92nd INDIANAPOLIS 500 Post-race Quotes Sunday, May 25 VITOR MEIRA ( ...
92nd INDIANAPOLIS 500
Sunday, May 25
VITOR MEIRA (#4 Delphi National Guard, finished second):
(No one expected you to lead. How did that happen?): "Nobody but me and the Delphi National Guard crew. We really, really prepared the car, and everything was according to plan. But things didn't really happen our way. We finished second, but you know what, this is a very good result compared to the struggle we had last year and at the beginning of this season. Definitely, Panther Racing is back, and the big three better watch out."
MARCO ANDRETTI (#26 Team Indiana Jones presented by Blockbuster, finished third):
"In hindsight, it's easy to point out mistakes in the race. I think as a team, we did an awesome job. I think the whole month, the Indiana Jones car was one of the ones to beat the whole month. It was a team decision to do what we did, but we missed. We messed up as a team. We finished third, got good points, let's move on."
(Are you referring to decision to trim rear wing on last stop?): "Yeah, copy. That's the thing: It's easier said than done afterward. It's a team decision. If you mess up, you mess up. We got good points. What are you going to do?"
HELIO CASTRONEVES (#3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"Well, fourth place, definitely not what we expected. We tried everything we could. We had a little issue with the debris. I was trying to avoid a slow car; I slammed on the brakes instead of hitting him. I pulled away and a piece of the debris hit my front wing so we had to stop to change that. The team, let me tell you, wow, what a team. I can't thank enough, Team Penske. What a great strategy. Tim Cindric and all my guys, led by Rick Rinaman, they were fantastic. We were patient. Unfortunately, overall, it was very difficult to pass. We were just trying to keep gaining spots. Wow, what an incredible team. I am extremely honored to be part of it. Now, let's think about the championship. Scott did an excellent job. Ganassi seems to be the favorite team right now, but, hey, the championship is still a long way and we're going to continue working hard."
(About racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) "This race is a mazing. This place is magic. I remember Cindric on the radio, saying, 'Come on, man, we have work to do.' I'm like: 'What do you mean, buddy? Patience! I have to be patient so you have to be patient.' This place is amazing. I have to thank the fans for the support and the warm welcome again. To be here again and finish in the top five for me is great, so thank you everyone."
RYAN BRISCOE (#6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
(About incident with Danica Patrick) "It's a real shame. I just saw the replay, and it confirmed my thoughts. We were both out there trying to win the Indy 500 today, and when it's time to go, we have to go. But from what I can see, there was still plenty of room on the right side for her to get around and there are people pointing fingers, but that's not the way we are. We both have a brake pedal in our cars, and from what I can tell, there was still plenty of room for her to get around me. I was trying to get around Wheldon, and I was staying in the middle lane. I got ran up in the back, and it's a shame."
JOHN ANDRETTI (#24 Roth Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It's like every '500.' You learn something and when you get done, you wish you'd done something different. I do wish I'd dome some things different and been better. Our last in was horrible, just horrible. That came from a change because we didn't know. We just went with it, and it was way overkill. That really hurt us in the end. It would have been OK in the middle of the race, but at the end of the race, you know, we couldn't hardly keep up. But the stint before that, it was about the best the car was. We tried to make it a little better, but more practice makes all the difference in the world. The guys did a great job on pit stops. We seemed like we got in pretty good. Thank God we didn't have any green-flag pit stops because I don't know what we would've done. So many people came off of Turn 4 and never saw pit in, so that worked out pretty good, but overall, I'm really pleased. It's frustrating because we know we c ould've done so much better with a little different circumstances."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (#12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It was just a driveshaft. It happens. I just have to thank my team and sponsors for giving me the chance to do what I love to do. It is a pity. These things sometimes happen. It is the worst time. It was the last stop of the Indy 500"
(About running well all race) "I was just conserving fuel by driving at 90 percent, waiting for the last laps. When I wanted to give it a go and see what I could do, it happened. That is racing."
HIDEKI MUTOH (#27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"I stalled the engine once during a pit stop. I feel sorry for the guys. The team did a great job. I hope I could have finished fifth, but we didn't have enough speed. Two guys passed me, so we finished seventh. For my first Indy 500, that's not too bad."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"I just learned so much through the pace of the race. Like this team always does, they made the Ethanol IndyCar better through the run. I'm disappointed we didn't get more results. I really think this was a seventh-place car, and we finished sixth. I'm happy with it."
(About how he went about learning during the race) "This place is so difficult. When the tires go off and there's cars in front of you with the turbulence, it's probably been one of the most difficult tracks that I've ever been around."
BUDDY RICE (#15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It is good for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. We had two cars in the top 10 at the Indianapolis 500. We're a small-time little group, and we did great. It is good for our sponsors, Jordache and William Rast. I think it was a good day for us."
(About his pit strategy) "I needed all the help I could get. We dug ourselves in a hole at the beginning. We led there for a little bit because of our pit strategy. We missed getting our strategy by two laps. For us to get back to where we finished, it was a huge accomplishment for the No. 15 car."
A.J. FOYT IV (#2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"Obviously, it was terrible. I mean, we caught on fire there again, in the pits and it ruined our day. We had to get out of the car and get the car all sorted out, and it was just miserable. From there on, you're just out there riding around and trying to stay out of trouble, waiting to screw up. It was a terrible race, a miserable race. One of the worst of my life. You don't learn nothing trying to stay out of everybody's way, and that's the worst way in the world to race."
DAN WHELDON (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"My issue all day was with the right rear steer in the car. It was OK in the first few stints, but it seemed to get worse and worse as the race went on. It was very difficult."
(About his teammate, Scott Dixon, winning the race) "I am really happy for him. He has been really quick in all of the races leading into this. He perhaps hasn't won as many as he deserved up to now, but he's on a roll right now, and it is great for him and the team that he did so well. The team worked so hard for both cars. Only one can win, and he was the deserving one."
WILL POWER (#8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It was a good month you know. I kept getting more and more, and it's just good to finish the race in a good position. Yeah, whatever."
(About sounding disappointed after the race) No, I'm really happy. I'm really happy for the guys and finished in a good position for us. We moved 10 places up so, I'm just exhausted."
DANICA PATRICK (#7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"I was going down pit lane, and as people pull out of their pit boxes if you are in the outside lane, then they have to wait to blend in. From what I know, it looked like it was pretty obvious what happened. What are you going to do? The guys worked so hard today. We worked so hard on the car all month. Unfortunately, we didn't get to show for it in the end. Congrats to (Scott) Dixon. He was strong all month and he deserves it."
(About what she would like to tell Ryan Briscoe) "It is probably best I didn't get down there anyway, isn't it?"
(About her day) "The unfortunate thing is we worked our butts off all month. We were creeping forward slowly, but surely. After the little mishap in the pits early and struggling with the car, but from what I can tell it seemed like it was relatively obvious what happened. You just don't come out of your pit box and swing three lanes out. That's why there is a 'get up to speed' lane an d an 'at speed' lane. I was at speed."
(About what she wants to say to Ryan Briscoe) "We will see if he can find me first."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Hemelgarn Johnson Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"I tried to stay out of trouble. You know, we had one day of practice. One day of practice all month. Obviously, the rain out for Carburetion Day killed us, just killed us and it showed. I don't know anybody with one day of practice that could do any better. This team did as good as anyone could expect. It just would have been nice to have a teammate, someone to share information with. We just missed. We missed today."
(About running a clean race) "That was hard. That was really hard today. That's something that people say when they don't have anything else good to say. You say, 'Well, the wheels are still on it.' I'm disappointed, there's no doubt, but what can you really expect with one day of practice? It's all good."
ED CARPENTER (#20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It was OK. We were kind of same way in the race as we were throughout the month of May. Just outside the very top guys. But we were right there. For the most part I had a very clean race. Had a pit stop where there is a neutral button on this new transmission to get it into neutral. It wouldn't go to neutral on this one stop and had to go to the back of the line. Luckily we caught a break with the yellow and got back up front. Otherwise, I think we could have maybe finished in front of Helio (Castroneves). I was running in front of him at that point. Either way I am really happy for Menards, Johns Manville, Direct TV, Lilly and everyone else involved with the team. Eleventh was my best finish before this. To be in the top five at Indianapolis is a great feeling. Happy for all the people that make it happen for us. My Mom and Tony for giving me the opportunity to go show everyone that I do belong at this stage, and really think we are going to get Vision Racing our first win this year. We've got good cars, and I think it's just a matter of time."
(Is this a shot of confidence for you personally?) "It is, but I mean the whole season, I have been a top-five car all season, especially on the ovals. I just need to get a little bit better on the road courses. Then we will be a threat all the way around. I think that is just around the corner."
DARREN MANNING (#14 ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"The car was real good. You know, I made a mistake in the pit stop. I didn't listen to Larry (Foyt). He was saying, 'Stop, stop, stop,' and I was thinking 'Go, go, go.' I clipped my front wing on another car when he went into the pits, while we were running in sixth place. I was running comfortably with those guys in the front. I think I had the car firm. It was actually harder to pass the guys in the back of the pack than it was to the guys in the front. We were running a very similar car to the guys in the front, but we had some problems. We dropped back to 24th and came all the way back to ninth. It's a credit to the team. You know, we worked hard all month and they did a good job, too, in the pits to replace the nose and some good stops. We just kept working hard, and when it was time to go at the end, I went."
(On the racing conditions overall) "Absolutely perfect. There was a bit of wind in (Turns) 1 and 2, which was making it tricky. My car was real good at the end of all the long green flag runs, but we never got any. They (the cars in front) were just starting to come back to me. Was just cruising and picking them off, then the yellow would come out. I was really annoyed that so many yellow flags kept coming out."
TOWNSEND BELL (#99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"We struggled a bit on the restarts. We had a good restart there at the end to get a couple positions. It's pretty good. We're still a small team. Buddy (Rice) got an eighth, so two top-10s for Dreyer and Reinbold. We're duking it out with the big guys. It's one foot in front of the other. It's another step toward hopefully to a better end to the season. I really wanted to finish the race. I didn't finish when I came here in 2006. I made it three-quarters of the way, was running in the top 10 and it was painful, painful Monday morning to wake up and know, man, if we just could have had a top 10, we'd be happy. So, now we've got one, and we need to just stay focused, come back and do even better next time. It's a smaller organization with big ambitions and you can't get there overnight. We don't want to do is swing too hard and fall over trying to prove too fast. It's got to happen one step at a time. We keep doing this and keep working our way up to that next level of teams, and we're going to be happy."
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (#36 Sangari Conquest Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"It was a very good race for me. I was quite a bit scary for me in the beginning when a piece of (Graham) Rahal's car came off and hit me in the beginning. I thought my car would be damaged, but luckily, they could repair it and I still could get the lap back. I was pushing hard all the time and was like, really racing. Real racing. Indianapolis is like a track that you can drive the car a little bit around the problems, not like other ovals. I have to thank the engineer because he gave me a good car. I never had to adjust the car on the pit stops, I could do everything myself with the bars. The race was very long and very tiring. It was difficult because it was so long. I'm relieved because I finished my first oval race and it's the Indianapolis 500, so I finished the best one out of the three I did. I was very happy to bring the car home. I think that's a big plus for the team for the ovals. Now we can work on it and get even better."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#18 Z-Line Designs Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
(About the frustration with losing his right mirror early in the race) "It wasn't really good for a few laps. My right mirror flew away, and the team did not have a mirror to replace. That was it. It's very frustrating to be leading the race and have to pit, and the team's not ready."
(Did anything in particular happen to make the mirror come off or did it come off on its own?) "It came off on its own. It's very frustrating."
MILKA DUNO (#23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"For my second time at the Indianapolis 500, I am excited to have finished this classic race. Throughout the race, we were in good contention and made routine pit stops and tire changes. It was during Lap 168 that the No. 91 car (Buddy Lazier) essentially forced me to go on the apron. His tire made contact with my front wing and tires. I was able to control the spin, and no major damage was done to the car. The CITGO car was brought back to the garage, and I took off running through the pits to meet the team. The guys did a tremendous job to getting the car back out. Their efforts allowed us to gain two positions back on the track to finish 19th."
DAVEY HAMILTON (#22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"We had a disappointing day today. We had a right front nose wing break, I guess. We really didn't realize it until the race was over. But just had big time understeer all day long. Just couldn't get the car to turn. It was so much different than what it was on Carb Day and practice. But that is the reason. Well get back, find out what broke in the right front wing. With that thing flat, there is no way to turn these things."
(Do you think it failed due to fatigue or from possible contact?) "It seemed to be (bad) right off the bat, because there is no rubber on it at all. All the rest of the car and the other (front) nose wing has rubber on it. I'm pretty sure right from the get go that it was flat. We needed it, man. I thought we finally got the car out by ourselves and picked off some 219's and 218's. But as soon as I'd get traffic, I'd only go as fast as they would go. It was a pretty disappoin ting day."
(So how was traffic out there today. How did everyone behave?) "Well, a lot of defense. Lot of defense today."
ORIOL SERVIA (#5 Angie's List Special Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"Yeah, I was so close to a top 10. I'm just really happy. Eleventh was a good race from where we started. We had a very good balance in the car, and we were just lacking a little bit of speed but, I'm just really happy. We had great stops, great restarts and good balance so, you know. We know we have a little bit of a disadvantage on development, and it is what it is but, we're happy. We're happy with the result and my first Indy and the team's first Indy."
(About his most crucial moment of the race) "There were many. I mean, many restarts where we moved forward, and the pit stop that the guys put me seventh was great. We just didn't have the speed to stay up there with those guys, but it was good. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my first Indy."
MARIO MORAES (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Dallara/Honda/Firestone)
"When I came driving (down the frontstretch) first time, it was amazing. I've never been to a place like this before. I just watch it on television sometimes. It's really impressive to be here; it's a pleasure. We made what we were looking for, finish the race. It doesn't matter what position. We work a little bit on the car. The team is brand new. The start is amazing, you know. You don't know what to do."
(About what the start felt like in the turbulent air) "It's really impressive. You think it's easy in the qualifying. Then, you come to the first lap, and I need to reduce two gears, then go again, so it's quite hard. Two times, we have some problems and went into the marbles; Marco pushed me into the marbles. He was fast, so I was trying to get out of trouble. Then I need to stop to change the tires again and go. So I think they did a very good job, and we finish the race."