IRL: Kentucky: Qualifying quotes

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Pennzoil Panther team has worked real hard. We've had a few minor setbacks today, but my guys never let me down. That's what a good car is to me. Sometimes it takes a...

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Pennzoil Panther team has worked real hard. We've had a few minor setbacks today, but my guys never let me down. That's what a good car is to me. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than it normally does, but the Pennzoil Panther team and Chevrolet and Firestone worked so hard for us this year to make sure we're up near the front. When it comes together, it comes together. Everybody else is saying how slippery it was, but we actually put a little too much downforce on the car, and we probably could have been a little bit faster. You might see a little bit of slipping and sliding depending on how much temperature there is tomorrow. I definitely think it's going to be the handling car, not the horsepower car, that wins tomorrow."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Anytime there's a different series, a different kind of rubber gets put down. It's all a part of the challenge. You've got to find a way to turn that into an advantage, and that's something we need to work on."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's not the best possible run we could have made, but we got it in the show, and that's what's important. Now we can go work on the race setup and go from there."

About returning to competition following his treatment for alcoholism: "What can I say? It's actually been really good. I've been excited. I've got so much support. I've got my fans and my family and all that. With that much support, it's a great feeling."

WILL LANGHORNE (No. 55 Grill 2 Go/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's not too bad. There was kind of a little groove out there. I was planning on a higher line, but it kind of bit on my first lap because it pushed, and I had to pull out of it and go lower the next time. The biggest thing is it felt like the groove was more narrow. We just didn't have the volume of laps going around to work the groove in."

GREG RAY (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was definitely slippery out there this afternoon. We were running 218 (mph) in practice, and that's about where we were qualifying. A.J. does set up a good car for the race. I don't know what the speed problem is. We're definitely not the fastest car out there, but feel we have one of the better good-handling cars for the race tomorrow."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 20 BG Products Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "Obviously, the track changed a lot since we last ran. I had a little more push than I needed, but it's all right. I'll take it. I think you're going to have to run on the bottom to be fast here. It seems like it's bad in Turns 3 and 4. It understeers a little bit there. I probably could have used a turn of front wing, but we'll take it."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "It was a good run. We were flat out. The only disappointing thing is we lost like 100-and-some-odd rpms. We were running flat out in sixth and pulling sixth gear this morning. I wasn't even able to pull fifth gear. We only had two qualifying gears, sixth and fifth. The slick track makes sense, but losing that kind of rpm doesn't when you're flat."

About defending his title at Kentucky Speedway: "We'd love to three-peat. It couldn't come at a better time. The weekend has gone really well so far. Another good weekend here would be great."

TONY RENNA (No. 78 Kruse Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

Did Al Unser Jr. thank you for keeping his seat warm?: "He thanked me for not putting his baby into the wall. He was very complimentary and excited for me with my new opportunity with the Kruse Special. He has been ultra-helpful. I told him when I first saw him how excited I was to have him back. He is an open book to me and has been extremely helpful. It is great to have him back, but it is even better to be in the stall next to him and driving with him. It tells me a lot about my abilities and where I have come in this sport. I am now in a different frame of mind. Before it was, 'Go out, run solidly, finish solidly,' but now I want to try and run in the front and win races, and that is what we are going to try and do. We did a good job today. A lot of people were complaining about the track being slippery, but it was fine for us. I think we did really good considering having a new team and new everything."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was pushing a little bit, and then on my green flag lap, it pushed real bad in Turn 1. It was so bad it went up to the marbles, and I had to get out of the throttle. That is the trade-off when you wave off and get just one lap. There are no second chances."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a mechanical problem when we went to qualify for the first time. It's just not running very well right now. The fuel alarm came on when I qualified for the first time. We didn't have enough time to really do anything about it. We're really not sure what's going on."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We switched motors after practice, and apparently, it just wasn't as strong, so I didn't pull up on the gears. I was flat out, and I ran the line that I had been running all weekend, so there was no losing speed there. I just didn't pull it down the straightaway. In qualifying the car was good. We just didn't pull the gear."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville/Pittsburgh Paints Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "The car felt pretty good. I scrubbed a little bit of speed in the corners because the car was pushing a bit. I wish I could've been better, but right now we are all learning how to work together. For tomorrow my first priority is to finish the race. I don't want to have any mistakes, not do anything wrong. It's the same thing as I said before, just learn and try not to make mistakes."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was a little slippery, so we came in and added more downforce. It was hard for us because we didn't come here to test. In the end, though, the track changed so much for qualifying, so even for the guys who tested, it didn't make a difference. I think that is where I gained on them. To win the championship, we have to be consistent."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We played it better safe than sorry today. Our first qualifying attempt was not very good, so we waved it off. We were the first ones out on the track, and the conditions were different than what they were during practice. Marlboro Team Penske did a great job making a change to the car and getting me back in line for a second qualifying run. On the second attempt, the car was very consistent, and I was able to maintain the throttle the whole way around. Even with just one green-flag lap, we were able to put it in the top five, and that's what we wanted. Tomorrow is going to be a battle, so we need to be patient and make sure we're there at the end."

GIL de FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm a little disappointed with today's qualifying run. The track was completely different from our last practice session. It's hard to know where to aim when you don't know what the track is going to be like. We played it conservatively with the information we got from Helio (Castroneves) after he aborted his first run. It's too bad we couldn't have done better today. However, I still think the Marlboro Team Penske car is going to be OK for the race tomorrow."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We've had a difficult time getting the cars balanced here. We were just guessing when it came to qualifying. We should do well in the race. It's great to see another pole for the TWR Infiniti engine. It's a great accomplishment for Sarah."

BUDDY RICE (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was all right. The track changed quite a bit from our last session. We made some minor qualifying adjustments. There was a little bit of a problem with the track conditions, but I don't think it was really that bad. It just put us off a little bit. Sixth place is a solid start for the race. We need another good finish in the race tomorrow."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We just made the wrong decision. We stayed out when we shouldn't have. But it's a long race tomorrow. I think we've got a good race car. There is definitely some momentum for the team coming off a win at Michigan, but it just deflated a bit. We'll get it back for tomorrow. I'd like to give the guys another win this weekend. There was a lot of stuff said in the press lately that shouldn't have been said in the press, but we've got a win out of it. That's the most important thing. Maybe that's what we need to do, fight with each other to win races."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/ Infiniti/Firestone): "We were flat out with the car we had, but we've obviously got some work to do. Our testing here paid dividends, and our team is ecstatic over Sarah's success for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "My team did a great job. I said it was kind of like back in the midget days, and maybe that's why Sarah (Fisher) got the pole. We just kind of waited for the racetrack to come in. The guys at the end had a little bit of an advantage. The CURB Records team did a great job. The Infiniti engines, not only mine, but Sarah's, too, have been running great and have been key to how fast we both have been today. We can't complain. All I can say is I got beat by the girl the least."

About Sarah Fisher's first Indy Racing League pole: "I think the first pole you win is probably the most memorable because you work so hard to get there. There are times, and I'm sure Sarah can confer with this, that the front row seems so far away. I've kind of been there, been in the back, and now we've kind of worked our way back to the front. Sarah has come right there with us, so I think it makes it even that more special. You appreciate that it takes and the hard work it takes to get there even more after you've struggled for a little while."

SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Smart Blade/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's been a tough year for me, not having a job at the beginning of the season. Then unfortunately for Robbie Buhl, but fortunately for me, I got to drive for him in Nazareth, and that's when the whole thing got started over again. It's just been a recycle of my first year in Indy cars. I had to regain my confidence all over again. Mark Weida, my engineer, has really given me a car that I can lean on and give it my full effort. And I do that every single lap. It's been great up until now, and hopefully we can keep doing more. It was just really neat. I always wanted to produce the results that I produced in midgets and sprints cars. It's been really difficult to do that, but with the team that Dreyer & Reinbold has put together with Mark Weida and Dan Miller and having Robbie Buhl as a teammate and a driver coach getting me back to square one, it's just an incredible opportunity for an!ybody, let alone myself to come back to this league."

About the car: "A lot of it has just been development since Richmond. We have it a little bit different than what Robbie's was last year. We've just been working on the car, and every race we've just been getting it a little bit further and a little bit further, and we've just gotten it to the point where it's just really fast and easy to drive. When it's easy to drive, it's fun. When they're loose or pushing like crazy, you don't want to come to the racetrack. I've had really good results so far and really good consistency from the Infiniti engine. I've finished every one of them (races) except for Nashville, and I have the utmost confidence in the engine they're putting in the car right now."

What does the MBNA Pole mean?: "It doesn't compare to (finishing second at) Homestead (in 2001). I think the most memorable IRL race for me was Nazareth because of what happened, and what I went through, coming back from not havi!ng a job to having my parents believing in me and my ability and being able to stay strong and come back and doing really well. This doesn't compare to Nazareth at all, and hopefully, it won't compare to tomorrow at all."

About her success at Kentucky Speedway: "I don't know what it is, I think it just fits my driving style to a 'T.' I can get around this place. Whether it's a G Force or a Dallara, it doesn't really matter. I've never been this excited to race and come to the racetrack and get in the car. I'm here like an hour before everybody, and I'm here right with the crew like 'Get me in the car.' It's amazing how much fun you have when things are going right and how much hard times when things aren't going right. To go through both of those stages really teaches you to appreciate when things are going right."

About being a female in racing: "Being a woman in racing is nothing I've ever really looked at seriously. I've always just been a driver. My dad and my mom have! really been the only people to really see negative comments when (people) ask: 'Why do they put her in a race car? She's a girl, she should play volleyball or something.' They believed in me, and I think that's 110 percent the reason why I'm still here today and have a ride. To be able to be just a driver to competitors like Billy (Boat) and to be a driver to competitors like Robbie (Buhl), that's all that matters in my heart."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Robbie Buhl , Sam Schmidt , Dan Miller , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing