Day 13 -- Sunday, May 19, 2002 -- Bump Day -- Armed Forces Day Post-Qualifying Quotes ALEX BARRON (No. 44T Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I feel like Superman, and it's just a great feeling. It's been a long journey for me...
Day 13 -- Sunday, May 19, 2002 -- Bump Day -- Armed Forces Day
ALEX BARRON (No. 44T Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I feel like Superman, and it's just a great feeling. It's been a long journey for me to get here and race and to finally get here and put it in the show real solid after last week, I just can't say enough about the Rayovac Blair Racing car. We really had a solid car out there, and I can't say enough about the team. This month's been really dramatic for Blair Racing, and we're just happy to be in solid."
PAUL TRACY (No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've had a big struggle the past few weeks, but we finally got the car right. I think we're in the show pretty easily now. I haven't been here since 1995, so I'm happy to be in the show. We had a lot to learn, with new cars, new engines. We may have underestimated the competition the last couple days here. We finally got some good speed by ourselves, and we finally figured these cars out, with help from some other people. We feel pretty good."
ARIE LUYENDYK (No. 55 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Obviously, the conditions are really perfect today. The conditions are great. It's not too warm and not too windy, much better track conditions. That's why we didn't practice yesterday. It was good for us. Thursday we practiced here with both cars and ran both cars in the 225 (mph) range, and that was with old tires. It's great to be back in the show. The guys did a good job. We would've had to go to plan B if something would've gone wrong because you're down to the last run with the primary car. We had one run left, and if something broke, if anything goes wrong with the car, then your run is gone, and your car is gone. So we had to go to plan B and get the backup car ready, up to qualifying speed, which we did. It ran well this morning. I would say the competition right now is about as competitive as it's ever been. It's become tougher and tougher. You really have to have everything organized." (About the stress of qualifying on Bump Day): "Once I get in my car for qualifying, I get really calm. It's always a good feeling. It's nice to know that when it counts, I get really calm about things."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "After all the trials and tribulations, the engine problem last week, it's nice to get a run in, and it felt good. My impressions of the race coming up? We'll see. I've been told by guys that have raced here before that it's a heck of an experience to walk out here race morning. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm totally focused on getting ready for the race. I'm a lot happier than I was this time last week. It's nice to finally get a run in. It's not a bad time, so we're quite happy."
BILLY ROE (No. 81 American Dream Mortgage Integrated Services Inc. G Force/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "If it started to rain right now, we'd be set, but I guess other people have to go. We were flat out all the way around, but that's all it had in it. Last year, when I was on the bubble, we had a real race car and got right back in again. Maybe some nice car owner might put me in one. That would be nice, but it looks like we're running short on time."
MARK DISMORE (No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "Speedwise, I am not the fastest car here, that is for sure. Too much downforce in the car. The thing was hooked up as long as we took some downforce out of it. Hindsight is 20/20. We couldn't come in and put it back in line. There is no way, you never know what Mother Nature is going to do. Hopefully, we've got a comfort zone there, and we'll be OK. We're not where we want to be on speed. Richie Hearn's been working real hard trying to come up with a good race setup, and I think he's done a heck of a job doing that. I have sat in mothballs for eight months, so I was a little rusty."
GREG RAY (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We (Ray and teammate Airton Dare) both should have been quicker. We trimmed the car pretty good, and I was flat out all the way around. I never lifted. I had great exit speed. We had the car taped off too much, and the water and oil got hot. When that happens, the fuel mixture becomes extremely rich, and we lost a lot of power."
AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We went pretty conservative on our setup. We didn't have the car trimmed out as much as we could have. We didn't have the qualifying motor in, just a regular motor. A.J. just wanted to get in the show solid."
GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was not as fast as I would've liked, but it got the job done. It was kind of a cautious few laps. We just wanted to be consistent, mainly. It's not over yet; it's just overcoming one of the big hurdles. I can sleep tonight, so I'm feeling pretty good. We were behind because we had mechanical issues and other issues at the beginning of the month. I've been playing catch-up the whole time. I wanted to get to a point where I could get in the race. Everybody wanted it. My team stayed up all night last night, not just last night but lots of nights, just to make this happen. I'm really grateful for everybody's work, everybody that believed I could put this thing in. It will probably take a while to sink in. It hasn't quite hit me yet. I'm grateful to be here. I'm happy for the opportunity. I want to say thanks to my dad, thanks to Tony George and Brian Barnhart. Chip Ganassi's team along with Jeff Ward really helped me a lot. It's the best feeling in the world."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 39 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We thought we were going to get bumped, and we knew we had a pretty fast car, so we thought we had better go out. To do the time that we did, I'm pretty happy. We had a lot of faith in that car, so we thought we had better go out and do it now. We knew we had a vulnerable car there, so we thought we should put the other car in to be safe. We worked on a setup all week. The conditions are so good now. We knew we had to go out."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 12T EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car was good, but the engine was fantastic. Yesterday we put the qualifying motor in the car. It's the Infiniti 'E' spec motor, and it's so strong. For the first two laps, the tire pressures were still a bit too low, but the last two laps, the car was perfect. I talked with the mechanics before I went out, and they told me we were looking for 228 mph. I'm so happy right now. I think I will sleep well tonight."
ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing/Scottrade Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We ran out of time. Our team made a heroic effort, but we just didn't have time to regroup from our accident on Opening Day. The new walls are great, but the new diamond grooving made the track totally different. I think that played a role, too. On our qualifying run, we were expecting a 226 or a 227 (mph), but one of our rear tires was so out of balance that I could barely see. After we waved that first run off, we changed gears and made some other changes, but it didn't matter because of the rain. Everyone on the Cahill team worked extremely hard, and we're all disappointed both for ourselves and for our sponsors, Scottrade, Dollar Rent a Car and Best Buy RVs, and for the Think First Foundation. I'm going to take the crew over to Champions at the Downtown Indianapolis Marriott and buy them all a round of Buds, because they tried their best. We all did."
JIMMY KITE (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "Every year I'm in a weird situation on Bump Day. I'd hoped that I'd got over that, but here I am again. It sounds kind of funny, but if we just could have got that gear change done five minutes earlier, we could have got in. Obviously, we had the speed. We know we could have made it. It wasn't up to me, it was up to Him. It just wasn't my year. It kind of sucks, but oh, well. They gave me a great car, so I can't complain about that. It's a shame. These guys busted their tails in three days to get me up to that speed. We showed we were quick enough; it just wasn't meant to be."
DONNIE BEECHLER (No. 14T Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Naturally, we're disappointed, but we can't control the weather. I guess it wasn't meant to be. We ran a 227.2 mph lap in practice, and that was the best the car has been since I got in it. It was definitely fast enough to get in the show. We'll work on some deals for next year and give it a shot."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 15 Walker Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's definitely very, very disappointing. Walker Racing did a good job, good effort. We had this new car today, and it was definitely looking good. The second attempt, we had a fuel pressure problem. It's a shame because I think we were going to be, easy, quick enough to be in the field. But it rained, and that's the way it goes, I guess. It feels really, really unfair for all the effort the team put in, but I guess we'll have to wait until next year."
GLENN TAYLER (IRL Marketing Manager, GM Racing): "The Bowtie is definitely back in open-wheel racing. Our goal was to make the new Chevy Indy V8 the engine of choice at the Indy 500, and with 26 of the 33 drivers using Chevrolet engines, we have achieved that objective. Chevrolet has a great tradition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that began with company co-founder Louis Chevrolet and continued with six straight victories with the first-generation Chevy Indy V8 in 1988-93. We look forward to writing the next chapter in Chevrolet's motorsports history next weekend when the 50th Anniversary Corvette Pace Car leads the field to the green flag."
BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "When you go back to Pole Day, when we took that qualifying speed, we felt that weather was going to play a factor into who would get into this year's race. That's one of the reasons we took the speed that we did. It looked like it was pretty accurate until I got here this morning. We've been fighting wind all month, and I looked at the flags and the flags aren't moving. The sun comes out, and the racetrack gains 2 miles an hour, and then I thought, 'We're in trouble' because the conditions were very good for a lot of guys. Until I saw those clouds coming in, I thought we were in serious jeopardy of being on the outside looking in. I really have to thank the entire CURB Records team. They did a tremendous job of getting the car back together after we crashed this morning. It's a great bunch of guys, and really it's a pretty new team. We have three new rookie guys from Phoenix, and this is their first 500, and I think they're learning in a big way how much this race means and what it means to be in the starting field." (How much were you praying for rain?): "Not only were we praying and the whole team was praying, the entire state of Arizona was praying. It's probably 105 degrees (there) today, but they were praying for rain." (Take us through Oriol Servia's run): "At that point, I almost conceded that we were going to get bumped, to tell you the truth. His speed was the closest one. I really didn't see the rain coming, to tell you the truth. I thought there was about four or five loaded guns waiting to take a shot at us, and it wasn't until I got on the racetrack and I started seeing sprinkles on my shield that it started to set in that we should start doing some rain dances."
CARY AGAJANIAN (Co-owner, No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (Were you praying for rain?): "I grew up at a racetrack, as the son of a promoter, and we always prayed for sun all the time, and it was definitely a change to be praying for rain all week. God was a little confused today, I think, but I know my dad (J.C. Agajanian) was up there watching over Billy. Ron Hemelgarn came up to me just as it started drizzling, and he said, 'We rolled out that car for Billy.' That's the kind of respect they have for Billy. He said, 'We rolled it out for Billy, and if you need it, we were going to give it only to you.' I thought that was pretty nice of Ron to do that." (About his interest in short-track drivers): "It's something that's been passed down in my genes, I guess. I've grown up around short tracks, and Billy Boat is special to us because he came to our racetrack, Ascot, back in the early '80s. He was only, I think, 15 or 16 years old, and we sent him home because he was too young. He was supposed to be 18. We sent a lot of good drivers home, including, actually, Jeff Gordon and Al (Unser) Jr. Billy was one of the best because he came back and made us eat our words because he set a track record at Ascot. We like the fortitude and strength of sprint car and short-track drivers. We will have better fortune, and we'll be back up on the front row one of these days, but I don't know how long I can take this. But that's what makes this the greatest race in the world."