PATRICK PACES INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE; J. LAZIER FASTEST AMONG NON-QUALIFIERS INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 16, 2007 -- Danica Patrick paced the opening day of the second week of practice for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis...
PATRICK PACES INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE; J. LAZIER FASTEST AMONG NON-QUALIFIERS
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 16, 2007 -- Danica Patrick paced the opening day of the second week of practice for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Patrick, who will start eighth in the race, lapped the famed 2.5-mile oval in 40.6891 seconds, 221.189 mph as most of the 22 qualified drivers worked on race setups. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second fastest with a lap of 220.556 mph while Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. was third.
Patrick's Andretti Green Racing teammates Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti rounded out the top five.
Among the drivers who will compete for the final 11 starting positions on May 19-20, Playa Del Racing's Jaques Lazier was fastest with a lap of 217.159.
Three drivers began practicing for the first time this month. Jimmy Kite, a five-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, had a fast lap of 204.193 mph but was involved in the only incident of the day when his No. 18 PDM entry made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 on his 19th lap. Kite was checked and released at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.
PJ Jones, a two-time starter and son of 1963 winner Parnelli Jones, and Roger Yasukawa, a four-time starter, also turned their first laps of the month. Rookie Phil Giebler returned to the track for the first time since completing Rookie Orientation on May 8.
At a press conference this morning, Panther Racing announced it would field a third entry for seven-time Indianapolis 500 starter John Andretti in the 91st Indianapolis 500. Andretti's No. 33 Honda-powered Dallara will be backed by Camping World and RVs.com. Andretti last started the Indianapolis 500 in 1994, when he finished 10th in a car with the No. 33.
JOHN ANDRETTI (#33 Camping World Panther Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's awesome to be back. Seven times I've been here in August (Allstate 400 at the Brickyard). It's such a great facility; it's 'the' place. I drove by here when I went to high school; your whole life is centered around it. So to get back after a long hiatus has been good. It's going to be exciting for me. I appreciate them (Panther Racing) taking me under their wing. They're going to give me a lot of advice to get going hopefully today. It figures the weather was nice last week, and it's going to play with us a little bit this week. But it's going to be nice this weekend, and that's all that matters. Camping World has been really supportive of me the last three years, and to tie all three together -- to come to Indianapolis, bring them to Indianapolis and get back here for the Indianapolis 500 is, I don't know, overwhelming would be an understatement." (It has been 13 years; how quickly do you feel you can get the feel back for the car and also, how nice is it you don't have to fly back to Charlotte?): "Staying here the whole time will help. Hopefully one lap per year, we'll get right back in the rhythm of things. Fortunately for me and the race team, we've got really good teammates. They're going to be helping. So it's not, 'Here you go, John, jump in and make it happen.' It's going to be a strong plan. For me, it's an ideal situation. A more ideal situation would just be to have more track time, but here at Indianapolis you can also spend too much time on the track, too, and wind yourself into the ground. I don't consider it any kind of a handicap in any way. The team is set, they've got two guys in the field, and hopefully we can get the third one in." (Driving a Cup car versus an IndyCar into Turn 1, it must feel like driving without ankle weights after that?): "I've been joking with the guys on the team that Andretti's (going to be) in the grass because the car actually turns. You down there (Turn 1) with a stock car it's pretty much a Hail
Mary a lot of times. You drive a race car for what it gives you, and I think when I get in it it's going to be no different than jumping from one race car to another. I need to get back out there, the bugs hitting my visor again, having to use tear off's and all that. It's totally different. I've got a lot of new equipment and decaled the race car. There's so many different things coming back at us, but it's not like I haven't been here before. I think that right now I'm probably about as relaxed as I've ever been at the Speedway. I feel real confident in the team and where we're at. I don't feel like I have to set fast lap right away. We're going to take a real conservative approach to it and make sure we do all the right things, and that's what's great about being here with John Barnes. Not only am I a driver but a friend, and that helps in a lot of ways, too." (When did you decide you wanted to try this again?): "This started for me back in February. I spoke to John (Barnes) early on. It all really started getting serious last week."
JOHN BARNES (Co-owner, Panther Racing): "This completes the story for me. In 1973, I was lead mechanic on Mario's (Andretti) car at Vel's Parnelli Jones (team). In 1993, Jeff (Andretti) drove for us at Pagan Racing, and Mikey (Andretti) came back and raced with us, I think it was 2001. And now, to have John here, John and I have been friends for a long time and to have him come back is a treat for us." (What is the plan to get John Andretti up to speed and in the race?): "Vitor's (Meira) going to drive the car this morning, probably run about 50 or 75 miles to get the thing set up for what we want John to start with. And then he and Kosuke (Matsuura) are going to work closely with John to get him up to speed. It's in our best interest and their best interest, also, the more miles we can run here with someone as talented and savvy as John, to help them actually come up with a race setup." (When did this get serious for you guys?): "John (Andretti) called me about a month ago, and then called me the next day, and the next day, the next day, the next morning, the next evening. (John Andretti interjects: "And he was answering every time."). And so anyway, we had to get through the first week and make sure we were OK. I want to thank some people for making this happen. Freelance Lettering, Lance and his people have been working tirelessly for the last four days. The car was a Delphi car, and it has been wrapped with vinyl and it looks beautiful. Indy Parts, Jeff Sinden and Dallara helped us get where we are today. It's not just Panther (Racing). The community here has shown again its grace by helping everyone else."
Selected quotes from the Team Leader Motorsports press availability today:
KENT BAKER (Co-owner, Team Leader/Dollander Racing): "Forty years ago, in 1967, Parnelli Jones drove the turbine car, the Andy Granatelli turbine car, and the history, the car was number 40, and this is the 40th anniversary of that car, and we are doing a throwback, historic effort based on the livery of that car. We're number 40. The number is in a black meatball with white letters. It has a very historic appearance, and we're proud to have Parnelli's son PJ driving the car. We've got some exciting marketing things planned for the program, and I think, based on the initial crowd reaction, I think the colors are going to be a crowd favorite." (About the 1967 race): "I did talk a bit to Parnelli about the 1967 race, and when the green flag dropped, he literally drove around the field in Turn 1, on the outside. I was thinking about that strategy, and I asked him to tell his son not to do that this race." (About being competitive this month:) "We've got three go-fast guys. We've got PJ, and we've also got a braintrust of Bruce Ashmore and Matt Staisiack, who we lovingly refer to as Mr. Peabody and Sherman. They've been back there poring over laptops for the last 24 hours, and I think we're pretty lucky to have them. We've got Chris Paulsen as the team coordinator, whose got a long history at the track, and three great sponsors, Diversified Partners out of Arizona, an architectural firm who does business with them, KDRA, and a young Internet company called bidaroo.com, which I think you're going to hear a lot more about in the near future." (About continued involvement in the IndyCar Series): "I love racing, and I like the IRL. I'm good friends with Tony George. It's a privilege to help him create such a large event. I think the IRL statistics show that the sport's growing at about 9 percent a year, which is greater than any other sport in the United States. The IRL has 38 million consumers and growing, so I think it's a good opportunity."
PJ JONES (#40 Direct Diversified Team Leader Special Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About the historical livery): "I think it's awesome. I think the spotters will like it because they're going to be able to see it, and all the fans. It's really neat. It came out really nice, a lot better than I thought. When Kent and Ken Dollander came up with this idea and I thought: 'Wow, how can you duplicate that with a new car vs. the old car? Even the look, is it going to come off really well?' But it did. The car's gorgeous." (About being competitive as an Indy-only team): "It's difficult. I think it would be a lot easier if we could get earlier starts. Every year we try to run the first week, and every year we get to try to run the last week, and I think if we could do that, it would be a lot more beneficial. Obviously, it's all about funding. I think we can be competitive. I think it's a lot easier to be competitive, equipment-wise, because now just about everybody's got a Dallara, just about everybody's got a Honda. And now, at least it's in our own hands. It's not like there's a lot of equipment we can't get. And I've got to go out there and learn as much as possible in a quick time and get more comfortable again. It's not easy. You've got guys out here that you're competing against that do this every week. And that's a big difference."
PARNELLI JONES (1963 Indianapolis 500 winner): "This is very exciting to see them think about the turbine car and thinking back 40 years ago. Somebody walked by the garage the other day, and I heard them say, 'What the hell is the turbine car doing here?' All they could see in that garage was the color and that number on there. But certainly, it stands out, and they did a great job putting it together." (About disappointing finish in 1967): "It was certainly a disappointment, not only not being able to go in the race, but I didn't know the car was going to be that great. Hopefully this car will be that great. I have two sons and from the day they were born, I think the first toy that they got was a race car. Some of my friends said they were going drive a race car, like their father. So, they've always thought of being an Indianapolis winner. They wanted to come to Indianapolis and win. I know PJ has had a great feeling for the Speedway as well as I have. I love this place, and I think it's been a great part of my career, and I think PJ feels a great warmth for the Speedway itself." (About breaking 150-mph barrier): "A couple of guys had come really close, including my good friend Jim Hurtubise, the year before, or a couple of years before. Everybody was saying that that was the ultimate, 150 mph. To be the first to do that, certainly put a great mark on my career, and I still have a couple of the silver dollars. They gave me 150 silver dollars and dumped them into my helmet at that time, and I still have a few of them left. It was great memories, and it's been a great part of my resume, so to speak. Even though it doesn't seem all that fast by today's speeds, I can tell you, back then, I was giving it all I had."
Selected quotes from the PDM Motorsports press availability today:
JIMMY KITE (No. 18 PDM Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "When Paul (Diatlovich) called me and asked me if I wanted to drive the car, the first thing I had to do was check the calendar and make sure May hadn't started yet. It was a wonderful surprise. We had a wonderful relationship back in 2002 and 2003 working together. We've worked on stuff the last couple of years trying to put stuff together, and it was a very happy day when he called, and hopefully it can be a wonderful month again." (About his maturity as a driver): "I behave a lot more. I probably use my head a lot more. I mean, my rookie year here and even the next couple of years after that, it was a lot of learning. I was excited to get out there. Male ego kicked in a little, I guess, and I wanted to be first. Everything I've ever done I wanted to be at the top of the charts, and you learned real quick that this place will bite you faster than any other racetrack out there. It's just laps and experience. There's a lot of stuff I've learned. This will be my ninth year being here for the month of May, and there's a lot of stuff I've learned that I definitely won't have to worry about doing again." (About how career could have been different): "I think there's a couple of races that I think could've gone different. I think Charlotte in '97 that I think if something would've happened. Kentucky, if the motor wouldn't have let go with 40 laps to go, I really feel like we could have won that, but Paul may have done really good, too. I mean, they may have put up a really good fight and had a really big argument with that. There's a lot of teams, a lot of drivers, a lot of cars, that could say if one thing changed, we'd have a lot more wins than we have now, but I don't. I figure that everything happens for a reason, and God had me choose that path and I'm the person I am today because stuff like that happened. It led me to this, and who's to say that the greatest moment in my career isn't going to be the 2007 Indy 500 with PDM Racing?" (About possibly not return ing to Indy in his career): "Last year was kind of tough and not running here in '06, when you leave here, I was like, 'Man, was '05 my last one?' But there was a lot of interest this year. Even Paul had called before Kansas City and said: 'I want you in my car, but we're short on money. We're working on some stuff and hopefully we can get something done so I can put you in my car,' and a week later, he called me up and said: 'We're still short on money. We are working on some stuff and I feel confident on a couple of them, but I really want you in my car, so we're going to announce you as the driver and we'll just play it by ear. Fortunately, Z-line hooked up with us, and it's great knowing that before I get on the racetrack, we have a primary sponsor now and we have a great group of guys and a great-looking race car. I'm just really excited to get out there and see what we can do this year. It's different this year because there's going to be bumping this year. We haven't had that the last couple of years. Some teams the last couple of years you knew, you got a guy in, you were in. But the good part about, back in '97 through 2002, we weren't guaranteed a spot here. If you couldn't get that car up to speed, you were going home, and this is going to be the first year in quite a while that it's going to be back to that. I'm very fortunate that I'm the guy that Paul Diatlovich said, 'You're the driver I want in my car because you're the driver that I feel confident that we'll get this thing in together.'
PAUL DIATLOVICH (Owner, PDM Racing): "We're pretty happy right now because this news conference can also correlate with the announcement of a major sponsor that we picked up for the month of May. Z-line Designs out of San Ramon, California, and Jim Sexton, the CEO, we talked to him into the wee hours of the morning, and this morning, we're going to have stickers put on our car. We put our neck out pretty far this May, to just be here knowing that there was going to be bumping this year. We had to put a driver in the car that I felt comfortable with, confident in and that we felt could get the job done. Jimmy is probably one of the best drivers I've worked with at this place. You know, some of the other racetracks he runs good at. I don't care about the other racetracks. This is Indy, and I want a gun fighter in the car, and that's why we hired him." (About comparing this year to last year): "This place is tough. This place sorts out the people indifferently. I've seen Roger Penske walk out of here in 1995 without making the race. And again, last year was definitely the trials and tribulations by fire, and we persevered and pulled through and we made the race. This year, we hope it's a lot better. I think we're better prepared. We went into the month knowing that we had a game plan and knowing that we had a great driver, and we'll take it from there. We'll be on the racetrack today. Jimmy's been antsy for the past week. So have we. Jimmy's ready, we're ready, so we're going to see where we are." (About perseverance): "I've been privileged. This place means a lot to me. This will be my 30th year of being here. I've been a mechanic, I was a chief mechanic, I was a team manager ,and now I'm privileged enough to be a bill payer here. I have absolutely looked forward to the month of May for a long time now. I'm tickled to be here, and I like to think that one of the reasons why we do stick around is because I try not to lie, I don't steal, and I won't cheat. I think that's kind of a throwback to the way racing used to be. So as long as I continue to get that chance, I'll give Jimmy a chance, and hopefully we'll continue to spread that and go out and show what a lot of hard work and dedication can do." (About admiration from other owners because of the things PDM does on a shorter budget): "None. They have the budget, and as far as they're concerned, I'm behind them. That's why, on any given day that we can be out in front of them, it makes it that much more special."
Entry update: #5T AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry is now the #24 Wellman Corbier/DRR entry. The driver is Roger Yasukawa.
T.H. "Ted " Hollingsworth, who conceived and for 15 years organized the mid-winter "Thunder In the 'Dome" USAC Midget event at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, died May 15. He was 79.
Hollingsworth, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., had many roles in the sport of auto racing and was somewhat born into it, his father having been briefly involved in the promotional end in the 1930s of the famed Jungle Park Speedway north of Rockville, Ind.
Hollingsworth was involved in the very early promotions at the Vigo County Fairgrounds in Terre Haute in 1952, his photographs having appeared in the famed racing publication Speed Age. After a stint as the public relations representative for Chapman Root's Terre Haute-based Sumar Racing Team, he spent a brief period in 1956 as one of the very first employees of the fledgling United States Auto Club. He was also one of the founding members of the Hoosier Auto Racing Fan Club.
For many years, Hollingsworth was the director of racing for the Bignotti-Bowes Racing team, which fielded Bowes Seal Fast Specials for Johnny Boyd, Freddie Agabashian, Bob Veith, Jimmy Reece, George Amick and Jud Larson, and for two-and-a- half seasons, starting in 1960, A.J. Foyt. Throughout the period of Foyt's first two USAC national championships (1960 and '61) and the victory in the 1961 Indianapolis 500, Hollingsworth was an integral part of the Bowes organization.
After moving to Des Plaines, Ill., in order to work with Andy Granatelli and the STP Corporation in the mid-1960s, Hollingsworth returned to Indianapolis where he became the first marketing director for Market Square Arena, a position he held for five years. He held a similar position with Clowes Hall before re-entering the racing business, forming Par-Motions with Indianapolis 500 veteran Johnny Parsons. "Thunder in the Dome" was presented for the first time in 1985, with Hollingsworth remaining at the promotion helm through 2000.
In 1975, he created the concept of the "Fastest Rookie Qualifier" award for the American Dairy Association, an award the Dairy Association has perpetuated now for over 30 years at Indianapolis.
Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, May 17 at Conkle Funeral Home in Speedway. Funeral services will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 18 at the funeral home.
Jonathan Klein, last year's Indy Pro Series runner-up, will finish the 2007 season with Team Moore Racing, the team announced May 16.
The 19-year-old, who had 10 top-five finishes in 12 starts last season, will add the six remaining oval races to his schedule, beginning with the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25. Klein had previously been announced as the team's driver for the nine road-course races and finished third and 14th at St. Petersburg.
Klein takes the place of team co-owner Tom Wood, who announced his retirement after suffering a back injury during a private test at The Milwaukee Mile on May 8.
JONATHAN KLEIN (Driver, Team Moore Racing): "I'm real excited about this new opportunity with TMR, Mark Moore and Tom Wood. It's just unfortunate that it is under these circumstances. But I'm looking forward to running the ovals and winning some races."
TOM WOOD (Co-owner, Team Moore Racing): "Jonathan is a tough competitor. I raced against him last year and he is beyond his years in maturity as a race car driver. He has already showed what he can do on the road courses this year. He has been working with our team at all the tracks even though he was only planning on driving the road courses. He and (team co-owner) Mark Moore work really well together, and we offered him this deal because we are confident he can get the job done."
MARK MOORE (Co-owner, Team Moore Racing): "Everything that has happened in the last week, with Tom's accident, has been extremely unfortunate to say the least. The relationship between Tom and me as driver and engineer is a very personal one. We were so close to winning races at times, and now we will have to do it together as owners. We are fortunate to have young Jonathan Klein ready to fill the seat for Tom. Jonathan was at both the Indy Open Test and the Milwaukee Test working with the team, so he knows where we are with the setups. We will have to rely on the hard work Tom has already put forth in both these tests for Klein's success in the upcoming two races. I have 100 percent confidence in Jonathan to bring home TMR's first victory."
*** IndyCar Series officials have announced that John Andretti will be required to complete the final two phases of the IndyCar Series refresher program.
Willie Ator, a member of the Racing Professionals crew, was injured in a motorcycle accident on May 15.
JON HERB (No. 19 Racing Professionals Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Our team is sending our prayers to crew member Willie Ator."
A total of 42 cars are at the Speedway. Forty have passed technical inspection. Thirty-two drivers have been on the track to date, turning 1,210 practice laps today and 7,300 laps this month. A.J. Foyt IV turned 105 laps today, most of any driver. Vitor Meira has turned 408 laps this month, most of any driver. A total of 100 IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers have passed physical examinations at the Clarian Medical Center. There were six cautions today for a total of 55 minutes.
POST PRACTICE QUOTES:
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third fastest of the day): "Usually with the wind and cold weather, the car is a bit harder to drive, but today's conditions could certainly be like Race Day, so we made sure we went out and made the most of it. We worked on the race setup of the car, and we were able to stay out of trouble. All in all, we had a good day, and the Team Penske car was handling well out there. We're looking forward to another day of practice tomorrow, so we can keep making progress leading up to Race Day."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth fastest of the day): "I wanted to get a feel for the NYSE car in race trim today, obviously. I know the conditions weren't ideal, but I knew if we could get the car working in these conditions, it will only be better for when the track is ideal. We're not bad, but we need to get a little bit better in traffic. We've got plenty of time."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fastest of the day): "I would say coming away from this day, I'm the happiest that I've been so far this month. The most predictable car, very consistent. It felt like a race car. It felt like it was good in and out of traffic. So I'm the happiest coming away from today than any other day." (About the weather today that was cooler than probably expected on Race Day): "I think that was why you didn't see everybody running, running, running. At least that's why some of our guys didn't run. Just wanting to make sure that we're simulating the closest thing that we can to race conditions. We don't know what the weather is going to be like, but the likelihood of it being cold are good, I think. The weather the last week has been wonderful. It's definitely different than what I'm used to here. I know how the Midwest works. Sometimes it's cold for a week and then it gets warm for a week, and you just don't know what it's going to do. Everything in the weather is kind of saying it's going to be a little bit up and down over the next week or so, but we're too far out from the race to know. I really feel like the car was very predictable and very comfortable, and if this does not carry over to a day that's warmer or more than anything just windy - if it's not windy out - I don't think it will change my attitude toward the car and the improvements that we've made. Always when the track picks up grip, it warms up, the cars are stuck depending on the temperature of the air and the downforce it's creating, that can change, for sure, how much downforce you want to run, but the actual balance of the car should stay pretty consistent. Any time you feel good about the car, it's good whether it carries over; it's confidence, anyway." (About running race trim): "My fastest lap, I didn't see it, actually, but it was my second lap out in my last run we filled up. I was in race trim. We're running more downforce and have got the car tied down much better. That was trying to simula te race condition and what we need out of the car to be able to run in and out of traffic." (About using Dario Franchitti's setup work from Sunday): "The work that Dario did paid off a lot. We kind of went a different direction to start the afternoon today, and it was not right. We came back to garage after eight laps and me doing a 210 and a bunch of 205s going, 'OK, we need to pull this back into the garage, see where we're at, check if something's wrong.' And then when we saw that nothing was really wrong, we just said, 'All right, this setup is obviously not working.' So we kind of went to what Dario had run on Sunday, which was a great place to start from. And I'd like to think that we made some good improvements from there."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest of the day): "It was a tough day due to the high winds and the cold conditions in the early afternoon. We did some things with our development program. Hopefully we'll continue to make good progress with the Canadian Club car tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, eighth-fastest of the day): "So far this month, almost every day has been warm and sunny, but today was cloudy and much cooler, which gave us some new challenges with the car setup. At first we struggled a bit, but we ended the day strong, and everyone at Team Penske is happy with the direction that we're heading. However, we still have some work to do in order to get to where we want to be on Race Day. We're still looking for a little more speed, but I think we'll get there."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 21 Indiana Ice/Venture Logistics Panoz/Honda/Firestone, fastest non-qualified driver of the day): "We've been playing catch-up since (last) Tuesday on. We went out Friday, got about 20 laps at speed, another probably 20 on Saturday, tried to put it in the show Sunday, we came up a little bit short. It was definitely not from a lack of effort. I think today showed what we have, we have a really good race car. We can pretty consistently run (2)16s, (2)17s. We learned more information that's helping our car rotate through the corner. It was a very successful day for us today." (What do you consider your target speed for qualifying, and how difficult is it to get a clean lap on a day like today, when so many qualifiers are out there running in packs?): "We did not try any qualifying stuff today. Today was a race setup, trying to get more mechanical grip, to get the car to work mechanically better. We had downforce on, were in race trim. We knew after Sunday night, when we missed it by about half a mile an hour. If we had another half an hour, we probably would have fought with my brother for that last spot. Our train of thought after Sunday was to go toward race setup. Obviously at this point in the ballgame, we're fighting for maybe three or four (starting) spots, maybe a row and a half, so qualifying is no longer that important to us, so now we're looking at race trim. The weather today was very detrimental toward doing anything for qualifying."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 24 Wellman Corbier/DRR Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second-fastest non-qualified driver): "It felt really good to be back out there on the track, and I'd really like to thank the crew for getting the car ready. We weren't sure if we would be able to make it out there or not. The last time I was in a car was during last year's race, but once you get back in the seat, it's just another day at the office. Everything was familiar with the car, but we need to fine-tune some things on the car. I think the outright speed isn't too bad. I think the baseline platform feels pretty good, and we can certainly work a little more with this car to make it better for the race. Again, I'd like to thank Wellman-Corbier Custom Homes for this opportunity and also to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for getting this car ready, and hopefully, we'll have a better day tomorrow."
JON HERB (No. 19 Racing Professionals Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third-fastest non-qualified driver): "We suffered a fuel pressure problem during our second qualification attempt on Sunday, so we returned to the track today to determine if the problem was corrected. We successfully ran through a full fuel load, and the car worked great. We had no problems. We were not looking for speed today, just doing some system checks."
PJ JONES (No. 40 Direct Diversified Team Leader Special Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth-fastest non-qualified driver): "It was a day just to get all of our little odds and ends tidied up and it was nice to be able to go out and run five or so laps at the end of the day just to make sure the car doesn't leak and everything's good. We should be ready tomorrow to go after it a little bit more." (About the game plan for the next few days): "We just need to get up to speed and be comfortable and get the car good for longer runs and, obviously, fast enough to get in the race. We're kind of focusing on two different things. Obviously, we'd like to get it comfortable and fast."
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, sixth-fastest non-qualified driver): "Something is not right, but I have confidence in my team that they are going to find and fix what is happening now. They did a fantastic job to have the car ready for today. But I just need to find what is happening." (About her confidence heading into qualifying): "I have confidence we will have a good car. The focus now is to have a good car for qualifying on Saturday now that we have to go out in the car."
JIMMY KITE (No. 18 PDM Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I'm fine. I wasn't going fast enough to hit anything that hard. We were just shaking the car down. I don't know if something broke, or what. I was only going 206 (mph) going into the corner. It shouldn't have been loose, and it wasn't the corner before. We'll get it back. We'll look at it. It didn't look like we hurt it that bad. I'm sure Paul (Diatlovich) isn't happy right now. We'll find out what's wrong with it and get it back out. We have one car here. We want everyone with Z-line and PDM to be happy, and we will. It's a setback. Fortunately, we didn't write a car off. We'll lose the rest of the day trying to get the car back together. The big deal is we have to find out why it did that. It had no hint of doing that the corner before or even entering Turn 1."
THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
9 a.m. Public Gates Open
11:59 a.m. Honorary Starter: Terri Stacy, WIBC-AM personality
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Practice
6 p.m. Track Closes
Note: Subject to change due to weather
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (ET) on May 27. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Carb Day at 4 p.m. on May 25.