INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 3, 2009) - The following are quotes from Thursday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. DAYTONA PROTOTYPES Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX Lexus ...
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 3, 2009) - The following are quotes from Thursday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley
(on running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway): "It's great. This is a dream come true to come back here to Indianapolis in these cars. We're getting things worked out pretty quick. The car feels good, the track feels great. It's rubbering in. It's green. Everybody's working into it, but we're probably running close to 190 mph on the straightaway, and having a lot of fun.
(on running a race at IMS): "Let's go racing! When are we going to have the race? That's the biggest question for me. I have no question in my mind, compatibility is not an issue. It's good to go through the exercise; it's good that we're going to run bits and pieces of the MotoGP track. It's good to be prepared and making clear decisions, but at the same time, I'm ready to go racing at Indy."
Memo Rojas, No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley
(on running at IMS): "It's a pleasure to be here. It's any driver's dream come true just to be able to run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Obviously, it's a great facility, a great track to be at, and we're just getting used to the track. It should put on a great show for us. I don't know what the outcome from this test will be, but it's a great initiative from Grand-Am and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to have us here for a test. Hopefully, something could happen in the future."
John Pew, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley
(on being at IMS): "It's great. It's a great place to be. It's such a historic place, and really good to see all the fans here for testing. They were very enthusiastic. It's different than what I'm used to, with the different surfaces around the track. Some of the corners can really catch you off guard. You have to get used to the corners, as some of them look similar to other places on the track. I think if there is a race here, we definitely need to use the F-1 configuration. But just being here is fantastic; I feel honored being here."
Michael Valiante, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley
(on running at IMS): "I really enjoyed it. The track is unbelievable and it's a beautiful facility. I hope we come back here and race. As always, the car rolled out really well and was quick right away. Michael Shank and the team did a phenomenal job. It's amazing. When I drove in, I couldn't believe the size of the place. I'm thrilled to be here."
Michael Shank, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley
(on running at IMS): "It was great fun. I have new respect for Michael and John and Mark and Ozz. These cars are tough to drive. It was really, really cool to drive down the front straight at Indianapolis. I looked up the whole way, and just looked around, to be honest. I got out before I crashed. We made big progress in the test. Michael was quickest, from what I've been told - as usual - they did a lot to that car in a four-hour period and got a lot accomplished. Hopefully, we'll get to come back here next year or the year after, and we'll be more prepared. Absolutely there's no reason why we couldn't race here, and the F-1 course is the one to run. I think the MotoGP course is too tight - we'd have a parking lot leading into the hairpin. This is a great opportunity. I hope we can put it together and have a race here as soon as possible, and have a four or five hour race that leads into the twilight so our lights would come on. We'd really individualize our race if we did that."
Wayne Taylor, No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara
(on running at IMS): "Obviously, this is a historic event. Coming here for the first time on the F-1 Grand Prix circuit is pretty special. It's more special to have Ricky driving with me today. It's really something. I'm very impressed with the circuit and the facility, and I'm very impressed with the way everything's set up. I think it's a great place for us to come back and race. The course is really good. It takes some time to learn for me, not having driven in this car since the Rolex 24. It's got a lot of high-speed corners and one or two fairly slow corners. It's a fairly technical track. It's a great race track."
Ricky Taylor, No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara
(on running at IMS): "The track is a lot of fun to drive. The car was not what I expected from what it looks like in other cars. The track had no grip, with a lot of pickup, but we were working on it. The track's a lot of fun to driver. It flows really well. I think it will a good race track, no problems at all."
Buddy Rice, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Crawford
(on running at IMS on the road course; Rice has five Indy 500 starts with a win in 2004): "I think it's good. It's been exciting. It's great to get back to Indy. I think the first half of the compatibility test has gone really well. A lot of people are excited about it. I think the course is good. It's acceptable. There are a few things that we need to work on to make it better, but I don't think there's any major job that needs to be done. I think it's gone quite well."
Ed Carpenter, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Crawford
(on running Daytona Prototype again): "The car feels a lot like I remember it. It's a pretty big adjustment getting out of what I'm used to into one of these. They drive quite a bit different. The track seems OK. It keeps getting better the more cars run on it. Right now there are a lot of marbles on it and that makes it hard for passing."
(on Daytona Prototype test at IMS with Tony George and Stephan Gregoire in 2007, the only other time a Daytona Prototype was on the Speedway): "We came down here and shook the car down before Daytona a couple years ago. I don't know if I'd call that experience or now. I'm just out here to have fun today; I'll leave the decisions to everyone else."
Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley
(on being at IMS): "We're happy to be here. It's a pretty fun road course, and it's great to be here in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. It's great to have these people - fans - show up today. We put on spectacular racing, and I think we'd be able to do that here, too."
(on what fans at IMS should expect from Rolex Series race): "The way the rules are structured, our cars are very close, and we run close and have fenders, so we can touch one another. So it lends to good racing. And I think that's what people want to come and see. We're able to provide that. We have to build a tire that will allow us to run two-wide, and then the race will be really great."
(on the course itself): "It's such a juxtaposition between a lot of long straightaways and short technical stuff. I love coming out on the banking and the long straightaway. It's, for sure, a great place to come. It's pretty much the world center of racing for North America. We'd have a huge number of fans, so anything we can do to get eyeballs on what we do in the Grand-Am Rolex Series is great. The series, like I said - the racing is incredible, and if you're a racing fan, there is no way you can't love what we're doing."
(on running the road course at Indy): "I have a road racing background, and obviously am happy to be running on the road course. It's cool to be here at Indy. Judging by the number of fans we had, just here for the test, there seemed to be a lot of interest, which is great. As a driver, you want to go where people appreciate you what you do, and people in Indianapolis know racing. It's great to be a part of that."
Bob Stallings, No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley
(on running at IMS): "My neck spoke to me very quickly about how old I am today, but I had a lot of fun. I got one record here - the first spinner. I went into the first gear turn and got the power down a little too quickly and it spun around on me. Thank goodness the driver of the (No.) 10 car (Ricky Taylor) paid heed to my warning in the drivers' meeting that there would be a wanker in the (No.) 99 car today. It's just awesome. It's just a thrill to be here. There's so much pure racing history here. I think it would be a terrific opportunity with the Daytona Prototypes and the GTs to run here, especially if we can run with the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup guys, and run on Friday night, I think we can end up with a pretty big crowd. I'm hoping the track can figure out a way to get the curbs in and out on Turn 1. It's a lot of fun. The inside of the track is not an excellent road course, but it's a lot of fun for the drivers. Coming out of the last turn from the infield, you're flat all the way into the braking zone. Cars are doing from 180 to 183 (mph), which is pretty similar to Daytona. It's pretty fast."
Andrew Davis, No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R
(on running at IMS): "It's special, for sure. It's neat to be out here, with the surroundings. This place is so big. There are a lot of visual distractions on the first couple laps. Luckily, I was bedding the brakes, so I could go slow and take it in. Once they were ready, I was ready to go quick. The course is a blast. Right now, it's pretty green because no one's been on it for a long time, so the grip level is low in the infield. The high speed stuff is a kick. It's really fast and really fun. You get a good run down the front straight into turn one. There are some good heavy brake zones, and I think it's going to be good for racing."
Robin Liddell, No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R
(on running at IMS): "At the end of the day, it's a great opportunity to be here. It's history here. It's special. Everybody knows this place; it's globally known, not just here in the U.S. It's a big deal. But in the same point and time, we owe it to ourselves and our fans to come here and put on a good event. So I think there's a lot of enthusiasm here at this point and time. We also need to be pragmatic and deal with any issues that we find. The reasons we're here for are just that. We're not here just to stir up anything. We're here to establish what we need, that way we can come back here and put on a good show. It's what it's for, testing."
(on the fans today): "We're certainly very happy to be here. We hope we can put on a good event here. There is already a lot of interest here today from the fans over there on the grass banks watching the cars. They seem to be enjoying the cars and so on. They've seen it on TV, and they known that we put on a good show."
(on the ability to race at IMS): "Any oval track that has an infield section, you'll never be able to make it a natural road course like a Watkins Glen. But I still think it has the variety, and the layout is conducive for some overtaking. You have a pretty good shoot down the back straightaway there into another tight corner; there's not just one straightaway. There are some nice changes in direction where there are good places to pass. Indeed, if someone makes a mistake, you have the chance to overtake them, because there are quite a few combination corners. Yeah, I definitely think we could put on a great spectacle. Our racing is always pretty cut and thrust, so I don't see it really being different here. Every track has its own unique characteristics. I like the mix we've got here. It's got a nice feel to it, and I think it'd make for a good event."
Mike Johnson, No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R
(on running at IMS): "That was one of the neatest things I've ever done. It was a lot of fun. It was cool, going though the banking coming into Turn 1 and coming down the front straight was quite a thrill. I did five laps. I got down to 1:35 - Andrew and Robin were doing 29s. Had I come in and gone over some data, I think I could have done a 32. But it was fun."
Spencer Pumpelly, No. 68 TRG Porsche GT3
(on running at IMS): "It's just incredibly cool to be here. This is one of the places that still gets me star-struck. I showed up at Daytona and it was really cool, and there are a lot of neat places. But Indy is not like any other place. I didn't realize that until I got here and looked around and realized where we were today. This is such a neat opportunity. The track is a lot of fun. The best part - and probably the worst part at the same time - is coming backwards through Indy Turn 1 at full speed. That can be a lot of fun and scary at the same time."
Kevin Buckler, No. 68 TRG Porsche GT3
(on running at IMS): "From the minute I drove in and saw the IMS building with the big logo on it, everybody here was so warm and receptive, and everybody here knew why we were here. Fans were lined up along with embankments and waving at us, and there were a lot of press. Everything was cool. Going out on the track was the icing on the cake, and going over the yard of bricks was really special. All those tight corners in the infield were cool. I could imagine the F-1 cars running in there, and hopefully, imagine Grand-Am cars running in there. It's going to be really, really special, and a great addition to this already strong professional sports car series that we run in. No issues. We're finding it's pretty aggressive on the asphalt and we're finding that there will be marbles coming up, but we'll fix that with tire development. Right now, everything's good. We don't see any issues with the track, no issues at all with pit lane. It's a nice, professional facility. We look forward to hopefully racing here."
Sylvain Tremblay, No. 70 Castrol/Syntec Mazda RX-8
(on running at IMS): "It's a real special feeling to be here and drive across that yard of bricks. It's almost surreal. The course is nice. The first portion of the course suits our car real well. It's real raceable. The back part is a little snug, but it's not like a street course. It's definitely workable. I haven't seen anything that would keep us from coming here. There's more passing zones here than I thought. I got to running with Robin a little bit to see if we could break the draft, like the end of the Indy 500 or something. So far, it's been a real positive test. (First time for a Mazda or a rotary engine at Indy) We're always ready to make history, and today is a big one for us."
David Haskell, No. 70 Castrol/Syntec Mazda RX-8
(on running at IMS): "It's an awesome facility. It's Indianapolis, and we're glad to be here. It worked out well. We made some adjustments on the car, and we looked good. We're looking forward to anything they do here with Grand-Am. The only thing I was worried about was turn 13 - NASCAR Turn 1 - and it turned out to be not that bad through there. We weren't easy-flat, but it was manageable.
Leh Keen, No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3
(on running at IMS): "It was cool. The first time on the front straightaway and coming around the corner, and braking for Turn 1 - wow. The track is really interesting; it was different that what I thought. It's kind of three different kinds of tracks in one. There is the banking you get to play on a little bit, then some smooth, glowing sections in the infield, then some bumpy, street course-like features there too. There was a lot to take in for the first trial. But it was a lot of fun. We just tried to go out there and run as fast as possible, and I think there are some good parts that will make a good race."
Dirk Werner, No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3
(on running at IMS): "The track is really awesome; I really like it a lot. It's much like the European tracks I've raced on, with the flat curbs, the grass, not being bumpy, but still has the character of the American tracks, with the oval use and heading onto the banked turns onto a long straightaway. It's pretty cool, and will provide for some great racing, because there will be a good overtaking spot at the end of the long straights. For a driver, it's a lot of fun."