IRL: Homestead Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami post-race quotes

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Sunday, April 8, 2001 - Quotes from Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers after the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by Americatel: SAM HORNISH JR. ( ...

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Sunday, April 8, 2001 - Quotes from Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers after the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by Americatel:

SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The car was great throughout the weekend. It felt good, and for the most part we had very few problems. We did make a rookie mistake (stalling on pit road), even though I am not a rookie. I'm real happy to win two in a row. Salazar is a great racer. He and I were really battling it out. You have to be as calm as possible in these races. The car was great all day long. You can't ask for more from the Pennzoil team and the car that they set up. I was really trying to conserve tires, but she (Fisher) sure gave me a good run. The win at Phoenix really gave me some more confidence going into this (race). This race and track we thought was going to be a lot like Indy. We thought it was going to be warm and probably windy and gusty at times. We also knew that it was going to be a patience race. That's what it was all day long. That's what my guys kept on beating in my head. They kept telling me to focus, focus, focus."

(About mistake in pits):
"I went to get back on the gas and just dropped the clutch a little too fast. It was just enough to make the car slow down. Then once the race started again, I forgot to take my foot off the clutch, which doesn't allow the motor to start. It was one of those things I got depressed about, but it took only about two seconds before they got on the radio and said: 'Come on, you can get it. You know you can get it.' It was a confidence builder for me that it didn't upset them, so why should it upset me?"

(About the final restart):
"I pulled up on Sarah on the restart. She hit the rev limiter, and I think she was getting ready to go into fourth gear. That gave me just enough to slide by. Eliseo (Salazar) was determined not to make it easy for me today. We just had a good car off the corners. I could run good right behind someone else. I knew that if I could stay with him off the corners, that I had a really good car to pass him. I had a car that was basically just like the Phoenix car. I could put it really anywhere I wanted on the track. The tires felt real good. The guys gave me an awesome car to go out and race with and put anywhere I wanted to."

(About Hornish and Fisher):
"We raced together probably from the time when we were 11 to when we were 16 or 17 years old. We are a little over a year apart. So sometimes we would be in different classes. I remember that when we were younger, she was a year older than me. (Hornish is nine months older than Fisher.) She was always real tough competition. I was worried that she was going to pull one of those kart moves on me today. Thankfully, everything worked out OK."

BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The rear end just came around. Then we were just in the wall. Other than that, we had a good race car. It is disappointing."

DAVEY HAMILTON (#99 Sam Schmdit Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"Man, we had a solid run going. We were running eighth, then the engine just cut out. But we managed to salvage a top 20. It's just a shame, because we were on the move for a definite top 10."

JOHN MENARD (Owner, #2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"He (Greg Ray) went wide to give Hornish some room and came back in the midst of a lot of cars. The air and the marbles put him up into the wall."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We started fourth then dropped down to 14th or 15th. We recovered and finished fourth, so I'm pretty happy. I was amazed at how the track kept changing conditions. Sometimes I could go flat out in (Turns) 3 and 4. Other times I had to lift. I had to guess what the track was like."

(About not pitting when the pits opened on the first caution):
"I'm not sure what happened. I didn't hear the whole transmission. If I were more experienced I wouldn't have done it (stayed on the track). Next time I will follow the leaders into the pits."

JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports/Firestone/Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"It was real good at the beginning, but the last two pit stops killed us. The car started getting loose. It was not bad by myself, but in traffic it was bad. I couldn't get in to the turn easy. We remounted some wheels we liked - five points bigger in the front. That stagger hurt us. We showed we were one of the teams to beat, but we need a consistent race. I'm happy we're in the top five, considering."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"This is the first time that the new Infiniti engine has finished a long race like this, so we're happy with that. We had no engine problems at all. We have to understand the handling of the car better, though. It was a very bad day for handling. Unfortunately we did no testing over the winter because the engine arrived just before the season opener, so now we have to catch up as much as we can. The next step for us is a test in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday. We made a lot of improvements to the 35A since the first race at Phoenix, and we expect to make the same kind of progress before the Atlanta race."

JOHN BARNES (Co-owner/Team Manager of Panther Racing):
"Sam is a great talent, but we didn't have a great car last night. We made some changes and it came through -- quite a few changes after we looked at the data. Pancho Carter helped us out a lot. He noticed some things, and we sat down and worked on them. It brought us to the forefront."

SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing/Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I don't know if I could've caught him (Hornish). I tried. The car was on rails the entire race. We had great pitstops. The fact that I didn't catch Sam doesn't matter. I'm happy where I ended up. I think it's great that Sam and I are up front racing together again. It illustrates that there isn't one single way to grow through the ranks in racing. I went to sprint cars and Sam took a different route. Sam and I demonstrated that we have the talent that it takes to do well. I don't recall the first time I raced Sam. We were under four feet for sure. It was a big family thing. We raced a bit everywhere. It was competitive, it still is. It is very fun to race him again."

(On the last restart of the race):
"I was looking forward. I messed up and missed a gear. Sam got around me on the outside. Restarts are my weakness. Ninety-nine percent of my restarts today were awesome, that one just made a difference. When you get into a race car it takes a while to drive them. First you get in and learn all of the buttons and knobs. It's a huge difference. You've got to learn how to race the car, learn to race with the other guys, and to tune the car. I feel a lot more confident now. I know what my boundaries are. I feel extremely confident in the car. I haven't maxed out at all. The way we're feeling now, I should be out on top pretty soon. Today is (team owner) Derrick's (Walker) birthday. It's a great present for him."

ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I thought I was going to be able to hold it. We adjusted the car for traffic, but we adjusted it too much. We took some front wing off because it was loose in traffic, but it was OK in clean air."

(About the Chileans at the race):
"Yes, there are a lot of Chilean people here. Most of them don't live here, most of them came from Chile. I was very pumped for this race. It relieved a lot of pressure to get this podium. The goal is the championship. If we keep getting podiums like we did here and in Phoenix, we'll contend for the championship."

(About Hornish's two consecutive wins):
"Today, I must admit that he was really quick. We're going to have to step it up."

(About Fisher's second-place finish):
"Well, I congratulated her. You might have a problem with your car, but someone has to have the talent to pass you. When I was critical of her -- it's a story that is a bit old -- I wasn't critical of her because she's a girl. I was critical because people may be coming into this too soon. But both of them (Hornish and Fisher) are younger together than I am, so what can I say."

BUZZ CALKINS (# 12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara just kept getting loose for whatever reason. It was good on full tanks but would go off after a few laps. It is just something that we will have to work on. The Bradley crew did a great job on the No. 12 all day. Our last stop was as quick as anyone out there."

AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The Starz Super Pak car was awesome today. My Galles pit crew was spot on all day during my pit stops, and I can't say enough for what a great car I had during the race. Unfortunately, when I came in for my last stop, I ran out of fuel because the mapping system in the car made the fuel too rich on the laps before I came in, and I ran out on my in lap. We have 11 races to go, and we are going to go to Atlanta and race just as hard."

CASEY MEARS (#31 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"This car was definitely a lot better than it was in Phoenix, and although we jumped around quite a bit all weekend, we started finding our way when we went back to Al's setup for the race. By far our biggest problem was push, and it took me pretty much the whole race to learn what the right adjustments we needed to make with the front wing. But that is the key -- work, learn. I feel I now have much more experience with this race under my belt in knowing how to adjust the car. And with that, I feel so much better going into Atlanta. As far as our pit stops, I was battling with the clutch the whole race, and that definitely hurt us. However, my guys did a great job in the pits all weekend, and I am really proud of them."

RICK GALLES (Owner, Galles Racing):
"I am very proud of my team and the job that they did today. We had problems with our fuel mapping on Al's car today, which made us run out of fuel going into the pits. But our stops were fast all day, and Al Unser Jr. drove an unbelievable race. I am proud of Didier and Casey for the job that they did during the race, as well. The entire team is making progress and I am really looking forward to going to Atlanta with my team in April."

DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We worked a lot with the car this weekend, and the biggest problem was push. We battled with that all the way through our first pit first stop, and then we made the adjustments to the front wing that were the right ones. From where we started, I would say that we had a really good race, and I can't wait for Atlanta."

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I wasn't feeling very hot this morning, because I've had the flu. The infield med center gave me an IV this morning to help hydrate me before the race. Right now, I'm feeling pretty good. The adrenalin carried me through the race, and the Delphi team gave me a great race car. It started to get loose halfway through the race, but we pitted and got a great set of Firestone tires. Today's finish kept me in good position for the points race."

MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I had a great race car. I'm just sorry we didn't finish better. We had the second-best car out there, but you have to be perfect the entire race, and I stalled it in the pits. It cost us some time. Our pit stops and Firestone tires were awesome. I felt really good about today. I think we've figured it out."

JERET SCHROEDER (#9 Purity Products Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):

"It was a long day for us. The Purity Products No. 9 was pushing bad in (Turns) 1 and 2, and it was loose in (Turns) 3 and 4. The PDM Racing team stayed with it, worked hard and plugged away all day. The track conditions didn't really change, and the Firestone tires were great like always. The car was a handful though. I could have been in the wall 20 times. I was right behind Stan Wattles when he crashed. I missed him by less than 2 inches. So when you consider everything, at least we did finish this race."

BRANDON ERWIN (#30 Motorsports G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"It was a long day, and mentally very tiring. Today, I learned what a big push in the car feels like. The car we had ran out of adjustments we could make, so I just had to tough it out. That is all due to a lack of testing and a lack of track time. We did finish, and the car was in one piece, so that's good. It was just a really long day. This is a tough race track."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Stan Wattles , Pancho Carter , A.J. Foyt , Al Unser
Teams Panther Racing