SHIGEAKI HATTORI ( ...
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Things went pretty well out there. For the first sequence, I felt a distinct push, which was making it hard to move through traffic, but we made changes in the first pit stop and that helped me out a lot. The No. 55 EPSON was very consistent and had great fuel mixtures throughout the race, and that helped to keep us a strong competitor till the checkered flag fell. The EPSON crew did a great job for every pit stop. Our team was very fast in getting me in and out of the pits, and every time we pitted, I jumped up in position."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Real close racing. Great racing. What can I say? What a great team effort. We have four victories this season. This is two in a row at this racetrack. I've never done that before. Just a beautiful day. I feel like we have a pretty good grip on this place. I really like Kentucky. I've got a great team. They gave me everything I needed. We work great together. When I left last night, nobody was around. It was just me and my team. I really hurt my ribs in the IROC car last weekend, so I was fighting that there at the end. I dedicate this win to my grandma Max. She's back home in Minnesota fighting Leukemia." (About championship battle with Panther Racing): "We're coming hard. They do a great job. They have a great driver and team. It'll be tough, but we're coming. It is just great having the fans cheer me on. It just pumps me up watching all these guys standing up on their chairs. It makes you want to race hard. We love this place. We feel like we own it. It is such an honor to be able to win a race like that, so closely contested." (A complete transcript of the winner's press conference will be provided at a later time.)
RON HEMELGARN (owner, Hemelgarn Racing): "Fantastic. That's four out of five wins for us. We're gaining on that yellow car. We want that championship. We got us another 15 points, so we're closing the gap." (A complete transcript of the winner's press conference, including owner quotes, will be provided at a later time.)
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's frustrating. The Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold team, along with Infiniti, has been competitive since May. We've always had a competitive car, you just can't see it in the black-and-white results. Today is another case of that. You can't give up anything on the track, because we are racing side by side, and every little bit in the pits makes a difference. Leaving the pits early on that last pit stop, while the fuel hose was still hooked up, hurt us today. Johnny (O'Gara), our team manager and right-front guy, anticipated the drop of the car and the fuel coming out. He waved me out, and Bubba, our fuel guy, was just trying to release the hose, and it hung up. It's a game where tenths of a second make a difference, and we were just trying to make everything work perfectly. There was a little bit of a miscue, and the end result was that we didn't get enough fuel in the tank. Everyone on the team is OK, so we are happy for that."
Dennis ReInbold (Owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: "In the last stop he just left without the fuel hose out of the car. The fuel hose came out and sprayed fuel, and the tank went over. Fortunately no one was hurt, but it really kind of cost us a chance at the win here. We just ran out of fuel with one lap to go."
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The track was really consistent. We just had a little trouble with the drive shaft. Our biggest problem today was that the radio failed on the warm-up lap. I had no spotter, which didn't help out at all today. It was just a real tough day. The car was OK. We just lost speed. We ran comfortable at the 210 range, but it was too flat to do anything today."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We had a car that could have won this race. We had a jam nut that came undone in the front suspension, and we had to repair it on pit road. That put us down a lot of laps, but when we returned to the race we were running as fast or faster than the leaders. Buddy Lazier tried to pass me for about 20 laps and couldn't, and he went on to win the race. That's how fast we were. We had a great car, and we would have been in the top five for sure without that problem. At first we thought it was a tire problem, but it was the nut. It's a shame because the Cahill Racing team gave me a great car. The whole team is really coming together. We're going to get there, too. We're getting closer all the time. My leg feels fine; no problem."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's really hard to pass the leaders when they weave all over the backstraightaway. It's really disappointing to have to go out there and race against guys that you try to get underneath them, and they just move around on you. If the rules aren't going to be enforced then I guess I'll start doing it too." (About third-place finish): "It's a little bit of a disappointment. The Pennzoil Panther guys did an awesome job in the pits. We picked up positions every time we were in the pits. We had a pretty good car. It's kind of tough when you can't get past the leader." (About the wing degree change): "It didn't really matter what we did all day. We kept running the same car. We had a push on the exit of the corner."(About points chase): "Now it's only a 25 point lead. Robbie (Buhl) was running real fast today. I think he should've been by Buddy, but you know when he's weaving all over the backstraightaway it's kind of hard for him to get by. As far as the points go, it's nice to still be out in front, but things could've definitely turned out a lot different than they did here today. I don't know how many times we were going around a backmarker, or I'd try to make a pass and suddenly they either tried to move me up towards the wall, or they just came down on me. It's tough when it's like that. I guess I don't play that way with others, so I don't expect it back." (A complete transcript of the third-place press conference will be provided at a later time.)
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Hats off to those guys. They're having a great year. Four out of five wins for them now. They're coming on strong, but I have to say thanks to my Delphi guys. They did a great job. We had an untouchable car in the first half. The car was really good on the bumps early, and for some reason about middle of the race on we just had a real bad time with the bumps. I don't know if we had a shock go down, or I thought maybe we shred a tire, but you know the Firestones are great. The Delphi guys made great pit stops today." (A complete transcript of the second-place press conference will be provided at a later time.)
JAQUES LAZIER (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I am happy and disappointed all at the same time. We had some great runs. The passing was a blast. Again, these guys build the best car ever. I could drive my car anywhere on the track that I wanted. I'm happy that the cars are in one piece but really disappointed that we lost power at the end. We are still having some bad luck, but I don't believe that we've lost our momentum. We had a great test session in St. Louis, and I still believe we have the ability to win one of these before the year is out." DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm very happy. The car was good, but we could've been a little closer on the gearing. I'd get a run on the people, and then I'd hit the rev limiter. But from where we started, it turned out pretty good. I think we've really started to gel in the last few races."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Well, I can't say enough about my Galles Racing crew. They passed more cars today in the pits than I did on the track. They were unbelievable, and we had a great finish. My car was not handling well on the restarts, and so I wasn't able to really race with the leaders after each yellow until my tire pressures went up. But it was a really good day for the Galles Racing Starz Super Pak car, and now we will look forward to going to St. Louis in two weeks."
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The clutch just went out on us. There was a break in the gearbox. My clutch wasn't working, and we couldn't get it into gear. I couldn't even get it out of fifth gear. The team has been doing a great job. We've had a couple of really great runs. Our new team manager really is trying to turn it around. We weren't the fastest out there, but we were definitely trying to keep our laps."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We had an OK car today by itself, but when I got into traffic the car got really loose. We fought it all day, and I couldn't keep up with the leaders. The car wouldn't stay low on the track, and I kept getting stuck behind slower cars. At the end of the race, we blew the motor. We'll just take what we can from this race and get ready for St. Louis."
BILLY ROE (#81 Zali Racing Belterra Casino Resort G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It was a great race. Our car started off with a push, and we made a few changes to get it were we could run flat about three-quarters of the way out. After that we just let the pedal down and wound up 14th, which is a good finish for us. We're looking forward to coming back next year with some new equipment. I thought the racetrack was pretty consistent all day. We kept changing the car for it, and finally got it dialed in there. I thought it was pretty good."
BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The finish isn't what we wanted, but we brought it home. The car was pretty good in the middle of the run. As we burned fuel off the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara the car got a lot better over the bumps. I was resting my elbow up against the cockpit to try and hold the car over the bumps when the fuel load was heavy. We did get to the checkered, and that is good for the points."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It was better than I expected at the beginning. We kept making adjustments and got the car better, but we never really hit the sweet spot." (About the spin): "I just braked too hard. Billy Roe was running pretty slow in front of me, and I had to slow down more than I planned to, and it just swapped ends."
RICK TREADWAY (#5 Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "This was just a tremendous opportunity to drive the Meijier/Coca Cola/Firestone car with the Treadway-Hubbard Racing team. To be racing in front of all these great Indy Racing League fans at Kentucky Speedway was incredible. I mean, it was a tremendous learning experience. I learned a lot at this race, and I'm going to build upon that and hopefully going to do a little better at Chicago. It was my first time in traffic, and there's sure a lot going on and fast, but I'm used to that flying planes. Things were going great until we lost radio communications. The team decided to pull me in and fix the radio rather than leave me out with no communications. I know how important it is to hear your spotter. They play a major role in helping the driver. Our goal was to be running at the end, and we accomplished that."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I had a real good car for the race. The only problem was I got lapped pretty soon by the leader. Then we tried to get that lap back by staying on the track. We had a good car, but we needed a little more luck. The good thing is that we finished the race, so we can get a little more experience, and hopefully we can gear up for the next race. The car just didn't handle well in traffic. I only had one line to run, so it was tough to pass. We worked on the car and were pretty quick at the end, but it was still just hard for me to pass. The track was a little bumpy, but it was still a great race for the fans. I don't think the bumps affected the race at all."
DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I had a great car for the race. It was fast and consistent. The problem is that I got lapped so early. I tried to get my lap back by staying out until the yellow, but I had to pit on green. It was a good race, and I think I could have finished better if I hadn't been lapped so early."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's kind of a bitter-sweet day for the CURB Records/Beck Motorsports team. We had a car that was capable of running in the top three, but I think something was starting to go away in the motor at the end of the race, and it slowed us down 3 or 4 miles-an-hour. We hit the race car setup spot on, even though we had too low of a gear in the car, and that was hurting us in the draft. We were probably capable of running a mile or 2 an hour quicker but with too low of a gear we were on the rev-limiter all day, which probably contributed to the engine going away at the end. All in all though, it's another solid top 10 that keeps us right there in the points, and the important thing is that the competition knew we were here today. We ran up front. We were in contention all day, and that's really what the key is for this team. We just need to stay up front, and when it's our turn we'll be able to get a win."