Indy 500: Bump Day Qualifying quotes

Indy 500: Bump Day Qualifying quotes
Jun 19, 2009, 7:55 PM

Bump Day Qualifying Quotes Sunday, May 17, 2009 NELSON PHILIPPE (No. 00 i drive green HVM Racing): "I bumped myself. Has that ever been done before? Probably, yeah; a 100-year history, right? Come celebrate the Centennial Era at the ...

Bump Day Qualifying Quotes
Sunday, May 17, 2009

NELSON PHILIPPE (No. 00 i drive green HVM Racing):

"I bumped myself. Has that ever been done before? Probably, yeah; a 100-year history, right? Come celebrate the Centennial Era at the Indianapolis 500. Yeah, it feels good to be in. We had a great run. The conditions are definitely better. I felt better. The car felt better. It's just a combination of many things. But overall, I'm just really excited that we managed to gain 2.7 miles per hour. It's a big gain. This morning I went 220 for the first time all month. That was nice to break that barrier. We were still pretty conservative for this run. I felt really comfortable with the car. We could have easily gone with a bit less downforce."

(Did you feel like it was a big gamble to re-qualify before getting bumped or did you feel really comfortable?): "No, definitely not a big gamble because we had a really mediocre time yesterday. I was pretty vocal about it to the team. I said, 'The time's not going to stand, so let's go out.' We felt 100 percent confident we were going to beat the time. I didn't think I was going to beat the time by 2.7 miles per hour."

(On how he felt after yesterday): "I left the track yesterday and said to the guys: 'You know, I don't want to just be in the show. I want to be qualifying close to 221,' and we did. I know there's a party for the last row, but I don't really want to be on the last row. I'd start there if I had to, but we wanted to be in a better position than that"

(The last position gets some money, don't they?): "Actually, yeah; that's true. If my nerves feel like this until the end of the day, I think I deserve some mode of compensation."

(What is it like to feel like you're in the Indy 500?): "I'm trying not to think like that, yet. If I'm on the plane going to New York (Monday), I'll let you know how I feel about being in the Indy 500."


"The car is very good. I did like four laps up to speed in the first session, and the car was good. So I said, 'Let's take a little downforce out.' The car was better, and I thought, 'I think we can qualify.' I have to thank the ALL SPORT Conquest Racing team. They prepared me a good car, and I know my way around this place and know how to go fast. I think that's a good combination. The deal with the ALL SPORT sponsorship just happened Friday night. They had to hire people and put the car together, so I have to thank the work of the mechanics. They did a very good job. They gave me a fast car. I'm very excited. It's one of the most exciting moments of my life and my career. I think I broke a record of less laps in practice to put a car in the field. I didn't know how the car was going to be. I knew I was capable of going really fast here."

(How does this compare to sitting on the pole here in 2002?): "It's just as exciting. I was very persistent. I walked around here for two weeks. And at the last minute, I got a ride. I just have to thank God, my team, and the people who helped me get a ride. I'm very, very thrilled."

MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing):

(On what she did differently today than yesterday): "We corrected a few things. We corrected a few things on the line with Davey Hamilton, my teammate, outside this morning. But also, they made the car better. Consistently, not to be fast and consistent. You can make a fast lap, but if you are not consistent, if the car doesn't help you to make the same speed all the time, you do nothing in qualifying. You have to keep a fast time for four laps together. I think, especially, they made a good job with the car. It was so great. The car was so good in practice, and you see we were faster in the practice this morning. But I think it was also the car. A little bit here, a little bit in the other place, correct a little bit of the line."

(On the feeling of the car): "The car was much better today. Remember that yesterday when I tried to qualify the first time, I lost the front completely in Turn 1 or 2 or somewhere. I don't want to remember which one it was. I don't want to see that. We were loose in the front and the corners. Today we practiced and made different changes by the engineer and consistent and even fast because it has a better balance."

(On the comfort of her time today): "If we have to go again, we will try again. It is very tough, also. It is very tough to do 221 or something else. It is not easy, but if we have to try again, we have to go. It is just a tough qualifying day."

(On driving for with Dreyer and Reinbold): "We were in everything that we have to improve. We have to improve the line if we want to improve the driving lap by lap. Everything we try to improve because everything is important in the race."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21T Vision Racing):

(After first qualifying run): "It was slower than expected. We trimmed it out a bit. We were hoping for more speed, but it just didn't come. I don't know where that's going to stand. It's tough. It's hard to play this thing strategically. There's no right way to do it. You just kind of see what comes. You either go on the offense and pull yourself out of line and go qualify, or you play defense and wait until you get bumped and go qualify. We went on the offense to try and put up a good time. Unfortunately, it wasn't that good of a time. We'll see where it stands. If we have to roll back out, we'll do that. We've been at all trim levels. We've been all over the map on setups and everything. I'd like to be happy, but I'm not happy with it. It's just not coming out of the car. The speed is just not there. We'll just keep working at it. The (track) conditions are better. The wind is gusting. It calms down then gusts, and that affects the car a little bit. But overall, today is a crisper day with a little bit less humidity. The cars, overall, are performing better."

(After second qualifying run): "I was ready to go the whole time. That was a timing issue because I think Tagliani was pretty quick there. It was lucky we went out last. We're running downforce as low as you wouldn't believe. It was so trimmed out. These guys worked really hard. I'm really happy for them. Now, hopefully we can go make up all those spots in the race. I mean, it was just all day long it was like this. Since we woke up, it was: 'What are we going to do? What are we going to do? Let's pull the car out. Let's put it in.' The whole day it was qualifying simulations. That was the hairiest day I've ever had, I think. I've never been so happy to be last place."

(You said you were fighting a lot of grip and your goal out there was a controlled slide.): "We've had an inherent problem with this thing since we got here. There was just too much push. The exit of Turn 1, as the tires wore off; new tires will mask that push. But then once you get to the third and fourth lap, it was like a controlled slide at the front of the car up to the wall to see if I could keep it off the wall. If you watched with a somewhat educated eye on the run, you could tell that we were definitely light, and we were really, really struggling with the front of the car. We're really lucky right now."

(How do you feel about working on race setup with the problems you've had the last couple weeks?): "I don't know. I'm just worried about the front of the car in traffic. We went and ran in traffic a little bit the other day, and I could only get so close up to cars and the front would wash out. We need to make it better. I'm not sure what's going on right now." (More Hunter-Reay quotes in post-qualifying transcript)


"I've been at this track the last seven years. I haven't eaten anything today. You know, we did a race run, I just came mentally prepared today, but we thought we'd be safe and how things change. Next thing you know you have to get the qualifying setup back on. The guys are running back to the garage. You know, I try to just be in my motorhome, lights off, and just focus. They gave me a good car, and we were able to do it safely, so I'm just happy for everybody. We had a great race run, which I am so happy about, too, which is the most important thing, but, to go in there and go really quick, I'm happy. The car felt all right. The last lap wasn't perfect. Just a big thank you to everybody at Mona Vie, Dale Coyne Racing, Bob Pappas' crew. We're in the middle here doing a race run when we had to get the car back at 4:30, and just take all the downforce out of it and bring it back. We did two runs and then stuck it in line, and we went a mile and a half quicker than we qualified before, so we got to be happy with that." (More Scheckter quotes in post-qualifying transcript)

MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing):

"Yesterday I didn't know what time I had to do; today I was sure of what time I had to do. We knew we would be quicker because it was cooler. I just had to get in the right frame of mind. You still have to go out there and do it each time. I really pushed it on that first lap. We put up a good number, and then I was just trying to keep it consistent. I am getting more comfortable with the car every run. The car feels good underneath me. It was still a bit windy through Turn 1. I had to keep it flat and consistent. Hopefully we've done enough to be safely in the field."

E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing):

(After first qualifying run): "It was a strong run, and I'm proud of the improvements the team has made this week. We didn't intend to leave things until the last minute, but it's all right. It's such a long race that qualifying isn't that important. I'm just happy to be in the show. To tell the truth, I never expected to be qualifying on the last day, but that's what happened, and here I am."

(About his run): "We needed to take a bit of a risk, but we can still go another step if we need to. We have maybe three-quarters of a mile an hour in our pocket if we need it."

(About qualifying strategy): "It's always difficult to make your plans regarding the weather, especially in Indianapolis because it changes so much. But it's what it is, and it's the same for everyone."

(About experience): "I was here last year, and now I know a little better what to expect. Last year when I came here, I knew nothing. I had never watched an oval race ever in my life. My first oval race was at Homestead, and I didn't like it. I had a very steep learning curve last year. This year I'm a more complete driver. I know how to approach the ovals, and my feedback to the engineers is a lot better, more precise. Last year they were a little vague."

STANTON BARRETT (No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Racing):

"I don't know. We just gave it our all. Team 3G worked really hard, and all these guys just put a huge effort forth. It's just a real bummer it didn't work out. I don't know. They called it off because we didn't have the speed the first lap, and I just think taking time to learn without a teammate and taking time to learn what a difference this year and last year. We definitely made a change with the car speed-wise, aero-wise. I think it's right in there. Too much scrub in the corners really killed our lap times, and unfortunately tough to go back and study what I can do better and what we can do as a team better. It's a real disappointment. We need to make this race for sponsors that we had in line. It's just one of those things. A lot of other guys didn't make it to. There were three others. It's not an easy deal."

(On his thoughts of his time here this year): "Indy's a great place. I really enjoy driving here and driving the track. These cars are phenomenal to drive. I'm doing everything it takes to find the speed, whatever it is. I'm learning more of being an asset to setup stuff and what I felt. The last couple days we made headway on that. We've just tried things, and it just kind of hasn't worked out. But we learned a lot. You just have to keep plugging away and see what happens for the rest of the year. It's just a tough situation and a real bummer that we didn't qualify for the '500,' but it's a tough field this year and it's even a mile and a half faster than last year. The sport's going to get tougher. Everybody's going to grow and grow, and you'll see even more teams next year, and the competition's stepping up and the team's stepping up. That's what racing is about."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson):

"I'm just very disappointed, of course.. We just didn't maximize the opportunity. We just didn't have it here today. We had it earlier, but we had a little miscommunication. I feel so bad for my guys because they worked so hard. I'll be back, we'll be back, but it just wasn't there today."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Window World)

(After third qualifying run): "I'm exhausted. I don't want to do this anymore, to be honest. Just coming down pit road, you would have thought that I won the race. I couldn't hear the crowd, but I could see them standing and waving. The fans have always been behind me at Indianapolis. The team did such a great job. We tried something different in practice today. We got advice, and it was one of those things that we couldn't get to work. We went back (garage) and took (teammate) Mike Conway's shocks and springs and put them on my car. It made the car really nice to drive. It was a nice run. I give all the credit to my teammates. As a group we were doing a good job, but we were struggling. Now we've gotten better as a team. We were fighting hard, each one of us. I'm the old man, and I had to fight the hardest, and it's not supposed to be that way. I've always looked at these guys on the bubble on Bump Day and absolutely felt for them. I was with Marty Roth last year and the jubilation was unbelievable. I can't imagine how embarrassed I would have been to call Richard Petty and have him ask, "Where do you start?" And I don't (start). It's been a very, very tough day. I'm going to say that one is for my dad (Aldo Andretti). My dad is such a strong supporter - I know this was a challenge that he would appreciate. I told Larry Curry in his next life he's going to be a psychiatrist. He got me thinking the right way. He coaches really well. You would think after 30-plus years of racing, I wouldn't need a coach. But Indianapolis can break down the best of drivers. It didn't break me down. Window World, those people were great. They called me up and said that I wanted to be in the race worse than they did. And that cheered me up. When I took the white flag and I made it through Turn 1 flat, I thought I wouldn't get through it. Turn 1 had been killing me all day. It was the wind and I had been struggling with it all day. I'm glad the race isn't tomorrow. I am physically, mentally, just totally exhausted." (More Andretti quotes in post-qualifying transcript)

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Rexall Edmonton Indy):

"The car was plenty fast to protect our position. I don't know the whole running around get in line, get out of line. It's just at the end when it happened. We got bumped; there was no time."

(Did you think of staying in line to protect your position?): "Right now I'm wondering why we didn't go out and just run to protect our position time when we knew we could go out and just do the lap we needed to do to even probably get the fastest lap of the day. You don't do these things when you're not sure you can re-do your lap, but when we knew faster lap than we did yesterday especially with the day being nicer, I'm wondering. But it's done now. Kind of difficult to accept that fact that you need to go home with a car that is capable to be in the field. It's hard to comprehend. I just want to turn the page and just get back in the car at Milwaukee. Until the next time I jump in the car, it's going to be pretty tough. I know the way I am, and this race was important for me, and it's really difficult right now."

(Did you think yesterday there was any way you could get bumped today?): "There's always a way. They proved it today. Yesterday was not a very good day for qualifying. It was windy, and the track was a lot slower. I mean, we saw guys doing very slow laps, and we did our lap and we were 26th,so we said OK. But we knew Sunday was going to be very fast, and it proved it today. When the track opened, we were not too concerned right away. We went out to do some race running. It went really well. When we put the car out for qualifying, I was running laps at 221.7. The car was plenty fast . It was safe to drive. The worst thing is we didn't go out to protect ourselves. We kept putting it in line. So when you go home and you're slow, there's nothing you can do. But when you go home under these conditions ..."

-credit: ims

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