CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Michael Andretti Preview

MICHAEL ANDRETTI IS LOOKING TO CAPTURE HIS FOURTH MOLSON INDY VANCOUVER TITLE (1991, '92 AND '93) AS THE SERIES HEADS TO THE NEWLY RECONFIGURED DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER STREET CIRCUIT AFTER A TWO WEEK HIATUS. AFTER BEGINNING THE SEASON WITH A...

MICHAEL ANDRETTI IS LOOKING TO CAPTURE HIS FOURTH MOLSON INDY VANCOUVER TITLE (1991, '92 AND '93) AS THE SERIES HEADS TO THE NEWLY RECONFIGURED DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER STREET CIRCUIT AFTER A TWO WEEK HIATUS.

AFTER BEGINNING THE SEASON WITH A VICTORY AT HOMESTEAD, A STRING OF BAD LUCK AND DISAPPOINTMENTS HAS ANDRETTI LOOKING TO BE THE ONE TO PUT THE EXCLAMATION MARK ON THE 1998 SEASON.

AFTER A FEW WEEKS OFF FROM COMPETITION, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK IN THE SEAT OF THE CAR? "We have been doing a lot of testing between races so we have been logging a lot of seat time. We are looking forward to going to Vancouver this weekend, we are always looking forward to going there. It's a great part of the world. This year we have a new race track to look forward to as well and from what I understand it is going to be pretty nice."

ON RACING IN VANCOUVER AND HOW THE CHANGES TO THE TRACK WILL AFFECT COMPETITION. "One of the critiques of the track in the past was that it was very difficult to pass. They have totally redesigned the track from what I understand, I have not seen it myself, but they say there are going to be one or two and maybe even three places that you can pass so that should be good."

VANCOUVER HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. UNTIL MAURICIO GUGELMIN'S VICTORY LAST YEAR, AL UNSER, JR. (1990, '93, '94 AND '95) AND YOURSELF (1991, '92 AND '96) WERE THE ONLY TWO TO WIN IN VANCOUVER. WHAT DO YOU THINK ATTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS THERE? "Part of it may have been the course itself. It is a track that fits my driving style. But that's also the disappointing side of having a new track because we don't know what to really expect this year. I enjoy going up to that part of the world and I enjoy driving there. But to explain why myself and Al (Unser), Jr. and myself have gotten the results there is really difficult to say."

VANCOUVER WAS ALSO YOUR LAST VICTORY ON A ROAD COURSE. THIS LOOKS LIKE THE KIND OF PLACE TO GET YOUR LONG OVERDUE SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES? "I think that now and between the end of the year, this is probably one of the best chances we have. We are looking forward to it. Our car has gotten more and more competitive as the year has gone on. I think we are going to be right there."

IN LOOKING AT THE 1997 SEASON, YOU CAN'T HELP BUT TO BEGIN TO DRAW PARALLELS BETWEEN THAT SEASON AND THIS ONE. AFTER A STRONG START YOU SEEM TO HAVE DIFFICULTY IN GETTING THAT SECOND WIN. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE HAD SOME GREAT OPPORTUNITIES THIS YEAR, BUT HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CASH IN. "I don't think you can really compare the two. We have been much more competitive this year and the car is much better and the engine is doing very well. Last year we had all kinds of problems. It was our first year with the Swift chassis and we had other problems to work through. But this year the car is much more competitive. We just have not taken advantage of a lot of opportunities to win this year. That's been the problem, we know we have been in the position to win five of six races but we have only come away with one. We are just very frustrated right now."

HOW IS YOUR MOOD AS A DRIVER? "Well you look back as far as the last race. In Elkhart we were on our way to a solid second and the tire blows about 30 seconds away from the end of. It's very disappointing when things like that happen. It's just been that sort of a year. That pretty much sums it up."

WITH THE SEASON NOT GOING YOUR WAY, HOW DO YOU KEEP GETTING UP FOR THE NEXT RACE? "I have been in this business for a long time. I've been in the position I was at Elkhart many time but I know that if you just keep plugging away sooner or later it will turn around."

HOW IS THE TEAMS MOOD? "Good. Everyone's fine. We want to win one real bad. We want to win a bunch before the end of the year. We still have five to win and that's what we are going to try to do."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti