IRL: California: Post-race quotes

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was comfortable to drive except that we didn't have the speed we wanted. We were down on power or had too much drag." ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 A. J. Foyt ...

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was comfortable to drive except that we didn't have the speed we wanted. We were down on power or had too much drag."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 A. J. Foyt Racing/Banco Chile Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a long day. We didn't have the setup at all. It was either too much drag or not enough power."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a problem with the fueling on the first pit stop, and that got us down a bit. I also had a push in the car all day. We finished pretty well, and I look forward to going to Nazareth."

JOHN DE VRIES (No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Anything can happen in motor racing. We had some really bad luck with a pinched brake line early in the race, which set us back 23 laps. The crew did a great job in getting me back on the track, and the car was feeling really good after that. At that point our goal was to just get a good feel for the track and prepare for Indy. We also hoped to show our sponsors that even after things got tough, we would still put up the best fight possible."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special): "We had a pretty uneventful race. Unfortunately, I had a really good-handling car but just didn't have the power. In practice we were running 219 (mph) by ourselves, and we put this motor in for qualifying and qualified with a 216 (mph). In the race I just didn't have the power. Right there at the end, I got a cut tire and had to come in when they went green. That killed me. I'm glad we finished and everyone was safe, but I would have been a little happier if I had a car with a little more power."

MEMO GIDLEY (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's tough to hop into a car in even a perfect situation and even tougher to adapt during the race. We didn't have many laps in the car, but we moved up six spots on the grid and took the checkered, which was important for the team. We worked on making the car better and were just hampered by radio communications early on. It was great to work with everyone on the team. Everyone did their jobs, and I met a lot of talented guys."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Chip Ganassi G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a long day. We had a cut tire, so we had to come in early, which put us back a bit. We got back up in there, and we were running up in front, but some of the Nissans were pretty fast. We were able to stay with them for a while, but then a piece fell off the car and got caught in the suspension. It just seemed like it hurt the handling. The part that came off really created a lot of drag, so I couldn't get the momentum I needed at the end there and had to drop back to the back of the pack."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "To run 18th with the car that we had I think is pretty disappointing. We easily had a top-10 race car, it just seems like we're constantly just a half step behind. We'd pit, and then the yellow would come out. We just couldn't really ever get on track, all day long. It's frustrating, but we'll regroup, work hard and go on to the next one."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've had a lot of ups and downs over the past two weeks and over this whole weekend, but we definitely had a good-handling car all weekend. Blair Racing did great pit stops today, in and out, and the restarts were good. I got halfway in the race and was surprised about the low attrition. I was trying to save the car and engine, and at that point I figured we'd go for it. We have a good team here, the right team owner, crew, spotter, engineer and the guy calling the race. We still have a few things to work on to get to the front, but we'll get there. I'm happy racing in the IRL. I'm having fun. I'm looking forward to Nazareth. It is another track I am familiar with."

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Cahill Racing team worked very hard and had excellent pit stops today. Unfortunately, we never were able to solve the lack of speed problem we've had since we got here. The Scottrade car handled great; We just were down on power. There was only so much I or anyone else on the team could do, so we all just tried to make the best of it. At least we finished. I believe we're still in the top 20 in points, which is very important for the owners' program. I went right through the big crash with Tomas Scheckter and Hideki Noda. We were lucky on that one. I must have pulled a muscle or something in the crash at Phoenix because my back hurt yesterday and today. I was a little worried about that before the race, but actually my back felt fine in the car."

RICK TREADWAY (No. 55 Airlink Enterprises/Spade Motorsports G Force/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "This was a tremendous learning experience. I'm honored and privileged to drive the Airlink Enterprises car for Treadway-Hubbard. I had some problems during the day with the weight jacker, and then we got a little better. Then the motor went south. I was just really glad to get some great experience here. Our pit stops were good, and I had a fun day."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a long day for everybody. We had a little problem with the engine with an electronic part. We couldn't get out of the pits. We were having a hard time every time we stopped for a green flag. We were losing a lot of time. Today we didn't have enough power to fight for the win, but I think it was a good day."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I had Jaques, and then I didn't, and then I did. We kept going back and forth. Hornish wasn't even in contention because he was in our dirty air. The Red Bull Cheever Racing car was good today. I think I could have run Jaques down. It's all a question of being in the right position. We were playing with each other. I broke an engine with 18 miles to go. I'm disappointed because I really wanted to do well here in California. It's a good lesson for Indy. The Infiniti engineers have to go back and fix the problem. I am happy to see that at least one Infiniti finished in the top three with Laurent Redon's third-place finish. Today could have been our first win of the year. I would have even been happy with a top three." (About California Speedway): "It was very tricky racing here. It is harder than Texas, which has more banking. There is not much banking here. It was a lot of fun." (About Tomas Scheckter): "The best piece of Tomas' driving today was when he lost several positions, and he waited. He was in a bottleneck and got stuck. I was betting money that he was going to be knocking cars right and left, but he waited. That was the best bit of his race. He drove impeccably."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The race was unbelievable. Everything was going perfect. It was good racing the whole way through: me and Hornish, me and Lazier. It was unfortunate because I was looking forward to the last 20 laps. Eddie and I both had a good chance to do well in this race. Eddie could have won. I was cheering for him when I was in the medical center." (About the accident with Hideki Noda): "I was going along by myself trying to take a high line. It felt like someone came along and hit me with a baseball bat. I didn't expect it at all. I just kept my head down and opened my eyes when everything stopped moving."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was fantastic all day, we just didn't have quite enough speed. The team did a super job in the pits, and Roger (Penske) made a great call on our last pit stop, which put us in the lead. I did everything I could on the restarts and tried to stay in touch with the leaders, which worked out pretty well for us. I'm glad it was a good, clean race, and it must have been fun to watch. When you're going 215 to 220 miles per hour, it's important everyone respects each other and gives each other room, which they did today. Overall I think it was a good result for Marlboro Team Penske."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was fun out there today. There was a lot of close racing. We had some trouble on our second pit stop, which put us down a lap. We worked hard for the rest of the race to catch up to the leaders, and I was able to get back on the lead lap. I tried my best to get to the front, but unfortunately, we just didn't have the speed to win the race. I'm very happy with our result considering the problem we had in the pits. It's great to have brought the Marlboro car home in fifth, and we were able to earn valuable championship points this afternoon."

JOE NEGRI (Group manager, GM Racing): "We are pleased that a Chevrolet engine powered Sam Hornish Jr. and Pennzoil Panther Racing to victory in the inaugural IRL event at California Speedway. In many ways this was a rehearsal for the Indianapolis 500, and this victory gives us confidence in our equipment going into that important event. Today's race was the longest run we've made in competition with the new Chevy Indy V8 engine, although we completed more than 500 miles in testing at this track with no reliability problems. The Chevrolet engine has demonstrated its power and durability, and that in combination with good teams, great drivers and excellent race strategy continued Chevrolet's winning streak."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was crazy. There was a lot going on. There were a lot of things to watch out for and a lot of things going on. You're messing with the chassis and the bars. We didn't have my aero quite together because when I was in traffic it wouldn't turn, so I had a hard time there. I had a real bad push, and the car would get real light when I was behind anybody. When I ran by myself, it was fine. I could run fast, but when I got in traffic, it was all over the place."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light Life Fitness Tae-Bo Delta Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We were having a hard time all day. This is last year's car, and it doesn't have the new aero update kit. I did everything I could on the restarts to get myself up front, and it was just a matter of trying to hold the guys off. After a while, they'd just drive by me on the outside, but there at the end that was all I could do."

JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Miller Lite/Team Rahal Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was definitely worth the trip out here to California for our team. We came to learn, and that's what we did. Hey, we're loading the car back on the truck in one piece. We learned about some areas that we are quite deficient. I don't want to go into that here, but it is better to learn that situation here than at Indy. It was definitely a successful fact-finding tour for us. We gave it all we had today. There wasn't a lot of attrition at the front, and that made it tough. Our Miller Lite team had great pit stops today, and the car ran all day. That was one of our goals when we came here. Now we'll go to Indy in another week and see if we can learn a bit more. Overall, I'm pleased with our team's professional approach to the weekend."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sam Schmidt , Hideki Noda , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing