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CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Top-three race press conference, Part II

Champ Car World Series top-three finishers press conference from Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with: Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez and Bruno Junqueira Part 2 of 2 Q: Paul, was this one of the days where you made some luck and the team made ...

CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Top-three race press conference, Part II

Champ Car World Series top-three finishers press conference from Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with:
Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez and Bruno Junqueira

Part 2 of 2

Q: Paul, was this one of the days where you made some luck and the team made some luck to get you here on the podium?

Tracy: Definitely today we were lucky. I mean, Michel had me covered. He was faster than me on the second stint and the third stint. He had his problems in the pits. I was doing everything I could do just to keep sight of him, really having to push hard. I don't think there was any way I was going to get by him, you know, because his pace was just as fast as me. So to outright pass him would have been very difficult without a mistake, and he wasn't making any mistakes. The problem they had was mechanical, I guess, in the pits. That's how it goes some days. I mean, when you're trying to get your first win, you know, it's very difficult sometimes. It always kind of falls away from you. He's been working a long time. The team has been working a long time to get to that level. It would have been nice to see him get his day today.

Q: Adrian, can you tell us emotionally what you felt being up here on the podium, especially at Long Beach with so many fans?

Fernandez: Yeah, it's a very good place for us. I have to thank Tecate. They've done a fantastic job here promoting the event with all the Long Beach people. I came here to promote the event. I actually saw more people than last year. I'm very impressed with the job the organizers have done here, very happy for the series. I mean, this is what we are all about. We had great racing. And just fantastic to be on the podium in front of so many fans. You know, it's a team effort for everybody that worked so hard here in Long Beach. To see the grandstands packed the way they were, the people so excited, it was just a nice feeling.

Q: I believe, Bruno, you were behind Rodolfo Lavin when he crashed?

Junqueira: Yes.

Q: Was that a close call for you or no problem, avoiding him?

Junqueira: Yeah, was a close call. I saw that he start to go wide. I said, "He going to crash." I was in the middle of the corner, cold tires. I had to kind of pull the car inside a lot because he crash almost the front of the car, and then the car bounce back to the track. Wasn't that close call, but I had to be really on to not crash into him. And that was lucky because to crash into him would make half of the field start to stack up. But was okay.

Q: You heard Paul's version. Could you give us your version of it?

Junqueira: I mean, I didn't know that Paul stopped one lap earlier. And I came out of the pits. Suddenly I see Paul behind me and I had very cold tires and said, "He going to get by me turn six. I have nothing to do." But then I kind of brake a little bit early on turn five, that corner, to have a good exit. When I brake, he was already side by side on me (laughter). You know, he did aggressive move, but that's the way that he is.

Lucky I saw him. Lucky I saw him because I was going to do the turn. I thought that he would try a move on turn six, that he would get a better traction. When you have cold tires, there is no way you're going to do anything. The only thing I think the PacifiCare team did a terrific job because never short full but they were really fast on pit stops. My car wasn't very good on out-laps, but the end of the stint I laid out some really fast laps and I was able to get out in front of Paul. But was like cold tires on this track, it's impossible to do anything on the outing lap.

Tracy: I think that's a credit to Bruno. A lot of guys weaving and chopping all over the place. He's a guy a that's been complaining about it. When he had an opportunity to do that on cold tires, he raced fair, which was nice. You know, he didn't try to move me over, try to block me. So it was good.

Junqueira: Thank you. He will be nice on the 18th round of the championship.

Q: You seemed to have one close call out there.

Tracy: Well, you know, I saw him come out in front of me and I said, "I got to get by him, my tires are hot, his are cold." You know, I was a little disappointed because every move I made, he blocked the move, and then one time we were coming on to the back straightaway, and that's a very tricky corner, it's kind of off camber under braking. It's fairly quick. By then my tires were hot, real hot, and I got a run on him and I came up beside him and he started swinging over towards the wall at me. You know, I kind of went in and squared him up and got to the inside of him on the straightaway, and he just took me over to the wall and I had to get on the brake. And we hit, you know, hit cars to each other. And at the end of the straightaway the yellow came out. You know, I was a little bit disappointed. I made a comment to the team about it to tell CART. I think they put him on notice about it.

Q: Adrian, have you had a chance to talk to Michel yet? Are you going to try to if you haven't yet?

Fernandez: Yeah. He stayed all weekend with me in my house. I'm going to try to see my trophies, he stole something.

Tracy: He didn't steal your Ferrari?

Fernandez: Yeah, exactly. He was in the Ferrari all weekend. He wants to be champion. Yes, I will speak to him to see what happened because I don't really know what happened.

Q: Can you explain today why you put on such a great show?

Tracy: I can tell you why. I think there's some guys about six thousand miles away wishing they were here right now. I can tell you that for sure. We had a great race today, and the pace was fast, and it was a hard race. We have a great series, and a lot of fans here. We have a lot on the table right now.

Fernandez: I think was a lot of passing. I passed three or four guys. I passed Jimmy, I passed Sebastien coming out of the pits. I passed Dominguez, I pass -- you know, I pass a lot of cars to get where I was. I mean, it wasn't just like -- I (inaudible) some of them, but most of them I made the passes. It wasn't like -- maybe was boring from the outside, but from the inside wasn't boring at all.

Fernandez: Yeah.

Tracy: I mean, everything now is much more equal to each other. The teams are more equal. The tire's better. You know, the engine is great, a great engine to drive. It's a lot of fun to drive. You know, it's exciting. It's provided a great formula right now for CART to get back up and going.

Q: Talking of your friends thousands of miles away, your ex-teammate Franchitti hurt himself crashing his motorcycle. Ever happen to you?

Tracy: I've never crashed a motorcycle. That's something that I stay away from during racing season. I just go out -- if I want to go out on two wheels, I go out on my bicycle and push the pedals and stay away from the traffic. You know, that's one thing that I don't really mess around with. You know, if I go out for a ride, I don't play around with road race bikes. If I go out for a bike ride on the Harley, my bike is so low that you can't corner the thing so you got to go slow around the corners, and that's usually where you get in trouble.

Q: Tell us your thoughts about heading to Brands Hatch

Tracy: I can tell you, I don't think it's a new experience for a lot of people. I went there to race in Formula Ford 2000s for Van Diemen. I'm sure Bruno has been there.

Junqueira: No.

Tracy: I know Adrian drove Formula Fords in England. It's going to be a fantastic race. You know, the track is going to be small, so there's going to be a lot of action, but it's a very entertaining track to watch on. I think our cars around there are going to really be hard work. I think the fans are going to get to see something special.

Q: Your thoughts on going to EuroSpeedway?

Tracy: Again, we're going back to a fantastic facility. When we went there the first year, it rained for the first two days and the fans sat there. There were 80,000 people sitting in the stands under umbrellas. They're very dedicated fans in Germany to the CART series. I know that they'll be back. I know I'm looking forward to going back to Lausitzring because it's a great racetrack to drive on. I think we're going to be able to put on a really good race there.

Q: Adrian?

Fernandez: Same. Brands Hatch was a place I worked for years as an instructor, and EuroSpeedway, it's a special place. I mean, I worked there for three years, I was there working as a mechanic, doing different things. It will be fantastic to go back there, see some of the old faces. I have a lot of friends in Europe. It will be very nice. Great fans, so it's good.

Junqueira: I think EuroSpeedway is a nice track, a great oval. I think is good for CART to go back on the ovals, go three ovals in a year. To have that change between road courses, street courses and oval, I think that's the beauty of CART. That's one very nice track. I like to race in Germany, (inaudible), one in Hockenheim. They are really, really race fans in Germany, and England, I think. Both going to be good races. I hope we can get good weather in EuroSpeedway because I'm sure that the fans will be full there and it's going to be great race. I think the aero package we have is going to be much, much closer than before. I think it's going to be great.

Q: Paul, what kind of a challenge does the tri-oval in EuroSpeedway Lausitz pose.

Tracy: I think for me, the very last corner is one of the fastest ones. Each corner is very different from each other. Setting up there is not the easiest thing. For us now going with this downforce package, it's going to allow us to run nose to tail with each other and race and draft and pass. So I'm looking forward to it.

Mauk: That concludes our press conference today. Thank you.

Part I


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Rodolfo Lavin
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