JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, July 13, 2002 -- Post-race quotes from Indy Racing League drivers after the True Value IROC race at Chicagoland Speedway, round three of the 2002 series: BUDDY LAZIER (Winner): "I'm still kind of in a state of shock. I ...
JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, July 13, 2002 -- Post-race quotes from Indy Racing League drivers after the True Value IROC race at Chicagoland Speedway, round three of the 2002 series:
BUDDY LAZIER (Winner): "I'm still kind of in a state of shock. I still can't believe it. We were here all week practicing. With our (IRL) schedule this year, I haven't had a chance to practice much. Working with (True Value IROC test drivers) Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle and all the IROC test drivers was really a lot of help this week. Running the lines that the stock cars like and watching the racetrack. There was no rubber down here when we first got here early in the week. Starting up front, I had the feeling that it was going to be a big advantage to have clean air. I had it in the back of my mind to really hammer down hard at the beginning when I had clean air with the hope of keeping the lead for a while. I had it in my mind that if I could somehow break the draft, and I'd probably pay for it later because I would have run the tires so hard that I figured they'd give up late in the run, but maybe I'd have enough buffer that it would stay. Had there been a yellow or anything, I would have been in big trouble. It all worked; it was beautiful. Every five laps I was saying a little prayer. I was just so thankful to be running as well as we were running and whether I was able to maintain the pace or not, I was just so happy to be running that good. Pushing that hard, sure enough the front end started giving up on me, giving up on me, and then all of a sudden the lower line came in and just got super sticky. The lower line is the line we run with in the IRL cars. I think it was kind of like using a stock-car line, and then all of a sudden switching to an Indy-car line. I just feel real thankful. After a year and a half in IROC -- it's just been such an honor to be invited here and seeing what True Value does and the Signore family. They get the cars as close as humanly possible, and there's so much camaraderie in this series. I come down here, and the stock cars drivers help a lot. You ask them questions, and they're honest with you. It's a lot of fun." (About the IRL finish): "Unfortunately, I spent so much time looking forward, I looked in my mirrors every once in a while so I wasn't sure how they were trading behind me. I think it's a testament to us, one, having an off week. A lot of the drivers like myself were down here practicing. We put in a lot of hours. All I can say is that the line I run in my IRL car was what enabled me to maintain my pace in the second half of the race."
AL UNSER JR. (Second): "We were trying to catch everybody in front of us, but as soon as I'd get up underneath somebody or Castroneves, my front end would wash out. I just couldn't get underneath him. I tried him a couple of times down low going into (Turn) 1 when we had some momentum on him, and it just wasn't enough. And then we came across the lapped traffic there. I don't know who it was in the silver car (Harvick), but he caught Helio on the outside going through (Turns) 3 and 4, and that gave us enough momentum to make a run and came in second." (About this being the first race for IROC at Chicagoland): "I felt really good out there. It's all due to Jay (Signore) and all of the mechanics that work on it. Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter, Dick Trickle and all of the test drivers of IROC did a super job as far as setting these things up. It was exciting and it was a lot of fun." (Did you have a shot at Lazier for the win?): "By the time I got by Castroneves, Lazier was gone. I never had a shot at him."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (Third): "It was a great race. I was having fun. The guys, Jay (Signore, president of IROC), everyone did a fantastic job. All the guys did a fantastic job on the setup. In my experience in Fontana and Daytona, I was having a little bit of a hard time with that. And here it looks much better. I was getting better and better every day, every lap. Al (Unser Jr.) got me right at the end. I'm very honored to be sharing my name with those great champions." (About the IRL drivers): "I guess we rock. It was the first time I've ever run here, but I do believe the shape of the track, it maybe helped us. I don't think the tires went away as much as other circuits. So all those little things obviously helped us. And that's why we definitely did a good job. I think we're learning with every race." (About Buddy Lazier): "It seems like he didn't have to waste any energy to protect his position. I was never able to attack him. It gave him a great opportunity for a Sunday drive."
SCOTT SHARP (Fifth): "It was good for the Indy Racing League and open-wheel racing. Buddy got out front and stayed there. He did a great job. I had fun. I passed a few guys in the beginning -- Tony (Stewart) and Sterling (Marlin) -- and then I caught up to the top three. But once I got there, I couldn't do anything. I could catch them more in the corner, then the straightaway. I'm happy for Jay Signore and the IROC guys. They do such a great job. When you get here early and do some work, it pays off, and that's what happened today."
SAM HORNISH JR. (Sixth): "It was pretty good. I moved up one spot from where I started, so that was good. The car pushed from the beginning. It was crazy the first couple of laps, but then everyone spread out a little bit. I never found anybody after the 15th lap. The IRL drivers did a very good job today."