IRL: California: Post-qualifying driver quotes

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Scottrade car is handling great. It's just down on power. We've been searching for speed since we've been here. The car is very comfortable to drive though, so as long as we...

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Scottrade car is handling great. It's just down on power. We've been searching for speed since we've been here. The car is very comfortable to drive though, so as long as we keep to our pace and stay out of trouble, we'll be OK in the race. We've pretty much tried everything we know to try to get more speed, and we just don't know what the answer is. It's an awesome facility, and it's great to be building a base in the California market. The track is very fast, although it's a little bumpier than I thought it would be. I just wish I knew the answer to our speed problem because the car is great other than that. Everything else is fine. The Firestone Firehawk tires are great, and so is everything else. We just need more speed."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light Life Fitness Tae-Bo Delta Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We expected the qualifying speed but hoped for faster. We could have run faster, but we made a fuel adjustment during the run. I think that may have hurt us just a bit. The wind picked up since this morning, so it was a real compromise during the qualifying run. We gained speed on the front straightaway with the headwinds but had to watch the rev limiter. Overall, it was a good qualifying effort. Hats off to my Coors Light team for giving me a strong qualifying car."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I don't know what happened. We just didn't have the rpms that we should have. The car was easy to drive full throttle, and it was the best balance we've had all weekend. Here it doesn't matter where you qualify, really. I'm sure it will be good in the race."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 12 EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We started pretty late. We just started last week, and we didn't test here, but the car is getting better, and also the Infiniti engine feels strong. Yesterday we had a real problem, but today the car was good. It's so exciting for me."

JON HERB (No. 16 Star Registry WeberGrills.com G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car is handling great. It's a good race car. It's been good and stable. We've freed it up a bit, got some speed out of it, and it's still a good, stable car. We're not as fast as we'd like to be, so we're struggling a little bit there. We'll figure some more stuff out and go a little bit faster."

HIDEKI NODA (No. 20 Adventure RV Rentals 866-RVs-ToGo G Force/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I think the water temperature got too hot. The handling is very good. It just doesn't pull on the straight line. It's too slow."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Chip Ganassi G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car felt too good for qualifying. It just stuck all the way. It just kind of bogged the motor down a bit in the corners. We probably could have used a lower gear. The car feels really good, so on our race setup, I think, we're doing really well."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We lost time, and I did not get my last lap. Something let go in the rear end, and the motor was still running. We are not sure what it was. I'm disappointed, but I don't think qualifying here is everything. We're still in good shape. Blair Racing will find the problem and fix it. I'm optimistic and confident about our chances, but at the same time this racetrack has a lot of variables to it. A lot of things can happen. Some things are out of your hands, and something happened to us in qualifying. We are going to try to be consistent and keep plugging away and go racing. We are working toward the race. It's a long race, and tomorrow is a different deal, 400 miles. Experience here helps even if it's only 400 miles instead of 500. There will be attrition. You cannot give up all day. You just have to keep after it."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 A. J. Foyt Racing/Banco Chile Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was great. It was just slow down the straightaways. I don't know if it was the wind or not."

JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Miller Lite/Team Rahal Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I got it in the field. We are still trying to work some of the bugs out and learn some things with the IRL engine and rev limiter. There are a lot more similarities between the IRL and the CART car than there are differences. One of the big differences is that the IRL car has quite a bit less horsepower and more downforce. You can pretty much drive the car anywhere you want. The guys that are the fastest will use the low line for the shortest distance. The wind makes it tricky here with the rev limiter and the drafting, but I basically just put my foot to the floor and drove it around. It wasn't too exciting, but I think the race will be very exciting. We didn't have what some of the other cars had, but I think we have a pretty good car for the race, and it's 400 miles. We want to get to the finish and play the drafting game. I think you'll see a big pack and then some other packs throughout the race. We have a very good group of guys, and we'll have some good pit stops. There is a lot of experience with Team Rahal. Hey, we came here to learn. We're not running for the championship. We're preparing for Indy."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The lack of practice time hurt us trying to find a little bit more speed. The balance in the car was good, everything was good. We just weren't fast enough. During 400 miles, a lot of things change during the race. Qualifying is over with, and we'll just get the car in the show and focus on having a good race car and running all day. With a race that long, the key is going to be being there at the end of the day."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a good run. It was all she had for today. The team's working real hard, and we're doing all we can to put everything together. It's going to be an exciting race, for sure. These cars are different than CART cars. The fans are going to see a lot of side-by-side racing, two and three abreast, rather than single file like CART runs. You're going to need a good car that will work in the draft."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car's pretty good. The Delphi guys worked hard all weekend, and I've got a good car for the race. Drafting is going to play a huge role tomorrow. Our plan is to gain some points this weekend."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was pretty good and solid. We had the right gears, and there's nothing else we could do there. If we had a little more power it would have helped."

JERET SCHROEDER (No. 18 PDM Racing - Immke Auto Group Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "The car was going good, but during the second lap, the lights came on going down the backstretch. I had to lift, which cost me some time, but otherwise the car was good."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car is all right. We're just down on power. We changed the motor, and still we can't quite get it there. We haven't made any changes in the aero. We were strong in Phoenix. We just can't get the power we need. We just had some bad luck, but it happens."

JOHN DE VRIES (No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We tried a different line for qualifying, and it slowed us down just a bit. The car feels great, and I look forward to an exciting race tomorrow."

JOE NEGRI (Manager, GM Racing Group): "We recognize that Infiniti has been running fast speeds at this track for some time now, and we knew that eventually they would win a pole. This is the third event for the new Chevy Indy V8 engine package and the first on a superspeedway. The closeness of the qualifying speeds is a good indication of the horsepower level that we have achieved in a very short development cycle with the Chevy Indy V8. We are continuing to develop this new package rapidly, and we're not done yet. We are working on a new specification with the goal of putting a Chevrolet driver on the pole for the Indianapolis 500."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Fundamentally, I'm disappointed with our qualifying run. The car is good, but we're not getting enough speed out of it. I was flat the whole way around, and the car is totally trimmed out, but we haven't been able to get that extra half a mile per hour that would put us in the top six. The Marlboro car should be good for the race. We're going to try to run with some of the guys this afternoon and see how we do in traffic. No one really knows what to expect tomorrow. I'm thinking this race should be somewhere in between a race like Indianapolis and Texas."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We knew we wouldn't have a fast car today. I was flat out all the way. We just didn't have the speed. We weren't as quick this morning as we were yesterday, but I think that's mostly because there's no one to draft with during qualifying. It doesn't matter where you start because it's such a long race. With a 400-mile event, you can win from anywhere on the grid. Obviously it will be difficult, but it's certainly possible. There'll be guys out there trying to get to the front early and wearing out their equipment, so it's important that we stay patient and make sure we're there at the finish. Marlboro Team Penske has been working hard all weekend, and hopefully we'll have what it takes tomorrow."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I want to be on pole, and that's what drives me: to win and to be in the front. I am very glad for Eddie. He has done a great job. Unfortunately this morning again there was a problem with my #52 car, and I had to jump to the T-car. I just have to say thank you to the guys. They did a great job in managing to get the car off. The team has to be happy with both cars in the top three, but as a driver you always want to be in front. Qualifying is irrelevant, especially when you have to do 400 miles. It's a long, long race, and I think I am just going to take it easy, get into a good position and a good rhythm and hopefully attack in the last 50 laps."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car is running really good now. I could feel it a bit more this morning. We had a lot of yellows in the first session, so we didn't want to push it too much. I think we could've been a bit quicker, but the engine is good. The car is good, so I'm happy."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car ran pretty good. It ran faster than we had expected, so we're ready for tomorrow's race. It's going to be a long race, and we won't know what's going to happen until the end. We're really happy with the car right now. Firestone and Chevy have been working really hard to support us."

CHARLIE BAMBER (Chief engineer, Infiniti Motorsports): "We have worked very hard for this. We are thrilled to see Eddie on the pole with the Infiniti Indy 35A engine. It's perfect to achieve the milestone of our first pole position here in the hometown of Nissan North America, Inc."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It goes without saying that a very large percentage of the time we did today can be attributed to the Nissan engine. It was a big challenge to take on a company like General Motors, and I think they've done a great job. I'm very proud of it. This is the headquarters of Nissan North America, and they have battled long and hard to beat General Motors, so it is great. Our mechanics have been flat out for the last two months preparing cars since we had a bunch of problems. This is really a big gift to the team. I saw them when we were going out for qualifying, and they were all kind of slouching because they had been working last night until one o'clock. I'm very proud of what they've done, and obviously of what Richard (Caron, team manager) has managed to put together." (About California Speedway): "This is a tricky place. This is a very hard track to get a time on because the track is actually wider than what we need. You're always trying to be as efficient as you can. At a debriefing we would overlay laps and try to figure out why one was six feet shorter than the other, which is the right line, how much downforce, what's going to happen on your third lap - all these things have to come together." (About his qualifying run): "I actually went to the motorhome and thought 'Tomas will kick my ass again, so I might as well have a piece of chicken.' He has really pushed us a long a lot in the last two months. The lap was really quite uneventful. I had a line I wanted to keep. The wind was moving the car around a little bit, but I managed to keep the line. I chose a gear that was a little bit shorter, and it was very hard to do because I had to come out of the throttle a bit to make sure I didn't bang off the rev limiter. Just imagine how fast I could have gone if I'd have been full throttle."

JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We are coming off of a hard first couple of races, but we're very proud of where we're starting on the front row next to Eddie (Cheever). I'm very proud to be a part of Johns Manville/Team Menard. We've been working very diligently to maximize our efforts. I'd like to take the opportunity to congratulate Eddie. They've been working very hard. I think we'll have something for them in the race. I think the big concern is going to be the Santa Anas (winds) that change a lot. If it stays as it is now, I think we have a strong setup for the race. It's a wide track, so you have to pace yourself for the last 20 laps and try and run down who's in front of you. There are quite a few people that could be a threat. It's going to be a question of being able to maintain everything until the end of the race."

-irl-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske