INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "All three Team Penske cars continued working together today. We tried to simulate what we might face in the race. We're working hard to make sure all three cars have a chance to be on top in the race. The weather was still a little cold today, but hopefully it's a better day tomorrow so we can focus on qualifying."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "We just ran a few laps today because it was still kind of cold. We know it's going be warmer tomorrow and on qualifying day, so we didn't want to waste too many tires. We took it easy today and plan on doing a lot of running tomorrow. The ABC Supply car was still solid. We made a few adjustments and learned a little bit, but we just didn't run that much."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "Today was similar to the last few days where we were running the car in race setup to find some mechanical grip and make it more predictable in traffic, and we were able to find some things, which were quite good. I know Dario did the same, and his car looked pretty good in traffic, too. In the last 15 minutes of the day, we tried to trim the cars out. Nothing too crazy, but just to see where we stand. And surprisingly, it seemed pretty comfortable, pretty nice to drive and consistent. It gives a us a good benchmark to start tomorrow."
(You've said you think pole could be a 227 or 228. Do you still think that?): "I don't know. It depends a lot of weather. The first day (of practice) the weather in terms of horsepower and drag was pretty good, and the forecast we have for Saturday seems to be pretty similar to that. The weather alone could be a mile an hour in terms of speed. We'll have to see how it plays out, but right now, if you can run 228, you'd be on the pole happily."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "Not a bad day overall for the team. We made some improvements on the Target car, especially in the race trim setups we ran. We will continue on tomorrow."
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 21 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "Good day today. We worked on out full race setup, which was really good for me. Today was my first time in traffic in a year. This isn't easy. Being behind other cars is important. Today was good. I learned a lot."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "We had a very productive day. We were able to work a little on the qualifying setup early before we switched to race mode later in the day. It was good. We were able to run close to the other cars, and the balance of the car feels really good. This was the first day we were able to do a real run simulating the race pace. There's a long way to go and we have to keep making progress, but I'm very happy with our start."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "We stuck to the plan that we came up with last night, which was today was to just do race simulations. So we tried a little bit on the light side downforce, now a little on the heavy side … not bad. We can improve in a couple areas, but definitely we are heading in the right direction. I was able to run with some people but not everybody I would have liked to. But we got a feel for the car, so that was the most important thing. It was a productive day."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "It was a very productive day for the Venom car as far as race trim is concerned. I think we're only one or two changes away from where we need to be, and hopefully we know what those changes are. We were able to find a nice alley and have just been working to dial things in."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Panasonic Formula Dream): "At the beginning of the day, we worked on our race setup, and that was good. I was able to run behind four cars and my car was drafting well, and I could catch people and that is a strong point for Race day. After 5 p.m., we ran with our qualifying setup. We didn't trim the car out all the way, but the lap times weren't that bad. I think the Formula Dream/Panasonic team is fast both ways. It was a good day."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing): "It was our first little baby step toward a qualifying run. It felt quite comfortable, and I'm encouraged with the speed of the car. We'll just keep nudging it along here and see where we end up."
(About on working well with engineer Andy Brown): "I think it's because we're just two old men. It's great to work with Andy. Everybody's professional here. We all take a practical approach, a methodical approach. We don't get too fired up about too many things, especially at this stage and even in the race. It's the way you want to play it here, smooth and steady all the way through. You want to do your best with what you're handed. It's great to work with him. I mean, it's been five years (since working together), but it all seems familiar again. I've really enjoyed (engineer) Brad's (Goldberg) assistance, as well as (engineer) Tim Neff. We're all starting to jell pretty well together. The mechanics are doing a nice job. It's just nice to be around people who have been there before. We're making good progress."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "We had a good, solid day. We were able to get quite a lot of work done on race setup-related items. The three Team Penske cars were able to take advantage of being a three-car operation, and we worked together on track today helping one another find speed and comfort. It really was a good day for the No. 6 car and for the whole team."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "The team did a great job today, and we were able to learn a lot. We continued working on the race setup at the start of the session, switching to a qualifying setup at the end. Now we have a good idea of what we need to improve on both setups and will continue to work on that during the rest of the week."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB): "It was another good day for us. We tried a few different things with our setups throughout the day, and were able to learn a lot. We were happy with what we saw in the afternoon as we worked on the qualifying trim. I ran some quick laps without any tow, which is positive for us as we move forward in the week."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "We continued the work on our setups. My engineer Iain (Watt) has been very good with me on working through the team's program here at Indy. We have worked on race trim, and I ran with Dario (Franchitti) this afternoon to get an idea of the conditions. It's still very cold weather right now. We believe the temperatures are going to get hotter. So we didn't run very much."
PAUL TRACY (No. 15 GEICO - KV Racing Technology): "We had planned to run quite a bit today, but the cool conditions were not what we were expecting. The overcast skies did not heat up the track for race conditions, so we decided to save our tires and get ready for Thursday. Actually, I was able to wax my '64 Lincoln Continental that I brought from Las Vegas. I hope to get in many laps Thursday with the GEICO car."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus - KV Racing Technology): "It was another productive day for the Lotus-KV Racing Technology team. It's a step-by-step process. The changes we made did make a positive change to the car, so we are moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, the weather didn't improve as much as we had hoped, but tomorrow it is looking much better, so I am looking forward to a busy day on track."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): "I want to thank the Indianapolis Motor Speedway safety team and medical staff for the fantastic job they did getting me out of the car and providing the initial diagnosis and treatment. The safety and medical personnel at IMS and in the IZOD IndyCar Series are the best in the business. I also want to thank the staff and doctors at Methodist Hospital and Dr. (Terry) Trammell for providing me with such outstanding care. They were extremely thorough and kept me informed of everything that was happening, which made the whole process a lot easier. To everyone at KV Racing Technology, thank you for your support and concern, and to the drivers that stopped by - Davey Hamilton, Rafa Matos and Dan Wheldon - I want you to know that I very much appreciated you taking the time to come and see me."
JAY HOWARD (No. 66 Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing): "It was a long day for Sarah Fisher Racing. The weather really didn't play in our favor, and it was hard to work with the car. I'm hoping that the weather will cooperate tomorrow, and we can get some more laps in. We're still looking for speed, but I'm confident that we'll get to where we need to be."
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "We haven't made the gains that we need yet, but we have a better run plan set out for tomorrow. We're hopeful to get the Dollar General car up and running as soon as we hit the track."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It was a good day, and we needed it. The 7-Eleven car did a lot of laps - more than anybody. But I don't think the number of laps matters; it's the quality of the runs. We felt good and kept improving. That is why we kept running. If you think about it, we have tomorrow and Friday to be in qualifying mode; then you have Saturday and Sunday, and that's it. Today had to be our day to work for the race, and as long as we are improving, I don't care how many laps we do."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "That was a frustrating day. We're all working so hard right now to find the answer, but we just haven't found it. This is the type of day that will drive you crazy at this place, no doubt about it."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "We improved the GoDaddy car again today, but everyone else was doing the same, so we still have some work to do. There is always going to be a trade-off between comfort and less downforce because that's what it takes to be fast. We're just working our way through that run-by-run."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Team Window World): "Today was a good day for the Window World Dallara. I really got to work with my teammates here. We really wanted to do race runs, so we reorganized and got plenty of miles in traffic. Tomorrow we'll try some qualifying runs. We'll see what the weather gives us. We're looking forward to seeing what the car can do tomorrow."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): "Yeah, so far so good. The team is doing a fantastic job. The car is pretty fast. Other than me being sick a little bit; everything is going OK. There's not much I can say about the car other than that it's comfortable out there. We tried a couple aero configurations. It's good when I'm behind people and when I'm alone. We didn't feel like there was a point to continue today to give ourselves and idea of what the car could do for qualifying because we know that the temperature is going to be quite different on Saturday. Tomorrow is going to be a bit warmer and little bit better of a representative of what we'll see this weekend, so we'll go out and give it a shot. So far, it's been a very good month for us."
(On dealing with his bronchitis): "It's OK. It's getting better, but it's just wearing me down. I have a sore throat today, and it's just one of those things that when you have it and you aren't racing, you're at home getting comfortable and watching TV. But when you're at the racetrack, especially with the weather we've been having, it's not the best scenario. The fun part about racing is that when you're in the car you pretty much don't feel anything you have. I've been racing since I was a kid in go-karts, and I didn't want to miss my race, and when you're in the car you don't really think about what you have. You just feel good, and so I had about 13 laps of feeling good today."
(On how the shortened month affects a new team like FAZZT Race Team): "The Indianapolis 500 is the type of place that you can confuse yourself. You could have way too much time and sometimes not enough time. In our case, we have such a good car right now that you could have a lot of days where you just have to manage your tires. You don't want to just go out and pound out laps; you want to make sure you don't burn through all your tires so that you can evaluate the car in qualifying trim with a good set of tires. I think the short month makes people think you don't have enough time, but you can second-guess yourself here."
(On the Pole Day format): "I think we're all going to learn together on Saturday. I think it's going to be interesting because even though you're allowed to have three attempts, there is no way that you're going to get all three runs. There are too many cars, and on top of that, you don't get to pick when you run. You just get draw. The guys who draw in the first 18 to 20 spots are probably going to get to do two runs, but who knows about the other guys? I like the new format because it's a little like the road course format. I think that the pole shootout will be more interesting for the fans because there's going to be less waiting around. I think that the higher incentives are going to get people to take more risks and try to pull big speeds. There will probably be even more mind games. You could be sitting in fifth, and then in the shootout everyone pulls a rabbit out of their hat, and all of a sudden you're ninth. Ninth and fifth are not the same thing at all."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): (On the start to the season and the day's activities): "Fantastic start to the year. It was awesome to get the Verizon car two wins in the first four races. We're into the oval phase now, and we're actually at the most important race of the year. We've been working away. There's a little bit different strategy this year because of the certain allotment of tires. Usually you're able to put tires aside for the qualifying runs and then work on your race setup. I think we've got a good setup, and tomorrow we'll start working on our qualifying setup. I can see it's going to be a very tight qualifying with so many good cars and the similar speeds."
(On the day's weather): "That was good. I think that the rain delays helped us on tires. You've got plenty of time to run and not enough tires, so rain delays are OK as long as it doesn't rain every day. It was good to get some solid running in today. You get some consistency. It's nice to work on race relations with teammates without having it interrupted by sprinkles."
(On dealing with the points attached to the Pole Day format): "Qualifying is very important. In the past, it wouldn't have mattered if you started back a little bit from the front. For me, when you're trying to win a championship, you don't want to miss out on 15 points. That's pretty hefty for getting the pole. There's definitely a lot of emphasis on it. I think the whole strategy for Pole Day is to get somewhere close to the front before four o'clock and then go with what you've got for the shootout."
(On the Fast Nine format pressure): "Last year, the team just wanted me to do one run, so I was never going to challenge for the pole. The year before was my first year, so this year feels like the first time I'm ever going to be able to challenge for the pole. So it's no different to me. It's just going to be kind of normal for me. I do feel anxiety though. I am a very intense person, so if I looked relaxed … that's pretty amazing."
THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. Garages open
Noon-6 p.m. Indianapolis 500 practice