with the small wings.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michel Jourdain