CHAMPCAR/CART: Nazareth Ford Racing Practice Report

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Thursday April 29, 1999 -- Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, Nazareth Speedway BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - NOW THAT YOU HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO DRIVE WITH THE NEW WING CONFIGURATION ARE THE CARS AS DIFFICULT TO...

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES

Thursday April 29, 1999 -- Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, Nazareth Speedway

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - NOW THAT YOU HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO DRIVE WITH THE NEW WING CONFIGURATION ARE THE CARS AS DIFFICULT TO CONTROL AS OTHER DRIVERS HAVE ELUDED TOO? "I would say its challenging. It's just a whole different animal. The lower speeds are good and the lap times we are doing are good and that's what CART wanted to do is slow the cars down. But, we are still working with it. I am still feeling out the car. Right now, once the car starts to slide it slides a long time. It's a little bit sketchy to drive at the moment. So, that's what we are working on right now. We are trying to find out with these wings and this set of rules is how we can make the car more comfortable so I can drive it hard for 225 laps and not just hard for one lap tom qualify.

COMPARED TO LAST YEAR, WHAT SPECIFIC AREAS OF THE TRACK DO YOU HAVE TO APPROACH DIFFERENTLY? "Everything. This is a totally different race track. We might as well be at a brand new track. It changes the corners and it even changes the straightaways. The rate of acceleration we have with these smaller wings is much greater and we are having to brake much earlier because we don't have the grip. I think our top-speeds are actually quicker than it was last year but our corner speeds are so much slower. Last year on your third lap out of the pits you would be dead flat but as of now I have not done the track flat."

DOES THE TRACK NOW HAVE SOME ROAD COURSE CHARACTERISTICS?  "It's not like
a road course.  It really isn't.  The cars now just slides so much."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford- NOW THAT YOU HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO DRIVE UNDER THE NEW WING CONFIGURATION DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE AND HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE CARS CHARACTERISTICS WILL BE? "No. It's still the same no matter what car you have. It's not the ideal situation no matter what car you have. I think it is going to be tough during the race. I think you are going to have to play it conservative here to get some points and a good result. This place can bite you pretty bad. Basically you have 35 to 40 percent less downforce. The lines are basically the same it's just that you have less grip."

WAS THE DECISION TO RUN THE CARS ON THURSDAY BENEFICIAL TO YOU? "Yes, Especially for us because we practiced here with the Swift and not in the Reynard (during our test) so it gives us a little bit of insight into where we are and where we need to go with the setup of the car. It helped us along and showed us where were need to go and where we need to get better. So, I think it was a good move and it helped us." HOW ARE YOU FEELING IN THE CAR? "At the moment I am not feeling very comfortable. We don't have much grip so we are working on many different things."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONCERN REGARDING THE DECISION TO RUN SUPERSPEEDWAY WINGS HERE ARE NAZARETH. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER THE SESSION? "I was pleasantly surprised. The car was quite good, especially in traffic. Maybe we were all jumping the gun a little bit. It may be something that we all have to get use to. The cars are not quite as planted as they use to be but it is the same for everybody. We just have to drive a little more carefully."

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CARS? DO YOU FEEL MORE INPUT AS A DRIVER WITH THE NEW CAR CONFIGURATION? "A little bit. You have to feel things out a little more as a driver. In the past you would just turn the car in and put your foot to the floor. Now you have to feather the throttle and be a little more feathery with it. I like it."

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Series IndyCar