IPS: IRL: Pikes Peak: Saturday quotes

PIKES PEAK 100 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES: JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's great. I'm thankful to all the guys for giving me the opportunity to drive and giving me a good car. I knew it was going to be close with ...


JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's great. I'm thankful to all the guys for giving me the opportunity to drive and giving me a good car. I knew it was going to be close with Thiago (Medeiros). They've got a great team over there, and they've been fast everywhere. We've got to try to get a good race setup on the car and have a good, long race tomorrow. We'll just have to try to crunch the numbers and try to get the car the same for the race as it was for qualifying."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "It was OK. The team did a good job. They gave me a good car. The race is going to be long. I'm happy starting on the front row. The track conditions will probably be a little bit different. I have a big (points) advantage. We have to think about the championship. We want to win the race, for sure, but we have to be aware about the championship."

PAUL DANA (No. 91 Ethanol/Hemelgarn Johnson Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "I think everyone struggled in this last practice session. We did, too. The air density went down. We thought it was going to be like that for qualifying, so we decided to be in a lower gear, in fifth. The Hemelgarn guys nailed the setup for qualifying. It was wicked fast. We were in fifth (gear), just banging off the rev limiter, leaving time on the table, so we just screwed up. If we would have been in sixth gear, I don't know if we would have caught (Jeff) Simmons, but easily, we left a tenth on the table, which would have put us in the front row. The Hemelgarn guys won it last year. I think we'll have a good race car, and I'll think we'll be able to hang with those guys."


TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Because we were in the first session, we tried to concentrate on race stuff. The way we work as a team, the guys in the first session help the guys in the second session. That really helps a lot. We concentrated a lot on race trim this morning. This afternoon, we divided the team a little bit, so I was trying to get a good qualifying car. We have four cars in the top six, but it's a shame we didn't get to qualify because I think it could be one, two, three, four. I was really hoping to get that. It's a nice feeling to be on the pole again."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think you can honestly tell the difference between the people who have a possible chance at winning the championship. They keep developing and keep pushing the cars along. I think that's certainly apparent with this team now. I give a lot of credit, not just to the engineers and the team managers, but to the boys working on the cars. I think the car is good. Pikes Peak is a very demanding track but a fun track. Certainly, this year, you can run two wide here. It's difficult, but I think it can be done in race trim."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "We started the day really well but kind of went backwards after that. Starting eighth and tenth is fair, and we (Dixon and teammate Darren Manning) can certainly do well from there. The race should be interesting because this year there seems to be two lines we can run. Last year, there was really only one. That means there will be plenty of passing and opportunities to move up, and I'll certainly be looking to defend last year's win here for Target."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/ Toyota/Firestone): "It's not too bad starting from the eighth spot. It's roughly where we would have been, I think. We may have been able to make up a few spots, but everyone was pretty much running close to qualifying-lap time in that last practice, knowing that the rain was coming. I'm looking forward to the race, and I'm expecting we can do well here. There will be plenty of chances to overtake on both low and high lines. It should be fun."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We spent most of the practice time focusing on race setup, which turned out to work in our favor. I think we've got a good race car that hopefully will handle as we expect it to tomorrow. We'll see where we're at during final practice, but conditions can change from the morning to race time, so Marlboro Team Penske needs to make sure they're ready for any situation. It's really a balancing act between downforce and horsepower. We'll be running in traffic all day, so we need to be patient and stay out of trouble."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a good day today. We were able to make a lot of progress in the practice sessions, and I'm happy with how the Marlboro Team Penske car is handling. It's too bad qualifying got rained out this afternoon, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I think we learned a lot and should be in good shape for the race tomorrow."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "We were fifth quickest this morning, and then we made a few more changes that made the car better. In the afternoon, we really didn't get a qualifying lap in and went straight into full-tank runs. The car feels very good in the race trim. Obviously, we didn't read the weather properly, and that left us out with no qualifying this afternoon. Some of the teams saw the weather coming and ran a qualifying lap in practice. (Teammate) Vitor (Meira) did that, and we have to start in 11th now. I feel pretty confident about the race with our setup. We can come from 11th and get to the front with the race car. I think the full-tank runs this afternoon will help for Sunday's race. We might be a little ahead of people on their race settings. I think it helped both Vitor and I to go to the full-tank runs early. I don't know why, but I have always done well here. I was fast in the Formula 2000 car, and last year, even with the Chevy engine that was down on power a little, we could run pretty well here. I think we'll be good in the race. I think we'll see some good side-by-side racing Sunday. There will be two-wide racing and maybe even three wide in certain times. Momentum is always the key on the short ovals, but unlike Phoenix or Milwaukee, you can get around people here despite the traffic."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "We made some improvements with the car in the second practice, plus the track got better, too. We were able to get a qualifying run in that practice and then work on full tanks. The car felt good, and I think we could have gone faster if we had a chance to qualify. Third is not a bad position for the race. You can pass here, too. With the IRL IndyCar Series, the competition is so tight, and this track is good for passing. Again, it's all Honda up front, and the car feels good for the race. This is a big race for our team since our primary sponsor, Centrix, is based in Colorado. There will be a lot of Centrix people here on Sunday, so I'd like to have a very good performance for them, and I think we'll have the car to be at the front."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a problem with the right-rear wheel involving the wheel bearing, so we lost most of our second practice. It was probably affecting the car the whole day. We'll just have to make the most of our final practice tomorrow and go from there."


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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Darren Manning , Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing