Day 1 -- Monday, Feb. 17, 2003 IRL IndyCar Series post-test quotes. ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It is our first time being here, so we are still testing the car and trying different things. At the same time,...
Day 1 -- Monday, Feb. 17, 2003
IRL IndyCar Series post-test quotes.
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It is our first time being here, so we are still testing the car and trying different things. At the same time, I'm still trying to learn the line. I think, most likely, it is a learning day. More so, we are trying to focus on race trim, to have a good car during the race, not just a (qualifying) lap. We are experimenting, but we think we've had a pretty good test day. Physically, I think Phoenix is more of a challenge. From a driver's standpoint, you have to control the car more (in Homestead) because you have less banking. You basically have to feel the grip all of the time when you are out on the racetrack through the corner. It turns out it is more difficult than the places I've been to, Fontana, Phoenix and Miami."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It has been good. We actually went faster than the last time we were here. So that is pretty good, I guess. More cars on the track helps a lot. Hopefully, the rain gives us a break. We still have tomorrow. We are still getting up there. I'm not quite as comfortable as my teammate, I think. I'm going to come here March 2 and kick everybody's butt, hopefully."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It is windy and cool, but it is going well. We are quite happy with our progress. We made some pretty big gains from the last time we were here. I think we are quite happy with everything. It has been a good day for us. I think for as fast and big as this track is, it is pretty challenging. It is low banking, low grip, and the weather plays a pretty big role. I think some of the other short oval tracks are difficult, but I definitely think this is one of the most difficult tracks on the circuit."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is the first time we've been to this track with this car. We didn't come early to any tests. We weren't happy with what we had this morning. We made some pretty significant changes and just went out, and I'm a lot happier with the drivability. We are just going to keep working on a good race car."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Obviously, the weather didn't help us at all. We came here and tested before. We had a good baseline. Michael (Andretti) is doing really well. It is such an advantage to be in a three-car team. People can do different things at different times. I happy with what Michael did today. My car felt great. We had a little problem, and we had to stop. This is not typical Miami weather, so we will be a lot better tomorrow. It is so windy, and the track condition changes so much during the day that it is unbelievable. We came here this morning really confident that we had a good car, and we put it down, and it wasn't confident at all. That is the way this track is. You come here and test, and it is never the same. People do well here, but that does not mean that they are going to come back here in the race and do well. We are just trying to learn as much as we can."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Overall, we've been through a lot today. We had a pretty challenging day today in a lot of areas, a lot of little issues. Pacewise, we still haven't really tried to go fast, yet we were still the top six or seven, top five most of the afternoon until the end. We are learning. It is good, but it is getting down to crutch time, so we need to start dotting our i's and crossing our t's a little bit more. Early, right out of the box, it was a brand-new car, and we just had a little piece of the suspension backed out of the car. We are lucky we didn't crash."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We were learning an awful lot today, and I was doing a lot of long runs. My teammate, Scott Sharp, was working on some qualifying stuff, and it's my job to try and get us a good race car. It is definitely a team effort."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It's going well and getting better. I think toward the end it got a lot better. We started to find where we need to be. This morning we were more than a second off, and we're hurting on the downforce with (Panoz) G Force this year a little bit, but I think we're getting there. Hopefully, tomorrow morning we're going to improve a little bit more and be closer to the other guys."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "For 28 laps today, we wound up pretty good. One thing I'm continually impressed with is my team's perseverance when things aren't going right; they keep pushing and pushing to achieve results to no end. This track isn't my favorite even though I've done well here in the past. The encouraging thing is that thanks 100 percent to Mark (Weida, engineer), I now trust the car from last week's test at Phoenix, and I have confidence that I'll trust the car here by the end of the day tomorrow."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was a good day for us. Unfortunately, it rained a little, but as it turned out that didn't affect things very much. We had the opportunity to work on both the race setup and the qualifying setup. Even though we're fast, I'm still not 100 percent happy yet. We can still improve the car in both qualifying and race configurations. It's nice to see that we have the speed. I am happy about that."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We came here with the car very secure in the rear end, so it pushed a lot. I wasn't running the lines I was supposed to, and I wasn't using the throttle right either. I was off and the car was off. So during lunch we re-grouped, and A.J. changed the setup, and I changed my approach. I ran more competitive times this afternoon, but because I was running harder, I was on the rev limiter halfway down the backstraight, which hurt our speed. Still I feel a lot better about it. I just wish this was the end of the morning session, and we had the afternoon to work on it some more."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We are learning. These are different conditions from when we were here last time, and the car responds a little differently. We are basically collecting data."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We started this morning and had a problem straight away, so we missed the whole morning, which kind of put us behind. It is my first time running here in the IndyCar (Series car), and from that point of view, the first laps where really learning. It feels a bit different from what I'm used to. So I was getting used to it. We had some imbalances in the car, so we are working on it. We are getting there. We need tomorrow, as well to get some more problems sorted." (About the track): "Challenging is good. I like the challenges. Right now we are getting close in the car. I'm not uncomfortable; we just are not quick enough."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "We pretty much ran old tires in the morning, and we weren't too bad. Toward the end of the day, we put on new tires and were pretty competitive. We had the fastest (Panoz) G Force in both the morning session and afternoon session, but we still need to improve. We have another day to work on it. I'm pretty happy with how the day went for us. I'm also glad that we had this test to work with the wing package and try to get the car ready for the first race of the year."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We made a ton of changes to the car but couldn't find that one thing to get us closer to the top. We turned a lot of laps and learned quite a bit about what we need to do for the race. We still have tomorrow to try a few more things, and hopefully it will get better tomorrow. It's great to be with this group of guys here at Team Target. They have a passion for success and that motivates me every day that I'm around them."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 7 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's going pretty good; the car feels good. I think if we get the balance right, there's still more to come. We're pretty happy with the way the test has gone so far. We are just adjusting, and we're always experimenting and trying to find out what works and what doesn't."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We are working on it. We find a little bit all the time. That is the good part about it. The Pennzoil Panther guys have been working real hard, along with Chevrolet, to give us a package to go out there and be competitive. I think we ended up seventh today, but half a tenth would move us up to fourth or third. All in all, it is not such a bad deal. We don't feel too bad about it. We know we've got a good car in the long run. We are just working on the new stuff, some of the new pieces that we don't know about. It is going to take a little while, but we are having fun with it. We are having a lot more fun that we did in California. It gets a little better each time we go out."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Today was the second time we have tested at Homestead, but this time the conditions were much, much warmer. That made a big difference in the car balance. I'm not real happy with the way today went, but we still have another day of testing tomorrow."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "When it was all said and done, it was a very educational day for us. Obviously, we had some problems, but at the same time I'm excited about tomorrow due to what we learned today. The important thing is to come out when things aren't going right and learn from it. I think we've finally figured out what the chassis wants, and hopefully that will move us up the speed chart a little bit and get us to where we believe we should be, which is right around a 26.50 or a 26.60 lap. If we can do that, then we'll be happy."