IPS: Indianapolis: Qualifying quotes

FREEDOM 100 SWE RACE CAR PARTS QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Thursday, May 25 WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualified on pole): "I'm a little disappointed with the run. The temperature came up quite suddenly, so we didn't really...

FREEDOM 100 SWE RACE CAR PARTS QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Thursday, May 25

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualified on pole):

"I'm a little disappointed with the run. The temperature came up quite suddenly, so we didn't really compensate for that." (What do you expect in tomorrow's race?)

"I think there will be a small pack, maybe two or three guys break away. People's cars go away. Forty laps is a reasonably long time when there are cars around here because it's so long. I expect there's going to be the usual guys up front. It's a little harder because you can't just stay in the draft the whole lap here because of the banking."

(You had the most consistent run between your practice time and your qualifying speed. What helped there?) "We've had a good car all year. Obviously, I'm back with the same team for the second year, so we've got a lot of confidence in each other. We're able to get what we want quicker than other people who are rookies this year. We could have gone maybe a tenth of a lap quicker, but that's it. We've got a good race car because we can back it up in practice. We're confident going into tomorrow."

(Were the corners smooth? Any issues?) "Well, with new tires, it makes the car a lot more stable. The wind was relatively idle. It was blowing, but it didn't gust or change too much. It was a relatively smooth qualifying. Just disappointed that we didn't get any more out of it."

(What is it like coming back again this year?) "I just don't have to re-learn the basics. Now we can just focus on the fine-tuning and pushing the limits of the power. Last year I was learning all the time. Learning the tracks, learning the team, learning the car, learning how to operate in the IRL environment. But now I've done all that, so we can keep pushing it."

(Benefits of driving for a proven team) "The good thing is we've proven with each other. Last year we got our first car, our first win in the first championship together."

(Race day strategy?) "Just go out and win."

***

TYCE CARLSON (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., qualified eighth):

"Feels great. After a couple laps, I got the same feel I had in the big cars. Except for the lack of engine power, the cars feel pretty identical, in the steer of the car."

(So what convinced you it was time to come back and drive?) "It's one of those things. At Phoenix in 2002, I thought I've got to build something for my family; the checkbook was low looking for sponsorships. I started a career in real estate, and it's going great right now, so it's time that I can get back in the car."

***

ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., qualified fifth):

"We made a few adjustments to the car so our time wasn't too bad. I didn't get it quite right for second lap, which is a bit of a shame because our first lap was very good. But all in all, it didn't go too bad. We were struggling a bit this morning, so hopefully we can be somewhere near the front for the race." (What were your expectations coming into the race)

"I came in hoping for a win, really. We knew we had a few adjustments to make to the car from the test we did earlier in the month, but generally we're getting further forward. I don't think we're quite quick enough right now, but Race Day's a completely different scenario. Hopefully we'll be somewhere near the front, and if we're near the front, hopefully we can challenge for the win tomorrow."

***

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified second):

"I'm a little disappointed, to be honest. I'm not 100 percent happy, but at least we're on the front row. My goal is to win. I don't know whether we'll be able to break away in the race, but I think we'll be out there. I don't know what will happen. We'll see, but hopefully I'm aiming for a win. Pole was what we were looking for. Second is OK. Our game plan changes depending on where you start on the grid. I'm on the front row, but it would've been nice to be on the other side. I'm not going to get in the lead on the first corner, so it will definitely change our strategy, for sure."

***

TOM WOOD (No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing, qualified sixth):

"I think we dropped a cylinder in practice. We had a really good car when we were testing here a month ago, and we were just way off the pace. We did an engine change, and we were sixth quick in qualifying. So that's looking better. I only ran three races last year, so I'm hoping to get up running in the front, where I was before I got hurt last year. We finished fourth at Colorado last year, and I think I can do better than that. We'll see how it goes here."

(About the Speedway) "This is the best place to race in the world."

***

JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG, qualified third):

"Wade is doing what we did last year. He found something on his car, and we're all trying to figure out how to catch him. We have a good car; there are no problems. We just have to set it up for the race now, and tomorrow is what really matters. It would have been really good to start on pole, but I'm happy with qualifying third, and we'll just focus on moving up tomorrow."

(Have you been getting everything out of the car?) "Yeah, for sure. Everyone is working really hard. My engineer is working hard, and with the changes from last season to this season, we just need to figure some things out. We're not bad; we just need to figure some things out."

***

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, qualified ninth):

"I wasn't completely satisfied with our qualifying effort, but the good news is that the balance of the car is great. I don't think we need to make any changes for the race car. We know where we're at there and we're happy with that. If we can just figure out how to make it go faster in a straight line then we will be in good shape."

(About help from the AGR IndyCar drivers) "Really Dario, Bryan, and Tony play a pretty big part in helping Jaime and I out. I would say that they all play a pretty equal role in helping us. They are able to help us with both the driving and mental part of the game. They help us with our line and things like that and also when you have a bad day they're there to remind you that it happens to them too and that it's just part of the game.

(Difference between Indy Pro Series and Star Mazda) "It's quite a bit different. The cars here are bigger, faster, and more powerful and this series runs with the IndyCar guys so that adds a different aspect of it. I'm glad to be here and it's definitely a positive step in my career."

***

SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 41 Car Crafters, qualified 12th):

"I wish it was feeling better. The car just never came, really. We were kind of slow in qualifying. The car handled real well, but we're going to have to go back and work on it. We're pretty happy with our race car, just hoped we would have done a little better in qualifying. That's all right. We're in the race; now we just have to race it."

***

TOM WIERINGA (No. 9 Racing for Kids-Logistics Management, qualified 18th):

"My run didn't go very well. We've got a front-row car, but unfortunately we had a fuel pressure problem right when I went out, so the fuel pump must have just gone out on the car. So it was sputtering the very first lap. But the car itself is fantastic, so hopefully we can get it put back together, and we'll just charge down the field back up to the front again."

***

CHRIS FESTA (No. 51 Cheever Racing Formtek, qualified fourth):

"Right now, it feels pretty good. We qualified our race setup because we feel right now it's more important for us to do so. We know how we'll feel in the race, so that feels pretty good. But qualifying's qualifying, and the race is a completely different story, so we're completely focused on tomorrow. So that's our game plan."

(About the race) "This one will definitely be a lot tougher than most other super-speedways we go to because there's no banking and there's four distinct corners, so you really have to get your car to work better here than you would in, say, Homestead or Texas. It's going to be a real close race. The field has been close all week so far, so I'm expecting a really good, tough race."

(Do you expect three-four wide tomorrow?) "I'd be disappointed if there wasn't. Last year it felt like we were three-, four-wide almost the whole race. It was a lot of fun."

(How much would a win here mean to you?) "It's the win I want more than anywhere else, so I'm hoping to make it tomorrow."

***

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 4 Guthrie Racing Car Crafters Special, qualified 14th):

"I felt comfortable that we could run 183, and that's where I've been running by myself in our practice, so I'm going as hard as I can and being as smooth as I can, but we just need more speed."

(What do you expect out of tomorrow's race?) "It's going to be tight like always, and you're going to have to have a smart race. Our car is actually pretty good in the draft. It's a really comfortable race car. For the race, we're going to be there all race long, and we just need to take advantage of everything that's out there that we can do."

(How was your run?) "Yeah, it was a mediocre run for us. We had a few more miles an hour left in it. The car was a little bound up and not as free as we wanted it to be. For the race, we'll start in the middle of the group and use the draft to get up front and hopefully battle it out with the guys up front. We'll just hopefully get away early in the race."

(Are you still confident about tomorrow's race?) "I think so. I think we've got a good race car for the whole race, so everything feels good there."

(What's it like to race at IMS?) "It's pretty neat. It's a completely different track when you get on the front straightaway with all the buildings and grandstands. It's definitely a different perspective on the front straightaway. It's pretty neat being here and it's great being part of the Indy 500 weekend this year. The last time I drove here was a week before the race, which didn't have the same amount of excitement. Hopefully we put on a good show."

***

MATTHEW HAMILTON (No. 2 Kiwi American Racing, qualified 13th):

(What do you expect for tomorrow?) "It's a long race. It's going to be interesting. There's certainly a lot of dicing out there on this track. It's going to be exciting."

(Why were your lap speeds lower than in practice?) "I think just the day, in general. It's quite a bit warmer. We're a little bit disappointed, but hopefully we're going to boost the thing up a little bit and find some more speed."

(How does it feel to have made a qualifying run at IMS?) "It's an amazing track. There's so many fans, so many people. It's great to finally be on the Brickyard. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."

(As a karting champ, what do you have to learn to handle these cars?) "These certainly have a lot more horsepower than anything I've driven. With an oval, it's just about freeing up the car and not scrubbing off any speed at all. And I've just got to learn the techniques involved in oval racing. The cars are awesome to drive. They're real race cars, and I just love them."

***

JAMES CHESSON (No. 76 PSI, qualified 11th):

"It still hasn't set in yet. This track is a very special place. Growing up, you always dream of it. Then, getting out there and doing it is a whole different story. I've been spotting for P.J. (Chesson) all month, basically, so that's been kind of a trip in it self. I'm excited as hell to be here ,and I hope I can get some more speed up."

***

BRETT VAN BLANKERS (No. 3 Inner City Recycling, qualified 16th):

(What do you think of the IMS since this is your first time here?) "It's a tough track to learn. Line for me is struggling, but I'm working on it."

(How did your qualifying go?) "Not as well as I hoped. We've got to work on it for the race. I did all right, but it's tough."

(Did you set up a goal for yourself?) "Top 10 would be nice."

(Who has given you some pointers?) "Rick Mears, Wade Cunningham. Mostly Rick Mears today before qualifying."

***

JON HERB (No. 6 AERCON, qualified 17th):

"It wasn't a great run. We're trying to figure out what's going on with it. I've led this race last year and came here with the same setup, and now I'm middle of the pack. I don't understand what we're struggling with. We've tried a lot of different things out there, and nothing seemed to help. At least I know what it takes to get up front and lead and win these races. Where we're at right now is rough, so hopefully we can get it together and figure out what we need to do and go from there. I'm driving it, it's just not going."

***

MISHAEL ABBOTT (No. 8 SME Motorsports, qualified 15th):

"We were a little down on speed, but one of my crew guys told me that the track is a little slow, also. I was flat out from the time I entered two of my practice run, so we'll see what happens. We'll see what plays out." (About race)

"I'm hoping for a top-10, maybe even a top-five car. I think we've got a really, really good car in traffic, and that's what we worked on. My engineer and I have the goal to go out there and run flat out the whole time around and just work our way through traffic and see what happens."

***

NICK BUSSELL (No. 52 Cheever Racing, qualified seventh):

"It wasn't too bad. We're making headway. It felt good. It would've been nice to have a little speed out of it, but we'll go back and continue to work on things. We were just a little bit behind earlier. You know, that's just about where we expected to be. The race is going to be a little bit different than last year, and I think it's kind of hard to tell what's going to happen. We're just looking at how we're going to race and what we're going to be able to accomplish. I've got to do my best to take care of the equipment with the budget that we're on."

***

BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing):

"We need to work a little bit more on the car and get it freed up a little bit. We're pretty much where we were in practice today. We were a tick slower, but I think the weather changed quite a bit. This place is really sensitive to the wind and the heat and everything, so you can't always forget that. I just need to finish first, conserve tires and bring it home."

-ips

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