IRL: Kentucky: Notes, quotes and schedule

WHAT: Belterra Casino Indy 300, 11th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season WHERE: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky., 1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval WHEN: Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 15; Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug.

WHAT:
Belterra Casino Indy 300, 11th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season

WHERE:
Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky., 1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval

WHEN:
Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 15; Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 15

DISTANCE:
200 laps/300 miles

POSTED AWARDS:
More than $1 million

CARS:
Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevy Indy V8, Honda H14R Indy V-8 and Toyota Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires

TV:
Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 15

RADIO:
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 15
Area affiliate: WCKY-AM 1360, Cincinnati
Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (4:15 p.m. EDT, Aug. 14) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com/indycar.

SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)

SATURDAY, AUG. 14
10 a.m. -- Belterra Casino Indy 300 practice (two groups/45 minutes each)
12:30 p.m. -- Belterra Casino Indy 300 practice (two groups/45 minutes each)
4:30 p.m. -- Belterra Casino Indy 300 MBNA Pole Qualifying

SUNDAY, AUG. 15
10:30 a.m. -- Belterra Casino Indy 300 practice (two groups/45 minutes each)
3:45 p.m. -- Belterra Casino Indy 300 (200 laps/300 miles)

PRE-RACE QUOTES: (Drivers listed alphabetically)

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I haven't had a lot of luck at Kentucky Speedway in my previous races there. I've been there twice, and one of those times, we could have had a top-three finish, but ran into a mechanical problem that cost us that podium. The track itself is good though. It's another 1.5-mile oval that's pretty high banked. You can run two lines in Turns 3 and 4, but there's a bump in Turn 2 that you have to be cautious of and adjust your car to compensate for it."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is going to be my first race at Kentucky, and we're all looking forward to it. I've heard some good things from the engineers about the car they had there last year, so we're hoping that success continues. We've been really consistent the last three races, and we continue to take little steps forward each time we go out. It's nice to finish as the top Chevrolet, and this race we're looking to battle with Tommy (teammate Tomas Scheckter) for that honor. It should be fun."

ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I've raced at Kentucky twice before in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series and also had my first test in an IndyCar (Series) with PDM there. The track is challenging and has little differences each time you run there because after the winter, there always seems to be different bumps on the surface. It's a little different setup to tackle the track vs. tracks like Chicago and Kansas. It tends to modify itself a little bit each year."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Kentucky Speedway is a tough track for both the drivers and the engineers. There is very little banking, so it will be a challenge to find the right setup for the Marlboro Team Penske car. However, once you do get a good setup, the track is very fast and a lot of fun to drive. I'm looking forward to this weekend, and I think we'll be able to put on an exciting show for the fans."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The Target team ran competitively in Michigan, and we'd certainly like to improve on that this weekend in Kentucky. Our engineers have worked closely with Toyota, and they came through with some gains last race. That should be a big help for the next few races. The Kentucky track is fairly bumpy, and I think that can be an advantage for our Toyota / (Panoz) G Force as it prefers the tracks that need more handling. We had a very good showing last year as I started and finished second. We've got six races left and the championship is still up for grabs. Anything can happen, and although we lost some ground in the past few weeks, nothing is impossible. I know this Target team will work hard and won't give up until the checkered flag drops at the last race."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone):"We had a good test at Kentucky, which was my first time at this track. It is a nice facility, and I think we learned some things that will help us this weekend. As a team, we have been strong on the 1.5-mile circuits. The season is really flying by, and I know we are capable of finishing at the front. Hopefully, we can put everything together Sunday."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I enjoy racing at Kentucky because we have a lot of friends that we see from when my dad trained horses there in the late (1980s). This year we'll be running a Dallara chassis instead of the (Panoz) G Force. It'll be different, but we've been working with the Conseco Dallara all year, so we know pretty much what it needs. Kentucky is flatter than the other 1.5-mile tracks and rougher too, so we'll be dealing with the shocks and springs a lot more than we do at the other superspeedways. Last year's race was fast because there was just one caution, which puts a premium on pit stops because they mostly happen under green. Team Conseco has been giving me great stops and Toyota is finding more horsepower with each race, so I'm confident we'll have a solid run on Sunday."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to racing at Kentucky Speedway. This will be the first time I've competed there, but the ArcaEx team has performed well on the 1.5-mile ovals thus far, and the Andretti Green Racing team had a successful test at Kentucky Speedway last week. Being a two-day event, we'll need to be quick from the start, but I believe we have a good baseline from which to begin."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I'm looking forward to going back to Kentucky. Last time I drove there, we won the race, so I have some really good memories of being in Victory Lane. It's a fairly bumpy track, so the car has to be working well over the bumps. We haven't had a chance to test there this year, but it sounds like the speeds will be up from where we were in Kansas on our last 1.5-mile track."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I had a good race at Kentucky last year, and (teammate) Tony (Kanaan) and I both had a great test there last week, so I'm excited to go back. I think we're geared up for a strong weekend and are looking forward to getting a good finish in the XM Satellite Radio car. I want to break into the win column with my other teammates."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Kentucky is a fun track. I like it because it's a cross between a horsepower and a handling track, so it's important to get the car dialed in to work well in traffic. I've been able to bring home a top-10 finish in each of my four starts there, including a win last year. Since the circuit is close to my home, we're expecting a lot of friends to be cheering for Marlboro Team Penske on Sunday."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm going to Kentucky with one thing on my mind: To win the race. I still have a long way to go until the end of the championship, and I'm taking everything race by race. I want to keep my momentum and score as many points as possible."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I was disappointed by the outcome in Michigan, but there were a lot of positives the Target team could come away with. The team was perfect, and Toyota has come in with some improvements that made a difference in Michigan. I feel pretty confident heading to Kentucky, and I'm looking at not only running up front but finishing up front as well."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I am excited for the race at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. We have had very good cars on the 1.5-mile tracks, and it also helps that (teammate) Adrian (Fernandez) and I tested there last week. I think both myself and the team have a lot of motivation going into this weekend. The last race at Michigan was one of our best weekends so far this season, up until the last 50 laps of the race. But we showed what we are capable of. I have a lot of confidence for this weekend."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to the Kentucky race very much after testing there. The racing surface is much smoother than before, and the racing should be very good. It will be fast as usual, but I think we can race side by side. The track did a good job by smoothing out the pavement. There should be two grooves in the race. The Centrix team has given me some outstanding cars in the recent races, but we really haven't had too much luck. It's time to put everything together for the next three races. I think we'll be right in the battle up front. This Rahal Letterman Racing team is a proven and strong team. They'll give (teammate) Buddy (Rice) and I good cars this weekend."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "I had a really cool weekend off at the X Games. I hung out with the Bostrom brothers (Ben and Eric) and Jeremy McGrath and bunch of guys. It was nice to go test in Nazareth and then relax in L.A. after the three-race stretch last month. Now, we have another three-race stretch. These three races are very important towards the championship. We had a good chance to win all three of those last races, but we had a problem at Nashville, and we had a yellow flag at Milwaukee. But (teammate) Vitor (Meira) and I were able to split up our recent testing. I was at Nazareth and Vitor was at Kentucky for Honda. Both tests were very good, and I know we'll have good cars for the three races. We have been able to close in on Tony (Kanaan's) point lead a little so far, but he is tough and hasn't finished out of the top five since the opening race. We have to do our best job and go to win races now. Our Pioneer/Argent Honda team is ready for the challenge. They are psyched up for the last six races and so am I."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're really looking forward to the run at Kentucky Speedway. While the track itself can be pretty bumpy on occasion, the Pennzoil Panther team has always had strong cars there. Our engineering staff seems to have figured out how to make the car handle really well anywhere on the track. I remember last year watching the yellow Panther car dominate all the rest of us and wished I were driving it. Well, this year I will be and I can hardly wait. It should be a great race for teams and fans alike. We're also hoping that Steve Namisnak, our vent and jack man who was injured at Michigan, might be able to join us for the race."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It's always thrilling for me to go back to Kentucky. I like the track, and the Delphi team has done well there in the past. Each year, the fans turn out in great numbers to see a very competitive, side-by-side race. The Kentucky track has a lot of similarities to some of our other 1.5-mile tracks, but the surface is a bit rougher and getting the car to work well over the bumps becomes an exciting challenge."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Last year, the team did a good job in Kentucky with the setup of the Pioneer car. We led the race at one point, but had an unfortunate situation arise with our fuel calculation. That event was only the second time we had used the Dallara chassis during the 2003 season, so we're optimistic that we can use much of the same data to prepare for the race this weekend. We obviously have struggled in recent weeks and hope to turn that around in Kentucky. We're continuing to closely review all the data from last year as race weekend approaches."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "We've been able to test at Kentucky recently and did quite a bit of testing in the (Menards) Infiniti Pro (Series) car there as well. It's a nice track, it's just a shame I couldn't race there last year. I felt very confident going into last year's race, and I feel the same this year. I think we'll have a strong car, and it will be a good race. (About the surface at Kentucky): The problem they have there is, through the winter, the track gains a number of bumps. It seems to have changed a little bit from when we ran there last year. They keep repaving bits of the track here and there. When we tested there, they put on good show and made sure we felt welcome. It is always a joy to go to Kentucky."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm certainly looking forward to this weekend's race at Kentucky. The entire Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew is hungry for another win. We just need to focus on finding the best race package we can. My teammates (Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta) came away from last week's test with some great information and a really good feel for the track, so I'm confident we'll have all the information we need to be very competitive."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Jeremy McGrath , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing