Long Beach 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series

Race No. 4

Long Beach, California
April 14, 1996

Sunday Quotes from drivers and managers at Long Beach:
Index of Quotes available

Vasser Pict #12 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"We had a good car. I feel bad for my teammate, Alex [Zanardi], who drove a great race, and obviously for de Ferran. They say sometimes you'd rather be lucky than good, and today, it seemed like we were lucky. We knew we couldn't catch Gil unless he had a problem. The championship was obviously a goal of ours at the start of the season, but you've got to take it one race at a time. This is a great moment for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The Honda engine and Firestone tires are definitely the combination of choice."

Tracy Pict #3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"We had a good race, the Marlboro car was really strong. During both of our pit stops we had an electrical problem which caused the car to stall, but the crew did a great job in getting us re-started and back on the track. Unfortunately, on lap 76, there was a yellow in the hairpin which I didn't see, and by the time I saw it, I felt I was in a position to run into the back of Vasser. As soon as I realized that I passed under the yellow, I radioed in that I would get back behind him, but I had already been assessed a black flag. That set us back to sixth, but we were able to finish fourth."

Andretti Pict #6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Lola Ford Cosworth XD


"It was kind of a rough race. On the incident with Teo [Fabi], he was a lap down I think, and I was passing him. I thought he was letting me by, because a lot of others had let me by and that seemed to be what he was doing, then we connected. I lost most of my left front wing, which I reckon cost me about a second a lap because of the way the car was handling. The best I could have done though, might have been a fourth. We just didn't have the power to catch those other guys.

[On his contact with #17 GUGELMIN]: "I came up behind Fernandez, who was slowed down by someone in front of him. I started to go around Fernandez on his right, and that was about when we decided to go to the right also. So to avoid him, I took to the left, and Gugelmin was right there in my blind spot. It was a no-win situation. I was either going to hit Fernandez or Gugelmin. After the race, Gugelmin came down to talk, which I wanted to do, but others butted in and things got out of hand"

Unser Pict #2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"We had a good run today. We started ninth and had to protect our position. We were consistent and didn't make any mistakes. I'll tell you, the competition in the PPG IndyCar World Series is tough. I remember sitting on the pole and the third-place guy was a second behind. Now, one second goes back to the 19th spot. It's tough out there now. I would like to point out, though, that we called upon Goodyear after the last race and they answered the call. We had a good tire and a good race car."

Pruett Pict #20 Firestone
Lola Ford
Patrick Racing


"The car was running really well. Everything was going great. The Patrick team did a great job of getting the car ready for the race. Then we had an electrical problem in the engine and that pretty much ended our day. We were able to repair the problem in the pits, but by then we had lost two laps. The only thing I am happy about is at least we got two points. With the competition as close as it is in this series, those points will be important down the road."

Hearn Pict #44 Ralphs/Food 4 Less
Della Penna Racing
Reynard Ford
photo Mike Levitt


"I really learned a lot today about running in this series. I learned about what the car does with fuel and running 105 laps here. I didn't want to get in the way of anyone. In the beginning and after the first yellow flag, I was running right with everyone. I wanted to stay out of the way and not crash  that was tough. My goal here was to finish in the top 10 and we did that. We were running a year-old chassis and we also have the Ford XB engine, which is down on power compared to the other Fords. But overall, we did exactly what we wanted to accomplish."

Fabi Pict #21 Visa PacWest
Reynard Ford


[on lap 62 incident with Michael Andretti]: "I just tried to keep my line and Michael was underneath me. The flat tire didn't cost us many positions and there wasn't any damage to the car, but we did have a lot of understeer all day."

C. Fittipaldi Pict #11 Kmart/Budweiser
Lola Ford
Newman/Haas Racing


"We had at least one more hour of racing left and I was running sixth. I was going for the corner to pass him on the previous lap and it was no problem. The next lap, his front wheels hit my rear wheels when I was on the racing line turning. Obviously there was lots of racing left and he was in too big of a hurry. You don't win the race on the first lap. The way things turned out, I could have been as high as third place at the end. We wanted to continue our consistency but unfortunately we didn't get to finish this one. [On confrontation with Moore] It was just something that happens in the heat of the moment."

Jourdain Pict #22 Herdez/Perry Ellis/ALTA Natural Spring Water
Team Scandia
Lola Ford Cosworth
photo Mike Levitt


"I think I was in 21st, and I felt very good. I let everyone pass that needed to, but I also passed two or three cars. I think I was doing good. I was racing conservatively, looking to move up, but this is racing."

Lawson Pict #1 Delco Electronics
High Tech Team Galles
Lola Mercedes


"We're close! I could run with them on new tires, but once they started going away, I'd drop back a little. I just wanted to keep it off the walls and bring it home. The motor was awesome. The boys did a little fine tuning to it after the morning session, which made it nicer to drive off the corners. I had no problem staying up with anyone down the straights. My compliments to the Galles crew for a couple of great pit stops. We're really working as a team and slowly, but surely we'll get there."

de Ferran Pict #8 Pennzoil Special
Reynard Honda
Hall Racing


"It was a shame. It was a small problem with the engine. They tell me the turbo hose came loose. I lost the turbocharger. I had no indication ahead of time. It was a sudden problem. The car was really good. This morning we had a problem with the brakes, but the Pennzoil crew did a good job fixing it. I built up a lead after the second pit stop [lap 71] and then just concentrated on holding the gap on Jimmy Vasser. Well, Nazareth is coming. [On the dent and black marks on his car's nose] I was lapping Gordon, and he decided to block me. Lord knows why. I was committed to the maneuver. I couldn't miss him."

Herta Pict #28 Shell
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
Team Rahal


"It's been a tough few weeks for our crew, with Australia and Long Beach. But I want to thank them for sticking together and working hard with my car. We pitted earlier in the race, and our strategy would have worked. But I had to pit again because of our tires, and then I got stuck behind the pace car. Our luck just hasn't been good."

Johnstone Pict #49 Motorola
Reynard Honda
Brix Comptech Racing


"It wasn't lost on me on the closing laps that I had the Emperor of the Beach' [Al Unser Jr.] behind me and a Honda in front of me that I wasn't going to catch," Johnstone said. "I tried to make a run at Jimmy at the end, but he was too quick and I didn't want to lose second place by putting the car into the wall. Finishing second is a victory here for us. In fact, to finish in front of Al Jr. at Long Beach, well, if I never do anything else in racing."

Zanardi Pict #4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


[on contact with #18 RAHAL while running second]: "I wasn't trying to overtake him. I had been following him for two laps, and he braked so early [going into the turn], I was surprised. I took my normal point, and I thought he was going to let me go. We'll just have to come back in two weeks."

Fernandez Pict #32 Tecate Beer/Quaker State
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group


"The day was reasonable. The car wasn't great so we are really happy with a sixth-place finish. The car was loose in the back and it was pretty tough to hold on the last few laps. I kept talking to Steve [Horne] on the radio, trying to keep my nose clean and bring it home."

Gordon Pict #5 Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special
Reynard Ford


"It's just unfortunate. I had a terrible day. It's one of the worst days I've had in a long time. We turned about the same lap times as the leaders. We weren't far off of fast lap. I'm just bummed.

[On first pit stop]: "The car went down. I put it into gear and the car just lurched forward. The clutch was still engaged a little bit, and it just let me creep forward. When I came forward, it got the fuel hose stuck in it. There was nothing I could do about it. When you look in the rearview mirror and you see fuel pouring out of the nozzle because we couldn't get the thing out because it was stuck, you jump out of the car. I didn't think there was fire until I felt the heat. Then I jumped out of the car."

Krosnoff Pict #25 Arciero-Wells Racing
Reynard Toyota


"The guys were tremendous today. We had a problem in the morning and they thrashed to get me out there for the race, with plenty of time to spare. I have to thank them. Unfortunately, I felt from the start of the race that something was amiss. The car was a little bit harder to drive because the throttle response was not as crisp as normal. It was similar to Rio, where we kept going slower and slower even though I was driving the wheels off the thing."

Rahal Pict #18 Miller Racing
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
Team Rahal


"We just didn't have a good car today. It's tough coming from that far back (21st place). Then I got hit a couple of times. We just have to regroup and get ready for Nazareth."

Gugelmin Pict #17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
photo Mike Levitt


[on lap 72 incident with Michael Andretti]: "We were coming into the hairpin. Michael chose to go inside to pass Fernandez, and I chose to go on the outside. Then Michael changes his mind and turns left right into me and on a right-hand corner.

"I went to talk to him after the race and he told me, I'm sorry, I didn't see you.' But that's the problem, he never sees anything."

Hiro Pict #19 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Lola Ford Cosworth


" Of course, it's frustrating today, with all of the technical problems we have experienced. The engine was fine in the morning warm up, until the last two laps. Then the motor gradually lost power. A tube from the wastegate was burnt, but we believe the trouble started elsewhere. The crew changed the wastegate, the fuel injectors and all of the electrical components. However, even on the warm up laps I could feel that the motor wasn't right. The horsepower wasn't there. On the start itself, it must have been obvious to everyone what was wrong. I just made my way around to the pits and that was the end."

Fangio Pict #36 Eagle Mk-V Toyota


"The idea was to run trouble-free to the end. Of course, it was not possible to compete, but running to the end you can find out so many things, and I was really excited about trying really hard to make it. I started to have some problems about 15 laps (from) the end of our run. I felt something wrong going on and finally the guys told me there was an oil leak in the gear box. It was necessary to stop and we couldn't continue. Right now, we have certain things to try at the shop now to work on these things and come back for Nazareth."

Boesel Pict #1 Brahma Sports Team
Ford Cosworth


"We ran well until the halfway point, then we had a problem with the brakes. I was just biding my time. The car was running like a clock until we had that problem."

Ganassi Pict #12 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
Team Owner


"This was definitely Gil's race today. The result was just as big a surprise to me as it was to Jimmy, believe me. But we'll take it, and Jimmy by no means was out of it today. He did a stellar job."

General Manager of Racing
Goodyear Tire


"Our Goodyear engineers made the right calls with this tire and we wouldn't change a thing if we were to run this race again next week. We are truly proud of all six of the drivers on Goodyear Eagles who finished in the top 10."