CHAMPCAR/CART: Molson Indy Toronto Pre-Race Quotes

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on bouncing back from the disappointment of his 13th-place finish at Road America: "I would have liked to have finished the first half of the year with a better result, but we gave it our best shot with a...

JUAN MONTOYA (Target Honda Reynard), on bouncing back from the disappointment of his 13th-place finish at Road America: "I would have liked to have finished the first half of the year with a better result, but we gave it our best shot with a broken gear box. My teammates are telling me that I'm going to love the Toronto street course, so I'm hoping to get the second half of the season off to a good start. Street courses like Toronto are physically challenging, but I love road courses, so we should be OK. Of course I want to win more races this year, and if I set a record, fine. But there's one goal the whole team is focused on, and that's getting points for the championship. Ten races ago I never thought I'd be saying this, but we have a very good chance to win Target/Chip Ganassi Racing's fourth straight PPG Cup."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Swift), on his success at Toronto: "I always look forward to racing in Toronto. I would love to make it the track that I have won the most races on. To win in Toronto would be good for two reasons, to make it my winningest track [Andretti owns five career victories at both Toronto and Milwaukee], as well as get a jump on [Juan] Montoya in the championship. I'm not here to be in second place in the standings and we now had a break with Montoya not scoring points at Road America. He has taken advantage of some of our bad races like Milwaukee, when we led early until the pit accident. He was able to build a lead because of our misfortune and now we have to work harder to chip away at that. We are re-energized after this past race."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Big Kmart Ford Swift), on the relief of recording his first FedEx Championship Series victory at Road America: "I felt a huge weight that came off of my back with the win. It was great for the team to finish one-two in the race. The track is close to the [Newman/Haas race] shop and a lot of people who don't get to come to the races were there. They put a lot of work into the program and don't get a chance to come to the races. [After winning] You're going into the race with a lot less pressure. Once you get your first win, you prove to yourself that you can do it. . I never lost the confidence that I could do it [win]. You can never lose your confidence otherwise you shouldn't be in a racecar doing these speeds. It's not good for you or anyone else. It's always very important having a team behind you supporting you. I'm very happy that I won and it will be very good for me. Now I have to concentrate on getting that second victory. [On Toronto] I think of the street courses we go to, it's one of the best. There is a couple of passing places. The race is really interesting for the fans. Starting position in Toronto is definitely very important. You need to start in the top four or no lower than top six."

CARL HAAS, team co-owner, Newman/Haas Racing, on last week's one-two finish at Road America: "Hopefully the start of many more. I'm so happy for him [Fittipaldi]. To finish one-two at a race with the chairman of Kmart and key executives from Texaco present was great. I can't remember the last time I was so happy. The Ford engine ran well all weekend. We were happy to do so good for them as well. They have the best engine in the series."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, (KOOL Honda Reynard), on erasing the disappointment of last year at Toronto: "Last year's Molson Indy was a very bittersweet experience, both for everyone with Team KOOL Green and myself. Winning the pole for a second straight year and then to lead the race the way we did was sweet. But to not be able to finish the job left a bitter taste in my mouth [Led twice for 76 laps; his brakes failed while leading]. I definitely have some unfinished business in Toronto. It's a great place to race and I've always enjoyed some success there. I truly appreciate the fan support from the city's Italian and Scottish communities. They're always waving a lot of Italian and Scottish flags in the stands. This year, I'd like to see them waving from on the podium. I want to get back to winning almost as much for myself as for my crew. The guys have been working really hard over the last few weeks."

PAUL TRACY, (KOOL Honda Reynard), on racing close to home: "I always feel good heading to Toronto. It's a homecoming for me and I'm feeling pretty confident about doing well here. We've got the Team KOOL Green car pretty dialed-in and we've been consistently finishing races and scoring points. Now we just need to concentrate on getting the setup right for the streets of Toronto and I need to turn it up a notch or two in the cockpit, then we can get back on the podium. Obviously, being from Toronto and having won the race in the past, the Molson Indy is a pretty special event for me. It's always good to win - no matter where - but nothing would make me happier than getting my second win of the season in front of my fans, friends and family in Toronto."

JIMMY VASSER, (Target Honda Reynard), on overcoming the disappointment of the first 10 races of this season: "This is definitely the most disappointing first-half of a CART season I've ever experienced. The good news is the first half is over. I'm looking at the final 10 races of the year like a new season. I'm confident in my abilities and in my team, and there's no reason we can't get back on the podium. I had a good race in Toronto last year (third-place) and I'm planning to have another good race there on Sunday." GREG MOORE (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard), on racing in his native Canada: "This is the first chance we'll have this season to race in Canada, so, naturally there is an added incentive to do well because we want to put on a good performance for the racing fans who have been so loyal with their support of the Player's team. There is always a lot of excitement surrounding the Molson Indy Toronto and, as a driver, it really gets you into the mood. It should be a lot of fun."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's Forsythe Racing Team Mercedes Reynard), on starting the second half of the FedEx Championship Series season at "home": "Racing in Toronto in front of our home fans is a great way to start the second half of the CART season. I managed to finish the first half with more points (28) than I had all of last year. That has given me something to build on and there's no better time to start doing that than on the street course in Toronto, where I was fortunate enough to win as a member of the Player's team in the Atlantic series."

AL UNSER JR. (Marlboro Mercedes Lola), on building some momentum: "We've got two straight top-10 finishes under our belt in the Marlboro Mercedes Lola, and now we're looking forward to seeing what we can do in Toronto. The temporary course there is one of the best layouts on the schedule. It's one of the fastest temporary tracks we run on, and it's very competitive. It's a tough track on the gearbox, and the guy who's consistent will be there at the end."

HELIO CASTRO-NEVES (Hogan Motor Leasing Mercedes Lola), on his past success at Toronto: "I really like Toronto. I got my last victory there in '97 in Indy Lights so I know that I can perform well there. The toughest part of setting up the car for Toronto is getting the car to work well over the surface changes. Being a street circuit, you have the challenge of going from concrete to asphalt. When you go into the turns you have understeer and on the exit of the turns you have oversteer. It's a lot like driving on a surface that goes from ice to dirt. You have excellent grip on the exit and you just skate through the entry. I think the key to the race is going to be obviously the set-up of the car, but more importantly my patience. I remember last year I started way back and then just sat, thought, plotted and worked my way up. I even had a gear problem that made things rough, so I really needed to rely on not getting over anxious and frustrated easily."

TONY KANAAN (McDonald's Championship Racing Team Honda Reynard), on unfinished business at Toronto: "I am looking forward to returning to Toronto not only because I love road courses, but because I feel like I have something to finish here. We had a very good car last year and we were having a strong run in the race. Unfortunately we had the problem with our refueling equipment and the fire in the pits. It's unfinished business for us."

ROBBY GORDON (Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota Swift), on his strong finish at Road America last week: "That's a credit to all the guys on the team for giving me a solid race car week-in and week-out. That, with the fact that we've exercised great patience and the good sense to stay out of trouble on the racetrack on Sundays, is really what it's all about. The challenge during the second half of the season will be to put ourselves further up the starting grid on Fridays and Saturdays. Then, maybe we'll be in position to win one of these things. [On the Molson Indy] It's one of the neatest events of the year. Like at Cleveland, the fans really get behind the race. And it's a really fun track - a momentum track. Passing's a little tricky, so the key will be to not have to fight your way up through the pack. Our new Toyota motor should be a step in the right direction. I'm really looking forward to it."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes), on the challenges of Toronto: "Toronto is a very demanding street circuit, with long straights and heavy braking. It's important to have a car with a precise front end and good traction. I enjoy street courses - there's always a good crowd and exciting racing. The Toronto track is a little bumpy, but it's a great circuit and a fantastic city, too. There are a lot of fun things to do, and some great Japanese food!"

ROBERTO MORENO (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), looking forward to his return to Toronto: "I haven't seen the new Toronto circuit, but I'm looking forward to racing there because I've always done well in Canada. I qualified third on the old Toronto course in 1986, and I won three Canadian races in Formula Atlantic: Trois-Rivieres [1982], Mosport [1983], and Montreal [1983]. I hope we can do it again this weekend."


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Series IndyCar
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing