Texaco/Havoline 200 Pre Race Quotes (August 12, 1998) -- ALEX ZANARDI (Target Reynard Honda), on scenic Road America: "Like Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake is a place I really enjoy each year. I feel most comfortable on these permanent road ...
Texaco/Havoline 200 Pre Race Quotes
(August 12, 1998) --
ALEX ZANARDI (Target Reynard Honda), on scenic Road America: "Like Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake is a place I really enjoy each year. I feel most comfortable on these permanent road courses because of my background, and we've had a good car there the past two years." (On maintaining his FedEx Championship Series points lead) "We aren't looking past the next race. We've been successful because we've put a lot of time and effort and hard work into each race, and that's the way we'll keep working. If we keep that attitude and stay as competitive as we have been, hopefully, the championship will come, but none of us are thinking that far ahead. If you start doing that, you lose your concentration."
JIMMY VASSER (Target Reynard Honda), on his preparation for the Texaco/Havoline 200: "I feel very positive heading into this race. We've had the opportunity to test there and I feel like we learned some things that should help us during the race." (On his pursuit of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Zanardi in the PPG Cup points race) "Alex has definitely made it difficult on the rest of us. I've managed to pick up some decent points the past few weeks [prior to Mid-Ohio], but I'm not gaining any ground on Alex. The way he's running, the only way the rest of us will catch up is if he decides to take a little vacation before the end of the season, but I don't think Chip would go for that. Alex is having a tremendous year and there's no reason to think he won't continue to do well. As his teammate, I'm very happy for Alex and the whole Target/Chip Ganassi team. Obviously, Alex controls his own destiny, so I just have to concentrate on doing the best job I can every race. I'd certainly like to win a few more races and make the championship chase more exciting, but there are a bunch of other drivers who want to do the same thing."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford), on his affection for Road America: "Road America is one of the nicest tracks, not only in the country, but also in the world. The track is very challenging to drive. It's everything you want in a track. It compares to any course in the world. There's not any one part that I like more than the others. What I like about the track is that there is a little bit of everything. There are fast corners, slow corners, a fast straight - everything a driver could want. Because of the length, you really have to drive a perfect lap to improve your lap time. The track makes it more challenging for a driver. Road America has some of the fastest corners you have on any road course in the world. The most challenging part of the track for me is called the Carousel and it's on the back side of the course. You go into the kink flat-out. It's tremendously quick. You have to really hold your breath going in there. It's a great challenge to do it perfect." (On Road America's fans) "The fans at Road America are the most loyal fans I've seen. They have sat through every kind of weather you can imagine. They are there to support the race. They love it! They are true fans." (On last year's race at Road America) "The Texaco/Havoline 200 race last year was disappointing. We had a car that was capable of winning. Our strategy was to get on slick tires [on a drying race course] earlier than the other guys. I still think it was the right decision, but I made a mistake and didn't allow the tires to get up to temperature and went off-course, ending our day. Had I made it through that lap, I believe we could have won the race because of that strategy. I was very disappointed in myself."
BOBBY RAHAL (Miller Lite Reynard Ford), on his early visits to Road America: "I've been going to Road America since I was four. I started going up there with my dad [Michael] when he was racing. We'd walk around the entire track watching the 500-mile race. It seemed like every college kid within 500 miles would show up in Elkhart Lake. It was like Woodstock. I saw the greatest drivers in the world there - Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Jim Hall, Peter Revson, Mark Donohue - every name you can think of. When I think of myself as a little boy watching racing, I think of Road America. If there's one word to describe Road America, it's fabulous. It's four miles of the greatest track in North America - certainly one of the greatest in the world. I don't know anybody who dislikes this place. It just gives a racing driver everything he wants in a race track. What a great place to race!"
AL UNSER JR. (Marlboro Penske Mercedes), on his star-crossed relationship with Road America: "I love Road America as a track. I love driving it. It demands a lot of respect. Road America has broken my leg; it's broken my heart - all the way back to my Can-Am days. It's one of those places I look forward to going to because I want to win there."
PAUL TRACY (KOOL Reynard Honda), on his record at Road America: "I usually run well at Road America; it's my favorite track. I've won there and been on the pole three times. I certainly know my way around the place. But we've got to work on qualifying. Our race performances are good, we've proven that all season. If we can start up front, we've got a good shot at winning."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Reynard Honda), on the similarities between Road America and European road courses: "Road America is a great circuit; one of the best I've ever driven. It reminds me of the tracks I've raced on in Europe. We had a very productive test there a few weeks ago, and among, other things, we fixed our problem with the brakes. I'm kind of anxious to get back in the car and have a good run. I've got some unfinished business to take care of; namely winning that first race."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Kmart Swift Ford), on the challenges of Road America: "To put together a perfect four-mile lap is very challenging. You need to work very hard to get everything out of the car and driver. You can't afford to make any mistakes on the lap or you will just have to wait until the start of the next lap. If you make a mistake on the first turn of the four-mile course, you might as well wait and hang it all out on the next lap, because it's impossible to make up for the mistake on your current lap. Your concentration has to be very high at Road America." (On last year's fourth-place finish in the Texaco/Havoline 200) "The car was good in the race. I made a huge mistake in qualifying on Friday and crashed. I was unable to better my qualifying time because it rained in the final session on Saturday, so I had to start 18th. I worked my way up through the field into fourth place and started having electronics problems. The electronics caused a problem with the boost and my pop-off valve kept blowing, letting all of the pressure out. If it weren't for that, we had a podium finish for sure."
RICHIE HEARN (Budweiser/Ralphs Swift Ford), on his enjoyment of Road America: "This is one of the best tracks we have on the schedule right now. There are a lot of interesting places on the track: three fast straight-aways, several up-and-down corners and there's even one place on the track where there are no spectators, as we go through a forest. It's a long, smooth track. There are several places to really get on the car and open it up. Elkhart Lake is one of the few pure road courses left."
Source: CART Online