THIRD DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, May 16 E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing): "I'm satisfied because we're in, but we need to be faster. This morning I went a little bit faster. We know we have a couple miles an hour more in the car....
THIRD DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, May 16
E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing):
"I'm satisfied because we're in, but we need to be faster. This morning I went a little bit faster. We know we have a couple miles an hour more in the car. We went out with a very conservative setup and a lot of downforce in the car. It was pretty windy. The wind was in another direction, so it was affecting us a little bit in the back straight. The wind was a bit stronger (than this morning). The car was a little bit loose in corner 1. The track lost a little bit of grip between the hours of rain, and it cooled down a lot. It's been a drama with my qualifying situation. I need to say that it's been very fun. But it is a long month, and it brings some spice into the month."
ROBERT DOORNBOS (No. 06T Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing):
"I can't say it's been a boring month. It started off good. I arrived here with Arie (Luyendyk), and inspecting the track, he scared me to death in the Pace Car ride. And then I got going in my IndyCar, and I was really quick the first day and the next day, as well. I think we got a little bit too excited because Arie said I probably didn't need him anymore, and then we took off too much downforce and we crashed. We had no spare parts, so I missed the first two qualifying days, and then there is a lot of pressure on these four laps to make the show. The race car is good, but if you're not in the show, you don't need the race car. I am very happy and proud to be here now. In Kansas, (qualifying) was easier. I qualified second, that's for sure. Here it's such a long track, and with the wind picking up, you feel like every lap is a new adventure. Every corner is an adventure because the wind is coming from different angles. It's a tough four laps, but I'm very proud to do them on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
NELSON PHILIPPE (No. 00 i drive green HVM Racing):
(On the changing weather conditions for qualifying): "Everything was different. Since last Saturday, it's been hard for me to get up to speed. I'm feeling good now, but the track is just not there today. You know, this track can be very moody, and you keep chasing it. But definitely, we feel more comfortable. We're still very conservative with the rear wing angle."
(On taking some time to get confidence back after crashing): "Yeah, it takes a while to get back up to speed. I think my biggest problem was I had my crash, then had one week to think about it."
(On driving at the Speedway): "It's nothing like you can imagine. I'll be honest: I used to think, 'Well, it doesn't look that complicated.' I got out here, and it's pretty difficult. When you're coming up at a straight wall at 220 miles per hour, it's pretty freaky. But now I'm an oval driver who's crashed, and I look forward to not crashing anymore."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson):
"The car just took off. The conditions changed a lot, and the wind is picking up. We were low on grip. We would have been better with this morning's weather, but we'll adapt. We're a second-weekend team and we've only had two days' worth of data. We wanted to lay down a practice qualifying run. We had two laps at 219. We would have been OK if we hadn't fallen off."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 17 The Rahal Letterman DAFCA Special):
"I knew we were going to be in the race. We actually were hoping to the fastest car today. We didn't do that, but the car still feels great and I'm sure we'll be even better for Sunday."
(On the past week): "It's been a great week. I've been working for many months to A, get the car going for the season and B, be here. Finally, with Rahal Letterman we were able to put it together, and I'm very pleased. I jumped in the car Thursday, and it felt great and we're in the race. The car, it felt great right away. I'm very hopeful that we can bring the car to the front on Sunday."
(On his comfort level, and being with Rahal Letterman): "They won it in '04. They won, but they have many years of experience, so they know what they are doing. It's no secret. When I jumped in the car Thursday, it felt great right away. It really helps to be with good people."
(On the rest of the season): "Indianapolis is magical. Just being here is good. If we do a good job, who knows? The team and myself, obviously, want to be there at the end of the season. We're working for it, and having a good race, I'm sure it would help."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 19 MONA-VIE Racing):
"I'm happy to be in the field. This happened because of the support of MONA-VIE gave me. Dale Coyne and everybody with the car have been great. Just putting this together at the last minute has been absolutely crazy. We wanted to make a decent qualifying attempt. We had hoped for a little bit more speed, but it was a good run. We knew we weren't going to set the world on fire. It was extremely windy out there in Turns 3 and 4 and quite a bit of push off Turn 2. At this late stage, we weren't risking too much on the downforce. We just wanted to get in the show."
(On consistent lap speeds): "I was playing with the weight-jacker. You would get a gust, and it (car) and you would get a big understeer in the corner. The wind was hard to keep up with. I just kept working with the tools I had inside the car. I couldn't mash the pedal in these windy conditions. I'm thankful I'm in a car."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 8 Herbalife-KV Racing Technology):
"We're fairly conservative, so we'll see where it holds up. The car felt good. It was consistent, which is the most important thing. I can't thank Herbalife and the guys enough for giving me such great effort this month. I got in and the thing was just flying, so it's a great car, good team. I'm happy to be here. If the tank feels good, I'm going to put my foot down, so it just gave me a lot of confidence. You got to just drive what you have, and in this case I have a really good car."
(About racing in Indy 500): "Seems like everything it kind of gets sweeter. I just enjoy it more and more (each year). There's no place I'd rather be than Indianapolis during the month of May. Last year I came in thinking I want to have a spot and finish. This year we're aiming a little higher."
(About conditions during qualifying): "I feel like I can drive the car around the conditions, which is nice, rather than being a victim of the conditions. I had the ability to do a little bit with the wheel to help compensate for the wind, and that made a consistent run."
(About the race): "There's a lot of cars in front of us, and you've got to have a good strong start, so we're looking to get ourselves comfortably into the top 10 by the second half of the race and get ready to really put our head down and go for it. All I have to do is drive, and that's all any driver wants is to just turn the wheel. The KV Racing team makes it easy for me in that respect."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21T Vision Racing):
"I just don't have any answers anymore. These guys work hard, and the car is super-slow. I feel bad for them in that way. We're trimming to levels where we should be another 2 miles an hour quicker, and we're not. I don't know. I appreciate this opportunity; we just need to get a handle on things pretty quick. It's tough for me. I know how it should be for us, and it's not, so it's tough. This is it for me. This is my life, and when it's not going right, it's hard."
(About his run): "I was flat out. The car felt good, unfortunately, cause we're slow. I don't know what's going on. These guys work really hard, and the speed is just not coming out of the car. I'm afraid I might be going to the last row party tonight, tomorrow, if I'm lucky. When you're trimming and you're hanging on to your own rear end out there and it's slow, that's the worst part. I don't think we're going to have any answers before the race. I think it's going to be get a decent race car in traffic and go to work on 'em."
(What is problem with the car?): "It's down to something in the car, mechanically or aerodynamically, I don't know. That part is a little over my head, and the team is a bunch of very qualified professionals, so they're working on getting some answers sorted out. But in the time frame that we're working within, I don't know if we can solve that."
STANTON BARRETT (No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Racing):
"There is more speed in the car, and we just need to work with it and figure out how to get the speed out of it. The car is comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable. The conditions weren't all that great today, but we will be back out (Sunday) and try again. It's supposed to be a better day."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Window World):
(On his qualification run today): "We've got a whole other day. As of now, it doesn't give for a good night's sleep, for sure."
(About if the need arises to qualify again tomorrow): "We just have to go again, and we'll have to come out in the morning and we'll have to look at it, see what kind of speed we have and see if we sit and wait or if we go. It depends what the weather does."
(On his first run verses his second run): "We only made one more run and changed the balance quite a bit, and then we rolled it up the line and changed it again. In doing so we just, basically, tried to fix the car a little bit closer to the ground."
(On his father, Aldo, returning from surgery to witness his qualifying attempt today): "He was here today. It's great to have him here. He'll be talking to me a lot afterward. I don't what else we need to say or do. We just need to stay focused here and try to get in this race."
(Will you go out again tomorrow?): "It's going to depend on the weather. If the weather is good -- with less wind -- which it is supposed to be a little less windy, and it's going to be cool tomorrow. Obviously, you have to look at all of that. You go out and practice and see what kind of speed you have and you see what other people are doing, and obviously we're pretty much a target. We're in the bull's eye. It is certainly an attainable speed for people to capture. We have to look at that, and I think that if tomorrow is a really good day, then it can go much deeper than that. So it's not going to be a good night's sleep for a lot of people, including me, and this is for sure my roughest month of May by a thousand-fold. I've seen people in this situation, and you always feel for them. I don't want anybody to feel for me. We're just working hard, and we're going to do our best to make it all happen. I'm not sure that we've found the right setup for this tire, maybe. It could be a lot of things. Last year, every time we went out we were fast. We were real fast. And actually I was pretty disappointed with my qualifying. This year, I'd be ecstatic with it. It's amazing what a year does. We're certainly asking a lot of questions. We're in a lot of discussions within the team. I can't say we're confused. We just haven't found that trick that the car really likes and hit it. We're making progress, but we're running out of time. Tomorrow is the end. You either figure it out or not."
(Have you spoken with car owner Richard Petty?): "I haven't talked to Richard at all since he was here last Saturday. He's been busy, and quite honestly, Richard is not somebody that gets on the telephone. When I see him again, then we'll talk. He may call me. But if I call him ... I don't even know if Richard has a phone. Usually you have to call somebody that's with him. I know about everybody that's with him. He's been in this game long enough to know what kind of fights you have to put up. We're giving it our best fight."
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing):
"At least we are already in and have one more day for practice. The first time I tried to qualify, we were coming with a good lap. I lost the front of the car. It was close. I said, 'Oh, please, not now.' We lost the balance of the car; something was not right. After the team prepared the car again with a little more downforce because the wind was affecting my lap, the car was better. We had four consistent laps. At least we are in. Tomorrow the conditions will be much better. (If we have to) we will qualify again; it's no problem."
(It seemed like earlier in the week you had a little more speed but then couldn't get the speed back. What happened?): "Well, what happened this morning was we lost the balance of the car. Nothing was right. At the end, we have this good balance again. Every little thing in the car; you have to rely on everything -- the gears, the brakes, the wings, the tire pressure, the downforce; every single thing is important. Finally, we have a good, consistent car. For now, we wanted to have a safe car today to qualify."
(On bumping former Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier out of the field): "You know, this race is so tough. Indianapolis is so fast. You have to have a good car and good balance. Everybody that's here is a good driver. Even for a super driver that won the race before, it's just pretty tough."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing):
"I wasn't sure what to expect in qualifying. Those were some of the best laps we laid down all day. The car felt more comfortable, and it was good to run a good average. I was trying to get the rear end stable. The wind was quite sharp in Turn 2; I had a lot of understeer. Going into Turns 3 and 4, I was losing grip. I had to work the weight-jacker to keep up the average speed. I was able to keep it pretty much flat all the way around. When you're out there by yourself in qualifying, it's a pretty big place. It was good to see the green flag, so I could get on with it. We're in the field. I'm happy and looking forward to what comes next."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34T Rexall Edmonton Indy):
"We left something on the table there on the last lap in Turn 2. I'm very proud of the Conquest team. We didn't have the most consistent day today. We had a lot of issues with the car. I guess we set the car up for conditions that were much different than they were today, and on top of that, the track temperature and the wind changed, so we had to revisit that. This track is known for that. Qualifying day, it's not the easiest to do. It took us all day until the last minute to put the car in qualifying. We even made a change without trying to test it. I went out in qualifying, and the car was not necessarily better. With the wind and what we did on the car required me to play with the weight-jacker a little bit. So, I was playing with the weight-jacker on the exit of Turn 1and exit of Turn 2 before (Turn) 3. It's good when you have to do it on the long straightaway, but between (Turns) 1 and 2 there's not a lot of time! So on the last lap I picked up a lot more push than I was expecting in (Turn) 1, and I was cranked with the wheel. When I tried to hit the weight-jacker to give me some more front grip in Turn 2, I missed the button and then I got into Turn 2 and knew I was going to get a push. I had to downshift in fifth gear. We did a 219-something on the last lap, and it brought our average down. So it was a little bit disappointing for us because we thought we had a better. Under the circumstances, we did very good and the team recovered well from two different incidents this month. I'm very proud of them, and the engineer did an awesome job for what we were going through today."
(On qualifying for his first Indianapolis 500): "It's actually unbelievable because when I started my career in CART in 2000, I was a driver that just got a ride. I was racing against Franchitti and all these guys, so I felt happy to get a ride. It was the most important thing for me, but I didn't realize until I drove the first lap (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) what I missed all these years not having the chance to race at Indy. I was on the pole in Fontana and Milwaukee, and I won Elkhart Lake. I had a couple of podiums here and there. You're happy to have good results at tracks, but nothing track made me so emotional than being on this track that first day. I was happy that the engineer said, 'Out and in,' on the install lap, because I was like looking all over the place thinking, 'I'm here; it's so unbelievable.' You can never predict how your career is going to turn out, but I was always in a seat and never had the chance to race at Indy. Now that the two series joined back together as one open-wheel series, it's the best thing that could ever happened for me. That's how I got the chance to come here. I feel very privileged and honored. I've been enjoying every minute of being at the Speedway."