IRL: Indy 500: Day eight news and notes

RAIN AGAIN POSTPONES POLE QUALIFYING FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 14, 2006 -- Steady rains forced WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day Qualifications for the 90th Indianapolis 500 to be moved from May 14 to Saturday, May 20, ...

RAIN AGAIN POSTPONES POLE QUALIFYING FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 14, 2006 -- Steady rains forced WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day Qualifications for the 90th Indianapolis 500 to be moved from May 14 to Saturday, May 20, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League officials announced.

Unlike the last two days, where activity was completely cancelled, it was not a complete washout. Twenty-four drivers and teams had approximately 45 minutes of practice before rains brought an end to the day's activity at 2:15 p.m. (EDT). It was the first time since 1983 that a complete weekend of qualifications was rained out

Qualifying for the 33-car field will be Saturday. "Bump Day" will take place as scheduled on May 21. The practice and qualifications times shall be announced later. Fans can use May 13 and May 14 tickets as a rain-check for either May 20 or May 21.

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POST-PRACTICE NOTES:

On this date in 1992, Alan Mertens of Galmer Engineering was awarded the Louis Schwitzer Award by the Indiana Section, Society of Automotive Engineers for his design of the Galmer 9200 Indy Car chassis. The award recognizes excellence and innovation in race car design and development.

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In celebration of the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500, various personalities associated with "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will give their favorite "500" memories. Here's today's memory:

JOHNNY RUTHERFORD (Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner (1974, 1976 and 1980): "I have so many moments and memories from the Speedway and running in 24 races and being there for 40 years plus. I could start out and go on forever with different individuals and events, but there's no better moment at Indianapolis than winning. It's a feeling that's hard to beat."

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Did you know?: There have only been three complete postponements of the Indianapolis 500. Those came in 1915, 1986, and 1997, all because of rain.

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Ethanol will present $2,500 to the driver who records the fastest lap on five practice days during the Month of May. The "Ethanol Fastest Lap" will be presented May 10, 11, 17, 18 and 26. In addition to the ethanol awards, Cholula Hot Sauce will award $15,000 to the driver who completes the Fastest Lap of the Day on May 19.

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A.J. Foyt Enterprises is offering an Indy 500 VIP Weekend in the Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer Program's Onepass Online Auction.

The winning bidder and a guest will receive two tickets and two Bronze Badges for race weekend. They will meet A.J. Foyt and drivers Larry Foyt and Felipe Giaffone in the team's garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27. After the private meet and greet with the Foyt team, the winner will go to the Public Drivers' Meeting and will also be able to tour the garage area as teams make their final preparations.

Bidders can participate by going to www.continental.com and click on the Frequent Flyer tab, then to the Online auction section. The auction will close at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) on May 22.

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. met Olympic gold medalist and 100-meter world-record holder Justin Gatlin this morning in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing garage in Gasoline Alley. Gatlin set the world record Friday in Qatar.

AL UNSER JR.: "The similarities that we talked about were the wind and the air temperature. I asked him, 'What kind of winds were there?' for him when he set the record. Basically, it was the same as us. A nice little tailwind makes us go faster, and it's the same way with him. The humidity and cold air (hurts a sprinter). Cold air is pretty heavy, and hot air is pretty light, so what he basically said for a sprinter is that you want it dry and hot. Today would be a horrible day for him."

JUSTIN GATLIN (World Record holder, 100 meters): (About the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): "It's amazing. The structure is quite unique. There's nothing like it in the world. These cars are fast and I'm addicted to speed. I'm like a kid all over again. I've learned a lot about (the "500") today. I'm a big fan now. I think these cars are traveling 200 (mph) plus, especially hitting those curves and taking on those g-forces what is it, probably 4 Gs at a time. I mean every car out there, and they're hitting the track more than 500 times so I take my hat off to them. They're great athletes. It's all about a mental and a physical out there and it's dangerous as well." (What is it like to be the world's fastest human?): "It feels great, as an athlete, I feel like it was time for me to have the world record. I've done everything already; I've achieved all the goals that I could. And me being a competitor, I just want to do it again. I just want to go out there and redo everything again. But as a person, I think I'm still in shock. I think it really set in this morning when I woke up and got out of the shower and I wrote 9.76 on the foggy mirror. I had to really sit back and look at that time and look at how fast it was and I did that. I can't believe it, and I'm happy about that.

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IndyCar Series veteran Sarah Fisher, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, visited the Speedway on Saturday. Fisher said she has no plans to compete in the Indianapolis 500.

SARAH FISHER: "As everybody knows, I've been trying to do some driving down south. It's just not working the way I want it to work. Just looking at every opportunity and doing some other things besides racing to keep me busy." (About running in the Indianapolis 500): "I love Indy cars. But it has to be the right opportunity. I've been in cars that can't win, and I'm a winning person. I need to be in a winning car. Everybody deserves that chance. Just depends on the opportunity."

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The May 8 Firestone Racing "Evening of Giving" Benefit Concert and Auction netted $14,000 to benefit three Indianapolis-area charities. Proceeds from the event will be split among Racing for Corey, Indiana Children's Wish Fund and IRL Kids.

The "Evening of Giving," presented by 92.3 WTTS and held at the Music Mill on Indianapolis' north side, featured two music sets from the Carl Storie Band, a live and silent auctions of sports- and entertainment-related items and an autograph session with a dozen Indy Racing League and United States Auto Club drivers.

MIKE KLINGE (Founder of Racing for Corey): "We are very pleased with our first 'Evening of Giving' event and grateful for the support that we received from the public, media and sponsors. We are honored to have Firestone Racing as a partner, and we look forward to next year's event."

AL SPEYER (Executive Director of Firestone Racing): "The organizers did a tremendous job putting on this event and Firestone Racing is proud to be associated with it." "Attendance was great, the music sensational, and everyone certainly took on the spirit of the 'Evening of Giving' to raise so much for the three fine charities the first time out. We believe the Firestone Racing 'Evening of Giving' is well on its way to becoming a must-attend social event on the busy May calendar in Indianapolis."

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The black No. 97 Team Leader Special Panoz/Honda/Firestone driven by Stephan Gregoire will be sponsored by Effen, an ultra premium vodka distilled in Holland. The company plans to entertain customers at race. Gregoire, who has a best finish of eighth (2000) in six 500-Mile Races, will get on the racetrack May 17 and attempt to qualify on Coca-Cola Throwback Day Qualifying on May 20.

GREG BECK (Co-owner, Team Leader Motorsports): "For a small team to land a sponsor like Effen is pretty huge for us. It's funny because I actually had a message on my answering machine from Tom Anderson about potentially if I would be available to help run a third car. I called him back, and I just approached him with the idea of maybe we could maybe lease the car from him. That would alleviate his problem of trying to run a third car and put us in a position to put some things together. I had some sponsorship from Mike Curb and told Brian (Barnhart) just to let him know that I was heading down that path. He told me that Kent Baker was trying to put an effort together and had some sponsorship and maybe that we should work together. And as they say, the rest is history. It has been a really good relationship from day one. Everything has just fallen into place. It has really been good. (About the looks of the new car): "I'm very excited with the look of our car. The black on white scheme of EFFEN Vodka really works on a race car. You can't miss it. The design is simple yet it just plain looks nice. Simple is always better. We will have a very interesting press release out in the next couple of days about the guy who did a lot of the graphics work and the design on the car and our Team Leader logo. It will be an interesting human interest story."

KENT BAKER (Co-owner, Team Leader Motorsports): "We basically compressed three months work into three weeks. We're ready to roll. We think we have a major effort. We've heard some buzz in the garage area calling this the 'David vs. Goliath story.' In the beginning we found some humor in that comparison, but we're starting to believe in it now. The sponsorship all fell into place. This is a primary sponsor launch, but we actually have the full car with sponsors. We have a variety of companies from Indiana. We've got Curb Records from Nashville, Tenn., also Direct Supply, which is a health supply company out of Wisconsin. I've got a really good feeling about the whole program. It just seems like it was meant to be. I'm excited to be part of it, and I think the car is awesome. Nothing beats a black race car."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE (No. 97 Effen Vodka Team Leader Special Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I am really proud to be a part of this team. I've been doing some sports car racing in-between (since 2001). For me to be back with Greg Beck brings back a lot of wonderful memories. Thanks to Effen Vodka for helping make a dream come true. Everything just happened so quickly. I am very excited to be back." (About returning to racing): "The motivation to drive again was just too strong to resist. I heard that Kent Baker wanted to do something, so I got in touch with him (and Ted Warner of Acceleration Marketing, which had ties to Effen principals)."

JON DEITELBAUM (President and CEO of EFFEN Vodka): "We're thrilled to be involved and thrilled to be here. I got a call about two weeks ago asking if I was interested in any type of motor racing. Because I've known Ted Warner and have always been a big fan of the Indianapolis 500 and just a race fan in general, I had to do this. We had also just come out of doing consumer research. Our consumers told us to be involved with a sport like this. So we thought, wow, two opportunities came together pretty quick."

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POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

Selected quotes from the press conference with Brian Barnhart and Joie Chitwood.

BRIAN BARNHART (President and COO, Indy Racing League): "Well, we really tried to keep all options open and balance all kinds of factors before making a decision. It kind of goes back to we have four scheduled days of qualifying, and we are going to stick to those four scheduled days. We've lost the first two to inclement weather. Our original plan under the new format called for 33 cars to be in the field by the conclusion of the third day, so we are going to stick to that plan, and we'll do positions one through 33 on Saturday as Joie mentioned. Sunday will remain as Bump Day, bumping the slowest cars in the field." (About possibly of qualifying Monday and Tuesday): "There were a number of factors. When I've talked before about trying to keep options open, it includes trying to do what is best for the fans. They are obviously most important. It is difficult for fans to be here on Monday and Tuesday when the original schedule called for the track to be closed. And both from the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway standpoint and from a League standpoint, we face staffing issues. You take the competitors into consideration. You certainly take the weather forecast into consideration, and tomorrow's forecast isn't much better than what we've been unfortunately experiencing the last three or four days. There were a number of factors involved in that (decision), but I think as I said earlier, it just kind of goes down to we we had four original days of qualifying. We've lost the first two, and we'll stick to the third and fourth and the plan of doing 33 by the end of the day." (About the qualifying format): "I think the potential of this format is really exciting. I think even more so this year than last year with the parity we have in competition with Honda as the sole engine supplier and the leveled playing field of competition that we have as the shortened week of practice even demonstrated. We had 22 or 23 cars that are really in the hunt going for 11 spots. With three attempts per day out of those cars, I think we wer e really setting ourselves up for an exciting day. Two years in a row we haven't been able to experience that, but that's fine. That's one of those things you can't be too unhappy about. You don't control it, and you can't control you. You take the situation as it's dealt to you and make decisions moving forward based on what's in the best interest for everybody." (How much time do the drivers need on the track?): "We'll have to deal with it when it comes about. I think (weather forecasters) are far enough out that I don't feel real comfortable that they are able to predict that far in advance. At least I'm hoping not, because the forecast is not very good. But track time is important. I think the guys running the first week are in pretty good shape. Some of the second week runners have had time in the ROP. Thiago Medeiros ran in that session. Some of the guys did refreshers as well. Larry Foyt ran one day as well. Track time is vital and important to them. It puts a little bit of a burden on them now that they need to mix and balance full tank runs and race preparation with qualification preparation. You will be jockeying for all 33 spots, keep an eye on the weather forecast, which adds another dimension that will make it just that much more challenging for them."

JOIE CHITWOOD (President and COO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway): (About staffing issues): "Needless to say, there are a lot of people involved. For us to staff up and to do it properly, I'm not sure that was really a good choice for us. From a technical standpoint and observers, there are a lot of folks who need to be involved to make this show run properly, and we certainly didn't want to go into tomorrow unprepared for what could be a good qualifying show. I think we want to make sure we keep that intact, being prepared for a good event. I'm not sure we could have done that properly by tomorrow." (About changes to Indy 500 format): "Some of the changes we made we actually got to see in action last year with Miller Lite Carburetion Day being moved to Friday and how successful that was in terms of energy. It was nice to see some things work last year. I think we'd just like to see this (new qualifying format) in action. We always talk about the run for the pole. I think that's great, but with the format of one through 11, I think there's two things going on there. It's not just the pole, it's that 11th position. Looking at time sheets this past week, I thought the competition for the 11th spot was going to be as competitive as I've ever seen." (About not running on Monday or Tuesday): "To be honest not running on Monday or Tuesday was only a couple of years old. We've traditionally run every day whether it was qualifying or practice. It's trying to balance a lot of different needs. Looking at trying to put on a good show, what it takes for us to do that, and to be honest the forecast for us tomorrow isn't very promising. Balancing out the ability to put on a good show, weather forecast looks the same as today. There is no decision that is ever easy here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are so many things to consider. But I think Brian and I spent a lot of time talking about options and really agreeing to what is really best for everyone. "

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fastest driver of the day): "From a strategic standpoint, the engineers really have to manage the time we do on track properly because we're allowed one engine that's allowed to do 1,200 miles up until Carb Day. We will be considering how exactly we utilize that time and I think the weather still going to continue to play a part. That's unfortunately how Indianapolis is during the month of May. The good thing is that it'll be exciting for the pole and the race will be very good. The thing you've got to remember that people remember the race winner for life here. They remember the pole winner for as long as the guy's on pole, until the race starts. The biggest thing is with qualifying being pushed back a whole week, you've got to focus on the race car. That's all that counts. Maybe Friday afternoon, you can switch and you can run your qualifying car which will be your race car but you've really got to focus on the race, because like I said, that's what really counts." (About extra time being a benefit or disadvantage): "I don't think it changes anything for us. It's the same for everybody at the end of the day. I think we've had a very fast car all month, although the way we've gone about qualifying differs from Penske. I think it'll be race for the pole."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second-fastest driver of the day): "The Marlboro Team Penske car is handling very well, and we're happy with our times when we're running by ourselves. Today we just started to get the car trimmed out, and we feel confident that when we finally do qualify we'll be able to get it done. We had a bit of a tow on that last lap, but I think the conditions today were the best that we've had. Very little wind, cool temperatures, the track was actually dry so we could actually go out and drive on it. I knew there were going to be some big speeds put up today, and we're really excited about qualifying. Obviously, we're going to have to wait another six days, but we'll see what happens. (About qualifying moving to next weekend): "I think the extra time is going to help everyone else catch up to us a little bit, but as far as us, we're going to work on race setup. The race is what we're here to win, it's not qualifying. So we'll just continue to move forward and see what happens."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third-fastest driver of the day): "We were able to get about 10 minutes of track time today, which allowed us to show a little bit of speed. The weather and track conditions were very favorable because there wasn't much wind before the rains came. Overall, I was feeling really good in the car. Since it's Mother's Day, it's only fitting that Mother Nature came into play."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 1 Jim Beam/Vonage Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 11th-fastest driver): "It's a bummer. I actually would have loved to have done it today. The conditions were so perfect. It would have been one of those days where you didn't have to guess about gears because of the wind and all that. The Jim Beam/Vonage car was good. I think we could have run in the 224s for an average. The car was consistent, and I had no real tows out there. I think everybody else had big tows. I think we could have put it in the top 10, and I would have been happy with that."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, fifth-fastest driver): "We got one run and I was trying to get a clear lap. We just need one clear run on the track to know exactly where we are, but I'm a lot happier than I was a couple of days ago. I think the Klein Tools/Canadian Club guys have worked really, really hard on this car for these four (qualifying) laps. It doesn't really matter in the big picture. I think you can win this race from the last row, but we'd certainly like to get up at the front and stay there. We're definitely getting closer, so I'm very optimistic and happy with the job the crew has done. We had a very difficult month, but we're getting there."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, sixth-fastest driver): "We just had a few laps to try and get a feel for the car. The Team 7-Eleven car feels pretty balanced, although I think we can probably get it a little better still. I don't think that anyone can run the big speeds we are seeing without some help, and we've been able to run by ourselves enough that we have a pretty good idea of what we're capable of running."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth-fastest driver): The weather conditions were better. You know, it's cool. The engine definitely picks up more speed, and the car has more downforce with no wind. I think that's the difference from the other day. The temperature conditions are similar to the other day, but it's nice to not have the wind out there. (About move of qualifying to next weekend): "I think everybody's pretty much got the car they've got now, so it's not like the speeds are going to change between the teams with the split that we already have. It's just a shame that it couldn't play out through the typical scenario that they've been trying to do for the last couple of years."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Honda/Firestone, ninth-fastest driver): "We basically worked on race setup at the beginning of last week and were all ready to start going into qualifying mode when the rains came Wednesday night. Of course, I haven't been out since then so I was anxious to see how comfortable the car was. JD (John Dick, race engineer) and the guys did a great job. Right away, the car felt really comfortable and we ran some good times. I think we could take it even another step further but the rains came. At least we got the first step out of the way, and I feel like we will get faster and faster."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 15th-fastest driver): "For the start of the session, we trimmed out a lot on the car for qualifying. The car had a little bit of push. We made some changes, and the car was getting better and better. At the end, in the last two to three minutes, we took off everything and -- although I wasn't able to make a complete lap because of the checkered flag -- through Turns One, Two and the back straight, the car felt a lot different. We gained a lot of speed from our previous outing. I think I will be able to make over 225 mph in qualifying easy. Hopefully, the weather will let us get some more practice time in this week before qualifying next Saturday. We want to have a perfect day in front of a lot of fans for qualifying and maybe that will happen next weekend. I want to be able to show 100% of my performance."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Panoz/Honda/ Firestone, 18th-fastest): "This kind of thing comes with the territory. I don't think it is that frustrating. You can't predict Mother Nature. I think the stat I saw is that they have had some kind of rain on Pole Day for the last five years. We don't have the fastest car, but we do have a good race setup. Today was good for us to run and learn things. I am pleased with our setup now. I know we don't look that good on the speed charts, but I feel that we have found some things that will help in qualifying and the race. The laps today were quite in encouraging for our Argent team. I think Danica (Patrick) and Jeff (Simmons) also were pleased with the gains we made. We know we are behind on the charts but we have won this race before, and this team knows what to do. I am confident that we can get the car in very shape for the race, and that's what is important."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Panoz/Honda/ Firestone, 19th-fastest): "The weather is a little frustrating, but overall we are pleased that we were able to run today. I think all of us -- Buddy (Rice), Danica (Patrick) and myself -- are happier with cars even with the limited time on the track. I think you see there are a lot more smiles around our garage now than earlier in the week. We learned some things today that will help us for next week's qualifying and the race. We had higher expectations coming into the month, and now we are working more on the race setup than qualifying. We feel that we won't go for pole. That is just out of reach. I thought we would have a lot more laps in the car at this time, and I think all of the teams thought that. Coming into the week, we had a strict plan since we only had 1,200 miles on the engine. That is not an issue. We have stacks of tires and miles to burn on the engine, so I hope we can get some more laps in this week. For Team Ethanol, we are more focused on the race, and we'll see how qualifying goes next weekend. The last two days we didn't think we would run at all, and today it was nice to get a few laps in. We learned that our cars have improved."

LARRY CURRY (Team Manager, Vision Racing): (About the team this month): "Everyone at Vision Racing has been working really hard. From all of the mechanics and the engineering department headed up by David Cripps, we are very pleased with the results we've had not only today, but from the start of the month as well. All of the drivers went out and were comfortable straight away. I can't say enough about their commitment to this team as well as the mechanics. Coming out of the first two races and a test, then packing up and going to Japan, now coming here and adding a car, it's been an outstanding effort on everyone's part." (About the rain): "You come in with a particular game plan. This week, for us, was all about qualifying, and the idea that this weekend we would be qualified and next week we could work on race setup. Is it frustrating for us that we can't qualify? Sure it is. It's not only frustrating for us, but also for the fans that come out to watch all of the drama unfold. It's the same for everybody though. We have to go back and think about it a little bit tonight and put together a plan for the next few days when the track reopens on Wednesday, and for when qualifying comes next weekend." (About the team's progress from last year): "When we started this last year it's not like we didn't know what we needed to do. On the same token, I took the job on Jan. 30, and we had to be in Homestead on Feb. 28 (2005), and we had to be ready with a car for Ed (Carpenter) and a (Indy) Pro Series car as well. The team never had any Pro Series equipment, so we had to get that and we had to put all of the people together. Our goal last year was to put a reliable product on the racetrack and make it as competitive as we thought we could make it. We had our eye on this year as far as where we needed to make improvements and the people that we needed to put in place in the off-season. We were able to put that together and have a quick test in Phoenix for Honda. Both Tomas (Scheckter) and Ed (Carpenter) ran the same car and were very successful. The other part of this is when you go from a staff of 12 to a staff of 30-plus, the challenge is to gel the different personalities together. I think all of those things are coming together, and the more we run we're starting to draw the best out of everyone."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, seventh-fastest driver): "(About posting his fastest time of the month, seventh-fast overall) "I had a little help on that lap. I think I was getting a little tow off of (Tony Kanaan). We had a good day whether we had a tow or not. The car's been good since we unloaded. We really hadn't trimmed all the way out until today. We had known all along that our cars have been good. They've been driving really well. It was just a matter of time, trimming out, we knew the speed was going to be there when we needed it. I really wish we could have gotten the qualifying in today. I feel like the longer the month goes on, the longer we wait to qualify, it gives some of the other teams who may not have hit their setup right yet, it gives them a little more time to catch up. I'm sure we'll make some more gains by then as well. I'm just really happy with the whole effort, and things are going really well for the team." (About being more competitive this season) "Having the right package and getting the right people and everything else. The stars have to be aligned. It doesn't matter how good you are if you don't have the right package. I've got a lot of confidence in the team and all the people around me, so I think that's why things are starting to look better. I feel the same that I've always felt, and not much as changed as far as I'm concerned from my end."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 90 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 13th-fastest driver): "It's been a good month. Kind of a series of starts and stops, I suppose. I mean ever since the first day we've had a bit of an issue. We ran on the second day and with the weather, starting and stopping. It's kind of fun, though. This race, Indianapolis, is all about drama and tension and unpredictability and weird things happening. As a fan, or just watching from a distance, it seems like we might be in the middle of some uncertainty and unpredictability. It's kind of cool, I think it just adds to the flavor. The cars are great, we unloaded really well. We had a good four or five runs without any help." (About Rock & Republic sponsorship): "Some friends of mine from L.A., we introduced them to the team a few weeks ago and here we are, we've got our new suits on and everybody's wearing the jeans, and we're having a good time. It's kind of nice to have a partner like that come in, you know a little more in tune with what it's like to kind of hang out casually and not be so uptight as a big corporate sponsor, so I like having them on board." (About practice time): "I think it helps me get closer to the rest of the experienced guys. I've raced a lot of the guys in the field before, but they have a lot more experience around here than I do. Getting around here by yourself is one thing, but getting around in the race is completely different, so that's the part that I can't really catch up on until I go do it. I still don't feel like I have a lot of laps. I think it's a lot less than we would have expected at this point. But, yeah, relatively speaking to the rest of the field, I think we're doing OK."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 13th-fastest driver): "Things are great. I mean, the team, I really have to take my hat off to them. They've done a great job and given us three great cars. The team has come a long way, and I think there is a lot of chemistry between us now in such a short period of time. With me, Ed and definitely Townsend coming along and I think this team has just gone from one level to the next and everyday keeps improving. The cars are good and we look forward to qualifying." (About frustration with the rain): "For me it's most frustrating being out there ready to qualify, we get almost two full practices in and it pours down. If it pours down from the beginning, it's one thing, but as a driver, you get mentally prepared on what you have to do and get really focused, get out there and do some times, and then get all rained out. But more importantly, it's frustrating for the fans, but we've got a good car and we want to get it on the track and be ready to go."(About differences in Chevy and Honda power): "There are some differences. The Chevy was good in one area and the Honda is good in a different area. With the powerband, the Honda is very good when you get up to speed and have been really reliable so far. It's hard to tell though, from one year to the next and each team and everything. The one thing I do notice is just the power band. The Chevy sort of liked it when you were right on the limiter all the time and the Honda doesn't like that too much."

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The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (EDT) on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC will broadcast the race live beginning at noon (EDT). A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. Live coverage on the IMS Radio Network begins at noon (EDT). The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 at 12:30 p.m. on May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's Carb Day coverage on May 26. Live coverage on the IMS Radio Network begins at 12:15 p.m. (EDT).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Stephan Gregoire , Tony Kanaan , Larry Foyt , Tom Anderson , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Brian Barnhart , Jim Beam
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , HART