Continued from part 1 BUDDY RICE ( ...
Continued from part 1
BUDDY RICE (#15 A1TeamUSA/DRR Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"We just waited until this afternoon, when there was more real estate for qualifying. Looks like even if we would have qualified yesterday with a car like we had today, we probably would have been a little bit better off. But, you know, it does not really matter. We are in the show right now, and we will get back to work on our race car and really focus on what happens at the end of the month. We knew it was going to be tight for us to get in on first day of qualifying."
(About how the car felt during qualifying):" It was OK. Obviously, we are working hard to get where we are at. We will keep working on it."
(About Race Day): "I think I will have a real competitive race car right now. We have been running our race trim up through Friday and started trimming out, so it was great to be to do that, and we will get back to our game plan and wear some tires out and run some miles and get ready."
SARAH FISHER (#5 AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(About her relationship with Tom Carnegie): "Tom is amazing. He's a real big part of the Speedway. I've gone to his birthday parties and everything, and I'm just so happy he could be here this year."
(About the qualifying run): "(Buddy Rice and I) work together on everything. Not one of us is more important. We try to collaborate on everything we do. We did the things from this morning that we thought would be better. We did a good job, and we'll just go from there."
(About conditions): "It was a little bit windier today, so as far as testing the cars it makes it a little trickier. It's a little hotter, but we didn't have a choice to run or not yesterday anyway, so today was going to be the day we had to qualify. We didn't work on qualifying much this morning, so going out there today (we) tried to trim it out as much as we could. We had a little bit of right steer, but that's all right because that is my job."
(About whether the team is prepared for another qualifying run today): "We might have a couple things left that we could do, but it's pretty close to what we have now. It's a great race car. It will run 220 (mph) all day wide open, behind traffic or not. We'll just have to see. We wanted a faster 200 laps instead of a faster four."
(About being back at the Indianapolis 500): "It's great to be back here. Indianapolis means so much to you, especially when you're not here and have a normal job. To carry my helmet in last Monday was an incredible feeling. I wouldn't let anyone else do it. It is great to be back."
(About whether she can tell a difference between today's car and the last time she was here): "Yeah, but it's a combination of the cars and the tires, and altogether as a package what you do with it is quite a bit different. Not so much different when I ran the Chevy days, because we had them babies as free as they would go all the time. I learned how to drive a loose race car then. Once again, our focus is on 200 laps -- not fo ur -- and that's what we got. I do feel a lot better being here. I was in marketing last year and held a banner for Vitor (Meira) at a press conference. It was unbelievable. I was still enjoying myself because I was working for a really great guy who means a lot to me outside of racing and is really a part of my extended family network. That was cool and Vitor is a really cool guy to work with, and I was trying to help. I tell you what, there is nothing like driving here. Growing up in a race car in the cockpit, that was really where I wanted to be. Thankfully, Dennis (Reinbold) gave me another chance. Not a lot of people get that."
ED CARPENTER (#20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
(You had a very consistent, quick run, but you were not particularly pleased with it, why?): "I came out today, we were so close to getting 11th yesterday, and I really felt that we should have been 12th today. But that's all the speed we could find out of the car right now. It's obviously a very good car when you can run consistently around as that. Everything that we have tried to get anything else out of it, just kind of peaked right there. I set my goal to be 12th today and did not achieve that, so I'm just disappointed that we couldn't. I'm disappointed that we couldn't get the Hitachi Power Tools car in 12th. I wanted to be in the fourth row with my teammate."
(What are you and Heather doing to celebrate Mother's Day?) "Heather (Carpenter) has arranged a big cook out at the house. All of our families are coming over to celebrate Mother's Day. So, I'll try to put a smile on my face and have some good time with the family."
(Are you happy about how Vision Racing is coming about right now?) "Yes, every year we are getting better and better. It seems like the media wants to talk to us more and more every year. We are getting some more sponsors on board, finally; things are definitely going in the right direction. So there is definitely a bright future for the team. I'm not worried about that. I feel that we are a much better team than last year even though we started two positions higher. But at the same time, I feel more confident at where we are as a team and the possibilities on what we can do on Race Day."
(About his improvement as a driver): "People act surprised when I get up front or have a really good day. I grow and get better as the team gets better. I've always been confident in my abilities and don't think I could do anything different now than when I did back as a rookie. Just a better situation around me. You have to have the right package and the right formula. I don't think that I have changed much, just have gotten more experience. You get smarter as you get older. I don't think I have gotten any better or worse as a driver. I think I have always been as good as I am now."
(About the Indy 500): "I think that anyone that has been here, whether you are a first generation driver or if you grew up watching it, you realize the magnitude. You watch what an Indy 500 win can do to someone's career persona. It's unbelievable, for an open-wheel driver coming up through USAC, the Indy 500 is what it has always been about for me. I was always here and at the (Indy) 500 and saw how special it is. I think definitely for people that it be second-generation drivers or families in racing, it just makes it that much easier to comprehend. A new racer or take one of these road racers that come out here and don't realize what they are getting into when they get to Indy by the time it is all over. Look at how much Helio Castroneves loves this place. This place changes everybody that competes in it."
(Were you able to drive the track before becoming a driver?): "Contrary to popular belief, I didn't get a whole lot of extra miles around here. I've spent a lot of time over at the offices and on the facilities, just because of who I am. But I don't think I had ever driven on the track. Actually, the first time I had ever driven on the track was on a snowmobile one winter when the track was covered in snow. I was probably either 8 or 9 years old. That was the first time. I don't think I drove on it again until right before I was racing in the Infiniti Pro Series (now Indy Pro Series) car here. Actually, first time in a race car here was in the two-seater IndyCar. They are pretty touchy on who they let out there, they are not going to let some squirrelly kid out, especially when I first got my (driver's) license."
(Did you sneak into the garages?): "Oh, yeah, pit lane and stuff like that was another story. I remember years when I had a Silver Badge and could get in, but there would be a Yellow Shirt who would kick me out. So I just had to find the right gate, that the gu y didn't care and let me in. The same guy would always end up kicking me out. I'd just find a different gate that would let me in. So I have been a track rat my whole life, and that is never going to change."
(Is that same Yellow Shirt still here?) "Well, I really try to avoid him as much as possible. I can't say I remember his face. Chances are he is still here somewhere. He might remember me."
(About new qualifying format. Would you have preferred to qualify Saturday or have qualified 12th today?): "Absolutely, there are two races every month of May. There is qualifying and then the race. Other tracks, I could care less if I started in the back. But you come here, and start track position does count. When Row 4 is definitely a better spot to be than Row 5. If I could have slotted in 12th, that's two less car that I need to pass come race day. That's how I look at it. I feel like I'm going to have to pass those guys in front of me, just as they feel like they need to pass the guys in front of them. But I feel that I have a better race car than some of the people in front of me. It's just a little more work I have to do come Race Day."
(I remember talking to your (step)father, did you race Midgets in the same race with him? If you did, what was it like and was he any good as a driver?) "Tony (George) is, he is a good driver. He ran the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with us this year with very limited time. But we ran several Midget races together. The one year we both ran in the Chili Bowl, that I remember best. I think he went further than I did at the Chili Bowl, and I was racing Midgets full time back then. Tony definitely has talent. He's definitely one of those types of guys who, whether you are playing basketball, football or driving a race car, he's an athletic type. He can do all things pretty well, including run this place."
BUDDY LAZIER (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone, after second attempt):
"It wasn't any one big thing, if we would have had to go 222 mph, we probably could have done it. You know, we just picked a number. Tim Neff did a great job, the engineer, again. Just the next three days of practice is open, and we are focusing on the race. We will probably gain two weeks or three weeks, because the car, we have only had the car for a week. We are gaining so quickly. So again, focus is on Race Day, but these guys really deserve to be in this weekend, worked so hard putting this car together for the last seven days. They have a whole seven days with the car. I am really proud of them, and Tim Neff, the engineer, tuned me just right."
(About relief on the breakthrough with the car): "We are starting to understand the car, and that is a real relief. We are here to finish top five on Race Day. We knew qualifying was going to be our biggest hurdle because we need every minute of time of practice. All the practice we have had have been full tanks, and today we just opened it up for qualifying. Now we can go back to where we have been working; it's about Race Day now. It is a relief for the team and for myself to be in the field, because now again Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there is no qualifying on your mind. It's all about race."
JON HERB (#19 Racing Professionals Dallara/Honda/Firestone, after second attempt and subsequent bump):
"It's disappointing to be out, again. They tell me we had a fuel pickup problem that last lap that might of hurt us a little bit, as well as the push we had. You're hoping you're OK, but those guys (Sam Schmidt Motorsports) have a great team and Buddy (Lazier) is a champion, so it's no surprise."
(What do you think about this qualifying format?): "You know, it's more exciting. Otherwise, I wouldn't be in this position. I'd be qualified wherever I was and then would have to worry about it the last day. It makes it a little more interesting. I think it's a good thing for the fans."
(What should we expect next weekend?): "More of the same, I guess. I don't think we'll have a problem sticking it up front there."
JAQUES LAZIER (#21 Indiana Ice/Venture Logistics Panoz/Honda/Firestone):
"We came up a little short today, but at the same time, Friday was our first day on track. I'm awfully proud of my guys. We made some huge gains today. We came up just a little bit short. We tried something a little aggressive. We went into Turn 1 and went into a lazy slide up toward the wall. There's a time to go racing and a time not to, and right now we're just a little bit short. But I'm awfully proud of Playa Del Racing and the Indiana Ice car."
(About the emotions of trying to bump his brother): "I'm proud of him, and also very proud of Sam (Schmidt) and everybody over there. That was a tremendous job. I'm very happy for them."