BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's exactly where we thought we'd be in qualifying. At the end of the practice, we were between gears, fourth and fifth, so we split them. We were surprised we didn't...
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's exactly where we thought we'd be in qualifying. At the end of the practice, we were between gears, fourth and fifth, so we split them. We were surprised we didn't pull more gear. As the temperature goes up, the speeds go down, and we lost a little bit of speed. According to the engineers, our car cannot be any more trimmed out. Most everybody here is as trimmed out as they can be and flat out. Now, it's just a matter of making the car good in dirty air and try to draft as best we can in race conditions tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's been pretty good. We had a little bit of a problem in the first session, so we had to work a bit harder in the second session. But the guys on the Team Menard/Johns Manville Chevrolet did a really good job of catching up to everybody, and we've always been one of the quickest Chevys up there. The Menard engine shop, we gained some horsepower these last two or three weeks. We couldn't show it at Richmond or Pikes Peak, which are not really horsepower tracks. At this one, I think we are going to be able to show our progress." (About predictions for the race): "It's going to be tricky. By ourselves, it's flat, easy, no problem, even with the car not handling good. But for the race, the car has got to handle good. We are going to have to work really hard at this last practice to see what we have in traffic, the second groove and everything. It's going to be interesting. I feel like it is as good as it can be right now. The main thing for us is handling. In the race, we are not going to be wide open. There is not enough banking for us to go flat all race. Our focus has been to have a good car that can run behind the others and take advantage of their slipstream. If we have a good car that handles well in that situation, we will be able to save fuel, and with a little bit taller sixth gear, hopefully keep with the pack and have a good result." (About the extreme heat): "It's like Brasilia, (Brazil) here -- hot. It's hot for everybody, even for Brazilians."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was pretty close to what we expected. We were a little off what we were running this morning in practice. You really have to maintain the tires here and stay out of trouble. I'm not sure how this race will turn out."
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "We basically matched what we did in practice. We probably should have gone with second time by instead of third time by, because we were quicker on our out lap than we were on our qualifying lap. It is what it is. That's a good run for us. Hopefully, we'll have a good run in the race." (About the heat): "The biggest thing for me is not from a physical standpoint, because I've lived in Texas all my life, and I train out in the heat. The heat just doesn't bother me at all. The biggest thing is that we know we have a good car. With the track temperature being close to 150 degrees, there are things you can do to your race setup that are way more aggressive than the cars can handle. Firestone builds a great tire. It's going to be up to the teams to make sure they put the right setup on the car."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think we could have done a little bit more with the setup. We focused more on the race setup throughout the weekend, and we never really got any time to work on qualifying, so starting 15th is not too bad. I think we have a pretty good car, so it's just a matter of being patient. It's going to be hot tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We found ourselves a little down today in qualifying, but we worked pretty hard on the race car yesterday. We spent quite a bit of time with our race setup and working on the car in traffic and getting the car happy there, which is probably what you will be doing all day on Sunday. So, yes, maybe we gave up a little bit of outright speed today, but ultimately, tomorrow is what is important for the Delphi team. It's hot here, too, no doubt, and that takes its toll on everything: the crew, the tires, the engine. I've actually felt pretty good. I think, for tomorrow, in the first half to two-thirds of the race, I'll feel fine, and the heat will really kick in in the final stint of the race."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The Kelley Racing team and the Corteco Special have been doing really well on these 1.5-mile tracks. I think we've had a pretty decent qualifying effort, and from there, we'll go racing. Kelley Racing and my Corteco crew just do a great job in preparing a good race car for me. My guys, John Worth, Pat, every guy on the team just do a great job. My engineer, Mike Colliver, has been giving me a good setup to go out there and be competitive. For me, the heat is not so bad; it's the humidity. You have to keep lots of fluids going in and go racing from there."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "That was all the car had. We've been concentrating on our race setup instead of qualifying. I'm confident we can march up through the field like we did at Texas and this time get a good finish. I know we can go racing."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It wasn't a good qualifying run, but I could put the car anywhere I want it, so I'm not sure why we weren't faster. We're changing the engine for final practice, and hopefully, we can find some more speed."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We ran just about what we thought we would run because that is the time we did in practice. The Archipelago/Motorola car has a better race setup, and it seems we just can't get it to go as fast as we need it to in qualifying. I know we have a good car for tomorrow."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "My run was disappointing. I really thought we could get a lot more out of it. Kansas is one of these tracks where you are flat out, so you need to make sure you have the least amount of drag without the car sliding. We just struggled this afternoon. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was really good this morning, and we should be quick in the race."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 GMAC/AOL/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Obviously, we're disappointed with the run. The good news is I don't think I've ever had an easier car to drive. The chassis' good, no scrub. I can point it anywhere, and it just goes. But we've still got a horsepower issue to contend with right now. We're doing all we can do."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've got a race car that can go anywhere on the track, but we can't be towed around at 215 or 216 (mph). This is a sheer horsepower track, and all we can do is hang on and stay focused. The last couple of races, we've come up a little short, but we're all working hard and trying to be patient on the outside."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm very disappointed. We've got to keep working, and we have to get better. We have to improve. I know we have a good race car, but qualifying was not what we expected. We just didn't have the speed today, but we'll work on it some more and see what happens."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Optimistic is a good word to use right now. It's obvious where we're at and what our situation is right now, so finishing races and gaining points is what we need to do to gain something out of the season. We didn't trim our car out until just before qualifying because we were more concerned about our race setup. This is one of those tracks that's really hot, so tire wear is a big concern. I know at some of the past races, the faster cars have had problems with their tires, so we're concentrating very hard on full tanks. We need to make sure we don't lose the lead pack in the draft so we have another solid finish. We need to finish on one of these big speedways in the top 10. We've struggled the last couple of times, so we're getting more aggressive."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The Pioneer car was just great all weekend. I have to thank the whole team for preparing an excellent car for me. I know if we had more time that we could do maybe a few little things to get some more speed. But overall, we are happy with qualifying third for the fourth time this season. I think I have a very good car in traffic for the race. Obviously, it works well when I'm by myself. The job tomorrow will be very obvious. We need to stay at the front and make sure we have good pit stops. It will be very hot, but that is the same for everybody. We are confident, but we will work very, very hard to make sure we can get the job done tomorrow."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "Wow, what can you say after that? We took a huge gamble, and it paid off for us big time. We just weren't satisfied with how our primary Hollywood car for the weekend was working, so we thought about all of our options and decided it might be worth a try to switch to the backup car. You never know for sure how the car will be until you take it out on the track. That car didn't turn a wheel all weekend here. It was our race car at Richmond, and as you could see, it was very good right off the transporter. What a great job by my guys for getting the car together and through tech in time to make a qualifying run. We only had one lap, but I figured if we couldn't do it in one lap, then we weren't going to do it anyway. Now we can go back and build our strategy for tomorrow knowing that we've got a great car to work with for the race. What a relief!"
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm very pleased with our qualifying result today. We've been struggling on the 1.5-mile tracks, so it was great to put both Marlboro Team Penske cars in the top 10 on the grid. Sunday is the day that counts, however, and I think we have a good car for the race. The heat is going to be tough on the drivers and equipment, but everyone is in the same boat, so we'll have to be patient and see how things play out. I'm honored to be making the 1,000th start for Team Penske tomorrow, and hopefully, we can bring it home a winner."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm really happy with today's qualifying run. It's no secret that we haven't been too competitive on tracks like this, but since Texas, Marlboro Team Penske has been working really hard, and today is a testament to that effort. While we still needed a bit more speed to fight for the pole, we're starting fourth, which bodes well for tomorrow's race."
KIM GREEN (President, Andretti Green Racing): "I'd have to say I'm disappointed. We've got some work to do to make our cars faster, but what we've got to do, I'm not sure. I thought we would qualify a little bit better than this. I felt like when we ran some race runs yesterday that we were pretty good, but now I'm even a bit nervous about that. It's going to be a long race. It's a 300-mile race. I think a lot of it is going to get down to who makes it out of the pits first on the last pit stop because track position is going to be very, very important. For Tony (Kanaan), one advantage is that we have the last pit out, and that will help."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I'm looking forward to it. I had a good race here last year. I think we've got pretty good race cars, so if everything comes together, hopefully, we'll have the same result tomorrow. At Texas, there was lots of side-by-side racing. I do not think it is going to be the same here, though. I think here it is going to be a lot harder and closer than Texas. It is a long race. It does not matter who goes into Turn 1 first. Hopefully, we can just get in line and start conserving fuel." (About the heat): "This heat is ridiculous. No, it is not bad. This heat is great if you are lying on the beach, but driving a car is a different story. Scott (Dixon) and I are pretty fit, and I feel that it will play in our favor tomorrow. I believe Firestone will have good tires, and we will only have to conserve fuel. The strategy for tomorrow is going to play on how the car is working. Last year, the car was good, and we could run up front. We will see what happens this year."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think we had too much drag in the car today. Maybe the heat was a factor today. The car felt pretty good, but I'm not sure it is freed up enough. I've never raced here before, but I it will be similar to the 1.5-mile tracks. The racing will be exciting with the drafting. You won't see side-by-side racing like at Texas, but it will be good, and there should be quite a bit of passing. Drafting will play a role in the race, but we need to have a good car, too. You can't rely on hanging on with the other guys." (About the heat): "What heat! It's good for you if you are on a diet. I should lose some weight on Sunday."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The team's done a great job. Going into qualifying, we pretty much knew it was going to be between one of us. I actually thought Tomas (Scheckter) was going to get it. He's been fast all weekend. I'm not sure what happened there. We just ended up getting him. As I said, I think a lot of the credit goes to the team." (About winning at Richmond): "(Starting up front) helped a lot. Richmond was going to be a hard circuit to pass, no matter what. We passed plenty of cars. We just had a fast car up front. It's going to be a lot different tomorrow. I think it will be back to normal. It's pretty hard to fend cars off here. They can go around the outside pretty easy. We enjoy it a lot, leading a lot of laps, so we'll see if we can do it again. We both want to finish well in the race, so we're going to conserve the cars. I'm not going to do anything drastic, and I'm sure Tomas (Scheckter) is the same. We'll be pretty steady and just see how the day plays out, conserve gas if we can. I think our package is pretty good in the race. We'll just have to see, really."