Ford-Cosworth drivers took two of the three podium positions, and Visteon Ford driver Roberto Moreno took the CART FedEx Championship points lead for the first time in his career in the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway...
Ford-Cosworth drivers took two of the three podium positions, and Visteon Ford driver Roberto Moreno took the CART FedEx Championship points lead for the first time in his career in the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway today.
Moreno finished second, and Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford driver Christian Fittipaldi finished third to lead the Ford charge, which saw Michael Andretti (fourth), Kenny Brack (sixth) and Patrick Carpentier (10th) also in the top 10. Andretti gained seven positions in today's event in a strong run.
Quotes from select Ford drivers:
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ - Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - FIRST LAP INCIDENT - FINISHED 12th - "Someone hit me in the back and we couldn't restart the engine, so we lost a lap and that was it. I feel we had a top 10 car. But after one lap, you can't stay out of the way of everybody ... you've got to stay away from everybody and just finish the race, and that's what we did." PATRICK CARPENTIER - Team Player's Ford-Cosworth - FINISHED 10th - "I was okay. I went off once and lost 10 seconds. At the end, the leaders were behind me, but he was not faster than I was. I stayed up front, but the last five laps I should have let the leaders by, but my team kept telling me not to because there were a few cars there that were for position. And we were trying to get as many points as we can. And I was not sure who was the leader and who was not. I could not hear really well and I was not sure which of the guys was the leader and which one was not, and then I understood Gil was the leader and then I know Roberto was behind me and I was going to let him by. Once you lose a lap ... you always fight to keep the lap, but once you lose it ...then I was going to let Roberto by, but he kind of slowed down in the back, and I didn't have to."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI - Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - FINISHED 4TH -- "It was good to get some points, for sure. We really hurt ourselves by starting that far back, but it turned out all right. I think if we had started up front, things could have been a lot different, but starting in the back, we just gave away too much.
TRAFFIC? It was okay up until the end ... Garcia stopped in front of me and I hit him and messed up my front wing. I was trying real hard to hold off de Matta at the end because I had broke the wing and had a huge understeer, and we were lucky to hold him off. Good day for the points, though." KENNY BRACK - Shell Ford-Cosworth - FINISHED 6th - "I think considering the first corner issues (ON THE FIRST LAP), the stop that happened, when we went from fifth to about 11th, that we had a pretty good recovery. It was unfortunate that it happened, but there was nothing we could do about it. It's just the way it goes. We were happy to come away with points and we had a good car. We had the fastest race lap, so that was good. No problem with traffic, just with other cars that I was racing... but that's normal."
ALEX TAGLIANI - Team Player's Ford - - WAS RUNNING FIFTH BEFORE A STALL ON LAST PIT STOP - "Yeah, I think we would have been able to finish fifth, but we had a small problem (ON THE LAST STOP), but those things happen and we just need to continue working. We were struggling at the beginning of the weekend, but I was very happy with the power of my Ford engine ... especially during the race when I had plenty of power to pass people. We started 15th, and had gained nine or 10 spots during the day. You know, those things are going to happen in motor racing. It's my first year, and my goal is to be competitive with the other guys, and I have been so far."
MAX PAPIS - Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - TAKEN OUT IN FIRST LAP CRASH - SUSPENSION DAMAGE - FINISHED 25th -- "I don't know what happened. I went into the corner and someone bumped me in the back and then I hit Adrian Fernandez in the back and it bent the suspension and we were out. I did my best, but when you get hit from behind there's nothing you can do."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI - Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford - FINISHED THIRD - BEST FINISH YET THIS SEASON - "I really had to earn my money today. It really was tough. At the beginning of the race, I really wanted to turn the corner behind the two Marlboro cars, but I braked a little too late and, as everyone saw, I flat spotted both of my tires. My outside tire was literally down to the cords. It was that bad. I just was falling behind. I was running a second or two seconds a lap slower. I waited for the first chance for me to come in, and when we did, I came in and we filled it up, and went for it. I went from wherever I was then to third. I'm happy, definitiely, to finish on the podium, especially after so many races that were looking good this year, but then they didn't go my way. I'm happy to be here, but definitely the mistake at the beginning of the race cost me today. Maybe things would have been different."
RACE STRATEGY WHEN PROBLEM AT THE BEGINNING: "Basically, after I saw that I had screwed up at the beginning of the race, there was no other option but to drive every other lap like I was on a huge flyer. It was enjoyable. It was one of the things that give me great motivation about motor racing. To come from way behind, and to get by a bunch of people ...but I would still rather be where Gil is right now. Unfortunately, I had to pay for what I did and those two guys did a great job."
ROBERTO MORENO - Visteon Ford - FINISHED SECOND - TIED CAREER BEST FINISH - TOOK POINTS LEAD FOR FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEAR CAREER - "It was a great day for the Visteon guys again. We played a very strategic race (TWO PIT STOPS INSTEAD OF THREE) ... we just tried to stay attached to the leaders while saving fuel and it paid off. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a problem on our last pit stop with a fuel situation that took us almost twice as long, and if it hadn't happened, it could have been a different race (FUEL NOZZLE LOCKED UP). We played a great strategy and it paid off once again. Unfortunately, at the end I was trying to make a run at Gil and there was a blue car that messed it up. It spoiled a great finish, I believe. Other than that, it was fantastic. My crew did an excellent job once again. They changed an engine after warm-up when we had a little water problem, so I went into the race with a complete engine change and we had no problems, and it ran right to the end ... fantastic, like a Ford always does."
EMOTION ABOUT HAVING FULL-TIME RIDE AND POINTS LEAD: "Every time someone makes me think about that, it's difficult to talk about that. It's been so many years, and it's fantastic to have the opportunity to drive again. I never intended to be a 'super-sub.' I always went to the races trying to talk to people about the following season. I always had hopes that someone would hire me again. I remember in 1986 Rick Galles brought me over here, and I loved to race here. But I had a dream and I was at the age where I wanted to compete at Formula One and I achieved it. And when that was finished I knew I wanted to come back to race in America and my second daughter was born here, and I refused to give up. Throughout so many problems and so many difficulties, with a hope to make it some day. I'm going to just try and make the most of it. I must say it's very difficult to get on the same pace as those guys ... a driver, he develops the more he does it. And, there was such a long break of stopping and never driving consistently, you get a big handicap. So I expected it to be about six races before I was in the shape of those guys ...in terms of knowing details in how to set the car up, and work with a team, and things like that. But it's come together so much quicker than that because of the experience of the team. I'm just thrilled to be in this position. I'm a happy boy again."
THINKING ABOUT POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP YET? "We can't think that way this early. It doesn't work that way. In racing, if you take things for granted, you bring it to reality very soon. Racing has that power. You just have do the best you can at each race. If you do that, it will pay off at the end of the year."