CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Pre-race quoteboard

G.I. JOE'S 200 "QUOTEBOARD" CRISTIANO DA MATTA ( ...

G.I. JOE'S 200 "QUOTEBOARD"

CRISTIANO DA MATTA (#6 Chevron Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Winning the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey was great for the team since we hadn't won since the first race of the season in Mexico. This weekend's race in Portland should be another good race for us. I can't wait! We didn't score as many points as we should have after winning in Mexico so it is good to get 22 of the 23 points available at the last race. We're going to try to do even better in Portland. It's good to get back to the road courses where we run well.(On potential to win second CART pole in Portland:) "We know we have a good car for Portland because we almost got the pole there last year and started second. Lola has made improvements with the car since then and we have improved our set-up as well so we are pretty confident about being a contender for all 23 points. There are so many variables in racing that can change the situation quickly but we should run well again this weekend."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "I always look forward to the race in Portland. We are good on these types of tracks so we need to capitalize on the points available when we come to them. I'm am aiming to win $1 million for the Championship, $1 million for another win at the California Speedway and $50,000 for the guys in the pit stop contest so we have our work cut out for ourselves. To finish one-two (last Sunday in Monterey, Calif.) really motivated the team. It would be a dream weekend for me to continue this momentum in Portland, which is a very special place for me. We were able to put the Lilly car on the podium twice so far this season and I have more points now than I did last year at this time so we are really motivated. A good finish in Portland can only put us in a stronger position to fight for the Championship."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL/Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Portland is such a spectacular setting for a race and although I've not yet won it, I'm planning on doing my utmost to get back on the podium here. There's no question that we struggled last weekend at Laguna Seca, but I really felt that we were getting stronger as we got further along in the weekend. At Mid-Ohio the Lola was just tremendous and I'm hoping that with the knowledge we have from that test, combined with the information we acquired at Laguna, we'll be in a better position to put Team KOOL Green at the front of the pack."

PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with the Lola on another road course. We gained some insight on how the Lola performs on these types of tracks at Laguna Seca last weekend and although the final outcome wasn't what we were aiming for, we came away from there with more information than we had before. When you're learning a new car, there's going to be some bumps in the road, that's just racing. The whole Team KOOL Green crew is ready to give it their best shot again this weekend and that's all I can ask for. I've never won at Portland so a win would mean a lot personally as well as for the team."

MAX PAPIS (#22 ROCKWELL FIRST POINT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "We have to bounce back for Portland. We'll have a good car and a good setup and we'll try to get the best out of the car. The goal at Portland is to get leave there in the top five in the points championship. I think we can accomplish this and the Portland International Raceway is a great place to do just that. I have always liked racing there and it's great to come back as the defending champion."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Wow, last weekend was a lot of work for two points. Portland is a track that can throw a lot of different things at you depending on the weather. Last year during the race it went wet to dry throughout so you really had a challenge on the set-up because the weather made track conditions so unpredictable.

ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "To me, Portland is one of the best technical tracks on the CART circuit. It's very fast and there are two long straights that allow for some good passing moves. But I learned two years ago, in my first Portland race as a CART driver, that you have to beware of that opening Festival Curve. If you're not careful, you can get all tangled up and have your race end before you've gone a quarter-mile."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We had a good car at Laguna, maybe not a winning car, but I felt we could have fought for a top-six finish. So, we are looking forward to Portland and to getting back into the points chase. After last weekend we dropped back to 11th, but it is still very early in the championship and a lot of things can happen. Portland is a track that I really like. We have been running competitively, and I feel positive about this weekend. It is important to qualify at the front, and the first corner is going to be even more critical than in Laguna. In terms of the race, that is going to be key and hopefully everyone will get through in one piece. This is racing and you have to push the envelope and take some risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don't. Hopefully we can come away with some good points for the future."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Over the years, Team Player's has had a very reliable car package in Portland. I've been able to finish in the top 10 there in each of my last four races on the Portland road course, and last year, I had my best finish with a fifth place. Of all the races I've had in Portland, last year was the one I remember the most because the rain had made the track very wet and slippery, and you had this constant spray in your face from the other cars on the track. That's what made the fifth-place finish all the more satisfying, especially since the car ran out of fuel just as it crossed the finish line."

JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "That was a wild race last year. "We have had some rain at Portland over the years and I have been in the middle of incidents. I'm hoping we have a rain-free race this year because our Shell car is fast. I feel confident about over road racing setups right now. The new CART rules aren't supposed to have a lot of fuel runs this year. So it should be a shootout with the fastest cars and drivers at Portland."

SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I like the track. It's a beautiful circuit and one of the best tracks here in the United States. The big thing for us is that hopefully we will have better luck here. The team is working really hard to improve and I think this will be much better weekend than we had in Monterey. I'm really looking forward to the race. The biggest challenge at this track is overcoming a lot of understeer, so the key is to find a car with just a little bit of understeer. We learned a lot at Laguna. It was really our first time at a permanent road course other than Monterrey, Mexico, which is a different type of circuit and the track conditions were different. I think we found a few things after Laguna Seca to improve the car. If we can put all of these things together for Portland, I think we can find a good setup."

MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#16 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): ""Well, it's a very tough track and I haven't done very well there, to be honest. Hopefully my luck will change there next weekend. Your car has to be very good. You have to develop a good rhythm through the S-turns and it's a pretty tough track."

TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I've been anxious to get back to Portland since race day last year. It was definitely a struggle for us. We qualified in the back of the pack and didn 't even get through the first lap in the rain on race day. I'd have to say that it was our wake-up call at that point of the season. We did a lot of soul searching and, sure enough, we came back better and better every race after that. We really were able to bear down and get things done on the racetrack after that weekend. I guess you have to have those every once in a while. It was especially bad for me because I never got to drive here in 2000 with my broken arm (suffered in a qulaifying accident at Detroit earlier that month). This year, we've shown up at the track ready to race every single weekend. The car has been great on every track. We've been strong in qualifying. It's just the nagging problems on race day that have gotten in the way of a good result. We're learning more and more about our Lola every session. I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent comfortable, yet, but we 're getting really close. A good result this weekend should do the trick!"

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mo Nunn