Indianapolis Brickyard test quotes 2002-07-15

MATT KENSETH: "Everything is all right so far. There are a lot of people doing different stuff -- some people are working on qualifying runs, some people aren't. We're just shaking down a couple of new cars and doing some qualifying runs with them.

MATT KENSETH: "Everything is all right so far. There are a lot of people doing different stuff -- some people are working on qualifying runs, some people aren't. We're just shaking down a couple of new cars and doing some qualifying runs with them. Everything seems all right so far." (About track conditions): "Whenever it gets hotter, it gets slower and it gets slicker, but the surface now -- since it's been grounded -- seems a lot more consistent. The time doesn't seem to change so much as the time of day, so it seems to help it out quite a bit." (What are your expectations for this year's Brickyard 400?): "If we can qualify in top 20, top 15, then that would be good. Hopefully we can get our car running as good as we got it running last year, finish the race and hopefully get a top-five finish."

ELLIOTT SADLER: "I love the Speedway. I always look forward to coming here. There's so much tradition at this racetrack. Every team puts a lot of emphasis on this track -- usually builds a brand new car to come here -- and that makes it that much more fun. Looking forward to a good race when we come back." (About team's progress): "Pretty good. We're really fast and happy. We bought ourselves a brand-new car, and we really like it so I think we'll be in good shape when we get back."

MICHAEL WALTRIP: "I love what they done to the track. However they grounded it or whatever they did to it seems as if it's given it a bit more grip. And even in the hot heat of the day, you feel like you can stick to it a little bit better. And then, of course, the commitment that Tony George and NASCAR made with, first of all, Tony installing the soft walls and working together with NASCAR to keep them for our cars. This is a big step in the future of safety for all tracks. It just makes you feel good that that's out there. You don't want to hit it either, but it makes you feel good that it's there just in case something goes wrong." (About the diamond-grinding to the track): "It's a one-groove track in the turns for sure. Most of the passes are done either on the short straightaway or going down the back. It's real hard to hold two cars side-by-side in the turns, but we saw Ernie Irvan battling on the outside with Jeff Gordon a few years back and, occasionally, you get some side-by-side racing going on. But with the flat turns and the speed -- running right at 200 mph entering the corners -- it's hard to think you can run through there side by side, but sometimes we'll surprise you with some of the stuff we don't think we can do, and we have to do in order to win in this ultra-competitive series of ours."

BOBBY LABONTE: (Is this a driver's track or a car's track): "Pretty much both. It has become more of a car track than a driver's track." (What is more important on the car -- raw horsepower on the straights or handling and aerodynamics to get through the turns with more speed?): "You got to have both of them together. You can't have one over the other. (Thoughts on the track): "The novelty here is not what it was the first time, obviously, after we came here the first few years. But still, the track -- to win here is one of the key, top-three events we race." (Thoughts on the diamond-grinding): "It's got grooves in it -- it looks like a highway. It's got more grip on entry -- pretty decent grip all the way around."

STACY COMPTON: "We need to be just a little bit quicker. The track looks like its got just a bunch of grip right now. We're completely in race mode right now. I think we'll be OK. We want to go in qualifying mode later on, maybe tomorrow. It's always neat coming here. There's a lot of history, and of course it's home to Conseco, and A.J.'s always got his spot here, so we need to come here and run good." (Do A.J.'s years of Indy-car experience help you in any way in a stock car?): "I think so. The line around here -- A.J.'s been around here so many times. And they've (Indy Racing League) been here recently for the '500,' so anything that he's got to offer, I'm going to sure listen."

RYAN NEWMAN: "We qualified really well here last year. We had a shot at the pole last year until I hit the wall coming off of (Turn) 4. It's an awesome place to race and to drive. It's a driver's racetrack. This year we've done well pretty much everywhere we've gone." (About the speedway): "Soft walls are really great. I'm glad to see the Speedway step up and do that for the drivers." (About the Indiana connection between Newman, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon): "It's really cool. All three of us were in the top five yesterday. All three of us have a lot of history here in the Midwest, so it's really fun to come back to Indianapolis."

JEREMY MAYFIELD: "It went good overall. We learned a lot. We feel like we need to learn more. We're just doing race stuff right now and trying different things. We're not trying to go fast, but we ended up pretty good. Tomorrow, we'll get it in qualifying trim and see how fast it can go." (What would winning the Brickyard 400 mean to your career?): "It would mean everything. I would love to win here. This would be the greatest place to win at, and especially right now. We're real hungry to get a win and we're working hard to get where we need to be. And that would certainly put us over the top right there."

JOHN ANDRETTI: (How did testing go today?) "I don't know. We're fighting the same things we always fight at Indy. It looks like a couple of the guys got the problems pretty well sorted out, but we're not there yet. We just did race runs all day today. Tomorrow, we're going to do one car and work on some qualifying stuff and then also continue to work on some of our race things. Hey, I can't complain. The Indiana weather was pretty nice today, so we'll take that and go home with it." (What would a win at the Speedway mean to your career and personally?): "Everything. I would love to do it in August, but I'd like probably more to do it in May."

TONY STEWART: (About health after competing in two races on Sunday): "I'm ready for a nice cold shower, a very light meal, and I'm looking forward to a face-to-face meeting with a pillow the next 16 hours." (About testing today): "Busy day, that's for sure. Just trying to sort out things. We've tried different packages as far as to what we ran last year with the Pontiac and the direction we've been going with the Pontiac and kind of throwing both setups at the Chevrolet, too, just to see how it reacts. We had some problems. We had an oil leak problem that kept us from running as much as I would have liked to have run that Monte Carlo today. All in all, both cars did, I thought, fairly good times in race trim. Just excited to take what we learned today and sit back tonight get a game plan on what we're going to do tomorrow to optimize our practice time tomorrow."

JEFF BURTON: "We must have run close to 400 miles today working on race stuff. We just continued to work on race stuff, not worried about qualifying, so we're way down on the speed chart, but we had some things we wanted to accomplish in race trim first, and we have another half-day of that tomorrow. And then tomorrow afternoon, we'll get on the qualifying stuff. But I think we learned some things, and I think we got the car to drive real well. We need a little more speed, I think, but the car drove real well. And generally when I'm happy with the way the car's driving, we'll run well." (About the Speedway): "We've come here long enough now that it's not new to us anymore. It's still an honor to be here. It's a racetrack rich in heritage, rich in history, and it's part of Americana, there's no doubt about that. To be here and have the privilege to race here is a lot, means a lot. It's a great facility, and a lot of cool stuff has happened here."

SHAWNA ROBINSON: "We're in the early stages of getting shaken down. By tomorrow I should have a lot bigger smile on my face and a lot more to say. I like it here. It very much reminds me of a road course, but you just have to turn left, because you have to drive each corner. It's not like a typical oval where you get into (Turn) 1 and get off of (Turn) 2. Here you have to get into 1 and off of 1, and into 2 and off of 2. Once you get the place figured out and you get a good line going, you love it. But until then you get frustrated because you think, 'I know I need to be getting through there better!' If you don't get through (Turn) 1, then you don't get through 2, and if you don't get off of 2 well it kills you down the backstretch, so you have to be on top of it here. This place, the image and reputation it carries, it makes you feel like, 'Wow. I've got to get it figured out,' but once you do, it's fun."

JOE NEMECHEK: "It's going pretty good. We're just trying to make laps, mainly in race trim, just trying to find the proper balance on the car. This is a brand-new race car. We tried building something like the 24 and the 48 have been running. It's driving pretty good. Depending on the sun and the heat and all that stuff, it's typically Indy. We're learning a lot." (About the SAFER Barrier): "Never even noticed them. They're all white. You don't pay any attention to them. I'll be glad they're there if you happen to hit them; it will be good. You don't even know they're there." (About diamond grinding): "The track is extremely smooth. It seems to have grip. It's really hot today, so traction is a premium. Either you're tight or you're loose, but the straightaways are extremely smooth. All the ripples are gone. They did a good job grinding."

KEVIN HARVICK: "It's got a lot more grip than it had last year, with the grooves and stuff in the racetrack. It's still the same racetrack it was last year, though. You're still fighting, trying to get the car to turn up off and not to have it too loose in the center. We're gaining on it; we got a pretty good race car; we're just trying to make it consistent for race runs." (Are you tired?): "We're all a little bit tired; we'll be better tomorrow. We just wanted to get the standard stuff worked out today and run both of the cars. This is the car we ran in Chicago. The guys worked harder than anything. They had to change the motor and transmission and everything underneath this car to get it here. We're all a little bit tired, but we'll go get ourselves something to eat tonight and come back tomorrow."

BOBBY LABONTE: (About differences between Monte Carlo and Pontiac): "There is a little bit of difference. We seem to have a ride-height problem right now, and we're not quite as good on our cars, either car, as the 20 car is, and they have a little better idea. Our cars were equal this morning. Now it can be just a little better than the other car. I think it drives good; it's balanced good. I just need to compare off the 20 car today, because they did a little bit better job getting their car down on the ground and their aero package better on both cars than we did. For some reason or another, we can't seem to find the problem yet. I'm happy with it."

RICKY RUDD: "We were pretty good. We made a pretty good run of semi-qualifying run, but we did it at about 3 o'clock in the heat of the day, and we were second fastest for a long time. We didn't make another run after that so we ended up sliding to about sixth. Pretty happy, we've got some cars that are quite a bit different from one another so it's going to be a productive test from at least working through and figuring out which car we're going to bring back." (About diamond grinding): "The track is quite a bit different. Even though it's the same old Indy, it's probably the most different I've ever seen it now that they've ground the racetrack. To me, that's made the biggest difference from any other time we've been here in the past. It seems like the track has more grip in the heat of the day then it use to have. It's a little tricky the way you enter the corner now with that ground racetrack. It's causing some problems, but we've made some front-end adjustments and we've got it working good. The track seems to be in probably better shape than it has with this ground surface. It doesn't seem to be as temperamental as it has been in years past."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Tony Stewart , Tony George