MORRIS NUNN (Owner, Mo Nunn Racing): "Well, I think the series needs 33 cars in the field at the '500,' and Jeff has been doing quite well in the Pro Series. He knows this track, and he's run in Foyt's (IndyCar Series) car, which is a Dallara with...
MORRIS NUNN (Owner, Mo Nunn Racing): "Well, I think the series needs 33 cars in the field at the '500,' and Jeff has been doing quite well in the Pro Series. He knows this track, and he's run in Foyt's (IndyCar Series) car, which is a Dallara with a Toyota, so that was a plus. And also he had a seat already made, so that's another plus because it takes a day to make one. So when we make a late decision like this, we have to take all those things into account. He's going to do a few laps now, and we'll run him in the morning and see what happens. We don't want to put any pressure on him at all. If it's comfortable and he's comfortable, then we'll make a decision to see if we'll make an (qualifying) attempt."
KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I did a full tank run of 34 laps complete, and the car was very consistent. I tried a lot of things like fuel mixtures and different things, and my car seems to be working very good."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Arca/Ex Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "As good as our engineering staff is, we could keep trying things from now until Race Day and not stop. But you just can't do that. It's hard work going out there and running every day. We're just hoping now that we've found what we need to try and win this race in the ArcaEx car."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think Team 7-Eleven is ready. You'll never feel like you're quite there, but we've got plenty of information. Now we just need to sit down and analyze it with a clear head. It's been a stressful 10 days for everybody, and we all need a rest. But I'm happy. It's been a great team effort. Everybody at AGR has done a great job and so has everyone at Honda. We feel we're ready. I guess it's almost show time."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We are very fortunate on this team to have a good group of guys to help perfect the car setup. I think the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew is well prepared for the race. The conditions change so much you can never be too confident. I think we are where we need to be, and now we can just look forward to the race."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "Another great day. We are finished, and Kosuke is going to run a little bit more tomorrow. We are done. We did all the things that we wanted to do on the car. The car is working good. We did tires for the race; we did all the preparation we needed to do and minor adjustments to the cockpit. I drove the T-car in the morning and the primary car in the afternoon, just a few laps to make sure it was running good. We are ready."
MARTY ROTH (No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We've got a pretty strong car. There's a lot of people showing up today, and some will be out for the first time tomorrow. At this place, you have to put your time in. You've got to do your laps. As far as showing up here and throwing a car on the grid, they've got their work cut out. I know how hard it is to get to the 213 mark. You just don't put a car out at Indy and go fast."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The car is handling good. I'm wide open. We've been working and working on our race car, but we still need to get out and do some more work in traffic. We made some good changes to the car today, and hopefully we'll continue to make gains for the race when we go back out tomorrow."
ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 18 PDM Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're looking great. We expected to get out and get some running in today, but essentially all we got to do was a shakedown of the car. We checked the car and went back out for a second brief run where I was just building speed slowly to get my own head up to speed since it's been so long since I've been traveling at those speeds -- on the ground anyway. We'll just really try to get out on the track tomorrow morning, and hopefully, we've got good weather --not too windy -- and we should be in good shape."
PJ JONES (No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. We need a few more laps in the morning to play with the balances. This was the first time the car had run. We've put thirty laps on it today and still need to put a balance on it. We're not really worried about speed right now just more worried about the balance and get me going a little bit. But we're fine. Everything's good, we really didn't have any problems. I felt like I was getting the rust off. I'm excited for tomorrow.
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 12T Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was good. I was taking my time to build everything up and obviously Mo Nunn and this whole team have given me a great opportunity here. Just trying to go about it very professionally. There's a few little things in terms of my seating, and pedals and stuff that we need to get quite right before I'm totally comfortable. But I'm completely satisfied with the run we just had, and it was really fun to be out there. (We) really started working on the feel of the car and to make small changes and see what that was like. We didn't do much of that in the rookie test so it was good to get out there and do that. We've got a good place to start from tomorrow and get ready to qualify." (How does the feeling of this car compare to the Menards Infiniti Pro Series car?): "It's obviously more power and it's quicker, and you also have more grip. But you're just dealing with those higher speeds. It hasn't been a tough adjustment. Once I get my seating just right. I was a little bit lower sitting in it in the garage and I thought it was where I wanted to be, but it turns out I need to be just a little bit higher, so I was actually having to stretch my head just a little bit to see. So once we get that sorted out I should be much more comfortable and ready to get at it." (Do you think the team was equally satisfied and optimistic?): "Yeah, I think they're satisfied with what we just did. If I can just manage to get out of the pits without stalling it. I didn't do that at all in the rookie test. I think that has a little to do with the pedals. I was having to stretch for the gas, so once we get that sorted out. We need to obviously be ready to do pit stops for the '500.' I think everyone was satisfied with what we did at the end of the day, though."
SARAH FISHER (No. 39 Bryant Heating & Cooling/Cure Autism Now Dallara/Toyota/ Firestone): "I think we've been pretty good today. I feel pretty comfortable, really comfortable in the car by myself. In traffic, we just have to use the tools in the car to get the car to handle how I want it to. When I can achieve that, the car will be great in traffic. I'm pretty comfortable where I'm at and I think we're ready to go. We didn't have any miles left on the engine so we're not going to run tomorrow. Next time we go out will be Carburetion Day."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We had a pretty good session in the morning. The conditions were hot, but we started working where Buddy left off yesterday. I'm happy with the car, and we should be OK with the race car. He finished up a couple of things when he ran later, and we learned a lot. I think we're both really satisfied with the balance of our cars."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 LifeFitness DRR / Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "The car feels really good, and it stayed consistent throughout the day. If I could've just gotten into the draft, we really would've picked up a couple of spots. We were able to do some long runs for the first time, and I'm really comfortable with the car for tomorrow."
ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We ran some laps in this morning's session but decided to come back into the garages and make some changes. In the afternoon my car was running really solid, so I'm happy with the progress we made."
RICHIE HEARN (No. 33 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It feels really good. I love to be driving here. I love the race. You don't want to miss it. Bit I didn't want to do the thing where you walk around all month, either. It's really tough on your psyche. This year, Sam (Schmidt) had mentioned that there might be a possibility a few weeks ago, and I just let everybody I knew know that I could do it, that I'm ready to do it. Just let me know. He called me Thursday afternoon, and I was here Thursday night. It worked out well. I had a seat made already from last year, so it didn't take much to get me fitted for the car. Sam and I go back a long time. In a situation like this, it shortens the learning process. It makes it easier for him knowing what I need, and me knowing what to expect from Sam. With only a day and a half, we just don't have time to mess around. Like (Sam) said, those guys worked really hard. They obviously just won the (Menards Infiniti Pro Series) race and finished third, and then they had to press the button for me. Hopefully, I can give them a decent finish, as well. Last year, I jumped in the car, and I hadn't been in car since I crashed in Kentucky in August. It was a long time. Unfortunately, I've done this a few times, so I kind of know how hard to push and what needs to be done to make the car comfortable and not scare myself and overstep the boundaries. I think I have an advantage over some people in a last-minute deal that way. I'm not going to turn down the opportunity. I love being involved. There's nothing like being out there on that grid next Sunday before the start of the race. If I only get one day of practice, I'll deal with it."
ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a good day today. We finished up everything we needed to get done. I'm really happy with the way the car is headed going into the race."
SAM SCHMIDT (Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I'm amazed. I thought I was truly blessed and overwhelmed last year when I got a call from Tim Cindric. Tim called Wednesday night and said, 'Let's do this deal.' If I could have felt it, I said, 'Pinch me.' We had a fantastic time with those guys - Penske, Toyota, Firestone. Everyone just pitched in to make it happen in an extremely short amount of time. We juggled the IPS race, and our guys were running Tony Renna. It was unbelievable. I think the end product was a real quality product. I started beating up Tim in January to do this deal and not wait to the last minute, but ultimately it didn't work out that way and we did our deal Wednesday night. Fortunately my guys worked stuff out this year. Our primary focus was to win the IPS race today. I can't say enough about them. They got it all together. The last three nights they've been working until midnight on both cars and everything else. That's how I kind of got up getting the Penske deal again. It's funny to drive up and down the pit lane and see the envy in everybody's eyes. 'I've got a Penske car.' That's how the deal came together. The best thing about this the second time around, at least I know all of their crew members by first name now. We literally went over to Penske's garage, and all of the documents were there from last time. It didn't take a bunch of FedEx's back and forth." (About a field of 33): "I've been so busy I haven't really given it much thought. I think there will be 33 because there have been a couple of other guys that have been running. My passion is really for the race. There's so much gossip around here, you can't really listen to it. Does it matter to me? Not so much. It's just one less guy you gotta try and beat. I think it will be a full field." (About the sponsor, Lucas Oil Products): "It is a true rags to riches story. I was frankly shocked when we started this conversation that he had never sponsored a car here. With my off-road background, and knowing a bunch of guys in NHRA and stuff, I see Lucas Oil everywhere. But I also know that a guy like this gets a ton of calls. Without the personal introduction, it probably wouldn't have happened." (About driver Richie Hearn): "Richie and I go way back. I was racing a different series when he won the championship in Atlantics in 1995. Really good friends with them at the time. He won the Vegas race in '96 in the IRL. I just know the guy can drive, and he doesn't mess around a whole lot. Richie gets the job done. It's the whole timeframe thing, too. I wasn't scared at all about him not being in a car for three, four, five months, whatever it is, because we just know what he needs. His seat was done. It was just a good fit. We did everything right last year. I just got caught out a little bit. If we can do the same thing this year, I think we can run up front."
LARRY FOYT (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I am not too concerned about tomorrow. Did I say that with enough reservation? Hopefully, we will be OK. It may be close, but that's what Bump Day is all about. I think my dad worked out a deal with Chip Ganassi so that I have a back- up car to hop into. If something did happen, I would have a really good shot at getting back in."
Lucas Oil Products will serve as primary sponsor the No. 33 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Toyota/Firestone driven by Richie Hearn, company owner Forrest Lucas announced. FORREST LUCAS (Owner and founder, Lucas Oil Products, Inc.): "Growing up in Indiana, and actually racing a few times myself, I never would have dreamed I would be able to sponsor a team for the Indianapolis 500. We focus a great deal of our marketing and advertising efforts toward motorsports. This avenue has proven highly successful for our company, and with the new involvement with Sam Schmidt, Richie Hearn and the Indianapolis 500, Lucas Oil Products will be brought to a whole new level of accomplishments."
SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. Public Gates Open
10-11:15 a.m. IndyCar Series Practice
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Qualifications
6 p.m. Track Closes