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Jul 15, 2001

What's Chris Ulrich Said When He Won At Laguna Seca Last Weekend

On the podium:

"Yeah, I can't believe my luck. Ben (Spies) and Jimmy (Moore) were running a really great race. I kind of fell behind there at the start. I cooked my tire a little bit. You know, I couldn't believe it. I saw Jimmy fall down and thought, ‘Wow! I'm in second place.' I saw Ben fall down and I was like, ‘Cool! I'm gonna win. I just gotta keep this thing on two wheels.'

"You know, in qualifying we thought I was going to try and put it on pole, and I threw it away a little bit. My plan for the race was to keep my head and get on the box. That was all, you know. I was going to use my head and finish the race. I need the points.

"I've got to thank Billy Wiese. I gotta thank my father, John Ulrich, Roadracing World magazine,, Vesrah Racing, Suzuki, Metzeler tires, Pirelli. This is great. I said at Road America I would win one. I just kind of got this one handed to me but I was on my wheels at the end of the race. I want to say, ‘What's up?' to my mom in the Roadracing World booth and my brother who came out here to help support the magazine. Thanks for all of your support. We're gonna keep plugging away and try to move up in the Championship. Special thanks to Billy, the Valvoline crew, everybody, Shane Clarke builds my engines, Barry McMahan. This is a great day for me."

At the post-race press conference:

"I started racing when I was 13 on a YSR50, and I had no clue where I would end up. This is just a result of my hard work and my father's opportunities. This win feels really good for me.

"In qualifying, I was really happy to be underneath the track record – there were only three guys and I did it on my race tire. I had a little misfortune up at the top of the corkscrew and threw it away. I've been crashing a little too much this year learning and getting up to speed. So my plan for the race was to use my head. I was going to try to get off to a decent start, which I didn't. I got a really horrible start. My launch was good, but I got tangled up with Ben going over the top of the hill and that put me a little wide. So after that, it was like, ‘Okay. Don't get excited. Don't throw this away.'

"I saw Richie (Alexander) get the black flag, and he came in. I said, ‘Okay, no problem. I'm in third now' And I was gapping fourth. I wasn't gaining too much. I was just holding the gap steady from me to second and gapping fourth. My plan was to stay there, you know? Take what I could get today.

"I couldn't believe my luck when I come around and Jimmy's bike is flipping in the air. The next lap I come around and there's a waving yellow in the last turn and Ben's on the ground. I saw that and thought, ‘Wow! I've got a three-second gap to fourth, and I'm gonna win this. Wow!'

"That last lap was a bit unnerving. I broke a little early in a couple of places, looked behind me a couple of times. It feels really good after last weekend when I got run into by another guy and destroyed one of my bikes at VIR, then come here and win.

"I've got to thank my father John Ulrich,, and Roadracing World magazine, Vesrah Suzuki, Tiger Angel leathers-–I've been destroying their stuff all year--Arai helmets, and everybody including Dave Swarts from Roadracing World for driving my truck across the country last week when I couldn't.

"It's a great day for me. I'm definitely going to savor this one. I'm going to keep the hard work up. You know, if those guys keep making mistakes like that, maybe we've got a shot at the Championship. I don't know. It's a learning year for me. I think I'm ahead of the curve right now. I'm just out there trying to get a ride for next year so that I don't have to drive my own truck to the racetrack. I can't be happier. This is a great day."
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