CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto quoteboard

MOLSON INDY "QUOTEBOARD" MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Motorola Honda Reynard), on his extraordinary success in Toronto, with six victories and 11 top-five finishes in 14 starts: "I wish I knew why I'm so successful in Toronto because I would definitely try...

MOLSON INDY "QUOTEBOARD"

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Motorola Honda Reynard), on his extraordinary success in Toronto, with six victories and 11 top-five finishes in 14 starts: "I wish I knew why I'm so successful in Toronto because I would definitely try to duplicate it at all of the other tracks we race on. Apparently, my style is suited to Toronto but really, there is no secret. At the end of the day, I don't know if I just have really good luck in Canada but things seem to really go my way when I race in Toronto."

KENNY BRACK (Shell Ford Lola), on the affection of Toronto fans for racing: "I really enjoyed Toronto. The town is fun and the fans are really into the racing. That is great. Toronto fans are like the fans in Europe. They love their racing. We didn't have a good race last year and I expect us to be better this time. You can't make a mistake there. But there are at least two good places to pass and that is important with a street circuit. We had a good car at both Mexico and Long Beach in the streets and we didn't finish like we wanted. The car wasn't as good at Detroit. I hope we can get back as we were at the start of the year."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on the importance of a good across-the-board setup at Toronto: "Team KOOL Green has been able to put together some really good races of late and we need to keep the momentum going. Toronto's one of the tracks where the car has to do everything well. It has to be able to brake well, it has to be able to steer well without too much understeer yet it has to have good traction. So you can't be weak in any of those departments. The layout is a challenge because it's got a combination of fairly fast straights and low speed corners so it is difficult to hit the setup just right. This is definitely a rhythm course that takes a lot of concentration."

PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on building upon two consecutive podium finishes at Toronto (second in 1999, third last year): "It has been a tough stretch for us lately but we turned things around at Toronto last year with a podium finish, and we are sure going to try and do it again. We have had strong cars everywhere we've been this year but racing luck has been holding us back. Don't look for Team KOOL Green to give up though. Toronto is a tough street track with a great atmosphere and I expect us to turn this luck around."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Kmart Toyota Lola), on turning his FedEx Championship Series season around: "It has been a slow start to the season. I scored zero points the first two races which was bad, but apart from that, we have picked it up a lot. We are coming along strong now with a lot of season and points left and we have been reasonably competitive and plan to continue that in Toronto. Toronto is definitely one of those places where you need to be there for the end of the race. Surviving the whole race is key, but more important than that, you need to have a good car. We had a very good car the past two years there. In 1999, I finished third and last year the car was unbelievably strong and looking strong for a race win, but coming into the pits I hit Gil de Ferran and my race was finished. We just need to have a trouble-free race this year and be there at the end with a strong car. There is no doubt that Canada is a huge market for us. We have a lot of fans there, plus the fact that Paul Tracy and the Player's drivers [Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani] are Canadian adds interest. I think that adds to the desire to have fans wanting to come to the races and support us. On top of all of that, the two Canadian races, Toronto and Vancouver, do a helluva job and we get treated very well. They set up the track well and one thing leads to another. They do an excellent job making the race an excellent event."

MEMO GIDLEY (Target Toyota Lola), on his runner-up finish in Cleveland: "Last weekend was one of the best moments in my career. I felt the race was mine to win. We had the dominant car out there and I was hoping I could bring home my first win and the first win of the year for the team. I hope we can have another dominating performance like we did last week in Cleveland. I'm pretty familiar with the track in Toronto. In 1999, I started 15th and finished 12th. I'm confident I have a better car this year and I expect us to have a solid run this week. I'm very impressed with all of the people here at Team Target. They all know their roles and have a great way of communicating with each other."

CRISTIANO da MATTA (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota Lola), on the importance of a good finish in Toronto: "The results have been a little disappointing lately because we have had the performance. We have been running good everywhere, we have had the car ready to finish in the top-five every race, but we haven't finished as well as we would've liked. By now we could've had more than one race win, but because of all the situations we got involved with, it has just been a bad last couple of races. I'm sure it's going to turn around sometime and I think it's going to be very soon, because the car is running good and we've been putting ourselves up front every time. By putting ourselves in that position, then it is just a matter of time until the results start coming. When we finally put everything together the results are going to come fast. Last year in Toronto was a good weekend overall for me. We got there on Friday morning and the car was really bad. I remember that I copied the set-up that my [PPI Racing] teammate [Oriol Servia] had and it really worked on Saturday morning and then I had a good car and qualified second, which was my best ever qualifying. In the race I was able to get the lead from [Helio] Castroneves on the second turn and lead the most laps. It was fun. It was my first time to lead a Champ Car race. We stayed on the lead after the first pit stop. Unfortunately, after the second pit stop I wasn't able to finish the work we started after we got beat out of the pits. Overall it was a nice race. I enjoyed it a lot."

JIMMY VASSER (Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard), hoping to regain the consistency he showed at the outset of the FedEx Championship Series season: "Hopefully, the fifth-place finish in Cleveland will get the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team started on a hot streak that will put us back at the top of the championship race. We were very consistent at the start of the season then we had a couple of unfortunate incidents. To win this championship we have to string together some podium finishes and start winning races. I have had some success at Toronto over the years. Like all the street circuits, Toronto is challenging. It has a nice combination of tight radius and fast corners. There are surface changes, from asphalt to cement, and bumps, which can make things both interesting and difficult. Getting the right compromise in the setup is the key. I really enjoy the race in Toronto. The city is beautiful and the Canadian fans know their racing."

TONY KANAAN (Hollywood Honda Reynard), looking forward to his return to Toronto after missing last year's event due to a fractured forearm: "I love coming to Toronto. I'm really sorry I missed it last year. It's a wonderful city and the locals really embrace this event. You can see it in the drivers' enthusiasm. It's a very interesting street track. Very fast in certain places, which makes it really exciting to watch. I think the Hollywood team has regrouped after a weekend off that we needed very much. It was tough going there for a while, but now we're ready to have great second part of the season. We started out very solid and then things started getting frustrating at Detroit. But, like I keep saying, 21 races is a long season and everybody has their share of ups and downs. Now, it's time to move it on up."

ALEX ZANARDI (Pioneer Honda Reynard), on his growing confidence at Mo Nunn Racing: "I feel very encouraged this weekend after the race we had at Cleveland. I had a race car that I was very happy with. I think I never doubted that I could drive with the leaders in the race, and that is the way you want to feel every race. Obviously, there were a lot of people pleased to see me back in the hunt, overtaking people and lapping consistently with the fastest guys out there. I don't have any doubt that if again we can bring the same kind of car to Toronto, I'll be able to challenge people for positions, and hopefully end up on the podium. The important thing is, we understand why our car was working better in Cleveland than it has probably all year. If that's the case, it means that we're really at a turning point in our season. We figured out a few things. In particular, the engineers [Morris Nunn, Jim Anderson and Adam Schaechter] did a great job giving me a good race car. At this point of my career, it takes one split second to have confidence in your race car, or to lose your confidence. I'm experienced enough to know that there is nothing magic in this business. When you have a good car, when you have a car that is capable of winning a race, then you're going to have a good day if you stay out of trouble. If misfortune leads you to something where you're not leading, you have to have the car to that you can take to the Winner's Circle. That's where our focus has to be right now. I think Tony and I are capable of winning races if we have the right car. We still have a lot of questions that we don't have an answer for, yet, but we're getting there."

ROBERTO MORENO (Visteon Ford Reynard), on reaching his objectives for this part of the FedEx Championship Series season: "The #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has accomplished what it set out to do during this portion of the season. We needed to score points, finish on the podium and get into the top 10 in the standings. We had a bit of bad luck in Cleveland, but we still managed to come away with some valuable championship points. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has done a tremendous job preparing the cars, in the pits and with our race strategy. We just have to keep working hard and keep the momentum going. Toronto is a very interesting, very challenging circuit. We missed on the set-up a bit last year, but based on what we have been doing on the street circuits this year, I think we should be good in qualifying. I like racing on the street circuits. It is my favorite kind of racing. You have to contend with a variety of corners and surfaces. It makes it very challenging and fun for the driver."

MAX PAPIS (Miller Lite Ford Lola), on the personal significance of the Molson Indy: "I think about this race a lot because it is the Toronto race brought me to CART. When Jeff [Krosnoff] was killed at Toronto, Cal Wells tested me to be his replacement. From there, I was able to get the ride in CART. Jeff was a special person and I always want to do well in Toronto as part of his memory. I'd love to get on the podium at Toronto. I think we've developed the new Lola enough now to be competitive there. I'm looking forward to coming back to Toronto. Last year, I was on the podium at Toronto for the [filming of a segment for the] Driven movie. Now, I want to do it for real. Qualifying is always important at Toronto. We have the concentrate on that this time around. We didn't get a chance to show our Portland car at Cleveland. Qualifying in the rain and then a broken steering arm didn't give us a good chance to run properly. But I expect us to be back up at the front again. I like the Toronto circuit and the city. It's exciting."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (Target Toyota Lola), on turning around some recent bad luck in the FedEx Championship Series: "We're looking forward to getting back into the championship hunt this weekend in Toronto. We've had some bad luck over the last few races. This team has shown it can be competitive every week. I'm looking forward to racing up in Toronto this week. The fans are great and it's a nice place to have a race. It will be important to have a good qualifying effort there. We've done very well in qualifying so far this year and I think that will help us this week."

BRYAN HERTA (Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Ford Reynard), on the lift provided by his podium finish in Cleveland: "It's always great going into an event that you really like, especially when you've just done well at the previous race. Our third-place finish in Cleveland was great for myself and the team, and we are definitely prepared to keep the momentum going. Toronto is a terrific event. The fans and the atmosphere are great, it is always fun to race in front of a massive, energetic crowd. It is a tough track in terms of getting the car just right. You have several different surfaces that make it a little tricky to get a really good set-up, but if you do, it is a lot of fun."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), on his enjoyment of competing in his Canadian homeland: "It's always a good feeling to be competing in front of a home crowd, and the fans in Toronto really give us a boost with their support. Molson Indy Toronto is a homecoming, not only for [teammate] Alex [Tagliani] and I, but for a lot of Team Player's members. There are people like our team manager Phil LePan, [assistant engineer] Eric Zeto and [mechanic] Neil Campbell who are all from the Toronto region. Guys like Michael Cannon and Kelly Loewen, the chief engineers on our cars, are from Montreal and Lethbridge, Alberta, and Dave "Foggy" Fitzgerald, our tire specialist and transporter driver, is from Calgary. We've talked in the past about Molson Indy Toronto and how much it means to us. All of us want to be able to put on a good show for the Canadian crowd, and you can be sure we're all going to give that extra effort to put up some good results. I know that, personally, I'll be warming up by performing at the first concert of our newly formed band [RPM, along with Kenny Brack of Team Rahal] at Wayne Gretzky's [restaurant] on the Friday night of race weekend. The atmosphere around the race weekend in Toronto is just awesome. The whole city gets into it."

"I don't think there's any extra pressure on us because it happens to be the first of two races in Canada. You can't let yourself get too pumped up because you need to focus on the job that you have to do. The Toronto street course isn't like Portland or Cleveland, where you can usually find quite a few places to pass if you're trying to get to the front of the field. But Toronto is a track where race incidents have been known to happen, and if you keep your poise, you can work your way into contention, the way I was able to last year, when I came from 17th on the starting grid to finish seventh."

ALEX TAGLIANI (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), on the festive atmosphere surrounding the Molson Indy: "I get a big charge out of the entire race week in Toronto. It's an opportunity for Team Player's to connect with the fans who support us through good times and not-so-good times during the CART season. There are all sorts of events organized during the week that make us feel welcome and proud to be home. The whole team really gets involved. There are 18 members of the team, for instance, who will be taking part in the Greg Moore Foundation golf tournament. It's a fun event and it's for a great cause. Both Pat [Carpentier, teammate] and I have something in common in that we won races in Toronto as members of Team Player's in the Atlantic series. But one of my biggest thrills of my rookie season in CART last year was getting into the top five at Molson Indy Toronto. It was especially satisfying because I came back from 19th on the grid. The key is making sure you stay in the hunt and that you're around at the finish. We've been around at the finish and in the points in three of our last four races, so that's encouraging as we prepare for Toronto."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda Reynard), on his past successes at Toronto: "Toronto is one those tracks, like Cleveland, where I've done well in the past. Some tracks suit your [driving style] better than others. I have a different style of driving than Shinji [Nakano, teammate]. I left-foot brake and he brakes with the right. Really, in the end, it's just a matter of trying to find a way of making the car do what you want for your style. Experience helps. Knowing what you need on certain tracks because of different circumstances -- like the frequent pavement changes at Toronto. It's a little like Bryan [Herta] at Laguna Seca. He just knows what he needs from the car in specific areas to make a difference when the time comes to show it."

SHINJI NAKANO (Avex/Alpine Honda Reynard), on the uniqueness of the Molson Indy layout : "The track is interesting. In terms of setup, you have to get good traction. There are a lot of slow corners, and the grip level of the track is pretty low. You have to find good traction and have a stable car. The track is pretty bumpy and the car can be nervous under braking. We have to concentrate on this and traction with the setup of the car. Passing is difficult. There is one place at the first corner, another at the second and maybe one or two other corners where you can pass if someone makes a mistake and you can take advantage of the opportunity."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Nextel PacWest Toyota), on the excitement and intelligence of Canadian motorsports fans: "I'm quite excited to head back to Canada. The fans there are so enthusiastic about our series, and racing in general, and the energy they bring to the track really carries over to the teams and drivers. Last year we qualified pretty well [10th] but our day ended early with electrical problems. The track is very challenging, with very few passing points, and it demands a great deal of finesse and concentration. We should be primed to put in a good result for our friends north of the border. I know my Nextel crew and I will be ready."

SCOTT DIXON (Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota), "What we learned at Cleveland will definitely help us at Toronto. We were running well at Cleveland until I made contact with another driver - so we were definitely headed in the right direction, which I'm confident will carry over to Toronto. I like the corners on this circuit - the car has to have a good speed for the middle of the corner and this where you can pick up a lot of time. If we can move higher on the starting grid, everything else will fall into place. With the Toyota Reynard package and the set-up my engineers have been giving me, we've had pretty good success moving up the field during the race and I'm confident we can do this again at Toronto. The battle for points starts heating up now and a strong performance at Toronto will put us in good shape."

ORIOL SERVIA (Sigma Autosport Ford Lola), on returning to FedEx Championship Series competition following a brief break: "It was nice to take a little time off, but now it's time to go to the business at hand. Toronto is a great street circuit and a lot of fun for both the fans and drivers. It's definitely a place you have to be careful at because there is nothing but concrete looking at you from both sides of the track, yet I'm looking forward to having a strong race there again. I believe we'll have a better race at Toronto than we did at Cleveland. The fan base in Toronto is fantastic, not only in Toronto but all of Canada. They [the fans] make it a great place to stay and race."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Morris Nunn , Greg Moore , Jim Anderson , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Zakspeed