Day 3 -- Sunday, March 2, 2003 IRL IndyCar Series post-race quotes ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Our plan was to be around at the end today. That didn't happen, but it wasn't because we...
Day 3 -- Sunday, March 2, 2003
IRL IndyCar Series post-race quotes
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Our plan was to be around at the end today. That didn't happen, but it wasn't because we weren't trying. We were trying to make up some ground on fresher tires and get more out of our race car. We'd been a little loose there all day but were making pretty good progress. We've still got a lot to learn about our car with the new package, but on the high side, our pit stops were good, and we were really pleased with the tire wear we had."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It wasn't too bad. I think I've learned a whole lot. Really, my main aim was to finish the race, and we did. I think the experience from that will give us a lot of information when we go to Phoenix. Car-wise, we struggled a lot with understeer, and I just had to handle that throughout the race. It probably wasn't the ideal place to finish. I wanted to be in the top 10, but I'm happy to finish the race, and I'm looking forward to the next one."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The longer the car ran, the freer it got. We were so far down lap-wise, I wasn't going to take chances running real hard and tearing up the car. It was tough, like I knew it would be. It was a long day. We weren't up to speed where we needed to be, but I just wanted to finish this race, bring the car home, and we did."
A.J. FOYT (Owner, A.J. Foyt Racing): (About A.J. Foyt IV): "I thought he did a good job staying out of trouble. He ran the whole race and did what I asked. He's on a learning curve, but I think he's off to a good start."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 5 EPSON/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I am disappointed because the No. 18 car clipped my front wing right in the beginning. My EPSON crew tried to fix it at first, but when they couldn't, we had to take the nose assembly off the backup car. We lost a lot of time. During the race, the car was much better than it was in qualifying, but it still needed more downforce. We just need more time in the car."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I was really happy today with the Corteco team. They did a good job right off the bat. The level of competition in the IndyCar Series has definitely been raised, but I'm very happy with the performance of the Corteco team. Although I'm not happy with our finish, the team operated well together. We have a lot of new faces on the team, and they did their jobs as best they could. I'm really proud of my guys. I just wish we could have had a better finish for Corteco, Bryant and Kruse. This is a good beginning, though. We finished the race, and that's what counts at the end of the day."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (Owner, Red Bull Cheever Racing): "I know that Buddy (Rice) was having a hard time in the car. It is very difficult to have to watch someone go through that for 200 laps. I never once thought that I wanted to drive today. Obviously, we are not happy with how the car ran. Buddy did a very good job bringing the Red Bull Dallara home in one piece. In our first race with the Chevy engine, I was pleased with the reliability. We will study what we have from today and try to learn from it."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a learning experience. We've got to keep working on our full-tank runs. For us to get a full race and get all the information we did is very valuable as we go through the season, especially with how tricky this track is. We had excellent pit stops. The Red Bull Cheever crew did a really good job. We've just got to work a little bit harder on our race setup. The car was really loose in traffic. I also lost a gear, so that was a challenge, as well. We'll get ready for Phoenix now. For me, it's the first race at home in an open-wheel car since 1997. I am quite excited about racing in the IndyCar Series in my hometown of Phoenix."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm really pleased with the Delphi team. They hung in there all day, and it was tough because most of the cars out there were real equal. We had to make the best of it, and on our second-to-last pit stop, we put on an excellent set of Firestone tires. I was catching the leaders and could run anywhere on the track, and I think I took that a little bit for granted on our last run. It was pretty tight competition near the end of the race, and I just couldn't capitalize on it. This was a great rebound for the Delphi team today after our incident yesterday. This was the first race together for most of the team, and they did a great job. It's nice to get fifth-place points under our belt and roll on to Phoenix."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/WeGotGear Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I'm very proud that we made it to the finish today. It was tough to bring it home. I don't think I've ever worked that hard in a race car for the entire race before in my life. One minute the car was pushing, and the next it was loose. But we never gave up, and by the end of the race it was OK. I'm also very proud of everyone who worked so hard to get us here today, Chevy, Speedway Engines, Firestone, Dallara, and WeGotGear. Hopefully, we'll be back in Phoenix."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a long day, and we have a lot of work in front of us. At least we brought it back in one piece today. It was just a very long weekend for Team Rahal, but we are going to bounce back. The Pioneer/Miller Lite crew did a great job in the pits today. It was their first time working together. We just didn't have a good car today. Even when we ran up front with the Penske and the Andretti cars, the car wasn't really that good. It was better on fresh tires. I was able to get the car a little better toward the end of the fuel runs, but it was just one of those days. We'll have to sit down at the shop and go through the data."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "We turned out to have a pretty decent race car. After the kind of weekend we have had in practice and qualifying, it just goes to show you that you can't always bank on what is going to happen on Sunday. It's a shame that I lost my clutch on our first pit stop and stalled the car. That cost us, but my second run and my last run, my car was pretty quick. I was having a lot of fun there passing fast cars, like (Tomas) Scheckter and Dario (Franchitti) on my last run. Too bad they were both a lap ahead of me. I think we have to leave here pretty satisfied with our result, after all we had to go through this weekend. It's encouraging that the same combination we are racing went on to win the race. They (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) did something we still need to figure out. These cars are so sensitive, I'm willing to bet that it might be something fairly small."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I feel good with how the day went, except for my last run. I was racing for a top-10 finish, and we were in 10th after our last pit stop. My tire pressures were not right for the conditions during that run, and a few cars got by me. But for right now, for the first race, I will take the 12th position, and hopefully we will have a good weekend the next time. I am very happy with the Pioneer team. It is a very professional organization. There was good preparation, and all of our pit stops were good."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a very frustrating weekend because we had the same imbalance on the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola car through every session. We made a good start and got up a bit, but we picked up more and more understeer as the run went on. As the car got slower, people began to pass us. We kept improving the car as the race went on, and I must say I think we had the best car on restarts. We made places up every restart, but as the run went on, the imbalance in the car kept returning. I think it says a lot for Andretti Green Racing that all three cars finished in the top seven. We should be proud of that. It's not where we wanted to finish, but it is something to build on."
JOE NEGRI (GM Racing IRL Program Manager): "We're pleased but not satisfied with a top-10 finish today. The reliability of the brand-new Chevrolet engine was excellent, but the track was very difficult, and the teams struggled with it. We had hoped for a significantly better finish, but we'll continue to work hard and be better at Phoenix."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "For my first race, I don't think it's too bad a performance. Team 7-Eleven had great power, and we tried to dial the car in throughout the race, but we didn't quite get there. We made a little mistake changing the wings, but we went back, and the car was great again. I think it was pretty good near the end. I was running sixth and finished fourth, so I think we have everything to be proud of."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were looking for a better result, but we're not disappointed in Team 7-Eleven's performance today. Tony (Kanaan) seemed to be a tad bit better than Dario (Franchitti) or I and at the end of the race. He was right up there with the leaders. Physically, the race wasn't too bad; I'm just a little disappointed that we didn't have a better setup. We were a little worried about our setup coming in, but to have three cars in the top seven is a pretty good start to the season. We'll have to go back and do some work and get things ready for Phoenix."
SIMON MARSHALL (Chief Designer, Panoz G Force): "Everybody at Panoz G Force is delighted with the result because we really didn't expect to be that strong here. We are very confident in our short oval and superspeedway package, but on this type of track we still have some work to do. Qualifying was tough, but we thought the car was going to be very raceable, and that turned out to be the case. Scott (Dixon) and the Ganassi team did a great job, and everybody at our factory will be really thrilled."
BRIAN BARNHART (Senior Vice President, Racing Operations, Indy Racing League): "The Indy Racing League is extremely pleased with the performance of the new package in this first race of the season. Chassis, engines, gearboxes and the Firestone tires worked flawlessly all weekend long, especially on race day in a 300-mile event. We didn't have a single mechanical failure in the race, with 18 of the 21 starters finishing. Again, we're just extremely pleased with the reliability of the package. It was a really good show. We had eight lead changes, the cars handled well, and everybody looked competitive. We're excited about heading to Phoenix and continuing a good start to the season. In the mid-part of the race, I commented in race control that we had both chassis manufacturers and the three engines represented in the top five. So, I think the package is extremely competitive, and we're in for a great season of competition."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "It was great at the beginning. In the second half of the race, the track changed, and we suffered with a lot of understeer. Team Target gave me some great stops. We had a chance to win, and we're looking forward to Phoenix."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We started the race off with a low tire pressure. It didn't come up to where we wanted to. It made the car loose for the first 50 laps of the race. When we made the first pit stop, we adjusted that. We were still pretty loose throughout the race, but everybody was real close. It was kind of tough to pass today. The track got greasier and greasier as the day went on. We are going to go out there and do our homework for Phoenix and see if we can get a better package."