Indy 500: Drivers' Meeting Day report

INDIANAPOLIS - Nine of the 11 rookies in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 field participated in the Chase Rookie of the Year press conference this morning in the Economaki Press Conference Room. Quotes: JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): It was great....

INDIANAPOLIS - Nine of the 11 rookies in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 field participated in the Chase Rookie of the Year press conference this morning in the Economaki Press Conference Room.


JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari):

It was great. I like this track. I've been here in 2005, and I did three races here before, and I really like the environment, as well. It was kind of different with the Indy car. A lot faster, more on the edge all the time. The second day showed you can make mistakes here. But it's been a good month as far as the issues we had. It's great to be here. I hope I can come back here and have a better month."

(About chemistry with teammate Enrique Bernoldi): "It's great. Dealing with Enrique is not the hard part. He really helped me to get this ride. Here we are."

WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia):

"My first time on the track was a real eye-opener, to be honest. It's a really unique track. It's the fastest I've ever been. It's not like your normal oval. It's four fast corners, and there's not that much banking, so it's similar to a road course. You take a traditional line, hit your apex and go out next to the wall. During the month, you'll go up and down as the weather changes, as the track changes. You really need to change the car every day to find a good setup. But I've really enjoyed this month. Until you're a part of it, you don't realize how big this event actually is. I was surprised on the first day how many people turned up, and for the whole month. I'm very, very impressed. It's a very good learning experience for us, especially being a transit ion team. Since the merger, it really helps us to get a little bit more of a handle on the car. And from a driving aspect, learn how to drive on ovals a little bit better, as well. I've really enjoyed it."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps):

(Did you imagine you'd be in the Indianapolis 500 this quickly?): "I don't think anybody expected it to come together that quickly. Obviously, through the offseason you hear a lot of rumors, and you just really never know what to believe. You always heard a lot of stuff about how they'd agreed to merge, and then it falls apart. Obviously, when it came together, it was a big relief for everybody, and we're thrilled to be here. As Will said, I've been here for many years watching Dad and his team in the past, but to be here as a driver, I mean, you never realize how big this event is and the amount of commitment it takes to be here every single day and perform. In the past, I could come whenever I wanted, so the load wasn't necessarily as hard as it's been. The whole Newman/Haas/Lanigan team has given m e a great car, and I think we have a pretty solid race car with good race pace. I'm excited to go out there tomorrow. Qualifying was pretty good for us. I think everything this month has gone pretty well.

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 Angie's List Special):

(Have you ever been in a race with this much buildup): "I don't think anybody has ever. I'm sure if you ask Mario Andretti, he'll tell you other races don't have as much buildup as this one. Like Graham was saying, it takes a lot of energy every day to perform on the track. It's a very demanding track. And at the same time, there's so much more things that you are involved, promotion-wise, with the fans, with your sponsors. Every day there is something. At the same time, you have to be really focused on your driving because it's really demanding. It's a tough month. It's a tough month. Even on the rain days, it really wears you out because you spend a lot of time thinking you're going to run and planning with the engineers, and after you have really improved your car for tomorrow five times, your brain starts wandering a little bit. It's a special race in many areas."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team):

(Compare driving on the IMS oval to the IMS road course when you raced in the United States Grand Prix): There's very little, apart from being in this environment, you get to see the grandstands, the pit lane, everything is so big. It didn't strike me too bad when I came here for the ‘500,' but as far as the track is concerned, they're two at the opposite end of the scale. The Grand Prix circuit was a long straight, but then some of the infield was very, very slow, first gear, which is not a lot of fun in a Formula One car. Where now we get to run flat-out at 225 mph, so it's a lot of fun. I really enjoy going in the right direction, and it just feels right to come here and experience a proper track, so I'm really enjoying it. I just want to have a good race. I think my McDonald's car is going to be quick, and hopefully we can stay out of trouble."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream):

(About the Fastest Rookie Award and last year's Indy Lights race): "I'm honored to have the Fastest Rookie Award. Last year, I started 25th (in Firestone Freedom 100), and I came back and finished P5, so I think I had a really strong race last year. I like this track very much, and hopefully this year I can do well too. Last Sunday, TK (Tony Kanaan) drove my car for me and set it up for me and after that I feel very good. I'm ready for it."

ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing):

(About his teammate, Jaime Camara): "Jaime's a new driver for the series, but he has a lot of experience, so he actually helped me a bit. He has been racing Indy Lights for the past three years, and he knows what he is doing. I wasn't surprised to see that he was fast out here. It's good for the team. We needed to improve, especially on the ovals."

(On the difference between the Formula One circuit and the oval at IMS): "It's different. I stayed here for the whole month for the ‘500.' The Formula One track is similar to the Monaco track. There are a lot of fans there. It's different here because we get in contact with the fans. As Oriol said, we stay here for the whole month, and this makes you tired because you keep waiting. It's a very demanding tra ck to drive."

E.J. VISO (No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing):

"The start of the race is going to be difficult. We need to react to what's going on. We just need to stay out of trouble and get to the end of the race. We're going to have a stable car, and we've put in a very conservative setup. I'm very confident, and I have faith in the team."

MARIO MORAES (No. 19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q):

(About his first time here at Indy and his month so far): "First of all, it's my first time here in Indy, and I've just watched this race before on television. When I was approaching in the airplane, I realized just how big the circuit is. It's amazing. This month, we've been doing well. Unfortunately, we have had some days where it has rained, and we couldn't improve the car. We did a great job in qualifying. I had some problems in the second lap, but I improved after that."

(On his teammate, Bruno Junqueira): "I think highly of Bruno because he was the pole here in 2002, and he has a lot of experience. I spoke with him about the start because it's very important. He told me that I need to be prepared because it can break in the first turn. I'm pretty excited, a nd I hope to have a good race."


Renowned auto racing broadcaster and historian Bob Jenkins received the 2008 Bob Russo Founders Award presented by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association during the organization's annual breakfast this morning at IMS. The award, sponsored by Colleen and Gary Campbell, is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing, as exemplified by Bob Russo throughout his lifelong career in motorsports.

Jenkins, from Fishers, Ind., has more than 30 years experience in auto race broadcasting. He was one of the first announcers hired by ESPN when the all-sports cable network went on the air in 1979 and subsequently has served as host and play-by-play announcer for Indy Racing League telecasts, including the Indianapolis 500, and anchored ESPN and ABC's coverage of NASCAR telecasts from 1982-2000, which received 17 Sports Emmy Awards.

BILL MARVEL (Chairman, Founders Award committee):

"Bob's integrity in our sport is unquestioned. He has served as a model for consistency and has earned the respect of our entire fraternity. He is a most deserving recipient, and we salute his dedication and commitment to excellence."


SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
6 a.m. Public Gates Open
1 p.m. 92nd Indianapolis 500 (200 laps/500 miles)


The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and

-credi: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Bruno Junqueira , Tony Kanaan , Mario Andretti , Jaime Camara
Teams HVM Racing , Conquest Racing