MBNA Qualifying Quotes Infinit Grand Prix Of Miami Presented by 123.com Americatel HOMESTEAD, Fla., Saturday, April 7, 2001 BUDDY LAZIER ( ...
MBNA Qualifying Quotes
Infinit Grand Prix Of Miami
Presented by 123.com Americatel
HOMESTEAD, Fla., Saturday, April 7, 2001
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet
"Today is my son's birthday. He turns 2 years old. I wanted to give him a birthday present today. I felt that in practice we were real close being third overall and over 200 mph (in practice), but we weren't able to duplicate what we did in practice. We slowed down a bit since practice, but I'm not sure why. The car was awesome, and the balance seemed great. Plus I was wide open. It's a real tricky racetrack. It is going to be a great race tomorrow."
AIRTON DARE (#88 1-800-BAR-NONE G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"Tomorrow is a whole new deal. But it is frustrating to be in the back again. It's good to be here in Miami with all my friends. There are a bunch of people here today supporting me, and it will be the same tomorrow. I just hope to do better tomorrow."
DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The track has changed a great deal since we tested here, so we have been chasing the setup all weekend. The car was better today then yesterday, so we think we will have a good car for race day."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"It's really hard for us having just one lap to work with. We didn't really pull the gears the way we wanted to. It's disappointing for us today. We've never tested here before. I can't really use that as too much of an excuse. The little things were adding up today. Hopefully tomorrow we will be better."
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I think the sun came out just as we rolled out the Johns Manville/Menards car. The conditions changed quite a bit. This morning the wind changed a lot, and we were set up for that. We could have missed just a bit, but at the end of the day I think we'll be all right. This track is very competitive. Team Menard did great for the wind changes. Race day is going to be extremely fast, 197-198 (mph). We'll just need to get set up right for weather conditions. At the end of the day I knew for sure that we didn't hit the bull's eye in the center. We left a little bit on the table. Jeff (Ward) and the guys hit it spot on. They just got it right. Congratulations to them." (About qualifying setup): "I couldn't stay in the throttle in Turn 1, so my exit speed in (Turn) 2 was way off. (Turns) 3 and 4 were good for us." (About having veto power on where the Menard engines go): "I think that (building engines for other teams) is one of the things that's going to help us along. While Butch (Meyer) builds great motors, we haven't had the opportunity to build a lot of engines. At the end of the day, I think it'll help our engine development program. No, I'm only the driver. Unfortunately I don't have that veto power."
CASEY MEARS (#31 Galles Racing SportsLine.com G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"After yesterday we made some pretty significant changes to our setup, and it's made a world of difference. I feel so much better about the car that I wish this is where we had started in the first place. My goal for this race, and even for Atlanta, is to continue getting comfortable with the G-Force and improving with every session. Since we've had such a late start, I'm willing to sacrifice somewhat on speed in an effort to get the car as good as it can be. This morning's session was so much better than where we've been so far; and even in qualifying I feel so much more comfortable with the car, rather than just going out there and fighting it. In fact, I know I could've gotten more out of the car in qualifying; and that's a good feeling to have. I admit it's as much a balance between me having a good race car as it is for me to learn the correct way to drive an IRL car, and I believe I'm in a position to do that now. I really have to thank Rick Galles and my crew. They've all worked really hard to make the changes we did, and I feel we are now heading down the road with some continuity, which makes me feel really comfortable going into this race."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing
"The times are really tight here, which shows how competitive the IRL is. We had hoped to be quicker, of course, but as long as we're in the first three rows I'll be happy. We have an unbelievable car for the race. The conditions can change very quickly here, but we were able to back up our times in all conditions. So it really didn't affect our car." (About hometown race): "It was a weird feeling to be leaving my house to go to the track. It's great having the race so close to home."
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing/Kroger Special
"You really have to have a consistent race car here. I always liked banked tracks. Homestead feels like Las Vegas, but I like it. We have a new engineer, Mike Wright, and it is just starting to jell."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We've never gone that kind of speed here before. I've been here three times before. The best I've ever done is like 197. My main concern right now is to finish the race tomorrow. As a rookie I don't have much experience yet. The biggest race that I had ever ran before Phoenix was a 100-mile race. So tomorrow we are really going to concentrate on pit stops and getting the mileage right."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car
"I think fuel efficiency is going to be very important in the race tomorrow, and we've made big gains on fuel efficiency with the new Infiniti engine since Phoenix. This is only the second race for the 35A, and we've only done about 1,000 miles of testing so we're learning as we go. I'm confident that it's going to be a very good year for us."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The car got loose during the middle of my qualifying run because we had a punctured tire. But I think we have a good race car for tomorrow, so we will just have to do some passing on the track and be quick in the pits. This track can be tricky in terms of passing, but it will be a great show for the fans because of the great competition in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We're not happy, but we're not disappointed. We'd like to be a little bit faster because we know it doesn't pay much to be fifth or second today. We're just really excited with our race setup, and we're ready to go tomorrow. The Pennzoil Panther guys have a great race car for me. I just can't wait to get out there because I think we'll be running up front all day. Tomorrow if we put a little bit of patience into it, we'll be right there."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G
"It's only our fourth day with this new Infiniti. We are on a steep learning curve. We are starting at the back. So we will be a lot of fun all the way to the front. The focus is on providing a good race car. We have as good a shot as anyone else as long as we are consistent. It has been a tough couple of days. I only got five laps in this morning. We are putting all our energy toward a good, full-tank setup."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports/Firestone/Menards G
"I raced here in 1996 with the old configuration. I feel good. We were at the top in practice, but there were a couple of teams running at 200 (mph). I knew when Greg (Ray) ran a 199 (mph) that there was a window for us to take the pole. We had the gearing right on, which allowed me to hustle it through (Turn) 3 and 4." (About being nervous about Ray's qualifying laps): "Sure, I was nervous. He's been running great all weekend. Buddy (Lazier) was right up there, as well. We made the necessary adjustments after practice today and came out right on for qualifying. We learned a lot from today. We're going to make a few changes, but I feel we'll be right there again tomorrow." (About Ray and Ward both running engines from Menard Engine Development): "We've got unbelievable motors. It feels really great to have two Menard motors on the front row." (About his G Force chassis): "The G Force has been great for us. The good news is that the G Force is a better race car than a qualifying car. Tomorrow should be just as good or better. It takes the whole setup though. It takes a great engineer, a great engine and a good driver to come out in front. There are so many variables here. First, we've never raced here, so we aren't familiar with race conditions. Second, the wind is a factor. It's fine when we have one or two cars on the track, but who knows what will happen when we get the whole grid out there? I owe a lot of thanks to all the guys of Heritage Motorsports. I'm so happy to give them a pole so early in the season. Our next goal is a win and then to concentrate on the championship. We are a competitive team. I knew it from the beginning."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems
"I like this track a lot, but it's a very sensitive track with the temperature and the wind. We worked a lot on the race setup yesterday, and I think we've got a really good race setup for tomorrow. But hopefully the speed will come a little easier than it has today. We're OK. Qualifying doesn't mean anything come second and third lap tomorrow. Kelley Racing has assembled a great group of guys this year. When it's not your day, you just got to do the best that you can. Passing is going to be big tomorrow. The straightaways are long enough to get a good draft on somebody, but to do that your car's got to work pretty well behind another car. A lot of passes are going to be outside, and I think we've got our car set up to do that. It's a pretty unique track. The banking is real similar to Indianapolis. It's a very flat track. We have to run a lot more downforce here, but still it's similar to Indianapolis. I love running here. It poses a challenge for everybody."
BRANDON ERWIN (#30 WorldBestbuy.com/McCormack Motorsports G
"I actually thought we'd run a little faster, but overall I'm happy. The WorldBestBuy.com car felt fine, and our Firestone tires are great. I'm getting more comfortable every lap I do here. I just need to have more laps under my belt."
BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat
"I think the car could have gone quicker. I was making some adjustments that would have gotten the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara there, but I needed one more lap. We have a good, stable platform so it should make for a good race car. We'll just build from here. We'll take it out in the full-tank session later and see where we are for the race, but I think we'll be OK. We have been working on the race setup the whole weekend because tomorrow is going to be a long day, and that is the day that counts."
JERET SCHROEDER (#9 Purity Products Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"That's the fastest I've run here so far this weekend, so we're happy. We've been working on our race setup and not really worrying about qualifying. We should be in good shape for tomorrow. There are about 80 people coming from Purity Products tomorrow. We want to give them something to cheer about."
MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling
"I wasn't great all around, especially down in Turn 1 where I had a big understeer. I moved the weight jacker for the second lap, and it helped a little. I love the track, but the wind down here is something to contend with, and it plays a big factor in Turns 1 and 2. I think we've done a good job of having some stability in the car for the conditions that we've run in. It's not a bad car. It's probably a 199-mph car, but not a 200-mph car. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow because this place is very demanding on the car."
STAN WATTLES (#92 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"It can be a little frustrating here. The windy conditions are a little tricky when you're trying to set up the car. One lap the car does on thing, and the next it can do something entirely different. To tell you the truth, I was expecting a little more from the run. We put a taller gear in the car before qualifying, and I still hit the rev limiter. That took me by surprise, but other than that it was a good run. We're still a fairly new team. I'm proud of a top-10 qualifying spot. I think we're a top-five team, and we'll get there with a little patience."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We can't complain. Unfortunately we only had about 40 laps here before qualifying. We had some engine problems yesterday. This is going to be a grueling enduring race. We've got a good race setup so we're looking forward to Sunday." (About conditions today): "The wind always plays a factor here. It's the same for everybody; you just have to get a handle on it. It's a difficult racetrack. It's one of the more challenging racetracks we run on all year. When you haven't had much track time, like us, it makes it difficult in qualifying."