FELIPE GIAFFONE ( ...
(#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We slowed down quite a bit. My car was a little bit loose in the first lap, but once we got the green, I worked with the bars and was able to go flat out. The two laps that we did qualify, we were flat out. I hope the track is a little bit slower, because we slowed down. It got warmer, you know."
About having lead in rookie points chase
"I'm actually more worried about the championship. If I can stay within the top three, that would be really good. Right now my goal is to win a race."
About the track conditions
"It's a little bit bumpier than the other tracks, but it's the same for everybody."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The track is 100 percent better. It's a little bit bumpy, but with the package we have, I think it will make for a great race. We missed the gear by a little bit. We didn't practice qualifying runs this morning. We're here to win the race."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We were on the rev limiter most of the time. The car is good, but we need more horsepower. Just have to hope to draft in the race because on our own we can't really compete."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "We changed gears for this qualifying session, and I think we went a bit too long. We were too short this morning. The air is really thick. It's like driving through oatmeal out there, it's so heavy. I think it's adding a lot of drag to the car. Once we get the gearing right we'll be OK. It's a very long race. If our time is good for the first two rows, I'll be very happy."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We lost some speed from this morning's practice. I think we have an idea why. It was still real good. We ran around flat out. You're never happy unless you are up there on that front row, but we're pleased with the way practices have gone. We'll have to see what we have tomorrow."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It was about perfect, a nine-and-a-half or a 10, probably a 10. I think the 12 degrees will make a better race. It will open up a second groove and make drafting a factor. Everything just came together for us. We just tweaked it. We didn't make many changes. It always seems we do well in qualifying, in the session we don't really care about. We stuck a new engine in last night, and it ran really well this morning. With the condition of the track combined with the 12 degrees, I don't think anybody knows what to expect tomorrow."
"Obviously, it's great having Mark (Dismore, Kelley Racing teammate) up here again -- an all Delphi front row. The guys have worked really hard. We've had a great weekend so far, but we would trade it all for a good strong run tomorrow. That's where we tried to focus. We really surprised ourselves with our speed. I really felt the pole would be mid to high 213 (mph). I wasn't sure I could really run that. We just made a few minor tweaks here and there, and I tried to run what I felt would be the perfect line. I just looked down after the first lap and saw 214-and-a-half, and I thought something was wrong with my dash. We're real pleased and now obviously the focus becomes race day."
About gaining speed after each practice and now qualifying on the pole): "Well this morning's time came with the draft. I followed (Felipe) Giaffone around for a couple of laps. We weren't sure what we could run based off of that. Really, it's a new track for everybody, you know, with the wing configuration 12 degrees, which I think is a great move by the IRL, and the fact that the surface is relatively new in the corners, it's just taken a little bit for everybody to adjust to that. So I think everyone is making good changes. It's just going to keep going a little bit faster, and that's what you've seen happen."
About an all-Infiniti row behind the Kelley Racing front row and how that affects race strategy
"I feel tomorrow is a little bit of an unknown for everybody. We haven't had to deal with exact track conditions ever until this weekend. We've never run the 12 degrees (wing package) here. So no one really knows what their car is going to be like 30, 40, 50 laps into a run -- if we end up going green that long. So, I think we really entered qualifying saying 'Hey, it would be great to be up front, but where ever we end up, if we're in the first few rows, we're going to be happy.' Because what the key is going to be, if you have one of the best cars out there 30 laps in it doesn't matter if you start 12th or you start first, you're probably going to be leading. I think that's the whole key."
Does the 12-degree wing give some people a little bit more bravado to go up high?
"I certainly think so. I don't know about what Mark thinks. I think if we were on six degrees it would be very questionable whether there would ever be any outside passing. With at least the 12 degrees it opens that window, and once it gets rubbered up there it's basically new track out there. So it's going to take a little while for guys to start running up there. When that happens, you'll probably see some of that in this next session. As it gets more rubber you'll see guys being more and more quick to go up there."
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm disappointed. The guys have done a terrific job with freeing up the car for qualifying. We've got a good, stable, consistent ride. I don't know right now. We're just not fast. I'm on the same line I was last year, or pretty close. We've got the same setup on the car except a little freer. You are always going to be frustrated when you can't get it. It's flat, and the car is free. That's all it will do."
RICK TREADWAY (#5 Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's a dream come true. Everything is going great. I couldn't be happier to be associated with Meijer, Coca-Cola, Firestone Tires, Treadway-Hubbard Racing and the Indy Racing League. I've been working hard at it for four or five years, and it is a dream come true. I hope tomorrow goes as good as today. So we can put a good race on for the fans."
About track conditions
"Kentucky Speedway did a great job getting the track prepared for this weekend. They've done a magnificent job, and everything feels fine."
JAQUES LAZIER (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I really do believe that tomorrow -- the wing angles that we put into these cars for safety issues was a real smart move. I mean, I'm really impressed with the tack. They've done a phenomenal job with the limited time they've had. You know, I think we're going to see a lot of drafting tomorrow. The corners are so smooth that I think you're going to see two abreast in the corners, and I think it is going to be a really exciting race."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The CURB Records/Beck Motorsports car was pretty good overall. We lost a little bit of rpm, which cost us a little bit of speed, but I think everybody has had that situation. Hopefully we'll end up qualified in the top six. If we can start toward the front of the field and have a good race car all day, we'll be able to stay toward the front. The track is really unchanged from this morning and has stayed consistent throughout the weekend, so I don't see that being a factor in what happens tomorrow. Since we don't have a very big team, our guys have to work extra hard to get the job done, and they've done a fantastic job this year. We continue to improve, and that's really the key. If we can continue to improve at the rate we're going, then we could easily visit victory lane before the year is out."
DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car felt good, but coming down for the green, the motor shut off going across the start-finish line. They're taking it apart now to figure out why. We'll just start in the rear and have to work our way to the front."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We weren't as fast this afternoon as we ran this morning, so that's a little disappointing. I don't know if the air is thicker or if it was the car, but it seems like quite a few drivers weren't quite up to speed. We should have been running a 212, but we're still going to start the race in the top 10. This team knows how to put a good race car together, and the team's confidence is up. We'll be a tough contender tomorrow."
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's kind of hard to evaluate it (qualifying run). We were a lot quicker this morning, but we threw out a half-shaft. We really got lucky not to total the race car. We were very, very lucky we didn't have a huge crash because of that. We had to replace the whole right-side suspension, just to be safe. You don't really know what kind of damage that half-shaft did coming out the back. Overall, the car was solid. It just wasn't fast. I think the track conditions are great. Everyone at the speedway has done an absolutely wonderful job of addressing all the issues and making sure the race goes off without a hitch. They went above and beyond the call of duty."
BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We'll work the Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara up from there. We're getting closer, but we still have a lot to gain with the car before the race tomorrow."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "Team Purex has been quick everywhere since the month of May. We are real happy with the Infiniti power. Unfortunately, we just haven't had things go our way come race day, and we need to show that we are happy to be starting up front. You've got Kelley guys on the front row, and I know Cheever's guys and myself would like to bump up a row. We'll keep working on that. Right now we've got to think about what it is we need to do on Sunday to be around at the end and to be in contention to do something."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm a little baffled. We lost 2 mph, and I don't know why. The Cahill Racing car has been running great, and it's very comfortable. If we would have gone as fast as we went in practice this morning we would have been in better shape, but this is where we are, and we'll work from here. This track demands a lot, and it takes a toll on equipment. It's pretty bumpy coming out of Turn 2, but it's not too bad with my car. My engineer, John Hayes, is very good with shocks. We'll do our best to drive a smart race tomorrow and hope for another top 10. The team has great momentum now, coming off the fourth at Nashville. I want to wish Gloria Cahill and her sister both a happy birthday, and Mike and Diana Horvath a happy 27th wedding anniversary. We celebrated last night at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, which is one of our associate sponsors this weekend."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Well the team keeps working hard, and we had a good run today, but we lost just enough to not put us higher up on the grid. But, the car is good enough for me to run in the draft tomorrow with the lead group, so I think we will have a good race. My pit crew is always fast on race day, and Rick Galles calls a great race. As far as the track, I have not really noticed the patching on the track, and I think that Kentucky Speedway has done a fantastic job of listening to our concerns and then finding the remedies for them. It is a testament to the strength of the Indy Racing League and their strong relationship with Kentucky Speedway. I think we will have a great race tomorrow."
DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The first time we went out, I had a very big push, and my side pod had a loose camloc. So we had to come in, and then when we went back out I only had two green laps. We just weren't as fast as we were yesterday, and we lost three-tenths of a second somewhere. So we are trying to find that for the warm-up this afternoon. I have been trying different lines all weekend to get comfortable with the track and to see where I can run with the bumps. We are just going to try more in the last session and see what happens."
MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "This weekend has been a little bit different. My setups and Scott's are really pretty much different directions. In fact, we're changing our car over right now, making a suspension change on our car for the race. It's something we ran yesterday, and I really liked it so we're going back to that, and I feel like for the race we'll be in really good shape. The track's really bumpy. I feel like what we missed in qualifying was a shock deal. Scott's had different shock absorbers than what I'm using. He's got a different brand even. I imagine it was a situation where Scott was going forward a little more than I was, where I was going up and down. I feel that's where we lost our speed. Overall, I'm happy. I'm thrilled it's an all-Kelley front row. Hopefully tomorrow we can keep it that way, only reverse the order. I think with the 12-degree wing, which was absolutely the right thing to do, it was the right choice. I think that was very wise. I think you'll see a bunch of side-by-side racing tomorrow -- I mean all day long, I'm sure. And with the six degree last year, we could have run side-by-side because the track was a little bit smoother, but this year, with the car shattering around, you still would have seen guys racing up top, but they would have been doing it, like, hanging on. I think the way it is now, it's not that you're still not hanging on a little bit, because of the bumps, the extra downforce is going to make it a real racy race."