IRL: Homestead-Miami: Post-qualifying quotes

ANTHONY LAZZARO (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We really struggled today. We had a really good race car. The wind's really been playing tricks with us. The car just had too much understeer in (Turns)...

ANTHONY LAZZARO (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We really struggled today. We had a really good race car. The wind's really been playing tricks with us. The car just had too much understeer in (Turns) 1 and 2, and it really hurt us down the back straightaway. The guys did a really good job. The Sam Schmidt Motorsports team just hung with it all day. I think we have a pretty good race car from what we did yesterday, and I think we can get back to that. We made some changes for qualifying that just didn't work. We went quicker on full tanks than we did in qualifying."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We just picked up a really huge push. We tried something different that just didn't quite work out. We'll put a little more downforce, go back to where we were yesterday, and we should be in pretty good shape."

JON HERB (No. 16 International Star Registry G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've been back and forth. With the new team, there are a lot of new things to work on. We made some adjustments to the throttle linkage yesterday, and it turns out it made it a lot more touchy for me as a driver. I think I messed up on the entry to the corner. We have a lot of work to do, but I am getting there, and the team is getting there."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light Life Fitness Tae-Bo Delta Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "My car was flat out all the way around the track. We were pleased with the balance of the car. It was absolutely perfect. We were aggressive in balance. I just don't understand why we didn't find more speed. We will be great for Saturday."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car had a slight understeer, but overall it felt pretty good. The time was close to our quick lap yesterday, so I'm not disappointed at all. We just wanted to make sure we got in the show and that the car felt nice and safe. If we would have been able to test, I'm sure we would've been quicker. All in all, it was a good lap and I'm proud of the Kelley Racing team."

JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a good lap considering the conditions. Honestly, that lap was flat-out. We were adjusting bars, skating around the track - that's all we had. (It's) pretty gusty out there which makes it hard. We had a pretty big push up in Turn 2 and were a little loose in Turn 4. On top of that, we were hitting the rev limiter on the front straight. It's a balancing act right now: you try and maximize everything. All the accolades need to go to this team. They've worked extremely hard, and the Chevy powerplant is putting out big power. I'm just very excited. Tomorrow I know we have a good car, so I can't wait to strap in again."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We actually thought we could be a little bit quicker than that. We didn't know how much the wind was going to change. The wind picked up a little bit from this morning. It's pretty much from the same direction, so we knew what to do there. We've been very happy with our car." (About being sick): "I'm getting better every day. It's just not much fun when you're coughing and sneezing all the time."

BILLY ROE (No. 81 Sign-A-Rama/Zali Racing/American Dream Mortgage G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Actually, these were the best laps we did. We finally got rid of a huge, dramatic push. We did a bunch of changes for qualifying. We went out and had a completely different car. First I thought it was going to be loose, but then after the tires came in, we had a slight push and were able to go a little quicker. I wish we were starting our practicing now, and then we could just go from here, but I'm excited. We're in the race. That's always important."

TYCE CARLSON (No. 18 Immke Auto Group Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The balance of the race car is absolutely perfect. We were able to run two laps flat. We were missing on the gears a little bit on the front straightaway with the wind, and we were hitting the rev limiter halfway down the front straight, but we're happy. We're doing what we want to do. I'm back in a race car after a year. That's what matters to me."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was OK. With the conditions changing and everything, we were a bit conservative in our qualifying effort. Tomorrow is what counts. We can go faster, but with the wind and a couple of other variables changing, we were probably a little more conservative than we needed to be." (What will you change for tomorrow?): "Nothing. We're ready."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was flat out. The weather was tough on everyone today, so considering the wind, I'm happy with how Marlboro Team Penske did today. Tomorrow is the day that counts, so we'll have to be patient and run a good race. I think we're in good shape so far."

JOHN DE VRIES (No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I feel great right now. Qualifying was a lot better than this morning. I'm ready. We had a push this morning. Now we've pretty much worked out our push."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We made changes just at the tail end of the last session, but we ran out of time so I didn't get a chance to test it. I didn't know what to expect. I just mainly wanted to get some decent laps under my belt." (About the wind): "It makes it pretty squirrelly, especially coming off (Turns) 2 or 4. You just have to be alert."

RICK TREADWAY (No. 55 Treadway/Hubbard Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was good. I was hoping for the clouds to come over and they did. We got a few more miles per hour out of the car. I just held my breath for four laps. I'm just happy that Treadway/Hubbard Racing gave me the opportunity to run here."

HIDEKI NODA (No. 20 Convergent Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Because we didn't have any testing here, we were struggling to find a setup. We did no testing here. I only had my rookie test at Las Vegas. Today we found the right setup and the right direction. We are still improving the car and myself. Every time I go out, I'm getting quicker and quicker."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The wind was so gusty out there. I'm a little disappointed because the car was so strong yesterday. We were able to go 201 (mph) with full fuel yesterday, so I expected to go 203 (mph) today. Unfortunately, the winds changed from yesterday, and I had trouble getting the car to turn into Turn 1. This track can be frustrating at times, but it's still a fun track."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Chip Ganassi G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was good, but we had quite a bit more downforce than we'd like to qualify. I ran a flat lap, but there was too much drag on the car. Low downforce doesn't work that well here. We'll go with full tanks tomorrow and learn a little more, but we feel real good about the race."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Between Turns 1 and 2 the wind was blowing across the track, and I had to lift off of the throttle a lot. The car was really good other than that. It's nice knowing that Blair Racing is competing in the IRL, and we have a competitive car and team. The entire team is continuing to work hard to have a solid car for the race. We are still making some adjustments to it. We want to continue to move to the front during the race and have good pit stops. We will be there towards the front if we put everything together."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Qualifying was pretty much what we expected. The wind is wreaking havoc with everyone's setup and gearing, but I think this team did a great job. We found a pretty good, happy medium. Obviously, we'd like to be closer to the front, but our goal coming into this race was to start in the first four rows and have a good race car. We did that, so we feel pretty good right now." (About tomorrow's race): "I think we're going to see more of the same conditions tomorrow. It's going to be hotter, and it's going to be windy. It's going to be a handful. It ought to be a good show."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I gave it everything I had today. I nailed it the whole way around. The wind made the car move around quite a bit, but that was the same thing we faced this morning. The Marlboro car has been very consistent all weekend which will be key for tomorrow's race."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I only had four laps to practice in the car. It's a Dallara, which I've never driven before, plus I haven't raced an Indy car since the last race at Texas. I had to bring myself up to the capability of the car, which was completely different from what I've run, but A.J.'s guys do a good job. The car was really perfect. I am very happy to be with A.J., and I hope to do a good job for him tomorrow." (About his switch from spectator to driver): "I came here on Wednesday for the photo shoot, and I was too lazy to take my helmet bag out of the car. A.J. asked me if I wanted to drive and if I had my stuff with me. I said yes, and then I ran to my car to get it."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 Foyt Racing/Banco Chile Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car felt really good - the best it has all weekend - but we were obviously short on the gear ratios. Up until qualifying, I never came near hitting the rev limiter the whole weekend. During my run, I hit it before the start/finish line, and we still got our fastest lap of the weekend. I'm happy that we have a good race car for tomorrow."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We have to be happy with ninth, because it could have been much worse with all of the problems we had this weekend. We are pretty satisfied with the results. Hopefully it will be better for the rest of the season. We look forward to the race tomorrow."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The last time I was out there, I was in the wall at Turn 4, so I just have to say thank you to the Red Bull Cheever crew for getting the back-up (car) out there for qualifying. The car felt pretty good. Our setup was a little conservative. We could have gone a little quicker, but we will save that for tomorrow. This morning I had a fright with the wind, but I learned my lesson. It shocked me a little bit, hitting the wall, but I am a professional. I had to get it together and do what I have to do. I am happy to be starting in third place, and hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "That was the worse balance we've had on this track. The conditions are very windy, and the weather is just funky this weekend. The car was loose coming off of Turn 3. This track can be very difficult. You've got days like this where the tropical wind blows through, and it plays havoc with the car. This is like landing an airplane with a crosswind. You've got to get it just right. My biggest problem is turning into Turn 3 at 207 mph and trying to convince my foot to stay down. My foot says 'I'm the first one to hit, I'm coming up.' It's not easy. It is very difficult conditions out there. (About teammate Tomas Scheckter): "He is very talented, very determined and young. Apart from this morning when he hit the wall, he doesn't have any negative thoughts when it comes to racing on ovals. If he continues to progress, he will become one of the better drivers out there."

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We basically lost a day of practice yesterday, so we're just continuing to progress. I'm happy with the car, and I'm really happy to be here in the race and to have Scottrade on board. There was a strong headwind going into (Turn) 4, but the push in (Turn) 2 is gone. The car is good. In qualifying we went one mile per hour faster than we've ever gone here, so that's good." (About the accident in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series practice): "It was hard to focus in qualifying because I lost a friend today. Things like that make where you qualify and where you finish seem trivial. I still can't really believe it, but I know Jeff (Clinton) would want us all to give it our best shot. That's what we tried to do."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was pretty windy this morning. We measured the conditions - what they were right before we were getting ready to go out (to qualify) and what they were this morning. They were fairly similar, so we just pretty much ran the same setup that we ran this morning. The car was stuck real well. We think we have a better race car than we do a qualifying car, so we're really excited going into tomorrow's race. The Pennzoil Panther guys have worked so hard in the off-season. Last year I think we had set the bar higher than anybody else in the IRL. We would've been ashamed with our performance over the winter if we had not done so well. We'll see how well our homework went this winter." (About learning new competitors' driving styles): "You really don't know how anybody drives from race to race. Some people, if they're having a good day, they drive one way. If they have a bad day, they're totally opposite. It's really not set in stone how one driver is going to handle each race. You've just got to be able to guess on what they're going to do at that particular point in time and make sure you make the right decision. This track is definitely a short track with long straightaways. That's the best way I can describe it. It's tough to pass. We're going to have to figure out tomorrow where our car works best. It's real tough between this track and Phoenix on which one I like most. I like the shorter tracks on the IRL schedule because it's more of a setup track. It's more of a driver track. Somebody asked me last night, which is harder to drive: the short tracks or the long tracks? They're both hard for different reasons. The longer tracks, you're trying to set up passes, be able to time passes and find the right time to make a move. The short-track races, it's more of knowing when to be patient. You're in and out of traffic so much. That's really what I like. I don't know why the short tracks suit me like they do. It's a long race tomorrow. It's going to b car that's capable of winning, you don't push it too hard. When you have a car capable of winning, then you make sure that you bring it home." (About being ill): "I've been fighting being sick for about the last week and a half now. I think the best cure for that is just being able to get out and be in the race car."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Conditions today were difficult. The wind was strong in (Turn) 4. There were some crashes there, so we had to take it easy with not too many changes. Sometimes when you try to improve, you go backward, so we stuck with it and had a good car. I think we are in good shape for the race." (About joining the IRL): "We had an open test in Fontana and Phoenix, so we kind of knew who would be up there. We knew that coming into the IRL wouldn't be easy. In fact, we have worked very hard to keep up the performance from last year in CART with everybody on our team. It's going to be the first time that I've raced in this equipment here. I raced here before with CART, but that was a little different approach. Here, you have to be more aggressive. Other guys are going to be very strong tomorrow. The guy that has the very consistent car is the guy that has the chance to win. I know Sam (Hornish), Scott (Sharp), both Laziers. I think the competition is going to get stronger and stronger. It's just a matter of patience, taking it easy and learning everyday. (Do you feel like part of the IRL family?): "As soon as I came here with Roger Penske, I was part of the family too. Everybody received me very nicely. Now I just look forward." (About the wind): "It's tough because in (Turn) 4 the wind is pushing the back of the car, and we're basically using aerodynamics to make sure we stick to the ground. There's understeer in (Turns) 1 and 2, and the driver can get a surprise in (Turns) 3 and 4. The car seems fantastic, and then it can slip from your hands. It's like Indy - you're always watching the flags going into a turn."

-irl-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing