Team Chevy at Indianapolis: Drivers quotes

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Selected quotes from Team Chevy drivers at Indianapolis 500 Media Availability.

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 1ST

“If anything I’m a little more relaxed this year than last year last – having gone through this last year and having been in this position and the pressure that comes with that, because there is some. That’s probably the biggest thing – being more prepared to manage the whole week leading up to it. For the race, I feel like we are more prepared than last year. Some that is going through this whole thing and having a car that is capable of winning. You learn things through that process. So yeah, I feel prepared but it’s a 500-mile race and a lot of things happen.”

HOW’S YOUR MINDSET COMING IN AND YOUR GUT FEELING KNOWING HOW WELL THIS MONTH HAS GONE? “There are moments where I feel crazy confident and feel like it is our year. But maybe there’s only been two years here where I didn’t feel like it was my year. Then there were other days where you’re thinking the month has gone really well; something bad must be about to happen. Overall, I feel good and feel pretty relaxed. I think that’s because I’m prepared and my team is prepared. It’s about going out, doing the job and executing and doing it better than 32 others.”

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE LAST LAP? “I think you have to be in the front. You can certainly win it from elsewhere but odds are you have a better chance of winning from the lead. There is less risk there but a lot of it depends on the day. Last year that may not have been the case but I don’t know if this year’s race will be like that one.”

IS THERE ONE TEAM OR ONE DRIVER YOU’RE LOOKING AT AND SAYING YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO BEAT THEM? “I mean Helio is going for his fourth, and it’s a big deal for him. Roger (Penske) and that whole team is hard to beat here, and the Ganassi guys are pros. Andretti’s cars are great. And you can’t count out guys like Josef Newgarden who has been fast. It’s really an amazingly competitive field. It will take a perfect race from someone to get it done, in my opinion.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS 3RD

“To be sure, we’re focused on all the things you have to do right during the race with this particular car. It’s different than it used to be. For one, you have to understand the car in traffic and know that you can attack when the time comes. With 50 to go, you want to be in the top-five. With 20 to go, you want to be in the top-three. With 10 to go, you want to be leading or doing the switch-back with the guy who is second. It’s a big deal to understand where you can run and when.”

IS THE OUTSIDE TOUGHER THAN THE MIDDLE? DOES IT MATTER WHEN YOU GO INTO TURN 1? “It depends on what happens behind you and with the two guys on the inside of you. If you’re clear on the inside then you’re fine; you just slot in there in place. But you have to be ready to go. When Ed goes, that’s when we can go.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENNZOIL ULTRA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS 4TH

“This is the biggest race of the season for us. It’s the only race that everyone says, ‘If I can only win one race, this is it.’ I try to embrace it as much as I can. I’m thinking about what we can do. We’ve pretty much at the end of setting up the car. I know the team has done the best job possible. Hopefully it ends well for us Sunday. You’re thinking about a win no matter if it’s four or five and we keep going. A number is part of history. But I’m all the time thinking of what I can do to win this race. Last year it wasn’t enough. Was it strategy or setup or pit stops. We all analyzed a lot of things after last year. Now with the design of this car, we are looking for details that I never saw before. Hopefully those details will make the difference Sunday.”

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE LAST LAP? “That’s a good question. With this car, I don’t know. I probably will want to make a pass on the last lap. Then trust me, my car is going to be really wide going into the last corners.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR ROOKIE EXPERIENCE THAT COULD HELP THE FIRST-TIMERS THIS YEAR? “You have to be patient. It’s not a sprint race; it’s a marathon. To finish, you have to be there in the end otherwise you won’t win. When you make a decision, you have to be certain with your decisions.”

DOES IT GET HARDER EACH YEAR TRYING TO WIN NUMBER FOUR? “It’s always hard to win, no matter the number. I feel right now that things are so competitive. I also feel that we’ve taken care of ourselves and are prepared better. Every step of the way seems to be going well. I have the best guys and strategists that have won races. I guess our chances should be very high. We’ve put ourselves in good positions in the past but I think the cars have changed so much that it took me time. In 2012, we had some issues but in 2013 we were right there.”

JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 9TH

“This year, I feel more prepared as it is in general. We’ve not been quite as aggressive with the car setup. We both have cars that are capable of losing time on a lousy pit stop, falling back to 20th but working our way back up through the field. I think for Ed, finishing 10th after starting on the pole and having so much speed was majorly disappointing. We’ve focused a lot more on being good on raceday and being able to deal with a variety of possible circumstances.”

HOW IS THE PREPARATION DIFFERENT THIS YEAR? We’ve worked really hard at finding mechanical grip whereas in years past, we’ve wondered how little downforce can we run and still make it to 30 laps. This year has been more focused on having the best cars for a variety of situations.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, STARTS 10TH “My confidence it OK. We have decent cars. I don’t know what to expect. Things are so close. People are complaining about the same thing. Whoever does the best job on race day will take the trophy home. I don’t think that I’ve won it before. You have to focus on what to do today. I’m looking at videos of the race, how people pass, how they got passed, what worked and what didn’t. If I thought I had the best car, I wouldn’t be working on it. And if I don’t have the best car, I’ll work the hell out of it to make sure I do. I want to win it, and to do that I have to give myself the best chance.”

HAS HELIO BEEN HELPFUL? “All the information is there. We drive different race lines. I think Rick (Mears) has been a big help. He has a really good eye and understanding. The whole thing about Rick is that he isn’t trying to tell you how to do it. He tells you what he thinks and you can decide whether or not you want to do it or not. But it’s good to have someone you can lean on for support.”

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, STARTS 11TH

“It’s about track position, for sure. You can’t just lay back. You need to work hard to make sure you maintain in order to be in the top six or eight. But then it gets down to strategy and figuring out what you need to do fuel-wise, who your strongest competitors are and what your car needs – whether you need to trim out or whether you need more downforce. If you leave that stuff too late, you’re going to get waxed at the end.”

WHAT CAN WE TAKE FROM HOW YOU RAN SUNDAY? “Unfortunately our bad day was Sunday. Generally we found the speed. The race cars have been good, and I think we concentrated too much on the race cars and then when we made the switch to qualifying, we had to back up on a lot of things to get a lot of the speed of it. I feel very comfortable in the car and the team looks pretty good.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 16TH “I had fooled myself for a couple of years by saying that I’d be OK with the fact that I might not win this race in my career. It changed everything when I crossed the finish line last year. I’m so glad I did. It’s still overwhelming and it’s still really special.”

HOW DO YOU SIZE UP YOUR CHANCES GIVEN HOW QUALIFYING WENT? “I’m starting with no pressure, which is kind of the way I like it. It’s not an excuse. We had a poor qualifying day. I like my chances. I think the field this year is even tougher than last year. Last year you had nine guys in the field that could win. This year I think it’s double.”

HAVING WON LAST YEAR, WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR THIS YEAR? “My biggest motivation is that I’m driving a car that won this race a few times. Three of my best friends have driven this car – (Alex) Zanardi, Dan (Wheldon) and Dario (Franchitti). Chip (Ganassi) gave me an opportunity this late in my career that doesn’t come around very often. That’s all the motivation I need.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT MISTIC KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 17TH

“This is my fourth year here. There is a little more pressure. I don’t drive for people so I don’t put pressure on myself because they expect me to do well. For sure, I have pretty big shoes to fill with TK (Tony Kanaan) winning last year and me being in his car from last year. But it is what it is. I feel less pressure because I think we are well-prepared. We’re not where we want to be. We have one more hour of practice but it’s not where you want to approach the race from, but it’s better than not knowing what you’re going to get. Last year we had a good car that was pretty decent in traffic. It wasn’t perfect but we still were capable of being a contender toward the end. Hopefully we can make a little better decision and work our way toward the front. If we can do that, I think we have as good a shot as anyone. The field is so tight and there is no obvious (favorite) that pops out.”

TOWNSEND BELL, NO. 6 ROBERT GRAHAM KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, STARTS 25TH

“It feels really normal. (Wednesday) I was in Watkins Glen testing a Ferrari and the two are so different that it really doesn’t compare. I did my first 230 mph lap this year, which was a nice milestone. I was supposed to run in clean air and wasn’t looking for a draft but had someone come out of the pits in front of me on a qualifying sim, and I was thinking that I don’t get this chance every day. It was the perfect distance to throw up a big number. I just laid into it, and it was fun to see that number come up.”

WHAT BRINGS YOU BACK EACH YEAR? “This is the biggest, best and most important thing I do all year. For me, my calendar is defined by the Indy 500, and it’s been that way for several years. Everything I do during the year is a build-up to or a reaction from Indianapolis. I’m thrilled to be back for an eighth Indy 500. We’re starting further back that we would like but we feel very comfortable that we can be competitive Sunday.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVO NORDISK CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 26TH

DO YOU EXPECT THE RACE TO BE LIKE LAST YEAR WHERE NOBODY WANTS TO BE IN FRONT FOR TOO LONG? “You know I’m happy being in front especially lap 200. That is kind of the goal. I think we will see how it develops. No one really knows what the Honda twin turbo is going to be like on mileage. No one really knows at this boost level what the 2014 Team Chevy is like so it will be interesting to see how those races evolve the fuel mileage races or elements of the fuel mileage race evolves. But other than that I think the racing itself will be very good.”

Charlie Kimball, Norvo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Charlie Kimball, Norvo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: John Cote

DOES DETROIT PRESENT ANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES? “I think Detroit is always a unique challenge especially being in the sort of heart and home of Chevrolet and GM. Representing Team Chevy it’s an important one a big highlight on the calendar especially coming off the Indianapolis 500. It’s the only race where you come from a three week event going into it. To reset and refocus heading into that race itself is very different. The other thing is the track itself is quite challenging. It’s fairly low grip, pretty rough, passing areas are better with the track adjustment they made last year – the layout adjustment. But the race itself is always a very close fought thing. It’s one of the better races we go to for sure. It’s one of our highlights. I’ve gotten a couple of good results there and hopefully we can go back and get a couple of great ones.”

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TIRE DEGRADATION AND DOWNFORCE LEVELS AT TEXAS AND THE CHALLENGES THAT RACE PRESENTS: “The Texas Motor Speedway race is always interesting especially the last couple of years with downforce levels the way that the tires, the speed has fallen off throughout the run based on the car sliding around a little more. If you find a little bit of mechanical grip and have that addition of some downforce I think you are in really good shape. At the beginning of the run you will be able to run flat and side-by-side with guys, but then you will see the stronger cars come to the front getting in clear air and making the most of that.”

JAMES DAVISON, NO. 33 KVRT ALWAYS EVOLVING RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 28TH

DID YOU HAVE AN INDY 500 DRIVER THAT WAS A HERO TO YOU? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE INDY 500 MOMENT? “I mean Juan Montoya I was a big fan of him when I was younger. Growing up in Melbourne going both the Grand Prix and then going to the Surface Paradise Champ Car race, Montoya was a big name in my upbringing for sure. I think favorite Indy 500 moment I think 2012 with (Takumo) Sato going for glory and it ending in a spectacular unexpected way was huge for the race. It would have been cool to see the first Japanese winner, but at the same time he took a risk he had to take.”

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU ABOUT RUNNING YOUR FIRST INDY 500? “I would say Townsend Bell has told me just about getting up to speed. I’ve got to treat it like an airplane. If anything is not quite right just land the plane and bring it back into the pits. And maybe Rick Mears he said you’ve got to drive the first 100 laps to set yourself up for the second 100 laps something like that. Very much I’ve got that in my head I’ve got to survive the first 100 laps to be there for the second 100.”

James Davison, KV Racing Technology
James Davison, KV Racing Technology

Photo by: Walter Kuhn

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN FOR RACE DAY AS A ROOKIE HERE? “Probably the marbles just either pushing in dirty air into them or snapping loose. Either way if you have one of those moments that puts you in there I think that is probably the biggest killer for a rookie race is my thought. Hopefully it’s not, but I would say the marbles it’s an element that I’ve never experienced in an oval race before having done Indy Lights. You look at the final after the Freedom 100 last year they are three-wide through Turn 4 relative to the final lap of the 2011 Indy 500 they barely went two-wide and the leader ended up in the wall. I guess that is the ultimate example of the differences between the Freedom 100 and the Indy 500.”

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR RACE DAY? “At minimum it is to finish. I would love to finish in the top 15 and a top 10 would be like a win for us. We are the shortest program out of all 33 cars. I guess me and Buddy Lazier both started on the same day, we both started on Thursday. Yeah, that would be huge for us to get a top 10.”

WHAT WAS THE KEY FOR YOU GETTING HERE TO RUN THIS RACE? “I did Indy Light back in 2009 and finished runner-up in the championship. I did it that year with (James) Hinchcliffe), (Charlie) Kimball and (Sebastian) Saavedra, but I never had that crucial backing to move up. I persevered I was out of a ride for the last four years and managed to get my first opportunity to run Mid-Ohio and Sonoma last year with Dale Coyne which went very well. Then once I had some momentum behind me the doors opened up and the biggest part of this deal happening was my sponsor Always Evolving supporting my Indy 500 ride; stepping up their commitment level in motorsports from the World Challenge Series to the Indy 500.”

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 30TH

YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT AND WON A LOT OF RACES DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WIN THE INDY 500? “Yeah definitely I tell you what in all the years I’ve done this race and then someone else wins it and you see them drinking the milk I’ve never been so jealous. You know in that moment right when you are watching that guy drinking the milk you are just like ‘God I wish that was me.’ I just want it so bad. Hopefully one day, hopefully this year, hopefully this Sunday, but hopefully I have a few more shots at it too.”

TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH YOUR TEAMMATES ESPECIALLY WITH TONY (KANAAN)... “With Tony it’s definitely a new relationship and it’s been fun. He’s extremely fun to work with and open. I feel like me and Tony both being new on the team we have both had a lot of discussions together about what we are learning and what we have been having to pick up and adapt to. I feel like we have a lot of common area between the two of us at the moment. It’s been good bonding time with TK and he’s a lot of fun to have around.”

Ryan Briscoe, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Briscoe, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: John Cote

AT WHAT POINT DURING THIS WEEK ARE YOU JUST READY TO DRIVE THE CAR? “Oh well I always want to drive the car. I’m looking forward to Carb Day and final practice tomorrow at 11 o’clock. We have got a lot to get through for that one hour session. We’ve got plenty of tires. It’s going to be busy out there. We had a good run Monday, but we didn’t’ get as much running as we wanted. When (Kurt) Busch crashed we got a lot of extensive damage to our car running through the debris and that put us down for two hours. We still had a lot to accomplish and I’m looking forward to getting back out there for that final one hour and really getting the car dialed in.”

EXPLAIN THE WEATHER AND ALL THE THINGS YOU HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH OVER THE COURSE OF THESE 10 DAYS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE A LITTLE BEHIND AT THIS POINT? “No, you can only compare to who has been on the track around you and it’s the same for everybody. I feel like we only lost one day with all the rain. We only lost one day and it wasn’t that bad. I felt unprepared going into qualifying because we were counting on that Fast Friday to really do our qualifying runs. We hadn’t done any qualify runs to that point. Then Friday got rained out and it was Saturday morning for qualifying and I hadn’t done a qualifying run yet. So if I had any regrets throughout last week it would have been nice to give ourselves a bit better preparation on Thursday for qualifying. We have ourselves in a bit of a sticky situation starting at the back of the grid for the race. On the flip side of that we did work a ton with our race set-up. It’s the best car I’ve ever felt around this place.”

SAGE KARAM, NO. 22 COMFORT REVOLUTION/BRANTLEY GILBERT CHEVROLET, STARTS 31ST

SAY YOU GO OUT OF THE RACE; OF THE 32 OTHER DRIVERS WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE WIN THIS YEAR? “Obviously I would love to see one of my teammates pull through like Dixon or Kanaan again. I think Kanaan is a huge crowd favorite and people would love to see another repeat, but if they can’t definitely my hometown buddy Marco. That would be cool to see a kid from Nazareth (Pennsylvania) win.”

HOW HAS YOUR MONTH GOING? “It’s really good. It’s been a dream so far. It’s been really cool, exciting, stressful, a lot of emotions thrown into one. Just counting down the days now.”

YOU MISSED YOUR PROM? “I did I missed my senior prom at high school back in Nazareth Pennsylvania, but I have an awesome team and they threw one for me yesterday in Garage B1.”

WHAT EXACTLY DID THEY DO? “I had no idea. My girlfriend she was texting a few people and she was being kind of fishy about it. I knew something was going on, but I didn’t know what. Then I came to the track and I walked through the garage and there were a bunch of people there. I guess it was Hawaiian themed. A bunch of Hawaiian stuff all over the place and there was a Miss Indiana girl came over and put a crown on me and stuff. I looked down and I figured out ‘oh this is my prom I guess.’ Then my girlfriend was there in a pretty dress and I actually did my first ever slow dance yesterday in front of news cameras and stuff. It was kind of an under pressure circumstance to slow dance, but I think I killed it.”

ARE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT SUNDAY OR EXCITED OR BOTH? “I’m not nervous right now I’m more excited, but come race day I will be nervous. Once I get in here to the track and I see the people I will get nervous. I remember how nervous I was last year for the Freedom (100). That is going to be magnified by 10 so I’m going to be nervous that day, but right now I’m just taking it all in and excited.”

HAVE YOU TAKEN THE TIME TO SIT AND THINK ABOUT HOW SIGNIFICATION THIS IS? “A little bit not too much I’ve just been so busy doing stuff this month. It’s not really much time to think. I’ve been doing things on and off track and just really worried about getting the car ready for the race. I’m sure once the race is over I will sit back and watch. I will probably watch it on TV after the race ends and I will reminisce about it for sure.”

WHO HAS GIVEN YOU THE MOST ADVICE? “Dario Franchitti he has been my go to guy of helping me out. He’s been great so far, just the little things I would never have known if I didn’t have him. Big hats off to Dario.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 KV AFSRACING CHEVROLET, STARTS 32ND

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO GET OVER WHAT HAPPENED AT THE GRAND PRIX AND GET INTO INDY 500 MODE? “15 minutes. I’m the kind of guy that it happens, okay what’s next? You cannot let something stick in your head for any longer because if not you won’t be able to get in the car. It took two days to rebuild the car and I was just eager to get out there. I just wanted to test the car. I wanted to see what kind of things we needed to develop to continue making progress. When you are in this sport you realize that is the kind of job you are into. It’s not the first and it’s not going to be the last.”

DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE DRAFTING BEING AS IMPORTANT AN ASPECT OF THIS RACE AS IT WAS LAST YEAR? “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be very close to the same if not even better. Having hotter climate is going to make it even harder just because I think tires are going to degrade quicker. Engines might fail more, many things that we have not been able to test even because we have been testing on rainy days and very cold days. The race is going to come into a very new time for all 33 cars. So it’s going to be very interesting what is going to happen and people are going to enjoy that.”

HOW DO YOU PLAN BEING WHERE YOU QUALIFIED? “It is rough at the same time funny to see how this sport works. You can be on the top of the world one day and be below it the next. It’s something as a driver you need to accept it. As I said before it’s not the first or the last time. But you just approach it the most professional way. Focus on what can you keep developing in your car and what you can keep developing in yourself. It’s a very long race. We knew that qualifying was not going to be our strength after the big crash that we had. The car was not going to be at its optimal level. I’m very happy with the race car that we have been able to build. It’s not aerodynamically efficient just because the 80 hours of the other body was destroyed. Once we are behind people we can start passing very good.”

BUDDY LAZIER, NO. 91 WYNN INSTITUTE FOR VISION RESEARCH CHEVROLET, STARTS 33RD

TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR PREPARATIONS HAVE BEEN GOING. YOU GOT A LITTLE BIT OF A LATE START, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE CATCHING UP... “We did get a late start, but we are catching up. We are really actually, given our set-backs, we are pretty pleased with the way the progress has taken off. Our car was never intended to qualify to the front given the late start. We have been focusing on the race so I think we have actually a pretty clever race set-up. We are going to do maybe a little more work tomorrow than some other teams because we still are catching up a little bit. But at this moment I think we are a lot better than our starting position would show.”

ARE THE CREW MEMBERS YOU ARE WORKING WITH ARE THEY PEOPLE YOU HAVE WORKED WITH BEFORE? DO YOU HAVE JUST A SMALL CORE GROUP AND YOU BRING OTHERS IN? “A small core group and we bring others in. We have a really good engineer this year with David Cripps. It’s been a really fine addition. The frustrating part is given the nature of some of the other challenges we have had this year we haven’t been able to maximize our potential. I know our car is capable of so much more and our team is. We are still in progress. We are really all about how it goes on race day, but it’s a good crew. It’s a crew that is capable of so much better than where we are starting, which is exciting for our future. Our owners that are involved in the race car and our sponsors these are all every one of them new to racing. That is pretty unusual when you have some 15/16 entities that have never been around the sport. There are challenges to growing a team like that, but also there is a lot of potential. We are kind of looking forward to the process.”

IS THIS RACE THE GREAT EQUALIZER WHERE THE SMALLER TEAM HAS THE SAME ADVANTAGE AS A BIGGER ONE? “I would say given the nature of the rules of IndyCar today the cars are remarkably similar and a small team can get it right. You can have a small team that has success no question about it. But it is also a bit of a set-back because you don’t have teammates to share information or to work with on practice. But come race day I mean everybody is out there for themselves and I don’t know that team work on race day is worth anything. Yeah, I think a small team can succeed and even the little time that we have run as sort of a smaller but smart effort has already shown that you can do this. We are looking to continue to improve this program and it’s a four or five year program and we are just in the second year. We are certainly learning from our mistakes and we will certainly get better.”

Team Chevy

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Event Indy 500
Article type Interview
Tags buddy lazier, charlie kimball, ed carpenter, helio castroneves, indy 500, indycar, james davison, jr hildebrand, juan pablo montoya, ryan briscoe, sage karam, scott dixon, sebastian saavedra, sebastien bourdais, tony kanaan, townsend bell, will power