Portland 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series

Race No. 9

Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200
Portland, OR
June 23, 1996

Friday Quotes from drivers and managers at Portland International Raceway:

Index of Quotes available

Vasser Pict #12 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"The car was handling well right out of the box. I'm groggy, not totally on top of things. We used qualifying for the opportunity for a test session. Hopefully, we'll go quicker tomorrow. We took the opportunity to do things that we don't always do in qualifying."

Moore Pict #99 Forsythe
Reynard Mercedes-Benz


"I'm very happy with this first qualifying session, considering what happened two weeks ago in Detroit [when Moore was 20th after the Saturday session].

"I really like this track. I've driven over 20,000 miles here and feel very much at home. There is basically very little difference between Indy Lights because the line is the same. We are evidently much faster on straights, but that is the only difference.

"This is a great track, with many passing zones. It's important to qualify on top, because this track requires excellent aerodynamics and one must remain with the leaders, otherwise one is looking for problems. If it's sunny and warm tomorrow, the track should be faster."

Tracy Pict #3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"We're still working on the balance of the Marlboro car, we made some good gains from this morning's session and we were able to pick up some speed. We learned some things that should put us in the right direction for tomorrow."

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


"I'm disappointed that they threw the red flag on our best lap. We timed it at a 60.1 which would have put us on the pole. I was about 100 yards from the finish line when the flag came out. I went back out and moved into the fastest position but my time certainly wasn't as fast as the one that didn't get counted. I think there was definitely more in the car but I'm not sure if we can go faster tomorrow if it gets warmer. [on season so far] We've got the ball rolling we just need to keep it going. I'd like to be on the front row in the race. It's tough to pass here especially if you're down on horsepower."

Unser Pict #2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"I'm not disappointed where I am right now. I think the fast times will definitely show up tomorrow. Realistically, I feel the guys in front of us are reachable. My Marlboro car was more comfortable in this afternoon's qualifying session than it was in this morning's practice. We know the direction we have to move in and we're looking forward to getting on the track tomorrow."

Pruett Pict #20 Firestone
Lola Ford
Patrick Racing


"We made some improvements from the morning session to the afternoon. The red flag at the end of the qualifying session hurt us a little. It took away the tires and cost us a chance to go faster. We can still improve the car. The Firestone tires are considerably better than last year  a big improvement. "You also have to give credit to the Firestone/Patrick team. The crew and the engineers have done a great job, here and in Detroit."

Emmo Pict #9 Marlboro
Hogan Penske Mercedes-Benz


"The series is very hard right now. All it takes is one little mistake and you are in the back of the pack. We started a little slow, but we're looking forward to the second half. Last weekend we finished second and now we are at the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 so if we can make one spot better it will be a great race for us."

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


"We don't have any grip. It's tough to go faster without any grip. The car is sliding all around out there. It's like driving on banana peels."

de Ferran Pict #8 Pennzoil Special
Reynard Honda
Hall Racing


"We had a few problems. In the first half, it was the popoff valve. The traffic was tough all the time. After we changed the valve and went to the second set of tires, I still never got a clear lap. Just when I was about to have a clear lap, the red flag came out, and after that, the edge came off the tires. "I believe the higher ambient temperatures made the car not good enough. The bad valve was the same one we used this morning. So, we aren't exactly sure what the problem was."

Herta Pict #28 Shell
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
Team Rahal


"We learned quite a bit today with the Reynard. We picked up a second from our morning time, and I think we've got more room to improve. There are a couple of places on the track that I'm still pretty slow in the corners. If we could get the car pinned down in those spots, I think we've got a shot at the first two rose in Saturday's qualifying. I feel like we learned a lot at the recent test at Mid-Ohio 10 days ago [where Herta was second quickest among 19 drivers]. Now, we have to apply that information here this weekend."

Johnstone Pict #49 Motorola
Reynard Honda
Brix Comptech Racing


"I think half the town of Redmond [Oregon, Johnstone's hometown] will be here this weekend. I am the only Indy driver from the Pacific Northwest, and it is always energizing to be in front of the home crowd. My first race here was 10 years ago, and I am getting a number of fans this weekend bringing me pictures of cars I raced here two, four and even 10 years ago. Some of the shots show their children, who are now in high school. The fans are great, but it does make you feel older! My parents have not seen me race in years, and even they will be here Sunday."

Zanardi Pict #4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"We encountered two problems today. First, I had to learn the track. It's the first time I've been here, so I needed to learn the circuit and its requirements. Second, we ran both cars at practice and decided to go with the backup car after problems with the primary car. We made a lot of adjustments during qualifying and gained a lot. I am very confident we'll continue to make the right adjustments for tomorrow.

[On Portland] "I love the area. I went to the seaside on Thursday, and it was simply gorgeous. All the forests, mountains — it's one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. I think I could live here."

Ribeiro Pict #31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group


"We made a huge change in the car and definitely went in the right direction. We improved the overall balance of the car and the grip, quite a bit compared to the morning session. If we keep improving like this, we will be in good shape for tomorrow."

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


"We ran out of fuel, so we really didn't have a shot. We lost a lot of time, and we weren't able to try our second set of tires. The car seems to be better. Andre found something that will help us, but we will have to wait for tomorrow."

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


"The session went pretty well. We were looking to find the best package for the weekend. We played a little bit with the tires and tried to get that sorted. We're decently happy with where we're at right now. The key now is to go forward and not backward.

"The car's a little bit better now than it was this morning. We're moving in the right direction. It doesn't take much. We're not that far off. All it takes is a few small adjustments and you're right in the game. We were in the 61.4s [seconds] earlier in the session. Then, we made a change to it and gained three-tenths. It is better. We just have to work at it a bit."

Krosnoff Pict #25 Arciero-Wells Racing
Reynard Toyota


"I'm disappointed, because we are not where we should be. We have a lot to look at for tomorrow. Traditionally this year, we usually improve a lot on Saturday, so that is what we are looking to do. This is a good circuit. The Festival Curves definitely change the rhythm of the circuit."

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


"Our car was sliding around too much. I can get into the corners pretty well, but the car won't turn through the corner and out of the corner. This place is always a little tricky. You think it's an easy track to learn the conditions and get a setup. But it will fool you, especially when the weather changes. It was cooler this morning and hotter this afternoon. With a track like this [without elevation changes], the car wants to slide right off the track at times. Plus, we had to play catch-up a little this morning, with a [turbo] boost and gearing problem."

Hiro Pict #19 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Lola Ford Cosworth


"We are off to a better than expected start today. The medium speed corners are the biggest concern right now. Understeer creeps in during the early stages of the corner, then the car is unbalanced at the exit. Once we correct the understeer, I can get on the power earlier at the exits."

Boesel Pict #1 Brahma Sports Team
Ford Cosworth


"We improved the car from this morning and I think we can improve it even more, especially through the turns. We have some mid-corner understeer, with a little bit of snap oversteer. If we can improve that and find more overall grip, we'll be okay."