Race No. 1

Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami
Presented By Toyota
Homestead Motorsports Complex — Homestead, Florida
February 28 — March 2, 1997

Friday Quotes from drivers and managers at Homestead:
Index of Quotes available


Vasser Pict #1 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"It's really windy which makes it tough. We're working on the car to make it better."

Andretti Pict #6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Swift Ford Cosworth XD
"My primary car had an oil leak in the engine so we went to the back-up car. The back-up had a slightly different set-up that we wanted to try. I didn't like it as much as my primary car so we parked it before the end of the session. I've been around long enough to know not to keep driving something that's not ideal and taking extra chances. The guys are changing the engine before the next session. We'll come back strong. The resources and braintrust involved in this program is incredible.

"I did five laps in my primary car this morning before going to my back-up car. Then I did seven laps this afternoon before we had another oil leak. Those 12 laps include in-and-out laps. Not too many. The car was okay for the amount that I got to drive it. We really don't have much of a read on a set-up so far but I'm sure we'll figure it out before the checkered flag on Sunday. The engineers always seem to pull a good set-up out of their bag of tricks."

Unser Pict #2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"We're not too far off with our set-up — we're just fighting a little understeer. Since we spent so much time testing here during the off season, we have a good basic set-up so right now we're just fine tuning the car. The great thing about a two car team is that Paul and I can try different things so we can both benefit from these practice sessions."

Blundell Pict #18 PacWest Motorola
Reynard Mercedes
"After the morning I wasn't particularly happy. We had some problems which really destabilized our day. But we made a lot of progress in the afternoon and I think we're on course for getting a balance on the car. The conditions were slightly different-there was less wind, and the temperature was up a little bit. But then everyone has to accommodate for that."

C. Fittipaldi Pict #11 Kmart/Budweiser
Swift Ford
Newman/Haas Racing
"The car was okay but I ran into traffic after I put a new set of tires on. That was when we could have seen what the car had. It's exciting to finally drive the Swift in race conditions. The car will continue to improve as we get more testing data. We would have liked to have more test time then we've had prior to coming here for the race but that pressure is what keeps racing exciting.

"The car is very nervous on the rear. That's the worst thing on an oval. I was busy trying to keep it on the track rather than concentrating on increasing my lap speed. We always knew that developing the Swift chassis was going to be a challenge. But, with every challenge comes an opportunity. I know that the Swift will definitely be a great car. All good things take time."

Papis Pict #25 MCI
Arciero Wells
Reynard Toyota
"We had some small details to deal with this morning because of the newness of the Toyota engine but we were still able to get a good number of laps in. This is important to me since I do not have a lot of experience on the ovals. At the end of the day I am pretty pleased because my goal is to improve every time I am out there and we did that. We are still not as competitive as we would like to be, but we are going in the right direction."

Carpentier Pict #16 Bettenhaused Racing
Alumax Aluminium
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
"I'm extremely happy, but I do realize that it's only the first day of practice and what really counts will be how well we qualify tomorrow. The car was very comfortable in the morning session and we were happy enough with our speed in the second session that we devoted a lot of time to working on a race setup. Today, we were fifth and hopefully we can stay up there."

Gugelmin Pict #17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
"The wind was a problem first thing this morning. As the day went on, it got a little better in the afternoon, but the conditions are the same for everyone. In the afternoon, I went after a quick time. I know where we are in terms of car setup and tire wear and how much fuel we had aboard, but I'm not about to share that with everyone. Overall I'm pretty happy. This is a good place to start the new year, but I think to be on the front row tomorrow it will take a lap in the 27 second range."

PJ Pict #98 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"We worked on the car a little bit this morning because we were a little loose. In the afternoon session, we were able to get the car where it's not too bad. We have a good balance, we just need to work on the pop-off valve and hopefully gain a few more tenths. We ran in the high 28's in testing so we'll see what happens."

Fangio Pict #36 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"I think it was a pretty good session for both the #98 and the #36 cars. The good thing is that the car has good potential, but I got stuck in traffic when I put the new set of tires on. We have good direction now and that's what really counts. We're going to do a couple of changes for tomorrow and come back out. Things are really looking good."