SARAH FISHER ( ...
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We had the best car that we could possibly have had. I had the same exact run here in qualifying as I did this morning in practice. We didn't work very hard on qualifying this weekend. We worked all day yesterday on race setup. The last couple of races we worked on qualifying setup and that came back to bite us. This speedway doesn't have as much rubber on it as a lot of the tracks we go to, so it requires a lot more mechanical grip. There is a little bit of similarity (to Kentucky) as far as the geometrical layout of the two."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car went to a push. We're about 1 mph off where we practiced at. The track is a little slippery. That's due to push, and it's slippery in general partly due to the truck race and mostly due to the heat. The tires aren't coming up to speed right away. My leg is feeling great, and my sore throat is better, too. I can talk today. I feel good. My biggest problem is the same as everyone else's - the heat. I don't think we're going to set the world on fire my first race back, but overall I think we're doing pretty well. The facility is awesome. It's second to none. I'm really happy to be here."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I was flat out. We were really confident. It is a different kind of track. I can't win them all, but what you can do is do the best as possible. We hadn't been terrible in practice, but we got a little bit better each session. You just need to have a great handling race car and patience."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's an awesome track. It's going to be hard to pass, but that will be the same for everybody. My car pushed more than this morning, but that's pretty much all that we had."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Well we thought we had a faster car, but we lost a lot of grip from this morning. So we lost some speed. Fortunately, we can use that information to help us in the race tomorrow. I have had a good car all weekend, and I think we will have a good race car. This is a beautiful racetrack, and the facilities are unbelievable. There was a very good crowd out here for qualifying today, and I am excited to see all of the fans tomorrow for race day. They are going to see one heck of a show."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car was good. Conditions are pretty hot. They are a lot different than this morning. Yesterday we had problems. We made big changes this morning. We changed springs and shocks. We changed everything."
AIRTON DARE (#88 1-800-BAR-NONE/TeamXtreme G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Just all of a sudden it slipped out of gear. I don't know, I mean, the motor revved very high. We looked at the data and saw that it hit 13.8 grand (13,800 RPMs). So I guess now we have to start at the back of the field, but that's OK. The car has been handling so well all weekend. I can make my way up front. We are staying confident."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're still working on it (finding speed) a little bit. We usually don't find it until race morning anyway. Hopefully we'll find it tomorrow morning. We're making steady gains each time we go out. We're not quite where we want to be. We'll try to keep everybody else guessing to see how fast we'll be. As far as the heat goes, it's going to be extremely hot tomorrow. You just have to try and stay as hydrated as possible."
JAQUES LAZIER (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "This run was all about the crew. We blew an engine at the end of the last practice session and had to do an engine change in the last several hours. The work that this crew does in unbelievable. For a driver to come out and stand on the gas and not have to worry about leaks or something breaking loose is tremendous. This group of guys have a huge heart, and I have all the confidence in the world in them. The effort today I think demonstrates that."
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "This is a beautiful racetrack, such a great facility. We have a pretty good car for race day. We just missed some setups. We have to just figure it out. Physically it's not too bad. We raced Vegas and Atlanta with heat like this. This track is not like that. Everyone is going to have to take care of their tires and not get a lap down. I'd call it a chess match. Call your bluff and you win. It's all down to setups."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "That's what we had. It's a little disappointing. Everything has been coming together with our team the last couple months. I thought we had a good shot at being on the front row today. Infiniti is making great strides, powerwise. The race is definitely going to be a different animal, with track temperatures at 140 degrees and ambient at 105 (degrees). I think we will be OK for that."
BUZZ CALKINS (# 12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Our tire management is really good right now, and our race setup should be good for tomorrow. Those two things will definitely help us. Hopefully the heat will also play to our favor and that will help the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara in the race. I think, with the heat, my physical fitness will also help."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We wanted to start up front because tomorrow this will be a one groove racetrack. I love these kinds of tracks - 1.5 mile with low banking. It puts a premium on the driver skills and car setup. The heat will be a factor, but personally I train in the heat everyday because I live in Miami. So it won't bother me that much. We'll have to conserve the tires, but that's the same for everyone."
DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We practiced faster, but it's a good race car. The engine just doesn't seem to be pulling off the corners, and we have the same setup as Salazar, and he's 3 miles an hour faster. I was flat out all the way around, and that's all she had. So we'll take a close look at it and see what we can come up with."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're a little disappointed that we're not as quick as we wanted to run. The heat caused us to guess on the setup a little bit, and I picked up a push in the front end. But it's a top-10 qualifying effort, and we'll just work on our race car and try to get a good car for the race. We're definitely going to face a lot of heat, so that's what we have to be prepared for."
JERET SCHROEDER (#9 High Plains Corp. AMVETS PDM Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We missed this morning's practice session due to a faulty camshaft sensor. That really hurt us. We went with the same basic setup we used yesterday, and the car was so loose on my first qualifying lap that it was undriveable. The crew brought me in, and we went to the end of the qualifying line. They thought it was a gear problem, but it wasn't. They made some changes, and I went back out. That time the car had so much of a push that it almost went around on me at every turn. Obviously we have to make some major changes before tomorrow's practice session and the race. The good news is that we do have a fresh Aurora engine in now, but obviously I'm frustrated. We really guessed wrong today."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had a difficult past two months. We unloaded here, and the car ran well. We didn't get the pole today, but there's always tomorrow. We ran very well. I'm very happy. We ran a little slower than I thought we would. We hit the revlimiter going into Turn 3, which might've cost us a little bit, but that's that. I think we've proven time and time again there isn't a racing line in the IRL. For qualifying you try to keep the track as free as you can. I think there is a line and a half now, maybe two. Tomorrow we will open up the outside line. I love this track. I love the fact that it is so smooth. The heat and tires are really not a problem here. The track is new. The asphalt is impeccable, and, although we do have tempuratures in access of 140 degrees, the Firestone tires seem to be doing well. Tomorrow will be a tire strategy race, because no one actually has the data to go on to set up the cars. One or two might have it right, and you may see a few that will be struggling because of that. Qualifying was definitely not affected by the heat." My helmet, after Richmond, was completely white from all the salt. We've had incredibility hot races lately, I think it is good. It makes it very competitive. It's easier to make a mistake when the tires get hot. I don't think fuel strategy is going to play as important as it has in the past. I don't believe it's going to be the main part. It's going to be tough getting through the first stint, and saving your equipment will be key. I truly believe we have the best engine in the back of the car, and we'll show that tomorrow. The spectators will see one hell of a race as we've had for the last six or seven races. Ten cars can win. There are very few Boy Scouts out there in the top 10. It's very competitive. The rules lend themselves to that. Here I am in the front row in an unsponsored car with an engine that no one wanted a year ago."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I was actually surprised we ran the speed we did. I did an interview right before I got in the car, actually. I talked to Tom Kelley who had arrived at the track right before we went out. I told him I thought the best we could do was probably second or third. I really felt that Eddie and his package had probably a mph on us. We had run pretty well in yesterday afternoon's session. We really felt once we went for it in qualifying -- I thought I might be able to be up in the mid to high 215s. And this morning we went out and that was really all we had and probably then some. I ran a 215.3 (mph), I think, this morning. I was starting to catch another car. So, I actually felt we were maybe getting a little bit of help and honestly thought we could go out and run a high 214 - 215, something like that. I didn't think we'd be able to match a 216 (mph), but there was a lot of guessing that had to go on. There was 40 degrees track temperature change. We weren't sure where the balance would be. We weren't sure where we needed to set our pressures. We weren't sure about our gears. There were a lot of things we guessed on, and it seemed like we guessed right because the car was just perfect." (About tire wear): "Well, for me, you know, the track was about a similar temperature yesterday afternoon, and I think the fact that the Indy Lights ran basically the same tire that we have, they were able to clean the track off for us. In my opinion, we haven't had any problems with tire wear this weekend. The tires are working really well for us. You put a sticker set on, there's a lot of grip there. So between the fact that the track being cleaned off and we had a new set of tires, we expected the car to be pretty good."