INDIANAPOLIS - Conquest Racing may only have managed to do a combined total of 10 laps today before the rain washed out the last 45 minutes of final practice but the team is still ready to go racing on Sunday when the green flag falls on the 92nd...
INDIANAPOLIS - Conquest Racing may only have managed to do a combined total of 10 laps today before the rain washed out the last 45 minutes of final practice but the team is still ready to go racing on Sunday when the green flag falls on the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Sunday's race will be Conquest Racing's second Indy 500 start. The team's first start came in 2002 with driver Laurent Redon.
Enrique Bernoldi (#36 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone), who was 16th quickest in the short practice session today, will be starting 29th in his first Indy 500 on Sunday and will be looking to complete his first oval race of the season.
"I only had a few laps out there and the car felt good but unfortunately I couldn't really get into traffic and practice under those conditions because the rain came, but it affects everybody. It was not ideal but the car felt ok and we have to take it from there. I'm quite positive for the race, let's hope that Sunday will be good as well. (What are your thoughts heading into the biggest race of the year?) I am taking this race as a big race and not saying that it's just another race because it is a special race. I have been to big races in my life and I take this in a special way as well. I will be more alert because I will be doing things that I have never done before like start in a row of three, and race in such a long race, I have not done such a distance! It's not just another race."
Jaime Camara (#34 Bidaroo.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will start along side his teammate in 30th place on the grid, after placing 23rd in the final practice this morning. Camara is also taking part in his first Indy 500 and second race with the Conquest team.
"I'm looking forward to the race because even though I did only a few laps on Carb Day, I felt that the car was there so I am more confident that we are going the right direction. Now we just have to focus in the race prep. It's going to be just one more of those weekends that we had here already, a lot of pressure, a lot of stress and you have to deal with it in the race on Sunday without a lot of practice time. (Do you feel any differently heading into Sunday's race because it is the Indy 500?) You kind of feel the difference but I try not to because it will only make the pressure bigger and I don't want to do that but yeah it's a different race, it's the Indy 500. Everything is different here, there's nothing quite like it. I'm just setting my mind right now that it's another race so that I can come here on Sunday without any stress or any pressure."
My First 500
Before Eric Bachelart's two drivers take part in their first Indy 500 Sunday, and during the rain delay, the Belgian Team Owner took some time to look back at his first ‘500' as a driver back in 1992.
"The very first time I went to the Speedway was in 1990. At the time I was driving for Chip Ganassi with the Indy Lights team. I was outside turn 1 and when I looked at the speed of the cars I was amazed and I felt I would never be able to do that. Two years later I was there! I was very keen and really pleased that I had the opportunity to race in the ‘500'. When I got there I remember that the very first day the speed was good and from there on we had a good time and a good month. It came pretty easy for me. I really liked the speed and the feel of Indy. If you want to go fast at Indy, I think you have to like the track first and I really liked it. Confidence is also a big deal and I think if you get the speed right away you can build on the confidence for the whole month.
"Come race day, I thought I would die when I got there! When I walked down Gasoline Alley before the race I saw all the people there, it was incredible. I felt a bit like a passenger before I went to the grid, it was a little overwhelming. But once on the grid I was like OK here we are, I have no choice I have to do it. Then the first laps were amazing, even if I only did four laps before the engine blew up!
"The feeling when you are in the car, the smell of the methanol at the time, it was indescribable. And obviously we are talking about 16 years ago so it was quite different from what we have today. The safety was different, the technology was not the same, we didn't have all this telemetry. So it was a different time but honestly there is not one other race where I have been as impressed as being at the Indy 500."