Indy 500: Bump Day press conference, part 1

92nd INDIANAPOLIS 500 BUMP DAY PRESS CONFERENCE Sunday, May 18, 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway A.J. Foyt IV, Buddy Lazier, Marty Roth PAT SULLIVAN: We're going to stagger this as people make their way in. Marty, you said "I hope I don't...

Sunday, May 18, 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
A.J. Foyt IV, Buddy Lazier, Marty Roth

PAT SULLIVAN: We're going to stagger this as people make their way in. Marty, you said "I hope I don't come back," but this is for a good thing.


This is a good thing.

SULLIVAN: Wow, that's all I can say. I've been here a long time, and that had a lot of drama.

ROTH: That was wild. Some fast times there at the end. You know, it was getting pretty competitive. Didn't see that one coming, you know, based on the times about 45 minutes earlier. But it certainly makes for an exciting closing.

SULLIVAN: No question about that. Let's get into questions right away.

Q: What was your thought when your first lap was 219 by Mario?

ROTH: I was in the car, had everybody around me getting our car together and getting ready to run. So, you know, I really wasn't privy to his times or anything like that. So, you know, we were just focusing on what we had to do to go out and re-qualify and run a good lap or a good four laps. So we had our own game plan going, you know. And it's too bad that Mario lost it there at the end. I'd much prefer a time game, and I certainly hope he's OK. But, you know, this is Indy and anything can happen. Like I said, it's too bad we just didn't get a chance to go out and do it with straight timing.

Q: Marty, you got snookered a little bit I believe last year, the last few minutes by Jimmy Kite, and you didn't get a chance to get in line before the time to possibly defend your position. When that happened again and Mario got up just before the gun, were you thinking, 'Oh, no, not again,' and this time you might not get away with it?

ROTH: No, I think it was timed pretty good. I think we had a few seconds to get out on the track and, you know, I was basically one more lap and we would have been waved out. So the timing was perfect as far as our guys, they're pretty savvy as far as, you know, that whole program goes and wheeling the car in and out of line and just having it ready.

Q: Marty, I noticed after Mario had his mishap as you were getting out of the car, we could see and hear from the overhead shot that you and Larry were talking. What did Larry tell you?

ROTH: No, Larry was basically telling me what happened because I couldn't see anything, I couldn't hear anything. He just, you know, mentioned that Mario had crashed. So, you know, like I said, it's not a great way to end a qualifying run, especially one like that. He had a good run going. And like I said, I'd much prefer to go out and do it on a time thing than have someone get hurt over it. So I'm just, I hear he's OK and I'm glad that gun finally went off and I'm in the show. (Laughter)

SULLIVAN: Just real quickly we want to congratulate, also, A.J. Foyt IV and, man, you were in an absolutely helpless situation in more ways than one. I guess at the end of the day you're here, and you're in the field. Congratulations.

A.J. FOYT IV: Yeah, thank you.

Q: Marty, for you again. As you said, 5:15, you weren't really worried, I don't think anyone was expecting, including us, the times you finished with. When did you begin to start getting worried? When was it that you thought, hey, maybe they can get in?

ROTH: I guess that last half hour Roger and Mario cracked off, got into the (2)19s anyway. They couldn't put more than, you know, one together. But, you know, when I qualified I couldn't put a -- I put one 19 together as well, you know. So you've got to have a pretty consistent car to get up there and get into those 19s. They're tough to crack off one. If you crack off one, it's probably in a draft if you can't get back to it. And they were cracking it off without being in a draft. So, you know their cars were pretty good, and I think at that time we knew it was possible. There were two guys that can run a 19 by themselves and, you know, and that's what happened. They rolled it in the lineup, and they cracked three more in a row. And then it just got faster and faster. Everybody knew what you needed to do to make a car go fast around here with the conditions we had.

SULLIVAN: We're going to work both sides of the room.

Q: Anthony, just how frustrating has this whole month been? There was the situation on Pole Day that you never got a chance to take a shot at it because of leaving the pits. Today you get in, and then all of a sudden you're out there running race trim and you have your incident out there. Just how frustrating has this month been from the start to finish for you?

FOYT: Yeah, it's been a tough month, for sure, probably my most frustrating yet. But that's how the Speedway is; you never know what's going to happen and what position you're going to be in. Thankfully we went out early as we planned and put four laps down and we thought it was a solid run but, as Marty was saying, the guys started getting quicker and quicker at the end. So I started to getting a lot more worried but thankfully held on. But it's been a frustrating month, but that's the way it is.

Q: Anthony, did you talk to your grandfather at all to kind of give you some pep talk or anything? Does he kind of stay away from you?

FOYT: No, he called me a few times last night and just told me to keep my head up, and that's the way it is and I'll get in the race and not to worry about it. Pretty much trying to keep my confidence up. And just like today, he's the first one in the Medical Center when I show up there. So we communicate a lot still even though I don't drive for him.

Q: Anthony, have they told you what went wrong with the car when you went out there before the accident?

FOYT: Yeah, on the side of the car where you put the -- put something over the fuel, basically they didn't put a cover over the fuel. So when I went into the corner, fuel was spraying outside my car, which hit the rear of the tires, which made it start spinning and catch fire before I hit the wall.

Q: This question is actually for both of you. What do you equate to the big jump in speed during the last hour? Was it the case that the conditions were just that good or was it more a case of drivers really taking extra chances?

FOYT: I honestly think it's just the guys knowing the clock, it's getting close to 6, and the guys know it's going to take more. So you start taking more chances by taking more rear wing out. The conditions weren't all that much better, but they were still OK to run good on. And guys take chances. ou see Mario put a great first lap down, but the chance kind of bit him there on the second lap.

Q: Marty, you're beginning to be -- this is like an annual media conference here for you, be here on the last row. How much would you like to, you know, avoid the 11th row, the last row thing, maybe get up in the 10th or ninth so you don't have to make it an annual thing?

ROTH: I'd like it a lot, but I wasn't here last year. I had a time that deserved being here, but fortunately I was able to sneak in the row up. As it turned out, I ended up being on the bubble the same way because it's all about time.

No, this was definitely the most stressful one of all. This was wild.

Q: Anthony, what happened to you with this fuel cover flying off, is there blame anywhere that can be assessed about this? When you heard about this, did you wonder how it happened?

FOYT: Yeah. I mean, the guy didn't put it on, pretty much simple as that. You've got to bolt it on, tighten it up. He just pretty much didn't do it. After you roll through and get fuel before you go out to pit lane, and he just basically forgot to put it back on and he doesn't work for us no more, unfortunately. I like the guy.

SULLIVAN: I understand these guys need to be moving on to an interview, so we're going to let them go. Thanks very much and congratulations, guys.

Pretty good reason to exhale there as we heard from Buddy. '96 Indianapolis 500 winner. This place really plays no favorites to anyone and, wow, what a run, Buddy, congratulations.

BUDDY LAZIER: Oh, thank you. You know, it has everything to do with my guys. You know, it was a wicked racetrack today, I'm sure everybody could tell. There was no grip and we were having such a hard time getting ahold of the racetrack. We were flat-out at 17s and still sideways, not really happy. Ron Dawes and Dennis, our crew chief, and Brandon, they made some quick calculations and said, 'Well, if we're going to make it, this is what we have to do.' They ripped off and counterbalanced it in five minutes, and that's experience for you. It was a hairy run, no doubt. Our biggest problem was we got such a late start. We didn't start until Friday. We're the only ones that started that late, and it really hurt. It showed. But if it wasn't for all the right moves and staying very calm, it was all about those guys making good decisions, it really was.

SULLIVAN: I looked in your garage and saw some familiar faces there for you that have been around a long time.

Q: Buddy, in addition to giving the credit to the crew, you've got to reach inside yourself and come up a with a little bit of extra nerve. How deep within did you kind of have to reach?

LAZIER: Deep. Emotions are running deep, you know. I've raced here. I think it's my 15th or 16th start and knowing what it's like to be second. When I first started I had cars that weren't very -- they were just last-minute shoestring deals, and we missed a few races. I know that feeling. I really feel bad for those guys that they're very good race teams and very good race drivers but they just fell short. I feel bad for those guys right now, I really do. But it's such a special race and so important to be in. You know, if you have a smoking-fast car, you feel emotional because you get all your race car. You get everything out of it, and you finish in the top three. Well, I think emotions are the same when you get everything out of what you have on a given day and it's just enough to make the Indy 500. So very emotional run, very serious run, very on-the-edge run, for sure, very much on the edge. But the guys did what they needed to do. I mean the car did it and it wasn't goi ng to do it before that. So really quick thinking. I came in at 3:30 in the morning, I think Thursday night, and the guys we were doing a seat fit at 3:30, I came back at 3 the next day -- I guess it was Wednesday night. 3 the next day, they were all still there. They never went to bed, they never left the shop. So I've got to hand it to them because it took so much effort just to get us here on Friday, let alone to catch up and get it to where it needed to be to make the race. Hats off to those guys, really.

Continued in part 2

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , A.J. Foyt IV , Jimmy Kite , Marty Roth