Molson Indy Vancouver "Quoteboard" CRISTIANO DA MATTA ( ...
Molson Indy Vancouver "Quoteboard"
CRISTIANO DA MATTA (#6 Chevron Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "We have been pretty competitive on the street courses we have run on so far this season so hopefully that will carry over. Our streak ended at four in a row so now we'll just have to start a new one. I'm really not concentrating on that though, I'm concentrating on fighting for the Championship. There have only been two races so far this season that we haven't scored any points so we need to make sure that number stays at two. If we can consistently have top-four, top-five finishes for the rest of the season, we should be in good shape to be a contender at the end of the year. There isn't one specific thing that has put us in this position - it is many things. Luckily for us, these things all worked so well together for a good stretch of races that we were able to build a small amount of points to carry us over if we had a bad race like we did in Cleveland. I'm looking forward to racing again in Vancouver. It's one of my favorite race cities! "I came to Vancouver earlier this year for a media day and because it was only for one afternoon, I didn't carry any bags with me. The Canadians are always so nice and when I got to the event they gave me all sorts of things. The promoters of the race gave me some cycling socks --because that's all I wear - that had Canadian flags on them. I even received a pair that I consider my formal ones because they are black. I was also given cycling jerseys, sunglasses and other stuff. I had so much stuff, I had to get a bag to carry all of it back on the airplane with me. I wore one of the pairs of socks in (the race in) Toronto and they brought me good luck because I won. I'm planning on wearing a pair of those socks again in Vancouver."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "I really like racing up in Canada. The fans are great! It's great to have that kind of support. We had some bad luck in Cleveland when we lost an engine. That's pretty rare with our Toyota engines. Hopefully, we won't have to worry about that for the rest of the season. At least Cristiano had some problems also, and we were able to stay in the points race. We have a bunch of races left and I think we still have time to challenge for the championship."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL/Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Vancouver is a great place and I really enjoy going there. I had a lot of fun in the city with Greg Moore and it's almost bittersweet to go back because he's not here anymore. But I do remember the good times we had in Vancouver, we always have a party on Sunday night in his memory. As far as the track is concerned, Paul and I finished 1-2 in 2000 and I'm sure that Team KOOL Green can be successful there. We can get up to 190 mph between Turns Five and Six and it's an interesting course to drive. It's also really great to race in front of the Vancouver crowd. They appreciate racing so much and it's a lot of fun to do well for them."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "It's always great to be back home racing in front of our Canadian fans but it's even more special going to Vancouver after getting our first victory of the season in Cleveland, just before the Vancouver event. Winning a race certainly leaves you with a tremendous feeling, and that's something that will carry over, at least until the next race. The fans' response to the Team Player's win in Cleveland was phenomenal. I'm happy that I was finally able to reward them for their faith in me. Fortunately, the one-week break in the CART schedule has given me a chance to unwind from the emotional win in Cleveland. That's in the past and now we have to focus on getting a win on Canadian soil. Vancouver brings back a lot of pleasant memories for me because that's where I got my first race win as a pro driver, when I was competing in the Atlantic series. Then, last year Team Player's had one of its finest moments of the season with our 1-2 finish in qualifying. Right out of the trailer, Team Player's had two extremely fast cars. In the race, I was in a position to get on the podium until I got hit from behind in the final 20 laps. As disappointing as it was to have our race end on that note, we took a lot of positive things out of last year's race that we can hopefully apply to this year's Molson Indy."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Vancouver is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. Last year I had a pretty good race running in the top-five until the final pit stop and finishing sixth overall. The atmosphere around the city is fantastic. Vancouver is a beautiful city and the Canadian fans are big Champ Car fans very supportive of the series and drivers. We really made some strides at Cleveland and by the end of the race we had one of the better cars on track. I think we have a very good chance to be successful but a lot is dependent on improving our qualifying effort. We started the season with some strong qualifying results but we have fallen off of late. Qualifying is an area we need to focus on and improve."
KENNY BRACK (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Vancouver is a nice place to visit and to race. The fans are very enthusiastic about our sport and are also very knowledgeable. I really like the track there. It has some long straights which allows for some passing. The Target team is very pumped up about going to Vancouver. We have had a couple of strong results over the last two races and the team has a lot of confidence right now. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going this weekend up in Vancouver."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm looking forward to racing in Vancouver because we have been competitive on the street courses and it is one of my favorite race cities of the season. We have some points to make up after a third place finish fell through our hands at the last race. That one was hard for us to take because it would have put us second in the point standings but everyone is 100 percent focused on doing well in Vancouver and gaining back some positions in the standings. Cristiano has been able to put together a string of flawless performances and everyone out there has to do the same in order to catch him including us. The Lilly crew still leads the Craftsman Pit Stop contest and has given me some good stops and will continue to increase their lead in Vancouver. We've had some good runs in Vancouver in the past and hopefully this year will be no different. We need to start a good string of finishes in this next run of races and close the gap (of points) for the Championship."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I guess it's an honor to have 300 race starts, but a big part of me just feels old when I hear that statistic. It makes me realize that I've been around racing for a long time! What strikes me the most is how much things have changed since I made my first start in Vegas in 1983 to now, making my 300th start. Man, are things different."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I guess I can say that the street course in Vancouver is where I've had one of my biggest thrills since I've been in the CART series and also one of my biggest letdowns. Winning the pole last year, having an all Team Player's front row on the grid and receiving such a tremendous response from the crowd is something that I'll always fondly remember. You want to do well in every race but there's even more incentive when you're competing in front of a home crowd, so it made for a very special day. But then when our gear box gave out after leading through the halfway point of the race, it was such a devastating blow. It took me a long time to recover my emotions. I figure that I still have some unfinished business in Vancouver and I'd like to complete that business by winning this year's race. The CART series is so competitive and that is never more evident than on the street course in Vancouver. When I won the pole last year there were 14 drivers within one second of each other. You need to have everything working in your favour and for all but the last 40 laps or so of the race weekend, Team Player's had definitely established itself as the one to beat. Finding traction is always tough on the Vancouver course but Team Player's delivered a car that handled perfectly. We had a car that was very compatible with that course, and if we can come up with the same thing again I like our chances in the race."
SCOTT DIXON (#44 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "What a beautiful place Vancouver is. I always like going up there for this race. It's a super nice city with great people. With each week that passes, our team gets better and better. A lot of it is chemistry. We learn more about each other and what I like with the car. That helps us to unload with a better setup on the car. Last week, we had a fast race car, but a driveshaft broke on our first pit stop. I think that we could have had a top-five finish if that didn't happen. I'm excited about this weekend. Hopefully, we can have another strong result and maybe get our first win of the season."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Vancouver may not be my hometown but obviously racing in Canada is very important to me. It's always great to see how packed the grandstands are and how totally into the whole weekend the fans are. Vancouver is one of Canada's most beautiful cities and the track is challenging. Chassis setup is really important on street courses, you want to get maximum downforce in the higher-speed portions of the track but you've got to get a balance, street courses tend to be slick and you've got to find mechanical grip. Team KOOL Green set up an awesome car for me in Toronto and I'm really confident that we've got a good handle on how the Lola will perform in this type of setting. Having won in Vancouver before, I'm ready to do it again. Then I'll get together with friends on Sunday evening and have a party."
JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I can't believe the luck we have been having this year. In three races I have been hit from behind, the side and the front of that bright yellow car. It looks like the competition sees the Shell car as a battering ram. We got knocked out at Mexico, Chicago and Cleveland. Luckily last week at Cleveland I was able to restart and we came from almost last to sixth. But we had a better car than that. But I know I want things to change in Vancouver. I have had some really good runs at Vancouver including a second and a third but I never have won that one. That track has changed a lot over the years and it's still very special to me since Greg (Moore) was from Vancouver. I would love to win there because of Greg. I just have to get through the first turn at these races. But like in any street circuit race, if you start up front, you have a better chance to make it through that first turn clean. That's my goal this year. I've got taken out before because some guys tried to force the issue in some tight quarters. I'm sure the Vancouver race will be the same situation. There is something about the street circuits that is very intriguing. It might be because you can't test on it before the race and everyone has an equal shot on Friday morning when you go out for the first practice. I think it also has something to do with the concrete walls and the fact you can't make a mistake. If you miss a turn or an apex, you are tasting the wall. That isn't good for the race car. The crew guys don't want to see a bunch of twisted equipment coming to the pit area on a hook."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The atmosphere around the track and the fans in Vancouver are great. A lot of people look forward to this race, and it is always an exciting weekend. In terms of the track itself, the challenge is the surface. Normally it is a very low-grip track, so it is sometimes difficult to find a good setup for Vancouver because of those characteristics. It has one very fast and very long straight in the back but it is also a very tight track, especially coming in towards the pits, and you really need a car that can turn. Basically it is a matter of finding grip. Last year we had a decent race until I was punted out. I am looking forward to this weekend, and to starting to have the consistency that we need."
SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The city is beautiful. I like the town and the atmosphere, and the people are great. Every year there are many, many people coming to watch the race. I saw a lot of Japanese people last year, and hopefully there will be more this year. There are also many Japanese restaurants, which is good for me. Vancouver is a complicated track. It is not easy because you have fast corners and very slow corners with a lot of variation in the different type of corners. It is very difficult to set up a car for this track. The circuit is pretty bumpy also and the setup [of the car] is going to be key. You have to have a good stable car. The track doesn't have a lot of grip compared to the other street circuits. Basically, on the street courses, I think we had a pretty good car in both Long Beach and Toronto. After [struggling at] Cleveland, we had a lot of discussions and we found several good points to make the car better. I think this will work for Vancouver. I think we can go back to the street circuits stronger than before, and I am looking forward to the race."
TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Ah, beautiful Vancouver! I love going there every year, even though it's a very tough place to race. I had a very nice weekend off, which came at a good time after one of the most difficult races I've ever had at Cleveland to finish three straight weekends at the racetrack. My mom came to town and we have been having a good time. I'm rested and relaxed, and I think the team has had a good chance to regroup. Everybody has been working so hard trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible with our new Lola cars. We 've obviously been struggling. But the good news is that we have finished four of our last five races after four straight DNFs to start the season. The not-so-good news is that the best we've finished is eighth, which doesn't exactly leave you feeling satisfied after everybody's been working so hard. Vancouver would be an ideal place to turn things around. But I've been saying that about every place we've visited all year long. We've just got to keep on fighting because even though everybody knows we're due for a big weekend, things are so competitive that nobody's going to give anybody anything. It's coming, though, and when it does, it's going to feel great!"
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I am very proud and happy to be joining the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team. This is one of the premier teams in the FedEx Championship Series and Visteon Corporation is a tremendous sponsor. I am looking forward to showing what I can do with the right team over the next five races. I have been watching the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team since 1999 and have actually had several discussions with Mr. Patrick and Jim McGee over the last few years. Unfortunately, things never quite worked out. This time, all the pieces came together at the same time. I would have preferred to join the team under different circumstances. I know from experience how hard it is to work your way into this series, and I certainly didn't want to take someone's ride. However, when this opportunity became available it was obvious that it was the best situation for my career."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm excited about this trip to Vancouver... I've only raced on this track twice before (1998-99) so it's been a while. To be honest, it was really nice to have a weekend off before this race - I think everyone was tired from competing six races in seven weeks. During the break, I had a chance to go visit my family in Mexico City and I'm feeling rested and ready to go. I'm treating Vancouver as a fresh start for the second half of the season and I'm confident that all of our hard work will pay off in the way of results soon!"