Molson Indy Vancouver "Quoteboard" MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Motorola Honda Reynard), on his enjoyment of the Molson Indy Vancouver: "Vancouver is one of the highlights of the year. It's another great Canadian race and it's promoted really well. The ...
Molson Indy Vancouver "Quoteboard"
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Motorola Honda Reynard), on his enjoyment of the Molson Indy Vancouver: "Vancouver is one of the highlights of the year. It's another great Canadian race and it's promoted really well. The whole city gets behind the race and we always have a great time in Vancouver. I've been fortunate to win some races in Vancouver. Next weekend, for Vancouver, we're going to try and duplicate our Team Motorola success from Toronto and bring home another victory. The track's gotten better over the last few years. They've made some changes and widened the track but it's still a little tight. There's not a lot to work with since the track is a street circuit but they've done a good job and it's a good race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on the challenges of racing at Vancouver: "Vancouver is a very challenging circuit, so we have our work cut out for us this weekend. It's tough to pass because the straightaway actually isn't straight but has a curve in it. It's hard to make it through the kink without lifting, and if you make a little mistake there you can find yourself off course. Also, the circuit is bumpy, particularly through the kink, and the curbs are high which adds to the difficulty of getting a good lap. Marlboro Team Penske heads into the weekend in a solid position in the championship standings [Castroneves is first, teammate Gil de Ferran is third] so we need to continue to execute and finish in the points."
GIL de FERRAN (Marlboro Honda Reynard), on his recent run of FedEx Championship Series success: "Marlboro Team Penske has been running well, and we're right there in the point standings so we need to keep doing what we're doing. As the season starts to wind down [seven races remain], you don't have as many opportunities to make up points deficits and the list of championship contenders starts to decrease, so it's important to keep putting points on the board. With respect to this weekend, I think Vancouver is one of the nicest cities on the CART circuit, and I really look forward to going there."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (KOOL Honda Reynard), on his fond memories of the 2000 Molson Indy Vancouver, where he finished second to Team KOOL Green teammate Paul Tracy: "We always have a great time in Vancouver. Last year's one-two finish for Team KOOL Green wasn't quite the way I would've liked it obviously, but hopefully, we can turn it around this year and come out of the weekend with a lot of points. I would love to win in Vancouver again. I love the place, I love the town; it has so many special memories for me. The track is very unforgiving, it's difficult to pass so you have to try and qualify up front. Setup is a challenge there, but it is a great place to go racing with a marvelous crowd."
PAUL TRACY (KOOL Honda Reynard), on defending his championship at the Molson Indy Vancouver: "There's a great atmosphere around the event in Vancouver and coming to my home country of Canada is exciting. I've always run well at Vancouver and hopefully, we can get another win for Team KOOL Green. We won there last year and we need to do it again this year. Winning in Canada is big for me and we need to try and repeat. The track changes every year and that makes the event even more interesting."
SCOTT DIXON (Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota), on maintaining his momentum in Vancouver: "I enjoyed Vancouver a lot last year. We won the Lights race and had a really good weekend all around. The track is pretty challenging from what I remember. My team is coming off a really great effort in Elkhart Lake so we feel as though we have the momentum to pull off another good finish. I need to keep up the pace on my street-course efforts because I know we have a few more podiums left in us this year. The important thing for me is to remain consistent because we're in a great position now to battle for the championship. I know my crew is primed for the challenge, so we're ready to get back to Canada and make some noise."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), on his checkered memories of the Molson Indy Vancouver: "I've had highs and lows at the Molson Indy Vancouver; everything from being the first Canadian driver to get to the podium at that event, when I finished second two years ago, to not finishing the race last year. Believe me, it was a lot more fun being on the podium than being back in the paddock watching from the sidelines. Vancouver is special, not only because it's one of only two races in Canada in the series, but also because the fans are so supportive of Team Player's. They want to see us do well and we try as hard as we can to give them plenty to cheer about. It's nice to be going into the Vancouver race on a high note. Actually, it was the Molson Indy Toronto last month that started Team Player's on its roll, and hopefully, we can keep that momentum going in Vancouver. The Toronto and Vancouver street circuits are quite similar, so we can use some of the set-ups that worked well in Toronto and work from that to prepare a competitive car in Vancouver. Another positive factor is being in the fast qualifying group because it really helps if you can be near the front of the grid on race day. Passing on the Vancouver street circuit is tough, but it's not impossible."
ALEX TAGLIANI (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard), on seeking a second podium finish of the season in Canada: "I'm going to do everything I can to go 2-for-2 in Canada this season. Finishing second in Toronto last month for my first career podium in the CART series was definitely a big thrill and it would be fantastic if Vancouver is the place where I can get my first CART win. As a driver, you really get caught up in the festive atmosphere that surrounds race week in Vancouver. There's been a Canadian on the Vancouver podium the last two years, with Patrick [Carpentier, second in 1999] and Paul Tracy [last year's winner]. I'd like to be the one to keep that streak going. One streak that I'm pleased about is picking up points in the last seven races, because you need that type of consistency to make some progress in the standings. The Team Player's crew deserves a lot of credit. Every race weekend, from the moment the car comes off the transporter, they've worked hard to improve its performance, and the car has gotten better as the weekend goes along. That's one of the big reasons we've been able to get top-paying points over such a long stretch. If we can keep battling and staying in the hunt in every race, one of these times we're going to be in a position to pull off a race victory."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (Kmart Toyota Lola), on his affection for the city of Vancouver: "I like Vancouver. I think the city is awesome. It provides great scenery and a great race venue, plus some very good restaurants. I eat very well every year at Vancouver. I am always excited to go back there. [On previous starts at Vancouver] Finishing third in '96 was good but the course is different since I did that. The layout changed a few years back and I think it is better suited to our cars. There is definitely a long straightaway, which is in the back of the track. There is also one quick corner that puts you onto the backstraight. In qualifying, we're almost flat there and only have a tiny lift. There are also a couple of tight turns. Turn One, Two, and Three are very tight. There is a good mixture of high- and low-speed corners. The track offers a good balance of challenges. The atmosphere is great at races in Canada and the ones overseas. Races overseas and outside the country have proven to be very special for CART and we get a lot of following there. There are a lot of fans at those races. Toronto had 50-60,000 people on Friday, more on Saturday and even more on Sunday. I think that we will have a full house in Vancouver."
CRISTIANO da MATTA (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota Lola), on the knowledgeability of the Canadian fans: "It is always good to go to the Canadian races. I have felt this way since the time I drove in Indy Lights. You go there and all the fans know a lot about what is going on in the series. They're not there only to watch the cars go around once a year. They know what engine you run, who you are driving for and sometimes who your engineer is. They know how your season is going because they follow us all year. Of course, it is a much bigger pleasure for the driver to go there because the fans are so great. Vancouver is a very nice city and it's my favorite city to go to of all of the races during the season. The West Coast of the US and Canada are just so beautiful. I always look forward to going there because of the people and the atmosphere. Last year, I was likely going to get a podium finish, but a mistake in strategy put us in seventh. However, I ran in third place a good portion of the race.
"This year our car has been good on some road and street courses. I learned a lot recently and I know a lot more things in order to have a situation under more control than I used to have. I think we'll be in good shape in Vancouver and I think it will be a good performance for us. If I want to be in the fight of the championship, then I must do well there. I like the track better now than it used to be. I think that they've done a great job adapting the track to the needs of our cars and our series. The track is good now and it has a couple of really, really smooth parts. Seventy percent of the track is resurfaced and it is really smooth. The backstraight is a little bumpy, but not too bad. I enjoy driving there and I have great memories in Vancouver. I won the Indy Lights championship there. It was the first American championship I won. I'm happy to be going back there. The biggest thing for Vancouver is to have grip and power. It is a busy track where most of the turns are low speed and there is just one high-speed turn, which you usually take flat. You need a car that is good with low-speed balance and very good traction out of the turns. The car needs to have good acceleration with no wheel spin. Most of the race is spent in second gear so if you can get the car working good at this speed, you will have a better chance at doing well."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (Target Toyota Lola), on his first career FedEx Championship Series victory at Road America: "That was a great victory for us. It was a true team effort from everyone. Our pit stops were very fast and my engineers made some great calls in that race. I was able to run as fast as I could without worrying about conserving fuel. I turned the fastest lap of the race on Lap 40, with used tires. I was hoping to have a win earlier in the season and we came close several times. That win gives both the team and I a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. I don't see any reason why we can't win this week and have several more victories before the end of the season."
MEMO GIDLEY (Target Toyota Lola), on his return to the FedEx Championship Series: "I am feeling great and I can't wait to get back in the car. I saw Dr. [Terry] Trammell [CART Orthopedic Specialist] this morning and he is amazed that I don't have any pain. The Lola car did its job [during his accident at Road America] and really diffused a lot of the impact. I've been to the gym and done some go-karting this week to get back in shape. Vancouver is another one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It is a beautiful city and the fans are great supporters of CART. Street circuits really allow you to throw the car around and be aggressive, which is my style. If we can get a strong qualifying run, we will be able to challenge for a victory. It really helps if you can start near the front on that track. I am very happy that Bruno got the win in Elkhart Lake. Now I'm hoping to follow in his footsteps."
ROBERTO MORENO (Visteon Toyota Reynard), on regaining his top-10 position in the FedEx Championship Series championship: "I am very pleased that the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team is back in the top-10 in the championship race. The entire team has worked very hard to make this happen. We have been very consistent all year, but now we need to take it to the next level and produce some more podium finishes. There are still seven races left in the season and a lot of points available. In racing anything is possible and until we are mathematically eliminated my goal is, and will continue to be, the championship. Vancouver is a place that we went quick last year, but we have some unfinished business. We had a good car last year, but our strategy just didn't pay off. It is very important to qualify well in Vancouver because it is so difficult to pass. With the data we have from last year and the fact that we have been strong on the street circuits this year we should be very competitive. Being in the top-10 in the points and qualifying with the second group will also be a big advantage."
JIMMY VASSER (Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard), on his enjoyment of the Molson Indy Vancouver: "I love the Vancouver race. The city is beautiful and the atmosphere is fantastic. The track is tricky because it is difficult to pass, but that just makes qualifying more important. Because the race is run in conjuction with the Greg Moore Foundation activities, I have had it marked on my calendar since the start of the year. I am really looking forward to going to Vancouver and participating in all the activities. The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team has got to get back on track, start finishing some races and winning. We still have an opportunity to finish well in the championship race, but we cannot waste any opportunities starting with this weekend."
TONY KANAAN (Hollywood Honda Reynard), on the pleasant atmosphere that permeates the Molson Indy Vancouver: "Vancouver has always been a very special place for me. I haven't even come close to winning there, but it is definitely a 'feel good' kind of weekend. The fans are some of the best that we see all year. The racetrack is fun to drive, although it is very difficult to pass on. I'll have to say nothing would make us feel better than a win right now. We've shown some signs that we're ready. But then we've also had our not-so-good moments, too. We were a little unlucky at Mid-Ohio and Road America. Maybe this trip out west will turn out to be more special than ever."
ALEX ZANARDI (Pioneer Honda Reynard), on his misfortune at Vancouver: "Vancouver has always been a place of mixed results for me. I've always been fast there, but I've never been able to collect the kind of result I could have. Although in 1998 I won my second championship there, I'm still waiting to make up for some of the misfortunes I have had there. In this unlucky year for my team and me, I hope maybe this is the place we can finally have some good fortune. Vancouver is a street course in the true meaning of the word. There are a lot of places where you can lose the car and end up staying there at least for the session, or for the rest of the race. So you need to be very, very careful. On the other hand, everybody is up to speed by Sunday afternoon and you end up taking the turns and the curves just like you would on a true road course. In the past, we've seen very unstable weather, which could affect things. Obviously, though, everything has to do with how well you have your car working. We haven't been, yet, in a situation where we'e had the best car for our Sunday afternoon drive. But we've always found a way to make the most of it. If this could be the place where we could have the best car on Sunday afternoon, we all would be very happy."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda Reynard), on repeating his podium performance of last year at Vancouver: "I had a podium at Vancouver last year, but we didn't have a particularly good car. It was very cold and there was very little grip. That was particularly difficult. We don't expect it to be that cold this year. With our Honda/Reynard combination, I believe we should do well there. I love the city -- the atmosphere and the fans. It would be nice to have a second consecutive podium finish this weekend."
SHINJI NAKANO (Avex/Alpine Honda Reynard), on last year's challenges at Vancouver: "Last year was a difficult weekend because the temperatures were very cold. It took over seven or eight laps before you could do a hot lap, and I didn't have enough time to find the right setup. The track is not that easy. There is one really fast corner, a medium-speed corner and a few very slow corners. This track has everything and the grip is very low, so it's not easy to set up the car. For this year, I believe we can find a good setup. I have Adrian and Martin [Paré, race engineer], plus, I have been doing pretty well on the street courses this year."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN (Nextel PacWest Toyota), on his success at Vancouver: "I like the Vancouver circuit a lot and my results there have certainly proven that. I think between 1997 and 1999 we never finished worse than sixth, and I won my first and only CART race there during the 1997 event. Last season we were having a pretty good weekend, and were the quickest Mercedes in the field, until I got caught up in someone else's accident and went out of the race on Lap 14. It's always good to get back to the street courses, and this one has a lot to offer. Of course, weather is always a factor but there are a couple of good passing spots on the course, which is better than most of the street circuits we go to. The kink on the back of the track is always a challenge, but we're looking forward to the weekend and happy to be going back to such a great city like Vancouver."
BRYAN HERTA (Forsythe-Indeck Ford Reynard), on the importance of a good start at Vancouver: "This will be my sixth time racing at Vancouver and it has always been a great event for me. It is a fun place to go racing and I am definitely looking forward to it. It is a tough place to pass so like all street courses, qualifying and pit strategy will play a huge role in the outcome of the race.