SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm so thrilled for the Kelley Racing Delphi team right now. To come out and run so well this weekend and to get this backup car ready in such a hurry, they've been great. I really believe in...
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm so thrilled for the Kelley Racing Delphi team right now. To come out and run so well this weekend and to get this backup car ready in such a hurry, they've been great. I really believe in my heart that we had a shot at the pole today had it not been for my accident in the morning practice session. I still don't know why the incident happened this morning, but the crew did a great job getting me back out in the backup car. I hadn't driven this car since the Open Test, so I'm pleased where we ended up in qualifying. We'll just go racing from there."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It wasn't too bad. We had a lot of understeer, and we kept hitting the rev limiter. That hurt us a little bit, but I'm encouraged with the car in race trim. We were pretty consistent on full-tank runs yesterday, and I think we have a good chance to finish well tomorrow."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I can't say enough for this team. We struggled a little bit over the last two days, but the Team Target guys really stepped up today. They made some changes and gave me a really good car for qualifying. The car had a good balance, and it was about all that we had. Toyota has also done a tremendous job. We knew that we probably weren't going to qualify up front here, but we know that we will at other tracks that we go to this year. We need to have a good finish tomorrow, get some points and move on to Phoenix."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Tomorrow is going to be a long day for us, but we think we have the car that it's going to take to go out and run well. We know that our car handles well in traffic, and hopefully it will tomorrow. Yesterday, we were doing long runs and making sure the car runs good, and this morning we started our qualifying program. We haven't worked on qualifying yet, so this is the first time we've done that. We overstuck the car a little bit for qualifying. I've always said I'd rather put the car safely in the race than have to put the car back together and start from the back. I'm excited to get back out there and race. Halfway through the race, you're wishing the race was over, and two minutes after the checkered flag, you wish it was about to start again."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The qualifying was easier for me than it's been all weekend. The track has changed a lot on us in the different practice sessions. The Pioneer/Miller Lite crew has worked really hard to get us where we are right now. I think we have the right direction with the chassis, and we can now work on our race setup. It will take patience on Sunday in the race, but you have to have the speed, too. There is plenty of tough competition in this field. Of course, this series has had a lot of talent with guys like Tony Stewart, who won the Winston Cup title last year, but the depth of the field is so much greater. I wanted to race with the best competition, and this series has it. Back in 1998 and 1999, if you had a bad day, you might be 10th or so. Now, you have a bad day, and you're going to be 18th or 20th. There are 15 to 18 cars that can win a race."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "We have worked so hard all weekend to find the right setup and made many, many changes, and nothing seemed to be the magic trick to get us around this track any faster than we are going. I think, for sure, we will have a good car for the race. The key will be, like it always is, to stay out of trouble and keep the leaders in sight and then hope for the best at the end."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It has been a difficult weekend so far, but I think Sunday will be our best day. The conditions were just so slippery, and it was not easy to find grip. We went with a high-downforce setup and focused on our race setup yesterday and today."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had an all-right run today. It was a little slower than what I had set as my goal, but I'm really confident going into tomorrow's race. I think we're going to have a good day."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Menards /Johns Manville/Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "It's been a long battle to get here. Just to be here is the culmination of a lot of work. We are not real happy with our qualifying run. We ran a lot quicker this morning. We had a huge push this morning and made some changes trying to get the car better, but we went too far. I went out there, and every single lap I was chasing my tail all the way around the track. It's all a big learning experience for tomorrow. That's the one that matters." (About returning to competition after breaking his back last season): "I feel better than ever. I really feel good right now. There is no problem at all with my back. I am excited about that, and I am just ready for race day."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm not 100 percent happy with my qualifying effort. It's my first time out, so I guess I should be reasonably happy, but we're so focused on trying to get a good car for the race setup that we're not doing much of a qualifying setup. Maybe that's part of the struggle we have right now. I think we'll be all right. It's my first race, so I don't want to expect too much. Certainly, finishing well will be the first priority. If we keep the speed up, we should be in the top 10."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm very happy with how the Marlboro Team Penske car performed today, and I think we're in good shape for the race. During this morning's practice, we were planning on starting our qualifying run after the second time by. However, when we went out to qualify, we decided to wait until the third time by to take the green. Unfortunately, the tires were perfect on my last warm-up lap, and when I went for it on the next one, they were gone. But we are starting fourth, which is great. Tomorrow won't be about speed; it'll be about consistency. Now we just have to maintain our focus for the race because that's what counts."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've been focused on our race setups, but I couldn't keep it down between (Turns) 3 and 4. It's not the run I wanted to have. Granted, the conditions have changed from yesterday to today, but still we should be going faster than we are."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm reasonably happy with our qualifying run. I was hoping for another tenth (of a second), but the time was good enough for a top-five starting spot. We've been struggling with the conditions a little bit this weekend as it is hotter and windier than when we tested here. The wind was a huge factor today, but I guess it is the same for everyone. The car had a bit more push than it did this morning, and I had to get off the throttle in Turns 3 and 4. Most importantly, I think we have a good race car. We focused on race setup all day yesterday, so hopefully it will pay off for Marlboro Team Penske tomorrow."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I think we helped the car some for qualifying, but I'm not really happy with my run. We do have a good race car. We tried to help it some for qualifying, but after watching what happened to Scott (Sharp) this morning, we just wanted to make sure we put the car in the show solidly. The Corteco car has been running really well all weekend, and the crew has been doing a great job. I think we'll be competitive tomorrow because this team has been working very hard on our race setup. I think we'll be OK."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Turns 3 and 4 are tricky. We have been concentrating a lot on our race car. We tried some things with our qualifying setup this morning and had some problems. Right now we are on a big learning curve. We are not only working on this race but also gearing up for Indy, as well. We know that we have a good solid race car for tomorrow, and we are going to continue to work on that. The big deal is tomorrow, and we want to make sure that Red Bull Cheever Racing, Dallara and Chevy are at the front for the end of tomorrow's race."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 5 EPSON/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We got the car checked out yesterday morning. We just needed more time for testing. We shook the car down yesterday but needed more time to get up to speed."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's a great effort for the 7-Eleven team. We worked together so well as teammates, and it paid off. That's the secret to being successful. We just have to do it in the race tomorrow." (Does being a three-car team play in your favor?): "It plays in everybody's favor because we help each other all the time. One guy tries the race setup, the other guy tries the qualifying, and the other goes in between. It's a big help. Today, I had Michael's setup for qualifying, and I worked on the race setup really well." (About leading Lap 1): "I don't mind if Michael (Andretti) passes me or I pass him. Obviously I'm first, and I have a little bit of an advantage having to pull away a little bit, I think. It's a long race. It doesn't matter who leads the first lap; what matters is who leads the last one."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About success as an owner-driver): "It's our dream, you know. We have a long way to go, but I'm proud of the whole 7-Eleven team. They just did a tremendous job. Up to this point, it's almost as good as it can be. If we had Dario (Franchitti) up there, it would be that much better, but hopefully we can do this thing tomorrow. He's (Dario) right there. He's going to be tough."
JOE NEGRI (GM Racing IRL Program Manager): "We are very pleased with the Chevy Indy V8's qualifying performance today. It's rewarding to see a Chevrolet engine third on the grid, right in the mix with the other manufacturers. There was speculation before the event about the competitiveness of Chevrolet engines, but today's result demonstrates that we will be competitive. The Panther Racing team clearly has a handle on this racetrack and will be a contender to win the race. The Chevy engines have performed well so far, and most of the Chevrolet teams have focused on their race setups. I think you will see them run much stronger in the race."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/WeGotGear Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We collaborated about the changes to make to the car after practice this morning, but we didn't do quite enough. The car was perfect in Turns 1 and 2, but I couldn't hold it flat in (Turns) 3 and 4. The wind died down since this morning, which was good, but the hotter track temps definitely affected us. Tomorrow, everyone's car will push, and our goal is to have the car that pushes the least and to be there at the end for our sponsor WeGotGear."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We ran in race trim all weekend and only ran one qualifying simulation at the end of this morning's practice, and we still hadn't found a good balance. We expected an improvement this afternoon, but the car still had some understeer, which caused me to get out of the throttle quite a lot. The understeer is our biggest problem right now, and we can't seem to solve it. We have worked on our race setup all weekend, so hopefully that will pay off tomorrow. All three of our cars have a degree of understeer, but Michael (Andretti) and Tony (Kanaan) seem to have a better handle on it right now. It's great to see my teammates on the front row, and I know the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew is working hard to get me up to the front tomorrow."