Continued from part 1 RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing): (That was a fast run): "Yeah, I was a little bit surprised, but we did a qualifying simulation during the five minutes before qualifying started, and we made a few...
Continued from part 1
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing):
(That was a fast run): "Yeah, I was a little bit surprised, but we did a qualifying simulation during the five minutes before qualifying started, and we made a few adjustments in the car for the qualifying run and found almost half a mile an hour. So I'm extremely happy for the Air Force Luczo Dragon team. The whole crew did an amazing job. Let's go racing."
(This is a big boost for this team): "The team has spent a lot of time working the car over in the winter. Unfortunately, we didn't qualify yesterday, but we did put in a great effort today. We were impressed with our speed, and hopefully we'll have a fast car for the race."
(Can you play the "what if" game -- if you posted this speed yesterday you'd be in Row 3): "Yeah, but it's hard to compare like that because the conditions were definitely worse. It doesn't matter because we made a change in the car overnight and the change worked, and that's what counts."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 16 Tequila Patron Panther Racing):
"We were a mile an hour faster in a simulation run we made a little earlier, but it got away from us. It seemed to slide a little bit, and I don't know why that was. We have to go back and see why that was. It's been tough the last few days for us here, but that's the way it is sometimes."
(About American Le Mans Series commitments next weekend): "It makes life easier, for sure, if I can get in this weekend, and I had the speed to do it."
(After second qualifying run, last run of the day): "Wow. It's been a tough week, let me tell you. I mean, it's not supposed to be this tough, I thought. You know, with all my experience, I guess leaning on that I figured I'd comeback in and pretty easily, and I did early, pretty easily get up to speed and pretty much thought, I didn't know, obviously, if we'd be a first- or second-row contender, but thought if maybe things really fell into place we would be but certainly a top-10 car, no problem. And just, obviously, had a few things go wrong that led to our crash the other day. The team did an amazing recovery. The Panther guys, I can't say enough about them. A few of the guys pulled all night Thursday night to get that done. And then Dan, of course, had his crash, so it's been really tough, but they've rebounded and never missed a blink. But yeah, today we pulled out, and it just seemed like we were really chasing a bit of speed and got a fair amount of wing our of the car and still couldn't really get a lot of speed out of the car. We'd make a couple of runs in practice with no one in front of us with no tows and run a good enough speed to get in to the field, and then go do it for ourselves with no one in a qualifying run and couldn't get the number, so it was very strange. And then I really thought at the last bit we were done because we made a change to the car at that point where we were down to our final draw. We laid the wing down some more, pulled up into the tech line. I lost my radio. I don't know why, but I couldn't hear anything anymore. I saw four guys in front of me, and I looked at my watch, and it said six minutes to go, and I said: 'That's it. It's over.' And then all of the sudden, just boom, boom, boom, and I want to thank the IRL. They were great. They did it last night. I watched them do it and they did it again tonight. You know, the guys that aren't going to make a run or if you're not fast enough, to take up a lot of track time they got them off or got them out of the way, and all of the sudden, it was fire it up and go."
(On his ALMS commitments for next weekend): "Yeah, It's a tough sort of task we've chosen here competing against these guys that are doing it every week in the Indy cars and then to come here and not be able to run much of the second week or certainly the second weekend. So we sort of had to make the task a bit more difficult and to compound that with a crash, and it's just, wow, it's been a little uphill. But certainly I'm sitting there in the tech line and I'm saying, 'Wow, this isn't going to happen,' and I'm thinking: 'OK, I got to rent a plane, I guess. I got to go to Utah on Friday so I can figure out the car, fly back Friday night. I'll try to qualify this thing Saturday morning. I'll fly back Saturday night so I can race Sunday.' This is all going through my head and finally I was just like: 'I can't be thinking about this. I got to be thinking about the car.' And all of the sudden, these two guys pulled out, and it's like 'Let's go!' and I just held it down."
(On the car sliding and figuring out why): "Actually, it was out qualifying attempts that were sliding. It seemed like more because we had just run about a half a mile an hour or six-tenths a mile of an hour more on average for a four-lap run on our own out there in the simulation. It was amazing. It was just chasing a little bit of the downforce, a little bit of the track changing, and I was pretty amazed how the speed was just up and down with the car. I'm not sure what all that was, and finally at the end, we're looking at each other and obviously little Foyt went out and did a great run, and we're like: 'Well, we can't go out again. We got to do something.' So, the team hustled hard, laid the wings down a bit more and we just had to go for it."
(About his emotions the last few hours of the day): "Well, I've never been more happy, I think, to be 20th. And certainly had some great runs here, but the emotion to end the day like we did it's obviously rewarding for everybody. Certainly all the effort the guys have put in all week, it's rewarding to be in the show and to end it on a positive note and to get ready for the race car. You know, I think one of the things that attracted us so much to Panther is just they've consistently had good race cars here. Look at the race they had here last year and felt and talking to the engineers about the type of setup we were going to run for the race, I'm excited about that. Obviously, we had to get in the race, and there were some moments this afternoon, but certainly it's surprising, like I said a little earlier, that we just didn't have the speed. It seemed like the car should have been faster for us. That was nerve-wracking, but at the end of the day, you can only do what you can do. And I was listening to Dario yesterday when he did his run, and he was like, 'Ugh, I guess I'm going to have to go out again.' I was thinking about that before I went out at the end, and I'm like, 'I've had about 10 of those today. Between every sticker run I've made, every qualifying attempt I've made, you can only do what you can do, and that 's the attitude you got to take. I'm just going to put it all out there, and if it's enough, it's enough. If it's not, I guess I'm fine in some way to come back next Saturday."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing)
(After second qualifying run today): "The main thing was getting in the show today. That's more important than the position you qualified for today. If we are in the race,we don't have to worry about that anymore. We can start working on the balance of the car. The weather was better today and that helped, but so did a lot of changes that we made. We came back to basics a little bit, and it worked. We got the speed we were looking for on a day like this, but yesterday is where really wanted to be. Our starting position was secondary to the priority of getting qualified today. Now we have a whole week to think about the race."
E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing):
"We have made very big progress from this morning to this qualifying session, and it went 222. It never went that fast during all this spring, and now I don't think we want to go faster than that; we just want more consistency. There was a big difference between the first lap and the last lap, so I think if we can find a more consistent car, maybe working a bit more mechanically, it's going to be a little better. There was massive understeering out of (Turn) 1 and into (Turn) 2. I stayed flat out, but I think I even brushed the wall, maybe. I had a lot of weight jacker that puts a lot of weight in the front, so I ended the last lap over 80 percent of weight jacker, what you usually do in 20 laps and I did it in four laps. It's not a good feeling, especially going 220 miles an hour by a wall knowing that we don't have many spares on the team, so we want to keep that car fast."
(After getting bumped): "There was a lot of drama going on, and things obviously didn't end up as we all wanted. But we knew that being in the 21st, 22nd position is a very vulnerable position, and anything could happen. And it happened just in the last minute, and that's a sad thing because we didn't have time to go back out and defend ourselves."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21 Vision Racing):
"Of course, I'm very disappointed. The whole team is. Both of Vision's 21 and 20 engineers are working together, and that's been a great help. There have been some improvements that way, but we don't know what's going on. We have similar settings, but there's a mile-and-half an hour speed difference. We'll look at the data over again and try to understand more over the next three days, but we need an answer."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply/Foyt-Greer Racing):
"Since we got here, we knew we had a solid car. We knew it was going to be tough to get into the top 11, but we really knew we had a solid car and especially a solid race car. We figured we'd keep on trimming (out) and get the speed. You know, it didn't come as easy as expected today to get in (the field). Obviously, the No. 14 car is really stout; Vitor. That shows that the car's good and the setup's good, but we just go to find it. We were scrambling down there to find it. You start getting close to 5 o'clock, and everything starts turning into a rush. But we found it - that's the big thing."
(What went through your mind during the last couple of hours as you sit and wonder if you will have time to get out there?): "I was so nervous and so stressed out. You know, I haven't ate nothing all day, and it feels like I just got out of the Golden Corral eating a big buffet. My stomach was in such a knot. I'm just thrilled to be in the ABC A.J. Foyt car here in the Indy 500 again."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream):
"I'm glad to be done qualifying and to get the chance to work on race setup. The track today was much calmer than yesterday, and we were able to run some practice laps later in the day. The car felt good, and I'm looking forward to the chance to work on making chances and finding an even better car for the race."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Conquest Racing):
"I'm disappointed, but I guess that's just one of those deals. When you have an accident early in the morning like this especially on a qualifying day, you don't have overnight to repair the car. The crew did just absolutely amazing, just thrashing to do everything they can to rebuild that car. To just get us out there in the fashion we did, just making sure the car was solid, was actually really good, professional work. Our second lap on the screen was 221, but it was too late. I needed to do that first lap out. I really wanted to feel like the low-trim car again, just make sure everything was fine. And when I thought it was fine, it was just too late."