Portland 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series

Race No. 9

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

Sunday Quotes from Drivers and Managers at Portland International Raceway:

Index of Quotes available

Vasser Pict #12 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


[finished 13th and out of the points for the first time this season]: "It was a tough day. I guess I should have been a little more careful. The rain started up Turn Three and just worked its way down the racetrack. When I spun, I was just going into the chicane, rolling off the throttle, and it swapped ends on me. Other than that, the only problem I had was in the last corner. The car was loose coming off there all race long.

"I want to congratulate Alex on his win today. It's great for the team, and great for Alex. It was a long time coming for him, and I couldn't be happier for him."

Tracy Pict #3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"It's a big disappointment for the whole Marlboro team. Basically, I just drove straight off the track, and once I got on the grass, I couldn't stop and I couldn't turn, so we just went into the tire barrier and broke the rear suspension. It's really too bad, because the car was working really well and we had a good start. I was just pacing myself and trying to get some points. Now we just have to look ahead to Cleveland."

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


"I think we could have won, or at least been right up there, if we didn't have that trouble at the start. There was something loose in the back end, electrical, I think. I lost almost two laps.

"I ran real good in the intermediate conditions. If we had more rain, I could have made up a lot of time. We outguessed ourselves on that last pit stop. We thought Zanardi was going to pit, so we stayed out hoping to unlap ourselves. He didn't pit, and I had to come in on the green.

"I got a couple of points, but I'm disappointed, because we had a competitive car. I guess we are still in third place, and Jimmy Vasser didn't get any points, so .."

Unser Pict #2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes


"I think we had really competitive wet and dry setups today. Obviously, our wet setup was a little bit better. My Marlboro crew did a great job, and we hung in there to gain some more points. My number one goal today was to win this race and to gain some points, so at least we accomplished part of our goal. All in all, we're happy with the way things went. "I want to congratulate Alex [Zanardi] on his first win. Portland International Raceway will always be special to me since this is where I got my first win. So, I know how Alex feels today."

Pruett Pict #20 Firestone
Lola Ford
Patrick Racing


"We had an incident this morning during practice. I hit the railing. The Patrick guys did a great job of getting the car back together. But there was something major wrong with the left rear corner. When I was under braking, and turning right, the left rear would break loose. Something major was amiss."

Blundell Pict #21 PacWest
Reynard Ford Cosworth


"I'm reasonably happy with the race. When you move from 21st to eighth, that's not too bad to get a few points for myself and the team, especially after the last couple of days, when I thought a finish like this would not be possible. We picked up a lot of positions when we switched over to rain tires [on lap 32], and had some good pit stop strategy, which helped keep us on the lead lap.

"The last half of the race, we were very competitive with the rest of the field, although we did have an oil leak which caused the cockpit to fill smoke, which was particularly bad when I was running down the front straight."

Emmo Pict #9 Marlboro
Hogan Penske Mercedes-Benz


"My Hogan Penske team did a beautiful job to prepare the car for the race today, and they dealt with the changing weather conditions in giving me three very quick pit stops. We had worked our way up to sixth place and were battling with Junior [Al Unser, Jr.] for fifth place when the gearbox gave up. It's a shame, because we were competitive and had the chance to bring home a good finish and get some points.

"We look forward to next week's race in Cleveland. We will be very strong there."

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


"I got on the radio and said I wanted to stay on slicks. Slicks, slicks, slicks! I could see the rain go by and was sure it was one of those afternoon showers like we have in Rio [de Janeiro]. So, we took a gamble. The track was wet at first, so we had to drive slowly so we wouldn't go off. After it dried off, we were able to go fast again. It's good to stay in the points with a second consecutive podium [finish]. My team did a great on my stops and everything. It's good to be on the podium for Budweiser at their race."

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


"The car was good at the end of the race, and the team did a great job, as usual. I think I made a bad call when it started raining. I came in early and probably stayed out one lap too long. That's why I went a lap down. It's just one of those things, I'll learn from."

de Ferran Pict #8 Pennzoil Special
Reynard Honda
Hall Racing


"We've had some disappointments this year, but I'm just happy today to finish in good position. It puts me in a good position in the points, with seven races to go. Hopefully, we can win one before the season is over.

"We gambled by not changing to wets [tires]. Unfortunately, they were not scrubbed and I spun off, but managed to get back on the track."

Herta Pict #28 Shell
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
Team Rahal


"My luck really hit the skids. We had a good car, and [Andre] Ribeiro slid me into the marbles at the Festival Turn at the start. But the car felt good, and the next thing I know, I get the black flag. The officials said I was smoking, and I couldn't tell if anything was wrong. I guess the car was smoking. So I pitted, and we had oil leaking out of the engine. It was just too short of a day for us."

Johnstone Pict #49 Motorola
Reynard Honda
Brix Comptech Racing


"We had an uneventful race. We did a few laps — did a few pit stops, nothing spectacular. Not! We changed the whole car overnight, and made even more changes between practice this morning and the race. The car worked great and we learned from the race. My team made a great call on the full course yellow to get me back on the lead lap. All in all, a good day."

Zanardi Pict #4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda


"The car was running like a violin. Everything was perfect. I just had to drive from beginning to end. I felt a vibration near the end. I thought something was going to fall off. It feels like a dream  tastes great. I want to get used to the taste.

"I saw 10 to go and they were the 10 longest laps of my life. Rain was the only thing that could have stopped us."

Ribeiro Pict #31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group


""We had a good start and the car was very strong. We developed a shift problem and engaging into fourth gear felt strange so I missed the gear a couple of times. The rest was okay. We lost quite a lot of time after the first stop because we were on slicks and it took awhile to warm up the tires. It was good to bring some points home."

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


"It was a tough race. We were fighting oversteer right from the beginning. We ran out of fuel at the end and coasted across the start/finish line, which cost us a position. It has been one of those weekends."

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


"I definitely started 14th, because Adrian [Fernandez] wouldn't let me in going around the last corner. Going into Turn 1, I passed him and two other cars. It was a typical start. "We were hoping for rain. We got our rain, but it didn't last long enough. We needed it to rain the rest of the race. We would have been in good shape. The car pushed a lot today. There was a lot of understeer. Looking around at the weather, you would've thought that a rain setup would be pretty good. We made a mistake in that area."

Johansson Pict #16 Bettenhaused Racing
Alumax Aluminium
Reynard Mercedes-Benz


"The car was a real handful in the end. The brake pedal was going right to the floor. I was right on the limit in the closing laps, but I had to be, because I had Robby Gordon right behind, and he was on the limit, too. It was probably a bit of a gamble going to rain tires, since it didn't rain that long, but I think it was a good gamble. We had some very good pit stops and I think we went about as far as we could have taken it today."

Krosnoff Pict #25 Arciero-Wells Racing
Reynard Toyota


"It was a tricky race because of the conditions, so I'm happy that we were able to bring it home to the finish. We had to run our own race because of our fuel concerns, and we were definitely off the pace of where we wanted to be. We had to be patient in order to finish the race. That's really all we were after today."

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


"We made a good charge in the rain, just like in '93 [when he came from 12th to fourth]. We stayed out on slicks, instead of changing to rain tires. And we were as quick as anyone in the wet. The Goodyear tires were great in the damp. But at the end of the race, I felt like I was driving on ball bearings. The car just slid all over. That's how Al [Unser] and Parker [Johnstone] got by me. I guess with a lot of heat in the tires, they don't have as much grip. I know we're working on a new [tire] compound for next week in Cleveland. That should help."

Gugelmin Pict #17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
photo Mike Levitt


"We had a waste gate line go loose on the right side of the car, which, after it happened, gave us the wrong information and caused us to lose power. After we came in, [on Lap 26, running seventh], it was reconnected with no problem, but the time it took us to repair the line cost us two laps, and that was the race right there. Other than that, the car was O.K., and we made a good decision by staying out on slick tires during the rain because I knew that, even though it was difficult to keep the car on-track for three or four laps, the rain would pass and we'd have to go back to slicks again anyway"

Hiro Pict #19 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Lola Ford Cosworth


"Just prior to my last stop, I started to smell something burning. During our stop [for the yellow], my crew couldn't find any problems. However, the left rear lug nut went on slightly crooked when the car dropped too soon, so I had to make an additional stop. During the next lap, just before the backstraight, the motor died without any warning."

PJ Pict #98 Eagle Mk-V Toyota
photo Mike Levitt


[On the incident which removed him from the race] "I was too nice a guy going into the back straightaway. I saw Emerson [Fittipaldi] underneath me, and I didn't know if he was going to pull back or not, and I just left myself out in the wet a little bit. I got my right side up into some wet, the tires ended up on the curb, and it just turned around on me. There was nothing I could do by then.

"We weren't very good during the dry, just trying to hold our own position. It's too bad we didn't do a little bit better in the dry. When we were trying to decide whether or not to change to wet tires, we were indecisive, and I just said, 'let's go one more lap.' It turned out great."

Fangio Pict #36 Eagle Mk-V Toyota


"It was really a good race for us. The Eagle Toyota was working very good. I tried to do as much as I could to hold off Jimmy Vasser [for 13th place]. The engine coughed near the end and that was it, he went by. Anyway, I'm very happy with the result. Things are starting to pay off. I'm very happy."


Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Manager
"This is a very special win for us. We struggled in this event last year, and knew afterward we had room for a lot of improvement. We come back this season, and capture the pole position, and have five Firestone-equipped cars in the first eight spots. Then, with Alex's powerful showing, taking the checkered [flag] completed the rebound.

"You really have to be impressed with Alex's driving in the wet during the middle of the race. His handling left him in position when the track dried to pull away."