nazareth 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series

Race No. 5

Nazareth, PA
April 28, 1996

Sunday Quotes from drivers and managers at Nazareth:
Index of Quotes available

Vasser Pict #12 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"We could've had a better car today, but we didn't. The Honda engine was good, and the Firestone tires were good; Julian [Robertson] and I and the rest of the guys just didn't get the handling quite right. But we still have the points lead. Now, we'l load it on the trailer and go to the U.S. 500 and come out swinging."

Moore Pict #99 Forsythe
Reynard Mercedes-Benz


[on passing Unser]: "...when I got inside Junior... I just powered straight through and almost pushed up into the wall.

"This was really great, and I'm so happy. I don't know what to say. I went down on the marbles and got a little off-center to get by Al, but it worked out okay. Maybe that probably wasn't the smartest move, but it somehow worked out."

Tracy Pict #3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


[about the incident in the pits]"The tires were all blistered up, and I just couldn't stop. And I just ended up hitting him... The look on his face broke a lot of my confidence during the middle of the race. It was tough. It wasn't our day."

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


"It was just fantastic - What a day! We had a feeling it was gonna be like this, because we...ran really well all weekend. The car didn't miss a beat; the guys did a great job. We ran well in traffic - that's where the key was.

"This is the best medicine you can have. To win at home is something very special. This was just a dream weekend and is one of those wins you remember for a long time. This is not a horsepower track, but a handling track, and Goodyear really made a big difference today. We felt coming into this weekend that this was a 'must finish' race. We had to finish and we also had to finish in the top three to have any chance at the championship. We needed it and wanted it very, very badly. I've experienced lean times. I felt that if I kept my head down and had the team behind me and it would turn around. They're [team] the ones that have kept me up. They've supported me. We really wanted to do well here. It's nice to bring home the win.

"We had a really good car, maybe not so much on our own, but really so in traffic. And that's always the difference here."

Unser Pict #2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"It was a rough day... I was fighting a loose car all day. I couldn't get any power down at all coming off corners all day. I made a mistake not following Mike [Andretti] into the pits when I was running second and that put us at the tail end of the pack again. Penkse was calling a great race - if his driver would have only listened to him we would have done a little bit better job.

"After the first pit stop, I saw right then that Michael had a better car than me today. But I'm really proud of the team. All in all, it was a good weekend."

Pruett Pict #20 Firestone
Lola Ford
Patrick Racing


"We missed on our race setup. The car was loose all day. We made some adjustments during the race and that helped, but by then we were down two laps. The Ford engine and Firestone tires were good, we just didn't have the right setup."

Emmo Pict #9 Marlboro
Hogan Penske Mercedes-Benz


"I was boxed by Herta and both Greg Morroe and Junior were able to run on the outside of Turn 2; and that's where I lost the position. At that time my car was pushing too much and I couldn't go on the outside. That's a shame, because I was running strong the whole day"

Fabi Pict #21 Visa PacWest
Reynard Ford


"The car started out O.K. for a few laps, and then we just went loose the rest of the day. It was difficult to stay out there the way the car was, but we were just hoping to get lucky and score some points."

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


"Something happened that made my tires go bad after only five laps and it kept happening. We had huge blisters on the right rear tires. It made me stop under green a couple of times. On top of that, there was the stop-and-go penalty that I didn't fully understand. It was just one of those days.

[on running a 1-mile oval]: "It was a big traffic jam out there. It depends on how the car is - it makes your day shorter or longer. In my case it made my day very long."

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


"I really don't even know what to say. The car went away at the start of the race and I couldn't get it back. I really felt like I was in the way. I just tried to stay out of the other guys' way and finish the race. We're going testing for a few days before Michigan, and come race day, hopefully we'll be hooked up."

de Ferran Pict #8 Pennzoil Special
Reynard Honda
Hall Racing


"We had a top 10 finish, I believe, We were making the most of traffic and trying to make the most of our opportunities on the pit stops. At least the second half of the top 10 seemed easily attainable, giving us points we need to stay close in the championship standings. The car never handled well all weekend, but we were resigned to that.

[on the accident with Fernandez]: "I was getting out of the pit and - you know - just changing up to second gear in the exit of the pits, and Fernandez - I don't know - he tried to get by me before the blem line when the track really narrows up. [Fernadez] hit my side and my car went up in the air and hit the wall. I mean, this is really a silly incident." [geturing a bird]

Herta Pict #28 Shell
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
Team Rahal


"The race didn't start out too well for us. We cut the right rear tire rolling the car to the grid. So, we had to start the race on a sticker tire. That made the car real loose. We could run with the top 10 guys for most of the race, but we got held up on a yellow and lost some positions. It's frustrating because we have a car to run with the leaders and we can't get a break."

Johnstone Pict #49 Motorola
Reynard Honda
Brix Comptech Racing


"That was extremely character building - but I'm not sure which way. It seemed like a 600-mile race instead of 200 miles. We knew we weren't going to be fast enough to earn any [championship] points, so we just tried different things to try to make the car better, just to get to the end of the race."

Zanardi Pict #4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"We had a problem with the fuel system and I lost - what was it? - five laps right there. After that, I just hoped that there would be enough attrition for us to finish in the points. The car was okay, but not the best one we've ever had, and both the Honda engine and tires were fine."

Ribeiro Pict #31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group


"In traffic, the car was terrible. It was very good when I was running by myself, but very bad in traffic. I had understeer when a car was in front of me, and oversteer when a car was behind me. It was the same throughout the race. Unfortunately, we did not have the setup to use the potential that we had from the tires and engine. It has been a very tough weekend."

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


"The car was not any better in the race than in the warmup this morning, but we were able to keep up and stay on the pace to at least finish in the points. Even though the result doesn't show it, this was a very tough race. The traffic made it very difficult and I was really getting loose at the end.

"The incident in the pits with Gil [de Ferran] was a racing incident. I was trying to exit pit lane and get in position, and Gil was trying to follow his line. I was in the grass. It was a shame. I was lucky and my car didn't get damaged."

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


[On his contact with the wall in Turn Two] "We were fighting a power-oversteer problem. I was trying to roll back on the power [and] the car stepped out; I moved over. I was already on the outside line - that put me in the marbles when I corrected. I just tried to keep it off the wall the best I could.

"The car was really loose. We were fighting an oversteer problem ever since about Lap 30. I guess we have some work to do on mile ovals."

Krosnoff Pict #25 Arciero-Wells Racing
Reynard Toyota


[On his first career IndyCar finish]: "I am very pleased for Toyota Racing Development and the team for making it to the finish. We have a list of goals and that was the first one. It's tough when you see that you finished 18th and everyone worked so feverishly, but that is a credit to the level of competition in this series. We are at one of the difficult and tight circuits in the world, with 26 guys out there just going nuts, and we hardly had any incidents. I really don't think that you would find any better racing than that anywhere in the world."

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


"I'm a little disappointed today. Especially getting passed for fifth on the last lap (by Paul Tracy). I was optimistic going into the race because I felt our car was set up well. But the car had too much push and the grip wasn't there to make the passes at the proper time. I could run with the leaders in the middle of the race, but I got down a lap early. Playing catch-up isn't what you want. You have to have a car that works well in traffic, too.

[about reasons for the handling problems]: "We ran an aweful lot of laps on those tires. The last run we put almost 89 laps on them and that's probably taking them as far as you can. Unfortunately I just got blocked in traffic behind Emerson and just lost the front end. That's all Paul [Tracy] needed to get by me. The car wasn't too bad. It was better than a lot of others, but, unfortunately, not quite good enough."

Gugelmin Pict #17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
photo Mike Levitt


"The car was loose all day. We were never really in it from the start. We tried front end changes at each stop, but it didn't make any difference. Look at the wear on the right rear tire and it tells you how bad it was. It almost shredded because the car was so loose."

Hiro Pict #19 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Lola Ford Cosworth


"Coming out of Turn 2, someone bumped my right side and sent me sideways. Then Fangio collected me on the left. We replaced the suspension parts on the right front, but the alignment was completely off. We stopped before the car got worse."

Groff Pict #15 Valvoline DuraBlend Special
Reynard Ford
photo Phil Abbott


"This was my first race with the team and with the '96 Reynard. We weren't so good on the first stint. We didn't have a good balance. But I feel good about the changes we made toward the end. It went really well at the end and we started turning some very quick laps. It was a learning experience."

Fangio Pict #36 All American Racers
Eagle Mk-V Toyota


"The Eagle Toyota was fantastic at the beginning of the race. I was behind Moreno and I thought the car had really great potential. After about 10 laps, I started to get loose, big time. Then I had contact with Hiro Matsushita and was towed back to the pits. We fixed a couple of things in the suspension because of contact. From that moment on, we kept working the setup of the car all the time."

Boesel Pict #1 Brahma Sports Team
Ford Cosworth


"It was a long day. First of all, the car went loose and then we blistered the right-rear tire in the middle of the race. I was hanging in there, and for a while I was having a good battle with Robby Gordon until he hit the wall. Then, the engine quit."