Day 1 -- Friday, March 21, 2003
IRL Infiniti Pro Series Post-Qualifying Quotes
ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I was having a hard time getting it turned in the corner. It pushed all the way to the fence on the warm-up lap, and we got buildup on the tires, which made it even worse. We'll have to pass a lot of cars on race day, but if we get the car right, I'm not worried."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone): "We didn't change much from the last practice. We didn't really know what was going to happen with the IndyCarÔ Series rubber down. We picked up a lot of oversteer. I think we are going to have to figure out what to do with the car tomorrow. The two ends of the track are completely different. It is tough to get the car right in both places. We had a great car this morning. It wasn't bad the last session. This time we just ended up with too much oversteer."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm pretty happy with my run, but we had more in the car. After the second lap, I just kept thinking I could have gone faster. Compared to the last race at Homestead, my race car is a lot better. We were a little cautious in the beginning of the qualifying run, but overall it was good. We'll look good for tomorrow."
PAUL DANA (No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "This is way better than Homestead, where I stuffed it in the fence. Mission one was just to put it in the show this time. This is my first time racing here. The first time I had seen Phoenix was at the Test In The West. I have one day around here before today. Today was nothing like that day. With all of the Midget cars and Silver Crown rubber, the track is here one minute and gone the next. It is difficult, but it is the same for everybody."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We left a little on the table. I had to turn the weight-jacker in the middle of qualifying because we had a lot of push. We'll look at the computer and see what it tells us. Hopefully, the car stays pretty consistent during the race. This will be my second time racing on the oval. It is a great track. It is very technical."
BRANDON ERWIN (No. 99 Natural Golf/Sam Schmidt Mtrspts. Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "I'm very, very happy and very excited for the race tomorrow. The Sam Schmidt Motorsports Natural Golf No. 99 is going to be great for the race tomorrow. We hope to continue to run good. We will go out and get after it in the race. We will start from the front row. That is our best position so far this year. We are going to go win the race tomorrow. I ran here in 2001. We finished 14th here, which we felt was a good finish for us for my very first race in an IRL (IndyCar Series) car. Today, we didn't have as good a first session as we'd have liked to, and then we came out and made some changes. We got much quicker in the second practice session, and we knew we had a shot at the pole. We fell just a little bit short, but we definitely have a great race car for tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. We'll definitely make some changes for tomorrow. The race conditions will be quite a bit different. I think it's going to be a patience game. We're going to be running in traffic the whole race. If you're running up front at the end, it's going to be a race to the finish."
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "My car was a little bit oversteering in corner 2. I did the same mistake the two laps. I'm very happy. It's my second time here. I think that I did the best that I can do."
TONY AVE (No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I made a mistake this morning in traffic and stuck it in the fence. We lost a lot of laps there. It affected our second session. We were a bit late getting out. To be fifth is great, but if we had not had a problem this morning, I think we would be a little better. We are right there. The car right now is very raceable. I really like all of the Hemelgarn guys. They have made it real easy."
JONATHAN URLIN (No. 33 Budget Rent A Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Definitely could have been better and definitely could have been worse. The good thing is we didn't touch the wall. It could have been worse that way. We felt we were going to have a good qualifying run. It was just my stupid error. It came around on me. I was just going too quick on cold tires. Luckily, we didn't hit the wall when it came around."
TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had the fastest car in the last session. I got a little high. We came out on stickers. I got a little high on the second lap around. I just about hit the wall. I loaded up a bunch of crap on my tires. That is the way it goes. The car was good."
GARY PETERSON (No. 27 AFS Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We lost that first session this morning completely. We had a brand-new car, and we had a little problem with the fuel cell. We kept running out of fuel. We had to try to make it up. The car will be good for the race. I felt real good in the qualifying session. It's so important to have that 45 minutes. It's our luck, but that's OK. I've raced on this track a lot. It's like my home track. I'm from California, but I've tested here for years in Formula Atlantic."
RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 REV 1 Racing Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I don't know if I would call it a qualifying attempt as much as a quick shakedown of the car that we're going to race tomorrow. Odds are against us right now, but we're up to it. I just want to really thank Sam Schmidt for making this car available for me to run here. It shows how your competitors in this series are still willing to chip in and help out when you're having a problem. I'm sure that we'll be able to return the favor some day."
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank/Old Republic Land Title Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone): "The car overall was a lot better. We had a little bit of a push, but we're getting there. I think we'll have a real solid car for the race. I always race better than I qualify, which I guess is a good thing. I think we'll be all right. This is my first time in an Infiniti Pro Series car here. I've driven other cars here. It's a good place. I like it."
MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar/Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We were able to turn a good time this time around. Hopefully, it'll continue for the race. If we can win the first two races of the year, that'll be great. These guys have been working really hard. They deserve it. The car has felt good all day. We didn't change anything going into the qualifying run, so I knew the car would feel good. It was just a case of me getting the confidence in the car before I made the time." (About Phoenix International Raceway): "It doesn't forgive mistakes. When we tested here at the Test In The West, I was the one who made the mistake, and it didn't forgive me for that. We had a couple of people do it today, and I know how it feels. It's one of those tracks that you really have to work hard at. You have to make sure the car looks really good, make sure you've got a lot of grip in the car. You need the confidence going into any session to do well in it." (About Saturday's race): "I think with it being only the second race, it's a big challenge for people. Oval racing is different. I feel that every oval I go to, I'm gaining experience. This is another place that's a great place to race at. Every lap is very challenging. You don't get time to really think about what you're doing. As long as the car is reliable, I feel that we're going to have a good chance tomorrow."
MARTY ROTH (No. 3 Roth/Stewart Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We've been struggling all weekend. Our practice was cut short a little bit this morning. We didn't really get more than 10 laps in, and we needed those 10 laps. So we're still playing around with it. Hopefully, we'll come up with a pretty decent setup to go racing tomorrow."