Vitor Meira: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone * Meira on His Preparation for Long Beach: "Well, I've never even seen the track before so I've been playing the video games and talking to people like Christian Fittipaldi and ...
Vitor Meira: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone
* Meira on His Preparation for Long Beach: "Well, I've never even seen the track before so I've been playing the video games and talking to people like Christian Fittipaldi and Mario Habersfeld who drove there before. They sent me their track maps and notes which I've been studying. Basically I'm looking for where the bumps are and which corners are off camber. I'll also walk the track with my chief engineer Adam [Schaechter] who has been there with the Champ Car Series plus I'll try to ride the track too before I get in the race car. By the time the first practice session is over, it won't be an issue."
* Expectations for Long Beach: "My expectation is to be as competitive as we were at St. Pete but to capitalize more than we did there. We had a lot of coulda, shoulda, wouldas there--it seemed like there was always something going on."
* Learned from St. Petersburg: "I'm not sure learned is the right word, I would say it reinforced what I already knew: one that qualifying is extremely important on a street course and that we have to be better at predicting what the track will be like for qualifying and set the car up for those track conditions."
* Reflections on St. Pete: "Qualifying 17th there really made it difficult because it is so hard to pass on street circuits. You have to use strategy but then you also have to race harder and take more chances than you would if you qualified in the top 10. With so many cars in front of you, the probability that something is going to happen becomes greater because it becomes a chain reaction effect. Also, you can be faster than the car ahead of you but the closer you get to that car, the less downforce you have on the nose and the more understeer (push) you get. You get too much understeer, and you struggle more. Then you can't come off the turns as fast as the guy in front of you because of the lack of downforce. My fastest laps came after I slowed down to save fuel opening the gap from the car ahead of me. When I closed the gap, that's when I'd run my fastest laps of the race."
* A.J. Foyt's last time at the Long Beach Grand Prix was in 1995 when Eddie Cheever drove for him. A.J. only drove in the race three times (1988, '89 and '90) with his best finish--11th--coming in 1988. "It was real hard for me on the street courses because the cars were so little back then, my shoulders barely fit in and I didn't really have room to shift the gears," said Foyt. "And that track was really bumpy on the back straight. I think they've made the new track much better."