Race No. 3

Long Beach Grand Prix
Long Beach — California
April 11 — April 13, 1997

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


Tracy Pict#3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"It was a long hardrace today. After my first pit stop (on lap 26) I came togetherwith the #34 car (Paul Jasper) when I was exiting the pits. Ihad reached the blend line first and slowed down because it wasa full course yellow but he stayed at speed and just turnedinto me. The good thing is that we were able to finish in thepoints (seventh) which puts us in sixth place in the PPG Cuppoints."

Andretti Pict#6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Swift Ford Cosworth XD
"I don't knowwhat's wrong. Perhaps they're getting cut on the car or thepressures were wrong or something. It happened three times, soI figured it was time to park it before I hit the wall and didsome real damage to the car or someone else. We got lucky threetimes, and I didn't want to push it. It's part of the tire war.It's part of the deal. We didn't have any problem with thesetires all weekend, so it's all very strange. I felt real goodearly. We were just waiting for pitstops. No one was reallygetting away. I felt good. The engine was still strong, the carwas working well.

We decided that three is enough so wedecided not to take any more chances and just park it. We'renot sure what caused the left rear tire to keep going down. TheGoodyear tires were great all weekend. I'm very lucky thatnothing worse happened. The car was good otherwise. We reallywanted to make a strong finish here for the points and for allof the people from Swift that were at the race that worked sohard on the project. We'll come back strong at Nazareth."

Unser Pict#2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"I'm extremelyhappy with the way everything went today. I have to give somuch credit to all the guys on my crew and the entireengineering group at Marlboro Team Penske. Finally we have somepoints under our belt."

Pruett Pict#20 Brahma Sports Team
Reynard Ford
"Eventhough we didn't win, we've been on a pretty good role of late.Last year we were in the race too, but had some engine problemsthat hurt us. This year I've been really impressed with thehomework Ford and Cosworth have done with their engine to putus at the top of the standings. I feel our Ford engine has asmuch horsepower and capabilities as any other engine in theseries. Where we are behind is in our knowledge of the chassis.We know that it's good, but we just are new to it. All of ourtesting has been with Lolas for the past three years.

It was a great show.The Brahma guys were super and Firestone gave us a really goodtire. ItÕs tough out there, neck and neck the whole race, butthe crowd really pumps you up. It's been a great year so far,we're leading the championship."

Hearn Pict#21 Ralphs/Food 4 Less
Della Penna Racing
Lola Ford
"You couldhear something that sounded internal; it just didn't sound goodand it finally shut itself down. That's all she wrote. I didn'thit anything when I lost power and just pulled over."

Pupo Pict#34 Data Control
Lola Ford
"The left rear blew on the back straight. I had to go straightinto the run-off area. I'm not sure if the same tire was goingdown when I hit the wall. I was going right, left and rightagain out of the corner then I started to spin. It wentsideways big. The car was fine until then. We were running goodlap times until then. The overall experience was fantastic. Ina very short time, I was able to get used to the car and theteam helped me fit in. That was half the challenge. It'samazing how much easier it is to race when you have a good,quick car. It's fun."

Jourdain Pict#19 Herdez Competition
Lola Ford Cosworth
"Our biggest problem in the race was our firstpitstop. We had a mistake with the right front tire, and we hadto pit a second time right away to fix it. After that we wereflying around passing a lot of cars. At the start of the race,we wanted to be very patient and see what everyone else woulddo. It's a shame that we had that problem and couldn't dobetter. I am learning, but it's been eight races withoutgetting in the points. We should be making some progress towardchanging that. The track was very dirty and full of debris allday."

Papis Pict#25 MCI
Arciero Wells
Reynard Toyota
"The engine was giving ustrouble the whole race and we just got slower and slower.Eventually, it just let go. There was lots of smoke so I threwthe buckets of water on the car to try and save the bodyworkand help the guys out. Today was not our day."

Salles Pict#77
Reynard Ford
Davis/Craig Racing
"We werechasing an understeer all day, but we made progress before thefirst pit stop to get into a points position. At the pit stop,I had to make a wide turn-in to get around another pit andstalled the car. That dropped us back. We had just climbed backinto 16th position when I was hit from behind -- I don't knowby who -- and we lost two laps before I could get restarted. Iwas just running to the end, getting laps on the car, when theleft rear tire blew, ending our day.

Before the first pitstop we were running 13thor 14th. On the stop we had a very bad stop and we lost fourpositions to 18th. We didn't get the car positioned right, andI let the engine die. Then on one of the restarts, I wastouched from behind by one of the cars, and it spun me out nearthe first corner and I lost some laps there. My first two setsof tires were fine. Only my last set were bad. I had understeervery bad and at the end, I could feel the tire deflating."

Herta Pict#8 Shell
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"The thumb hurt a littlebit on the hairpin turn but nothing else. I have to give myShell team credit today. They gave me a good car. On the firstpit stop, I had to avoid Parker [Johnstone] coming into thepits and I nearly stalled. That cost me three spots. Afterthat, I was able to chase down several guys. At least we pickedup a few points today [8]."

Jasper Pict#34 HYPE
Lola Ford-Cosworth
"We suffered abroken rear wing early on. We were under yellow, and I hadalready made the turn out of (Turn) one, and (Paul) Tracy justcame out of the pits and just hit me in the side and spun me. Idon't know what the ruling is, but we were under yellow. Weweren't racing. I got hit and it surprised me. I even tried togive him room there. After that it was just get as muchexperience as I could in the race, and do what I could with abroken wing. The car was overheating, and was loose in everycorner. I was just trying to get through without getting inanyone's way. ThatÕs what we did, and gave HYPE a car to lookat for 105 laps. Nazareth will be another new experience forme, and IÕm just going to go out there and be smart. No otherdrivers or tracks intimidate me at this point. I just have togo out and be professional."

Johnstone Pict#27 Team Kool Green
Reynard Honda
"It's so strangebecause people always congratulate you on a win or a greatfinish, but there are times like this when you've driven agreat race and the finishing position is almost immaterial. Thetraffic hurt us in the end. I know Al (Unser Jr.) said, "Oh,No!' but the traffic didn't allow me any maneuvering room. Thething that made me feel good is that as soon as we crossed thefinish line, Al Jr. backed off, turned to me and gave me thethumbs up. It's a bid deal, because he's one of my heroes. Soit was really great."

Ribeiro Pict#31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
"It was toughout there. From the middle of the race on, the pedal supportcame loose and I had to hold it with my heel. It's going totake more work, but we'll get there."

Fernandez Pict#32 Tecate Beer/Quaker State
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
"Thecar was definitely better in the race than in qualifying. Wedid the best with what we had. I was able to pass and gain afew positions, but I developed a push towards the end of therace and lost positions back. We never gave up."

de Ferran Pict#5 Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special
Reynard Ford
"It was completely my fault. I got too close to Mauricio underbraking, lost the front downforce, the front brakes locked up,and there was no way that I could stop the car. I apologizeprofusely to my team, who have been working hard the lastmonth, and to my sponsors who have given me their support. Ipromise everyone who cares one thing, and that is that thiswill never happen again."

Carpentier Pict#16 Bettenhaused Racing
Alumax Aluminium
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
"Well, it'sgood that we finished even if we didn't get any points. Youcan't score points without reliability and we've at least shownthat we have a good sound package."

Rahal Pict#7 Miller Lite
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"We had a podiumcar today. I felt like we could run with anyone on thestraight-aways. Unfortunately, I stalled in the pits on mysecond [pit] stop and we lost about eight spots. We just foundout that the master cylinder went bad. I think we might havebeen the fastest Goodyear car."

Hiro Pict#24 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Arciero/Wells Racing, Reynard Toyota
"Itfeels very good to finish our first event of the season.Overall, I am pleased that P.J. and I could bring the Toyotashome."

PJ Pict#98 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"Well this isthe first race we finished this year (16th). The car handledreally well, we were good in the corners but we're still havinga little trouble with the straight-aways. It was a good day forus, the guys did a great job in the pits."

Boesel Pict#40 Brahma Sports Team
Ford Cosworth
"The car was consistent and very good. We had a problem withthe radio, and we didn't communicate well on my first pitstop.And then when I did come it, it took 17 seconds more than anormal stop should. That hurt quite a bit. There was someproblem with getting the fuel into the car. That one stop putme out of sequence. I guess the good thing was that it put mein a position to lead the race for some laps. But everythingwas at the wrong time. It's was just unlucky."