Continued from part 1 TONY KANAAN ( ...
Continued from part 1
TONY KANAAN (#11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(About the qualifying run): "So far, so good. We're not in the position that we wanted to be, but we're inside the top 11, which is the right place to be right now. It was a decent run, very consistent. We had a problem this morning, and I ended up copying Marco's and Danica's setup, and I need to thank both of them for that. People think that I keep teaching them all the time, but this is what happens sometimes, so I need to thank them for that."
(How important is the pole to you?): "Five years ago, I came here and just wanted to be the fastest guy. Then you race, and you realize that that really doesn't matter if you are not the fastest guy on the last lap on Sunday, May 25. I kind of learned. It is a big deal for me today because I want to be inside the top 11, but if you ask me, 'Do I want the pole?' yes, I do. Is it going to be a big deal if we don't get it? Not really. I try to look at the big picture. Honestly, i f you give me a sniff, I will go for it, but it's not my main priority."
(Why is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so special to you?) "It's just a mystery. And it's a mystery that only a few people get the experience to race and only a few people get the experience to win. I don't know what it is, but this place is special."
(How does experience help you on Pole Day?): "I think I'm getting old. I get more calm. You know what to expect. If you have a problem -- like I did have a problem this morning -- you don't panic. You know that the lap times now, they mean nothing. Until 6, a lot of things are going to change. That helps keep me calm and just enjoy the day."
(Do you ever feel bad for just coming up short here?): "I'm not angry. Somebody told me the other day, 'This place owes you something.' This place doesn't owe me anything. It's up to me to my job. It's not only up to me -- for me to win, everything has to fall in place. I'll keep trying. That's all I can do."
(Did you talk to Helio Castroneves after "Dancing with the Stars?"): "I told him that I thought he did a great job, that he represented the drivers the best. I don't think anybody else could have done it better. But I did tell him, some of those clothes he wore, I wouldn't do that."
(Would you do the show?): "You won't see that. The wife would not like me to see dance with such a cute girl like that. No, no, no."
(About this qualifying format, knowing he probably will need to qualify more than once if he wants to be in the top 11): "(Because of the weather this week,) this was the first time anybody went out alone. It was good warm-up qualifying. We're going to go qualify at 5:30."
(Did you talk to Danica last night after the accident in the pits?): "I came back, I watched the video. When I came in, she had tears in her eyes, so I hugged her and she cried a lot more, so maybe that was a bad move on my behalf. I said, 'Let it go.' She was like, 'He has a family.' I said, 'It wasn't your fault.' I said he's going to get better. I mean, there's not a lot you can say. I said, 'You've got to keep your head straight.' I said, 'Go talk to his team, call his family.'"
ORIOL SERVIA (#5 KV Racing Technology Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"Yes I am a rookie. No, I like it. You know there is prize at the end of the race for the best rookie."
(Do you feel like a rookie?): "Yes. I think even if Emerson Fittipaldi would be out there now on Pole Day. He always had that thing here, like a rookie. I'm sure he would say that."
(Thoughts on your first qualifying attempt?): "It was good. We actually had the exact speed that we thought we were going to have, which is good and means we guessed right. The only problem is that everyone else seems to be faster than we thought they were going to be. So we need to pick it up, for sure, if we want to be up in the top 11. How? I don't know. My engineers are looking into this. But it is only our first attempt. Everything felt good and comfortable in the car, so there still is some room there to improve."
(What does running here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mean to you?): "It couldn't be more. It's great. I've b een racing in the U.S. now for 10 years, and I definitely wanted to do Indy for a long time now. I've dreamed about it for such a long time. But in my dreams I was also on pole and winning the race. So it's great now that we are here. Now that we are here, we want to win it. We just don't want to be here. Still need that speed to catch the guys up front. But definitely getting there. Every time we head out, we get closer. We can only be hopeful."
DAVEY HAMILTON (#22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I'm happy with that number. This morning was the first time I trimmed the car out in the half-hour session. Going out to qualify, I was a bit nervous. We haven't had the laps I need. It has been a year since I've been in the car. This rain didn't help me at all. To get a 223, I'm happy with that. I wish it wasn't just the top 11. I wish they'd put us all in right now because it would be a lot easier."
(About his speed): "Actually, I'm happy with that number. Not to be greedy -- you always want to be faster -- but I was just hoping to be in the 223s all month long, or the few days we've run, I should say. We've been running race sims with the wing at 0 degrees. This morning we went out and laid it down a bit, got faster and laid it down some more. We had a good car. I was flat out the whole time. There was no more in it."
(About his focus this year after coming back last year): "I came in here las t year and this year to have fun. I'll be straight up. There is nobody in this pit area having more fun. I'm having a blast. It is good to be at the biggest race in the world. I'm here because I want to do well. I want to win this race. I'm a realist, as well. When you're up against these guys who are qualifying faster than me and in these cars week in and week out, it is hard to compete. It can be done. If we play the race smart and right, we can get another great finish in the top 10, and I'll leave here with a big smile again."
(About only driving the Indy 500): "The most difficult part is making sure you get used to the car and that you don't overdrive it and get yourself in trouble. I'm a veteran, and that helps. You're trying as hard as you can and try to find that edge again, because when you're going 220 plus miles per hour, it is definitely a challenge. I'm just trying to get used to the car and get comfortable again. So far with last year and this year, Vision (Rac ing) has given me a great race car. It hasn't been easy, but! it has been fairly comfortable. That has been the most nervous I've been in the past two years because I didn't know what to expect with all the rain, but it turned out well."
JUSTIN WILSON (#02 McDonald's Racing Team Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"It's pretty cool. The car was working well. I was very pleased with the balance of the McDonald's car. I was able to run flat-out on all four laps, was able to carry the speed. I was enjoying it. The fun was just slipping, sliding through some of the turns and the back end would step out every now and again, so we're right on the edge. I believe we've got a little more speed to come yet, so we'll see what we can do."
(Any nerves in attempting to qualify for the first time?): "A little bit, but I calmed myself down a little bit saying, 'Today's not realistic to qualify in the top 11; we're too far behind some of these guys that have been doing it for years.' So we have to keep ourselves in check and keep making positive progress. Doing that, I was able to run flat-out and not worry about the consequences. Tomorrow will be our day when we're going for 12 to 22. I think it's more realistic to get in that 12-15 space."
RYAN BRISCOE (#6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(On qualifying on the pole, only to fall to second to Scott Dixon minutes after): "I turned around, and Dixon was taking (the pole) away from me. Aside from that, I thought I had a really good run. The car was balanced really well for the downforce level we trimmed out to, and it was a solid gain, for sure. Dixon put out a pretty quick time there, so we have a little bit of work to do. From what I did this morning, I'm happy with the gains we made in that second run, and I guess now we'll just look at everything closely and see if we can get any more speed out of the car. We need to see what we can do to get those extra tenths of a mile an hour out of it to get the pole."
(On Pole Day atmosphere): "It's awesome. We are on edge, and it's exciting. I hope the fans are enjoying it. I'm really happy to be in the thick of it; I thought it was a pretty good run out there. I had it on the edge and was pulling in some pretty good speeds."
(On driving for Penske): "It's exciting. It's just a fantastic team. With Roger (Penske) calling the shots and Tom German my engineer, I couldn't have better people around me. Situations like this, going for the pole at Indy with Penske is very exciting times for me. For the moment, there are high expectations driving for Roger, but I have never hit the track without putting pressure on myself to do the best and get the most out of the equipment. It's an unbelievable feeling being here and being able to shoot for the pole and winning the Indy 500. I can't express how happy I am to be in this position."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (#3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"We don't know why we slowed down. I don't know. This is what it's all about: Racing to be on the top, and we didn't get it. Obviously, we're not going to be stupid and do something crazy, but now we know what we can do and we're going to go to the limit. We know we can do it and we are just a little off, but we'll see."
(About what it means to win the pole at Indianapolis): "So many things, really. First of all, you're number one. You beat everybody. Second, it's Indianapolis, you know. I mean, for it to be like a race to get on the pole, you're like, you're the man. It's cool to be up there and, again, this is a magic place. This adrenaline is like new every time you do this, and it's great to see the fans, everybody over here watching an exciting qualifying. That's why they make qualifying until 6 o'clock, because you're going to see people going out until the last minute. We're probably going to be one of them ag ain, so obviously we're going to try everything we can to be on the top. To win the race, it's consistency and being at the right place at the right time so to be on the pole position, you have to be consistent for four full laps. Trust me, four laps seems like nothing, but trust me, you're running on the limit. It's great to be here with the fans and the media and this is a great place. If you got to win one race, this is the one. It feels great. It's the first time after, what, the first day that we actually have a clean day. No rain, no wet, so right now, it's just a matter of composure. Look at my face, this is amazing, man. I always want to try again unless the number three is on the number one, I always want to try again. I'm having a great time. It's a lot of fun, not only for myself, but for the fans, for the mechanics for the drivers. It's pure adrenaline."
(After qualifying ended): "Well, unfortunately, we tried everything we could, and there's days that you realiz ed that it's better to be brave than to be stupid. We got to! a point where there's not much we could do and we realized the Ganassi guys were better, and the good news is that this is just the pole position and the race is a big thing. And we're going to work next week for that. My second (win) was from 13th, so my team worked extremely hard and I'm glad that we were, at least, up there. Now we'll focus on the race. Pole position is, for a driver, for me, it's everything in that day to be the number one and beating everybody. Sometimes people don't realize, 'Come on, second, third, you can win from there.' Yes, but that day you want to be the fastest guy, especially being there once, or twice. But this situation can not drop you or make you sad or down. Unfortunately, we didn't have the car. We tried everything we could, and it is what it is. The race, you have a lot of factors. In the race, there are a lot of variables, but here you basically are going four laps to the limit. It's hard. It's very difficult. That's why it's so mentally consum ing, and the adrenaline is rushed. If you do a good time, you're like right there. You don't think you can do any more, and you try a little bit more in the car. So there is a lot of factors in qualifying when you're running the limit. Now, in the race, it's more traffic and pit stops and things like that. Put yourself in the position and it depends on a yellow, so it's different, but it's fun. Both are very fun."
(About deciding not to take a second attempt): "When you start turning laps a little worse than you've done and you realize, 'OK.' When you're trying to push to the limit the car, and it does not feel well. You got to face it. You've got to make a choice. Obviously, our situation over there, we're in the second row and even if we were to go out there, if we didn't have enough speed to be on the front row and if we lose the fifth spot, we're still in the second row. So the decision to go out was more to lose than to gain. Something could happen and that's where you put all the puzzles together and realize that you don't see ! the ligh t at the end of the tunnel, and you call it a day. And that's what we did."
(About Ganassi's speed): "On a 1.5-mile oval, they found the speed. Especially in Kansas, and they proved that. They blew us by. But the race, it's a little different. There's many variables, like I said. It can go right, or it can go wrong. I was in the situation that I was very strong and did not win the race. I finished second. In that particular area, I'm not worried about it. They had strong cars in qualifying. They did good. We just need to work a little bit better for the race, and hopefully we're going to be a little bit ahead of them."
(About excitement): "Definitely. Last year, it was very exciting between Tony (Kanaan) and I, and this year it's Scott (Dixon) and (Dan) Wheldon. So you see that the way they're doing it. Especially now, you see those guys battling to not run tomorrow. It's exciting from both ends. That's what it's all about. I do feel that it's extremely important, if you don' t have a car to do the pole position, at least be in the field. You don't want to be going into next week thinking about qualifying."
DAN WHELDON (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(After second qualification run, about Target Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying first and second): "It was a great team effort. Everybody at Target Chip Ganassi Racing has worked really, really hard. To be one and two right now is a pretty impressive feat. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed. Like I say, the biggest thing is to be happy for the team. They did a terrific job."
HIDEKI MUTOH (#27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(After second qualification run): "It improved a lot. During long run, I got to feeling more comfortable in the car, so I was very happy."
(Was qualifying today a little more exciting than you would like today?): "Yes; yes it was. But there were many people at the track who got to see it, so I'm happy."
JUSTIN WILSON (#02 McDonald's Racing Team Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(After second qualification run): "I am pleased with our progress. We didn't expect to be in the top 11. It was a bit optimistic. Just for a minute I thought me might have a chance, but we'll come back and give it another go tomorrow providing the weather is good. If the weather is OK, I am sure we will have a good day with the McDonald's car."
GRAHAM RAHAL (#06 Hole in the Wall Camps Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(After second qualification run): "We were pretty happy to be where we were for such a long period of time. But I don't know; it's a shame. I really would have liked to be in today."
(On the last run): "We'd been doing runs in practice, and the car was a lot quicker than that. We went out and had no speed, so I told them to wave it off because it wasn't very good. When the track gets cooler, sometimes you get more downforce, and the car goes slower."
(On disappointment team pulled car out of line for last qualifying attempt): "I was ready to go because I thought we had new tires on the thing. I was excited to go out, and (Tomas) Scheckter lowered the bump speed so much that I think we could have made it. I think we were at about that speed anyway in our last run. It's pretty sad. When I pulled up, I said, 'Guys, we need to have tires ready just in case.' Didn't happen. They said there would be no way to get do wn (to the front of the line), and then everyone was like, 'We're pullin', we're pullin'," so I started to get ready and go. Seriously, we made a mistake with the gearing in the last run. If we would have run the gear lower, I am pretty positive that we could have done that speed. I know it's getting a little cooler so a little more downforce, but in practice we did 223.99 by ourselves with the same setup."
(On what his team's reasoning for pulling the car): "They should have told me before I got my helmet on. They waited until I got ready and they were like, 'Oh well by the way, we don't have tires.' They said they didn't think we were going to make it, so we didn't bring tires, and that is my point. You need to be prepared. I see everyone pulling and I'm thinking, 'Oh, man, I'm next!' I'm jumping in the car, and they tell me they don't have tires so we're not going to run. Come on."
(On his mindset): "It makes me mad because I really feel like we could have made it. I'm fr ustrated because we had a good car and definitely had the sp! eed to d o that. It's like shooting yourself in the foot. You need to be prepared for any situation even if it doesn't look realistic that it can happen. You need to be there. You need to have your stuff there and you need to be ready to go, and we weren't."
(On qualifying Sunday): "Hopefully we can get in tomorrow. I think we can. We were so close today -- that's what's disappointing about it."
(On Scheckter qualifying slower than his original speed): "He pretty much did the same speed as me, so right at that point I'm thinking we can make this, and then all the sudden, it didn't happen."
(On what he will say to the team in the garage): "I'm going to talk about it with them because even if you don't think you're going to make it, you need to be prepared. That's just something I don't understand. These guys are always prepared for any situation, and I just do not understand why in this type of situation, you wouldn't just be prepared just in case."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I'm just so happy. To be honest, it feels like I've got the pole just to survive that top 11. We just struggle and struggled. Every time that car went out, it went a bit slower and slower. Then we saw people behind us coming. That lap I was completely sideways in (Turn) 3. I thought I was going the same way as Ryan (Hunter-Reay). Thankfully he looks like he'll be OK. I had a big save in (Turn) 3 on the second lap. On the third lap going into (Turn) 3 was, to say, a little bit exciting. Just very thankful that we made it into the top 11."
(A lot of people talked about the fast laps would be at the end of the day. But the lap times fell throughout the day. Speeds went down instead of going up. Why was that?): "The temperature cooled down and was good. But the problem was the wind. The wind increased. When we are running such low downforce on the car. Even going down the straight in the car, it would shove left and rig ht, moving all about. Really, you are sometimes dictated by where the wind goes. I think that is what you were really seeing is that with that first lap being good. Is that with that first lap, the tires are good. They can avoid some of the wind. Then the wind starts throwing the car around. Then the times just drop off and drop off."
(We have heard guys say in qualifying that the times get slower because the tires go away on you. Are these the same tires that you normally race with? And why would they go away in 10 miles?): "You are running the car with virtually no downforce. Just look at the back wing. They are pointing backwards (high in the front and low in the rear). A rear wing is really developed to go straight then up in the back. We just take all the drag off the back. So the tire gets worked much, much harder the more downforce you take off. I think that is why you see the tires go away so quickly, because that is all we are using."
(You hung onto 11th. How much m ore important is 11th than 12th or 13th in the same row?): "To be ho nest with you, it's a world of difference. Because now tonight I can actually go have a nice dinner and sleep in my bed at home. Not having to worry about getting back up and qualifying it and wasting more sets of tires. So it's really great, because my mind is now straight on what we need to do for the race instead of how we will carry on qualifying."
WILL POWER (#8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(After second qualification run): "Well, it was actually good to go in a direction, so we have more of an idea of where we're going wrong. We thought we'd try something fairly different, but that wasn't the way to go. But it's good that we got to come out again."
(On going into tomorrow): "Yeah, it's good that we found something going into tomorrow unless it rains."