PAUL TRACY ( ...
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's a great start to the season for all of Team Player's. We had to work extremely hard this week. We really had to rely on Patrick's (Carpentier) car for the starting set-up. This is how I wanted to start the season. I can't be any happier than I am right now. The car has been fast all weekend on all tires, and that was the case again today. About the mid-point of the race, I kind of let Michel
(Jourdain) catch up to me, but once I realized he was within four seconds, I was able to pull away from him. (Technical advisor) Tony Cicale and the whole Team Player's crew deserve a lot of thanks. Tony's a great influence on me. We think alike and we get along really well. It was a tremendous team effort. I'm proud to be on Team Player's, an all-Canadian effort, and it's a great feeling to be in the winner's circle in my first race with them."
MICHEL JOURDAIN (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm very happy. We had a good car all weekend. I think we could have done a couple places better in qualifying. The result is great. It's great to have a start like this, especially going into Monterrey, Mexico. I love that track. The fans are great. Hopefully this helps. I'm sure this will help for the race. Last year we had a great year. We just need to qualify better, get rid of these guys that are too fast and we'll be winning a lot of races."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I had quite a difficult weekend. Friday I was second fastest, but still, because of the red flags, I couldn't get my best. Saturday was terrible. I couldn't get a lap at all. I felt I could have a good race. The car was handling very well, but on the first pit stop, we had a problem with the right tires that cost us a lot of time. We went almost to last. Then I started passing people. That was really, really difficult on this track. I think I was one guy was able to pass people fighting for position. The Newman/Haas team started to do good pit stops, with good strategy, that helped me a lot to go forward. The end of the race, the track was really slippery. I started to have a problem with my brakes. I said, 'Okay, let's hang around, put pressure on him [Jourdain].' But then I got in traffic twice. He broke away a little bit. I just slowed down to keep it in third place. After that, third didn't look so bad."
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "It was a great day. The whole weekend was fantastic. We ran consistently in the top 8 all weekend and qualified sixth. I didn't know what to expect. My longest race was 1 hour and this was over 2 hours with pit stops. My engineer talked to me a lot and the team was perfect in the pit stops. Ford and Bridgestone did a perfect job. We will work even harder and see where we end up."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's so great to be back! And it felt great to post a top five finish today. We did a lot of development work this weekend but it's difficult to do in the practice sessions. We didn't find the best setup for qualifying but I knew we had a good car for the race. During the first stint, I was not so easy out there - it would have been very easy to get involved in something in the blink of an eye so I was just trying to stay away from the confusion! On the second stint, we made some small changes to the car and the car was great. We had a great third stop too. Toward the end, I could see Jimmy [Vasser] was having some problems so I knew I could catch him - but passing him is another thing entirely! But he let me go - that's the great thing about racing with a guy like him because we know when to fight and when to let it go. It's been difficult to spend a year at home. When racing is in your blood, you miss it so much when you are away. I know I'm not quite at my best yet but I will be by Monterrey [Mexico]. I'm very thankful to the Herdez Competition team for giving me this opportunity."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Team Johansson Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I'm not sure what happened on the start, it just kept stalling and stalling, something in the electronics that we need to work out, I think. My first set of tires were really good, we were able to make up a lot of ground on that first stint. It was good to finish and collect some points here. It feels good to have our first race under our belt. It's been a long month on the guys and it's nice to walk out of here with some points. The car was really loose in the last stint, I just couldn't do anything with it. We worked on it in during the pit stops, but nothing was helping. We'll be a bit older and wiser by Mexico so I am looking forward to another good one there."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "It is a relief to have the race finished. I wanted to make no mistakes, because we had not had any whole weekend. I wanted to make no mistakes to thank the team and [team owner] Emerson [Fittipaldi]. My first race in the Champ Car Series is a gift for them. The tips that I got from Emerson and from Max Papis were very helpful."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I came out on cold tires and wanted to close the gap, and that was a mistake. I hit a bump coming into corner 7 and the rear end snapped. I then slowly hit the tire wall damaging only the front wing. I lost a lap waiting for a push and Team Player's did a real quick change after I finally reached the pits. I'm happy for Paul [Tracy] and for Team Player's, but I'm very disappointed because I could have done much better. I'm thinking championship and this is not the way to win it. We will have to do much better in Monterrey [Mexico]"
JOEL CAMATHIAS (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I was very happy with the job of the team, engineers and Dale Coyne for this great first race in America. My goal this year was for top ten's and we did that in our first race, I am very happy with the entire team."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm pretty disappointed for the team because they didn't make a mistake- I did. The car was good on the first stint. We stayed out on the yellow, but everyone else pitted. When we came in, the stop was good, but when I got back on track it was very slippery. Maybe there was oil on the track, I don't know, but my lap times were slower. Once I was back on track, Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier passed me when I was on cold tires. So I was upset and tried to push to stay in a good position. I did a small mistake but the consequence was big. We got two points from qualifying and some points today. It was a positive weekend even if the results were not there."
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It is just a shame and obviously I am disappointed. The Visteon/Patrick Racing car was fast all weekend and I had a good racecar today. We started the race ninth and just took advantage of other driver's mistakes to move into fourth place, behind Michel Jourdain, just before the halfway point. If the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had just stayed behind Michel until the end of the race we would have finished third. Unfortunately, we had a problem and had to make several pit stops. That dropped us way back. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did a great job to get the car back on track. I am proud of the way the team hung in there and fought back to earn a championship point. You never know...at the end of the season that point could be very important."
DARREN MANNING (#15 Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "The first pit stop we had a stall, which might have been the clutch starting to go. On that last stop we just couldn't get it going again. Bit of a shame because we were right up in sixth place. I think with the pit stop strategy we probably would have ended up coming out in fifth, and the car was really good in the first few laps after the (second) pit stop. Maybe I could have even got up in the top-four."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I went to go underneath Adrian (Fernandez) and I guess he didn't see me. When I hit him I damaged the left front suspension of my car and that was it. It's unfortunate because I had a good car all weekend and we were running really well. We made a small change on the second pit stop that didn't work out but when we changed it back the car was great again."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I was hit in the back by Mario Dominguez on the last restart. Everybody was nose-to-tail and he hit me from behind which bent the right rear upright. And, earlier in the race, [Sebastian] Bourdais had a flat tire and he blocked me when I was running in second and we lost a lot of time. I am not very happy today. For some reason we started losing the car after our first pit stop. It was very difficult to drive. I could not put the power down anywhere. We made some changes and were expecting some good things but unfortunately we never had a chance to see if those changes worked. Physically, I feel fine. There were a lot of yellows so it was hard to get into a rhythm. Conditions with my car were very slippery so I really couldn't do anything there."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Team Johansson Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Overall, I am happy with my actually our first weekend. Of course I am disappointed that I didn't finish, but I felt confident in the car, my stops were good and the transition has been smooth. I was running times in the race that were as fast as the leader. Unfortunately, I got a bit wide into the marbles and that was it, that is all it takes. I will chalk it up to experience and definitely learn from it. I feel good, I am really proud of my team, it was a massive team effort this weekend and everyone gave it 100%."
ROBERTO GONZALEZ (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I had just gone through the pits to serve a speed limit penalty, when on my next lap I lost drive in second gear. I was hoping for a finish today, but learned a lot this weekend."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Competition Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I was feeling very good in the car; the car was very drivable. I was trying to overtake Roberto Gonzalez and was already in, but I don't think he saw me in the mirrors and started to move down. I had to maneuver outside the normal. I locked the rear wheels and touched the wall."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's a great disappointment. I wish I could go back and change what happened. I just have to suck it up and go on."