The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America presented by Briggs & Stratton pre-race quoteboard PAUL TRACY ( ...
The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America presented by Briggs & Stratton pre-race quoteboard
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"I was disappointed earlier this year when it looked like we might not be returning to Road America this season, because this is still my favorite track to race on. I'm glad all the issues got resolved and here we are ready for this awesome roller coaster ride that never stops sending a tingle up and down your spine. It seems like I've had everything happen to me in the 11 years I've raced Champ cars at Road America. Everything from smacking into the walls at Kettle Bottoms to winning three poles and two races, including the win in 2000 coming from 23rd place. That win doesn't top the one in Toronto a few weeks ago, but I still consider it my most dramatic win, considering the circumstances. We've really been dialed in for the last few races, and we need to maintain that great chemistry for the Road America race because there is still no margin for error in the battle for the drivers' championship. When you have a Team Player's crew that is absolutely flawless in its execution, the way it was in Toronto and Vancouver, you'd better hold up your end of the bargain as a driver. We're looking to continue the string of success at Road America, but it isn't going to be easy. This track has a history of taking its toll on equipment, especially brakes and gearboxes. You just have to try to make each lap as quick and as smooth as possible, without putting a strain on your equipment package."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"Road America is a big drivers track. It's the most difficult track of the year in my opinion. It has long straightaways and the length of the course is very long so it is very difficult to put one complete lap together in qualifying where you get every corner right. The corners are really fast I just love driving there and I think the track bring out my best. I really, really enjoy every lap, every moment that I spend at Road America. I was really mad when the race was no longer on the schedule because it's my favorite track and I was big-time disappointed. On the other hand, I was really happy when it was put back on the schedule. I had a great test at Road America a few weeks back and I just hope that we can continue to be P1 (position 1) for the race as well. We were the fastest in the test in the middle of the season and everybody was there. I have such a great time at Road America and I know the No. 1 PacifiCare car is going to be in first place. The track is where Newman/Haas Racing has had the most success. They won eight races there and I won my first Champ car race at the track in 2001 and was on pole there last year so I hope that together we can continue our success here. I am really confident for the race."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"Road America is one of the world's best tracks and I love going there. It's a fantastic venue and all the drivers enjoy the layout. We need to get back on track and close up the points race. I'm really looking forward to this weekend and gaining some ground in the championship."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"It's good to get a head start entering a race weekend since we tested here and I already know the layout of the course. The test went pretty well and we were the second fastest behind Bruno. I felt very comfortable in the car. Last year Newman/Haas Racing had a strong setup at Road America and we arrived there and didn't change much which was actually a good thing because we got some cuts in the tires so we didn't get to complete so many laps on the track. It looks like we have a very solid baseline and the Lilly car should be very good on this track. It is a neat place and it's a lot of fun to drive but it's unbelievably quick. It's a track where if you put a wheel off in the grass it's over - you crash. It's a tough place. I can see how the driver's who have won here say it's an accomplishment they are very proud of. The race is considered a home event for the team. Many of the guys bring their friends and family. I think that if Newman/Haas wins there will be a big party at Siebkens but I don't want to plan anything yet. Bruno is very strong at Road America and he was very strong in the test. I take the same approach - race by race, step-by-step -- and we will see how it goes."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"I'm obviously still frustrated about being knocked out of the race in Vancouver, especially because the car was running really well and we had a great chance to have a 1-2 Team Player's podium at a Canadian race. But I'm not going to keep thinking about what might have been. Already, there's another race to start preparing for, and when that race is at Road America, you'd better put all your focus on being able to handle the Carousel and the Kink and all of the other twists and turns that can often make it a miserable day for drivers. In our last few races, we've struggled to come up with a really good setup, and that has prevented us from getting one of the top positions on the starting grid. In Vancouver, once we got into second place, everything was working smoothly for Team Player's, and that's encouraging for this weekend at Road America. So, the key will be to find the proper setup right from day one. I haven't had a lot of success at Road America in the past, but things are getting better, to the point that last year I had my best finish there with a seventh place. I'm convinced we can do a lot better than that this time."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"The Elkhart Lake circuit is beautiful. It is my favorite race track. I have finished on the podium there three times in the past four years. Unfortunately, we had a mechanical problem which put us out last year. I love to drive this track. We have been very competitive there, and hopefully we can win our second race of the season this weekend."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"I'm excited about the race at Elkhart Lake because we just tested there last month. At the test we were third fastest so we're looking to continue on that route. All together I think the car has a good package to begin with, and we are looking forward to a good result this weekend. The Road America track is beautiful, and for a driver, racing there really gets your adrenaline pumping. It is definitely a track for big boys."
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC/Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"I haven't had a chance to visit Elkhart Lake, but everyone's been telling me its one favorites on the schedule. It's a nice long circuit like those in Europe that I've competed on in the past. It's supposed to really be a driver's track so I'm looking forward to showing what I've got in the RAC Walker Racing Champ Car."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"Road America is one of the best tracks on the Champ Car circuit and a favorite of many drivers. It has challenging turns and high speed straight-aways. The track is well maintained and the area is beautiful. I am thankful that Mario (Andretti) worked hard to have it returned to the 2003 schedule. When I first heard that the Elkhart Lake race was back, I was very happy. I know the track well, enjoy driving it and expect the Rocketsports team to do well there."
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"I'm looking forward to Elkhart Lake. Since we were so competitive in Vancouver I think we should also be able to score points here as well. Elkhart Lake is one of the best circuits we go to. We had a test there last month and the only other place where we tested and went back to, Laguna Seca we did well. Hopefully this is a good sign."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"Road America is without a doubt one of the finest racetracks in the world. As a driver, we all look forward to racing there every year. We are optimistic with the Reynard at Road America, the characteristics of the track should suit the Reynard much better than the city street circuits. I'm looking forward to it."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"For sure, I'm very happy that the race in Elkhart Lake was returned to the Champ Car schedule this year. In my opinion, Road America is the best overall road course in the United States. It's quite special in my career too because it was the second track I ever raced on in Champ Cars. It has all types of corners - slow, medium, fast, kinks - so you must work very hard there. It's such a pleasure to drive it - it reminds me a lot of the classic European circuits. It will be quite a different experience from the tracks we have been racing on recently because you run much lower downforce there. It takes a different kind of touch to be fast there; the driver must be more delicate with the car in some ways. It's great fun for me to race there and for the fans, it's a great track to come watch the cars. It's a great holiday area for the whole family."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"Road America is my favorite racetrack in North America and I have really been looking forward to this event all year. It has always been a dream of mine to race a Champ Car and it is even better going into this event with a string of points paying finishes. We need to work on our qualifying and to make sure we have a better car for qualifying. We have been doing a good job staying out of trouble and bringing the car home in the points, but the results would be much better if we could qualify better."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"Elkhart Lake is probably the fastest road track we go to. I can see it like the American 'Spa' track which is my favorite. We had a very good day test there last month and with the improvements we've made to the car since... I am very confident that we'll do well."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Competition Team Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone):
"Elkhart Lake is one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. I've had a couple of races there in Toyota Atlantics, but I expect the circuit will be even more challenging and fun in the Corona Champ Car. It's a smooth track, at least compared to the street circuits, which should be better for the Reynard. Coming off our best finish of the season in Vancouver, we'll be looking forward to building on that momentum at Elkhart Lake."
MAX PAPIS (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)
"I am looking forward to Road America for sure. I think if you ask all of the drivers they would say that this is their favorite of the tracks we go to. We're going to build on the progress we made in Vancouver where we recorded our first top 10 finish of the season."
GEOFF BOSS (#11 Cross Pens Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"Road America is a fantastic track, certainly one of the best in North America. I actually took ma very first skip Barber school at Road America (a few years ago) before starting my racing career. I won my first Formula Ford championship at R.A. in 1992 and my first Barber Saab podium was there as well. The fans are always great and I can't wait to get back there and get running."
GUALTER SALLES (#19 Alpina Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone):
"Since I started racing in Cart in 1997 it has always been my favorite track. It is like the Spa Francorchamps of USA. Fast corners, ups and downs. It is fun to drive there. We have been improving the car and each race I'm feeling better in the car, so the plan is to keep improving.