ARGENT MORTGAGE INDY 300 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES: BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "Our car has been quite good for qualifying at all the tracks. We were just waiting to see what the...
ARGENT MORTGAGE INDY 300 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "Our car has been quite good for qualifying at all the tracks. We were just waiting to see what the weather was going to do. Every time the cars went out, it got better. One of the things that probably helped all the cars was that we didn't have, other than the (Menards) Infiniti Pro (Series) cars, cars in the middle of (the groove). It made it not nearly a factor to be going out first vs. last at this place where it has at some other places. They made some adjustments right before qualifying, and it seemed to work. The team's been doing an excellent job." (About the performance of Honda): "I think there's been some tracks, obviously, that the other engine manufacturers have done well at. Honda's done their homework over the off-season and come out with the best engine right now, and it's the one to have. Last year, you could have looked at it, and it was another engine manufacturer that was stronger. Halfway, three-quarters of the way through, another engine manufacturer made an adjustment, and they were actually the engine to have at that time. Honda's done their homework. They've come out, and they've been super strong. That's the way it is right now, but you can't think that the other manufacturers won't be working hard to catch up. But at the rate Honda is making their gains, it's going to be difficult to catch up." (About the possibility of (teammate) Vitor Meira winning the race): "I don't think it would surprise me. He's been strong since he hopped in the car. The package was put together for Motegi, and now with Centrix on board, inking a full-time deal, I wouldn't be shocked. He's been very strong. With all of the development that we've done, we have the same exact equipment, so he should be just as competitive. I wouldn't be shocked at all. He's been doing an excellent job with us. It's another Honda-powered car, so it's excellent to put more Hondas up front if we can."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We felt that we had a strong car this morning, so we just basically repeated the same lap time that we did this morning this afternoon. Buddy (Rice) had a very, very good lap. I don't think I had the car to do a 210 (mph lap), but second place is not bad. At Texas, we started fourth, and I'm one hundred percent convinced of my race car. We did some race stuff this morning. We ran a full-tank run in the first session, so I'm happy. Second place is not a bad place to start, and we'll go from there. It's a long race." (About race strategy): "(Bryan Herta) won this race last year on a fuel strategy like happened last week, but races like that don't happen very often. You'll see one of them once a year. I'm expecting the best. Again, I believe we have a very good car, so we just need to sit tight and feel it out. In Texas, that's what we did, and we kind of dominated the whole race. If I have a car to be at the front, that's where I want to be. It gets crazy back there, and I don't like that stuff. I'll try to keep myself at the front all day, and we'll see how it plays at the end of the day."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Patrick Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's a little disappointing that we were not a little bit quicker. I didn't necessarily expect to be, because that was about all that we could run alone in the practice sessions. But it was a comfortable run, and we have a little more time tonight to work on the car and try something before warm-up tomorrow." (Is it nice to get this first qualification run in the new car behind you?): "Yes, but in a way, this is just another audition. (Team owner) Pat Patrick is going to evaluate things again after this race weekend, so it's just another pressure situation, like Indy was, with very little time to get things done. There's a new team and a new crew, and we have to learn to work together." (Is there added pressure stepping into a new ride mid-season?): "Well, certainly stepping in at mid-season, we're a little bit behind, obviously, and it's going to take time to develop everything. We made some gains today, and I think we are going to be able to improve when we get more time."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "With the little time we've had, the guys at Panther Racing did a great job getting me comfortable. I felt like I've been on this team for six months the way everybody has treated me so far. These guys are winners. With the help that we're getting from Menards, Johns Manville and Chevrolet, I think we're going to accomplish some good things this season. Chevy's been working hard, and that's part of what makes this transition so easy for me. All I had to do this weekend was show up and drive. Tomorrow, we really want to finish the race and try to raise the bar higher and higher as we go."
AVENTIS RACING FOR KIDS 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "We didn't have the best car setup today. I had to make a lot of adjustments in the car to improve the handling around the corners. The wind changed a lot today, and I knew I didn't have the best setup, so I just saved the tires for the end. I'm really happy, and I'm looking forward to Nashville." (About battle with Paul Dana): "I think the key to the race was when we came up on a lapped car. Paul (Dana) was looking outside, so I took the reins and made it three-wide in Turns 3 and 4. That was my key. He had a better car than me today."
PAUL DANA (No. 91 Ethanol/Hemelgarn Johnson Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I really thought if we could get in the front, we'd lead it. I kind of think it's my mistake. I think we could have won, but Thiago (Medeiros) is a tough competitor. He's shown that. If you give him an inch, he's going to take it. Second (place) is my best result in the series. The Ethanol car is coming on strong, and sooner or later, we'll get it done."
AL UNSER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti Firestone): "I'd like to thank Keith Duesenberg for giving me a chance. Third place isn't bad, but we had these guys. We had a run on (Paul) Dana there, and when we went into Turn 3, he closed the door. Went a little under the white line, but we had him. We just needed a few more laps. We were right there."
AL UNSER JR (About son Al Unser): "To have a podium finish like this in his first oval race in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is just awesome. He did a great job. I'm awful proud."