IRL: Nashville: Qualifying quotes

MARK DISMORE (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville/Pittsburgh Paints Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's not where I want to be, obviously. We'll just have to work on the race car tomorrow in the half-hour session. Hopefully, we can run competitive...

MARK DISMORE (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville/Pittsburgh Paints Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's not where I want to be, obviously. We'll just have to work on the race car tomorrow in the half-hour session. Hopefully, we can run competitive speeds in race trim and have a good race. A lot of things can happen, and if we have a decent car full of fuel, turn great pit stops like we've been doing lately, we can have a good race tomorrow night."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're real happy with the car. We missed the first 45-minute practice session this morning with fuel-pump problems, but the car was good, stuck solid -- in fact, maybe stuck a little too well. We're just working to trim the car out and maintain the good drivability. Our Purex/Aventis team has been working really hard this past week. Things haven't gone our way for a while, and we're ready for that to change."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I didn't have a chance to test here before we came, so it's a little rough for me. I like the track. I like its shape, the layout of the place, but we've been chasing the car all day."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We got everything we could out of the Delphi car. We're pleased. I think we're pretty well set up for the race. We may not have been as fast as we ultimately could be in qualifying, but we put a good lap together, and we'll be OK."

RAUL BOESEL (No. 12 Bradley Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We thought we could run better, but the car was certainly fine. Good balance and everything. We thought we could gain a little more speed. We just don't know exactly why it didn't."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We improved, but we are still way off. This track is not a normal track. You have to learn its tricks. We're disappointed to be starting so far back, but the race is always a different story. We usually have a pretty good race car for the race."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're pretty happy. The Pennzoil Panther team worked real hard to get a good race setup. We didn't work real hard on our qualifying setup. We're just really excited for the race tomorrow. Last year we led quite a bit. We led the most laps, but had a fuel-injector problem. This year, hopefully we'll be running on all cylinders and maybe come away with a win."

TONY RENNA (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was fortunate to get out there, and the guys on the crew put a really good setup on the car. It was really stable for me. The Corteco/Bryant car ran really well. For me, this weekend is all about getting laps. I'm really here to keep the seat warm for Al (Unser Jr.). I just want to get out there and get as many laps under my belt as I can. Now I'm in the show. I just want to get 200 laps under my belt, have four or five good pit stops, and get a good baseline to start from when we get to Michigan next week. We can start worrying about going fast then."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a little bit of a disadvantage with us being the first car out. The first guy is always the pick to see where the track is at. We slowed down. We've been pretty fast all day so we have been real encouraged with practice and looking to turn our season around. We know how the track changes and know a little bit what to expect. Every year is different with the natural aging of the facility. It is really unique being on the concrete and just a fun place to race." (Is there a difference racing on concrete as opposed to asphalt?) "The track doesn't change as much throughout the day with the changes in temperature. It certainly reacts differently as the rubber wears off the tire. On top of all that, there are grooves in the track, and they can cause your car to crash."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We ran a lot faster in practice, but for some reason, it didn't pull out there. We'll have to go back and find out what the problem is. We had a great test here. Our race setup was fantastic when we were here, so it's obvious we have some kind problem that's hurting our speed."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 20 BG Products/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm pretty happy. I ran a little bit faster this morning, but it's not too far off. I lost a little bit of time coming off of (Turn) 4. I'm happy with being in the top eight and hopefully, we'll have a good race tomorrow."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think the car was pretty good. That's all we had for today for the qualifying. I was flat all the way around. The car was good, but unfortunately we dropped a tenth from this morning. It should be all right for tomorrow."

SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Smart Blade/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm quite pleased with our qualifying run. We're making great strides together as a team after only two races together, and we've kicked it up a few notches in the process. We've done some things to make me more comfortable in the car, including building a platform under my pedals, because my feet are a lot smaller than those of the other drivers in the series. So now the ball of my foot is higher on the pedal. It made such a difference in the throttle of the car during practice today, and I can get on the gas earlier. I can drive it harder since I can feel what my feet are doing." (On racing at Nashville): "There are two different challenges to this track: One of them is that there are two different corners that you have to be sure and sort out, and the second challenge is that the surface is kind of glossy. Our Firestone tires are working really, really well on the surface."

GREG RAY (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I don't know what happened out there. We didn't test here, but the car felt good today. Thought we'd do a 202 mph or around there -- since we went much quicker in practice. It's a good race car, and we're hoping for a good race night."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We are pretty happy with the speed. The numbers we put up were just as quick as practice, and I think everyone had a little tow in practice. We tested here last week, learning a lot; the test really paid off. The team has been working really hard, and we are finding more power with the engine and today showed that. This track is a power-and-handling track, but for qualifying, a lot of it will depend on how much air you are pushing. The race is a totally different deal because of the draft. Speedway is making gains on the horsepower so we're striding toward the front. We are very happy. The way they paved the track, the concrete sections are horizontal causing the car ride to be somewhat bumpy."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The Red Bull car is going pretty good. We've run well here. Tomas is pretty quick. I had an engine change from this morning, and this one ran a lot better. That hurt us because we couldn't do any qualifying runs earlier today. This season has got to turn around for us. There is no reason why that can't happen here in Nashville. I think the car will be good for the race. The key for the race is to have a car that can run at 202 (mph) all day long, and you'll be OK."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We are pretty happy. It's nice to see the Infiniti engine on the pole again. Billy Boat can have the pressure of starting on pole tomorrow night. I'd rather have a race win for one of the Red Bull cars. This team is made up of a bunch of guys that don't like losing. We've worked hard enough today to make sure our race cars are capable of winning tomorrow. The concrete surface is not a problem. It's just tarmac that looks lighter."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is a very hard and challenging track, but this is a sport of challenges. I am happy because I had some anxiety about coming back and how the g-forces would affect me, and I answered some questions there. For sure, I need to get in better shape, and that will come with racing. This was a hard track on me last year when I was 100 percent. I would like it if they reduced the distance to 100 laps, I'm not sure I can make 200 laps."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had a fuel-pump problem I think since Kansas because at Kansas we stopped the race because of that kind of problem. They looked at everything on the car. When we started practice here, everything was OK. After a few laps, the engine started to have some leak, so it looked like we lost the pressure. The guys changed really quickly the pump before qualifying. To take off the pump on that car you have to take off the engine and then change the pump and fit back the engine. So it was a long change, they worked pretty quickly on that, but when we started to qualify the problem was still there. We couldn't do even one lap. I think we have a pretty good car. We didn't do any testing. When we came in and after the two practice sessions, we were in the top eight. It wasn't too bad with all of the problems we had."

GIL de FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm very happy with the Marlboro Team Penske car. It's been handling very well all day; we just haven't been able to find those last few hundredths of a second. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be there at the end to earn some valuable points in the championship."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About his first front-row start since Atlanta in 1999): "It's good to be back. I knew it had to be a long time, but I wasn't sure. The entire Curb Records team, my engineer Darrell Soppe and my chief mechanic Terry Wilbert, they worked very hard to put together a good race car. We changed to Infiniti power -- this will be the second race for us -- and that's kind of stepped our program up to where we're closer to the front of the pack. I said when we made that switch that the first thing we had to do was we had to get to the front of the speed charts in practice, then we had to sit on the pole, then we could think about winning a race. We've done those things now, so we're looking to try to win this thing tomorrow night." (Has the track changed from last year?): "I think the track has a little bit more grip this year. I think that's helped the overall speeds. Hopefully, it will make it a little bit easier to pass. I think we have a little bit wider groove than we had last year, but it's still very narrow. Traffic is going to play a key role, there's no doubt about that. I expect a tough race. You see a lot of guys there at that 202 (mph) mark. I think there's going to be a lot of guys that can run quick, and I think it's going to be very challenging."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm very happy for Marlboro Team Penske, to be here for the first time on a concrete circuit. The only time I've run (on concrete) was to turn right and left. It's quite a challenge, not only for the drivers but for the engineers to set up the car on a bumpy circuit like this. It's great. I'm very happy to be starting on the front row, especially here. I do believe the race is going to be very different. As I was watching the race from last year, it seems to be very difficult to pass. I know it's going to be tough, but it's the same for everyone. I just hope we're going to be in good shape." (About racing on concrete): "Right now in qualifying, in the conditions like we're running in today, I don't see that much of a problem, but something might be different during the race when you have 200 laps. You don't know if the tires are going to be wearing out, what kind of debris you're going to have, a lot of situations. Unfortunately, that's the price we have to pay for our first time in this series. But again, I'm expecting to at least start conservative. Not trying to do anything beyond my power of control. As long as we keep consistent and score points, I'm going to shoot for that. I just hope we're going to be in good shape tomorrow."

-irl-

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