Day 14 -- Thursday, May 23, 2002 Coors Carb Day Post-Practice Quotes ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Menards/Childress/Cingular Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We put in about 20 laps, and I'm very confident and comfortable with the car. We ran 223's. I...
Day 14 -- Thursday, May 23, 2002
Coors Carb Day Post-Practice Quotes
ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Menards/Childress/Cingular Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We put in about 20 laps, and I'm very confident and comfortable with the car. We ran 223's. I know other people were putting up 225's, but there was no sense in risking anything today. We just wanted to get a good handle on it for Race Day."
TONY KANAAN (No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We tried to run in traffic to see how the car was working. We got in 19 laps, and the car is pretty comfortable. We dialed some push into the car to see how it would work for the race, and it felt comfortable. Yeah, we're happy with that."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "This is the first time we have run the race car in a week. We did not touch it after qualifying. It ran well. We can sit here and tune the car for two hours, but it would serve no purpose. Whatever we've got, we've got." (How does your 13th Indy 500 differ from your first?): "The first race, I had no idea what I was doing. I was with a brand-new team and on my own to learn everything. Now, I look forward to the race as something that is going to be fun. I looked forward to my first Indy 500 about as much as going to get my wisdom teeth pulled. There is only one way to learn this track and that is to do miles, and I have done a lot of those. This race will be a success for me and the team if one of the three Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti cars wins."
RAUL BOESEL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We were just doing our last preparations to try to make the car as comfortable as possible. We are pleased with what we have achieved so far this month. Today we were doing the last few adjustments to prepare for Sunday. The car was comfortable."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We were OK. We were a little bit more stuck than we thought we'd be, but in traffic we should be OK. We were trying to get more speed, but that's all we've got for now. We will work with that and see what happens Sunday."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm really pleased with the car. It's real easy to drive, comfortable. We're ready to go. We were 100 percent on our own. Most guys are drafting or at least had someone a little in front of them. We didn't, so we're fine."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I feel real good. We did that (speed) on our own. The Corteco/Bryant Special's running real good, and the team's doing a great job. Today's not really the day to show any of your cards. I'm real happy with it. We'll feel good about it."
ARIE LUYENDYK (No. 55 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We ran strictly a race setup, and I feel it's pretty good. We're quite happy with the balance of the car and all that good stuff, but we had a gearbox problem. We could have dropped out of the race with that."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We just went out with our race setup and race engine and did a couple of laps to make sure that everything is OK. Everything felt good with the Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti. I think a lot of people around me feel nervous and uptight, but I feel great. Maybe it is because I haven't experienced how big Race Day is yet, so I am a little more relaxed. I just can't wait. I was ready to race a week ago. I want to get this race right and stay out of trouble for the first 400 miles. I really want to finish 500 miles. I am ready to go out there and drive and do the best job that I can do."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "Carburetion Day went smooth, and it was a beautiful day out there. The racetrack is green since nobody has been running on it for a while. We were just tuning our car and basically did a leak check with our race motor, check the gears, checked to make sure all the bearings are working since the car has been entirely stripped and rebuilt. We wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly, go out and do just a little bit of running to see how the racetrack has changed in the last week and a little traffic running. Everything checked out, and we just pretty much put the Coors Light car away because it is a 500-mile race, and you don't want to have 600 miles on your car at the end of the race. We kept our running to a minimum and just made sure we're ready to race."
RICHIE HEARN (No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was a little loose in the beginning, but we were able to get a comfortable car that will be good for the race. We don't want to tune too much because race conditions can be so different. I'm glad it's done, and we'll get in the race."
JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I am pretty happy with the final run in the car. The Miller Lite car felt really good, and we made it through the practice without any surprises. I have said all month that I thought we had a pretty good car for the race. Today bore that out to us as running in race setup we were seventh fastest. The car has been great in traffic, and my crew has done a hell of a job this month. They have given me a car that will be competitive on Sunday. I think we are as ready for the race as we can be."
JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We have a pretty good starting spot in the race, and I think that I'll have a good shot of moving up through the field as the race goes on. Last year I started 27th and moved up to eighth before the first pit stop. Hopefully, I can make another charge like that this year also. The car wasn't perfect out there today, but I know what changes that we'll need to make the car better on Race Day."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We just went out and made a few full-tank runs, and the car was really good. We made a few small adjustments, and I'm getting excited for the race on Sunday. It is an advantage starting from the pole because there won't be any traffic in front of me. Hopefully, there won't be any traffic in front of me for the whole race."
KENNY BRACK (No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's great to be back here at Indianapolis. Our car was pretty good in our first run of the day. We took it back to the garage and made some changes. It was a lot better when we went back out to the track later. The Target crew did a great job, just like they have all month. It's going to be a long race, and there are a lot of good cars out there, but I think that we'll have a great shot on Sunday."
GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I would have loved to have been able to run more miles, but as everybody knows, you just can't do that with your race engine. We played around with some things, finding traffic to see just how the car would run in high-traffic areas on a big fuel load. We got some good data, but I guess the perfectionist in me wanted to find out more. It's been incredible this month. I'm overwhelmed, just completely overwhelmed. At the same time, I'm grateful to be here and to be a participant in Sunday's big show. The fans and 310 Racing are in for a great time come 11 a.m. on Sunday." (About his health): "I'm not quite to 100 percent, but I'm not any worse than last week. That's a good thing. As for feeling totally up to par physically, I'm still not there. But come Race Day, I do expect to be ready for the 500 miles."
RICK TREADWAY (No. 5 Sprint/Kyocera Wireless/Airlink Racing G Force/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We tried a couple of different setups on full tanks, medium tanks and light tanks. We tested the new motor out. Basically, it's a brand-new car because we had to get the car painted for our new sponsors, Kyocera, who makes phones for Sprint PCS and Airlink, but whenever you take the car completely apart and put it back together, it's nice to be able to test it out. We had a minor brake issue that we fixed. The car feels incredibly good. I cannot get over how good it feels in traffic and out of traffic. We put the motor in yesterday. I got a few laps right behind Arie (Luyendyk). It felt really good right behind him. I got a lot closer to him in the turns than I thought I could, and the car still handled really good."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Allegra/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/ Firestone): "Today we wanted to shake down the installation of our race engine and then check balance. Beyond that, we made a few changes according to the weather and finished up for the day. It hasn't been the best of days with Brian Hall passing away this morning, but at least we all will have an extra angel looking over us on Race Day."
MAX PAPIS (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Today was just a shakedown. We just went out and checked everything. The engine was perfect, and the cars were running fine. We were just looking at some data and some numbers to get a little better understanding of the car, but overall we're fine. It's going to be a long race, and we have new things to learn, especially with communications and pit stops with a new crew. I'm looking forward to making this process happen as fast as possible." (About being a rookie): "This has been very special to me. In a very short amount of time, I have learned a different approach to racing. I am looking forward to having a strong race and attack. This is a sport, so you need to be out there giving it all that you can. I look forward to getting out there and doing the best I can."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 12 EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We did a couple changes to the car, and it is comfortable, but nobody knows how it will react Sunday. Today it's really hot, and Sunday looks cooler, so nobody knows. We did some checks, and everything is OK, so now we're looking forward to the race."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Our last practice before the race was good. We basically just did a final check to make sure everything was set for Race Day. The Marlboro Team Penske car was very consistent and has been handling well, which will be important come Sunday. Now we're getting ready for the pit stop competition. It is a lot of fun, and hopefully we'll do well."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 39 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car was really good this morning. Although the track was a little slippery, I think we have a very comfortable race car for Sunday. We tried to get the miles low on the engine, so we didn't do much running this morning. I don't think our starting position is a big concern for us. The biggest thing about Indy is getting in the field. Once you are in the race, it's 500 miles, and a lot can happen in 500 miles. On the strategy side, we're going to have to do a little bit of it on the fly because there are so many things that can happen. We have to be able to react to whatever situation it is, and I know the Motorola/Archipelago team is really good at that. The main thing about the Indy 500 is to be there at the end."
PAUL TRACY (No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This month we just haven't had the outright speed for qualifying, but in race trim the car is pretty good. We posted a good speed today, and I think we are looking good for the race. My previous experience here at Indy doesn't really help because the cars and the drivers are totally different, so we are just learning. The car has good balance. We did find a problem with an engine sensor, but the Team Green 7-Eleven guys fixed it, and we were able to go out and complete our running. The only thing I'm going to do different Saturday night before the race is shower myself in milk, just to get ready for Sunday."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think we've got the car right, but I'm not sure because this is my first Indy 500. We still have a couple of tweaks to make to the Team Green 7-Eleven car before the race, but we know what our battle plan is, so we'll see. Firestone has done a good job with the tires. We may have a little more tire wear than before, but I know they have a handle on it. Experiencing all the different weather conditions this month gives us a broader band of knowledge to work with on Race Day. Today's conditions were difficult. It was warm, and the car tends to lose grip, plus the wind was blowing it around. It was difficult today from a driver's perspective, but for the fans the weather was magnificent. Saturday night I'll sleep just like I would any night. I start to prepare Race Day morning by stretching and warming up. Once I'm warmed up, I will try and find a quiet place to get my thoughts together."
MARK DISMORE (No. 99 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "The bottom line is we lost 10 days of practice after the accident. We were able to get the car up to speed in qualifying trim, but qualifying trim and race trim is day and night. Right now we're just trying to come up with a good race car, and it's hard to do on Carb Day when you've only got two hours of track time. By the time you do your systems check, you scuff tires and everything, you end up with anywhere from 20 to 30 laps trying to give yourself a good race car, and it's hard to do. We're going to look at everything and try to figure out what the problem is as far as the handling goes, and hopefully come out here Sunday and get lucky on that. At this point, being an exact science kind of goes out the window because we're just out of time. We're just going to have to do the best we can. When we had our accident a couple of weeks ago, that kind of just changed everything. All the plans went out the window."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Pennzoil Panther guys have been working real hard for the last week. Today was the first time we've run the race car since Pole Day, so we took it out this morning and made sure all the things they did to the car were the way they were supposed to be. We went out and did a couple more laps and tried to keep everything to a minimum this morning. We made sure the car worked in traffic and handled the way it should, and it did. We're really excited about the race. We've got what we think is a fast race car, but nobody really shows their hand until Race Day. We're not quite sure yet, but we think we have a pretty good shot. I look forward to the Indianapolis 500 all year long. After the race I had last year, I've really been looking forward to it. You just have to try and come back to it and see if you can do a better job. Last year I made a mistake, and I'm going to try and limit the problems (this year). The whole month we've been trying to take things easy and do things logically and not get ahead of ourselves and not peak until Race Day. I'm super excited about the race. I wish you'd come here and sit around for two weeks and not work the other five days. It's hard to maintain your focus for the whole month." (Are you looking at anyone in particular as your main competition?): "I've been asked that question a lot, and I really don't have a good answer for that. There's too many guys that you can't count out. I'd say Robbie Buhl and Eddie Cheever will be fast, if their engines hold up, but a lot of Chevrolet guys are going to be fast. It's too hard to narrow it down and say this guy is going to be really fast because you could have one bad pit stop or one guy has all the good ones. There's too many variables that you're not going to be able to tell. There's not three or four guys who stand out. There's like 15 guys who you wouldn't be surprised to see pull into victory circle." (Do you expect a mad dash to the front with all the speed in the field?): "What's supposed to happen and what we were told to do is the guy on your left has the line into the corner. As you know, Indy is the only race where we start three wide. You'll have cold tires and 35 gallons of fuel, and the car definitely handles differently than it does normally for the first 15 to 20 laps of the race. You can say and plan for what is going to happen, but whether it does or not is another thing."
BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "There were a few gremlins we were fighting here at the CURB records team today. The car balance wasn't quite what we wanted to find, and we were doing a lot of fuel mileage running today, but overall we're pretty happy. We're not as quick as we'd like to be, but Race Day speed is going to be a big guess right now. We feel like we have a good, solid race car. We'll just have to see what the race throws at us, try and stay on the lead lap early and about midway evaluate our race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today was the last opportunity for us to get out on the track to prepare for the race. Unfortunately, things didn't work out as well as we would have liked. When we first came out this morning, the engine speed was low at idle, so we went back to the garage to fix it. On our second time on the track, there was an issue with the oil sensor, so we had to once again go back to the garage to work on the problem. In our final run, we weren't happy with the balance of the car, so we didn't really get the chance for any solid practice time during the session. That's why Carburetion Day is so important. It gave us the chance to fix these last-minute problems. Hopefully, we've worked everything out, and things will run smoothly on Sunday. That's the day that counts. I'm really looking forward to the race. I've been having a great time here in Indianapolis. Marlboro Team Penske has been working hard all month, so hopefully we'll be in good shape for Sunday."
AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car feels good. It is a little different with the full fuel load, and we're running more downforce in our race setup, but we can still run 223's (mph) and 222's (mph), which is what I think the pace of the race will be. I didn't run too close to anyone, but did run behind one of the Penske cars. The car lost a little balance, but it was not a big deal. Of course, that will be different when we're running behind a bunch of cars, but you can't do anything to fix that, so we'll just have to make the best of it."
GREG RAY (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The final practice went OK. We went out, and we were a little bit lighter on downforce than we wanted. The car was quick with a heavy load of fuel, but it's not a car I want to race. We added more downforce, and we have a much more stable chassis now. We're still kind of scratching our heads because the week prior to Pole Day and the week after we've had a lot of different setups and never put our finger on why we were missing the speed. I think we worked on getting a stable car, and we'll have a race pace in traffic that's anywhere between 216 (mph) and 224 (mph). We can be right there. It will be very difficult starting that far back. It's an extremely competitive field with a lot of great drivers, a lot of great teams, and the parity of speed is quite close. It's difficult to pass somebody that you're two or three miles per hour faster than, much less passing someone you've been racing with lap after lap. Today we were trying different downforce levels, scrubbing some tires in and trying to give ourselves a few options to try on Race Day." (About the field for the race): "The best people should be there. You want to get in and race against the best, so no matter whether you're from Brazil or Sweden or Japan or Texas, it doesn't matter. You want the cream of the crop to race at the top. On any given day, you want to feel proud about the competition you beat. You want it to mean something. With this field, historically it's the best. The years have made this a worldwide phenomenon. You look at qualifying speeds from start to finish and the resumes of the drivers and what they've accomplished and the teams and their equipment. It's a very impressive thing to have the drivers that we do for Sunday's race. Whoever wins, they can be very proud of that."
LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Practice went really well. I still think we have the best engine, so we have every reason to have a good race. A lot of things will depend on the weather. Today is windy and dry, and it doesn't look like it will be like this for Race Day. The car is very good, and the engine is great. We just have to concentrate on our pit stops. My engine will last the 500 miles. Infiniti has done a lot of improvements. If we escape all of the trouble during the race, we have a really good chance to do well. We'll see. I'm very optimistic."
TONY KANAAN (No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We've had a good month. We've been working really well together, the whole team. Felipe (Giaffone) has been a big help, having his experience with the past races. When I say that I'm not comfortable, it's not with the car. It's just a different car. The car's been working fine. We've got a strong car and a strong team. You know, we've been very consistent all month. This morning I wasn't looking for the fast lap at all. I got a good draft, and I was able to go quick, but I was more concerned about how my car is running in traffic, and I made a couple changes. We only had 20 laps, but it worked fine. This place, the weather is going to affect us a lot on Sunday. I have won a 500-miler before, and I came from a lap down. It's just how you dial your car in. You try to understand your car for the last pit stop. Sounds simple, but it's not. I'm excited. I think we have a good car. I've been watching IRL races. I went to the Homestead race. I watched the race live last year here. I had a tape at home. Actually, Gil (de Ferran) had a tape, and I stole it from him. So he didn't watch the race, I did. We had a good drivers' meeting this morning, so I think everybody's going to try to be as fair as possible. We're running very close in speeds. It's going to be tough to pass. You don't have one car that's four miles an hour quicker than another. I just try to relax. You just need to work with your car. It's a long race. We have a good car. We just have to stay on the lead lap all day and then let's go racing the last 30 laps." (Do you think Bruno Junqueira has matured in the last year?): "I've known Bruno since 1985. I was his go-kart instructor for three years, and I regret that a lot right now. He's grown a lot, and he's fast. Bruno is just surprising everybody. Yesterday it was funny because I was talking to him and he said, 'Remember all the hard times you use to give to me when you were telling me what to do? So now you're a rookie, you just shut up, and I will tell you what to do.' He was so little. I was 13, so he must have been 11. The guy had talent. I wish I had said 'quit' so he wouldn't be here now." (About being in the Indianapolis 500): "I always knew Indianapolis, but I never felt the heat, like the whole month being here. Bump Day, I remember coming in in the morning for the qualifying day, and I said, 'Man, something happened here, I think they closed the gates or something. Why all this traffic? It's all backed up here, it's just qualifying.' And then I realized, it's Indianapolis. A few years ago I remember talking to Al Unser Jr. and Michael, and they always said, 'You don't know what Indianapolis really is. You have no idea. You have to be there to feel it.' And now I understand completely how they feel about it. Now I've got Indianapolis sickness, so I want to come back here every year. Hopefully I can do that."