Indianapolis 500-Mile Race IRL Indycar Series Post-Practice Quotes Thursday, May 8, 2003 SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We put a new engine in this afternoon and get an engine check done, a leak check, to...
Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
IRL Indycar Series Post-Practice Quotes
Thursday, May 8, 2003
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We put a new engine in this afternoon and get an engine check done, a leak check, to make sure everything is hooked up properly so that when we get ready to go tomorrow morning we don't look stupid because something was left loose. Basically just a precaution to make sure that all the running we need to do tomorrow gets done." (Did the engine problem today create some frustration?): "We're just going about our business, doing our thing. We're all doing everything we can do. We know you can't win the race today. We'll be worried, if we need to be, on May 25."
BILLY BOAT (No. 98 Pedigo Chevrolet Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Probably not a lot of stuff left to try. We just have to hope that we can really squeeze everything out of our engine program that we can. We are, daily, getting new engine parts, so hopefully Chevrolet's going to be able to find us a little bit more at the end and we'll be able to add to our speed in addition to what we've gained thus far. I think a lot of it is going to depend on everyone else. Our biggest concern is to be as close to the front as we can get. I doubt we'll be one of the first cars to qualify. We'll have to see how the speeds go, look at the weather and make a decision."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Great day for the Delphi team. We didn't have quite the speed we wanted when we started this morning, but we dug deep, worked hard and looked at tons of data, and we were able to help ourselves. We took a lot of big steps and made a lot of changes and battled back to having a pretty good car toward the end of the day. If the weather is nice tomorrow, we could see some pretty big speeds going up, so hopefully we'll be able to find some more speed as well."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We obviously are focusing on our qualifying car. We've trimmed out the car, and everything feels great. Now, we're just trying subtle things to see what else that gives us. We're getting another motor from Chevy and hopefully we'll get a little more power. Right now, we're just talking about getting in the show, not where we're going to be. It's frustrating, and the frustration sort of filters through all of us, because everyone's working so hard to find everything that we can."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "This morning we finished the race setup work that we had started yesterday. We then ran a couple of stints with the back-up car to make sure everything was OK. The rest of the day we focused on our qualifying setup. The Marlboro Team Penske car was consistent, and we were able to get more speed out of the car. So, overall we are happy with our progress. Tomorrow, we'll continue to work on our qualifying setup to make sure we are ready for Saturday."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had another good day today. We spent the full practice session working on our qualifying setup. The Marlboro Team Penske car was fast, and we seem to be able to run well any time of the day. However, the lap times are very close so we need to stay focused and see how things play out tomorrow and Saturday."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We have the luxury of feeling like we have a good setup, so we'll run when we think it's the right time to run. It's always nice here when you feel like that."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I was pretty happy with the car, so we decided to stop and not run all day. I was obviously more comfortable today than I was yesterday and two days ago. It's just a matter of track time. I'm pretty happy with my car, so we'll wait for tomorrow, and we'll work in qualifying trim again."
TONY COTMAN (Team Manager, Team 7-Eleven, about Michael Andretti running only two laps in the last two days): "Everything is going really smooth, and that is really the benefit of having teammates. When you've got teammates working on the car for you, you don't have to be out there slogging around yourself. At the moment, our teamwork is paying off, and hopefully we can carry it through to Saturday."
KIM GREEN (President, Andretti Green Racing): "We're still working on some setup stuff, and I think we made some gains. When it's all said and done, Saturday is the first day of qualifying, and it really depends on the conditions. I think we're good enough to adapt to the conditions for Saturday. I think we've got enough data and enough information. Having four drivers working well together, that gives us a serious shot at good qualifying results. But, we'll still have to see what Saturday's conditions are. I thought we had a good day - a good, productive day." (About the rainy weather conditions this week): "That's the month of May. In all fairness, I think the weather has been pretty cooperative. Everybody was predicting a very wet month and, of course, it's still early in the month and that could still happen. But, so far we've gotten the running we've needed. Now, with a little bit of 'Lady Luck' and good planning on Saturday, I think we can actually have a good qualifying effort by everybody."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today ended on a good note. We're still climbing the speed hill very slowly. Some fans who live in Brownsburg, the LaFon family were watching the WTHR Channel 13 show last night after we hadn't had the best day, and they just sent me flowers, hoping to cheer me up, which they most certainly did." (Sarah is the Channel 13 Indianapolis 500 analyst with sports anchor Dave Calabro.)
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Today was not too good of a day. We started off struggling and ended up getting in an accident. It was a horrible day. I'd been running flat out all the way around for the last four laps and coming off the corner and the car stepped out on me without any warning, which was pretty weird. My grandfather just found out from Firestone that it showed a cut tire which caused me to spin. He put me in Shige's back-up car just to give me some laps, the old 'get back on the horse' deal."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The weather is now just rolling in as the day is ending. It was another good day here at Indy. More or less, even if it rains tomorrow we are ready for qualifying. We have a few more things to try, but nothing of any major magnitude. Hopefully, if tomorrow works out we will put everything together and try a few mock qualifying runs and see where we are. My throttle spring broke this morning, which was a bit exciting. I dropped down on the warm-up lane. I already knew it was broken, it was running on idle. I went over the big bumps and the tension was not there, so it jacked the throttle real quick. I did a full '360' and touched the grass."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "Today was a breakthrough day. I think we've got everything in place where we can really fine-tune the chassis. We did our quickest lap, which was the quickest for the Chevy's this month at 228.4 (mph). We did have a little bit of a tow, so it wasn't a true honest speed. Although we did do a mock-up qualifying run at 227 flat. I am comfortable with that. We are close to terminal velocity right now. We can gain a little more time if we can free the car up and be quicker in the corner and maintain a little more rpm."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Today went pretty good. We found a lot of speed. I think that we're sitting pretty good right now. I'm really happy with how the day went. Team Target has done an awesome job in helping me get up to speed so quickly here. They have a lot of experience on this track, and that has helped me out a lot."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We tried some qualifying stuff for the first time this afternoon. We still need to work some more on qualifying setups tomorrow. The car has a lot of speed in it. We just need to keep fine-tuning the car to get the most out of it. The race setup is pretty good. We'll have to wait and see how the Target machine is tomorrow in practice, and that will be a good gauge on how we'll be on Pole Day."
ROBBY GORDON (No. 27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Everything has gone according to plan so far. We are now working with the Archipelago/Motorola car in qualifying trim. The speeds everyone is putting up aren't really true, though. As more cars are on the track, the speeds go up. My car is comfortable. When we ran in traffic, the car was really stable. Andretti Green Racing is a good team. We haven't had a problem this month. There is great chemistry between the guys and also the drivers. We are all sharing data, and it seems to be helping everyone."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We're at a point now where we are working on trimming out the car and trying to get a realistic idea of where we are for qualifying. So we've pretty much been staying out on our own and trying to stay out of the tow and see where the car is for Saturday. We're still working on our setup and trying to find the perfect balance."
TONY RENNA (No. 32 Cure Autism Now/HomeMed Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm fairly pleased. It was another good day of work by the Cure Autism Now/HomeMed Pharmacy team. Today was more focused on qualifying trim, and I think we got some really good work done. In my fast run I was definitely in a bit of a tow. But I think we're still getting there, although there's a bit more stuff we can do with the car. The car is really good in that trim, and I'm really pleased about that fact. I think the crew has done a great job, and we really haven't deviated from our plan and things are going well."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was good to have Bobby (Rahal, Team Rahal co-owner) here today after coming from Europe last week. Being a former champion at Indy, he knows a lot of things about going through a whole month of May. He understands the mental part of this entire race, and that is very important. Yesterday, we had a very good day, and we were close today with our speed. Unfortunately, some of the other guys picked a mile per hour on us. We need to work to improve our car for qualifying on Saturday. I think the Honda guys have done a fantastic job of getting the engine ready for Indy. It isn't really a surprise because they have done well in just about everything they have raced. But being with the company like Honda is a big boost for us."
JOHN BIDDLECOMBE (Panoz G Force, Director of Sales): "We have been very pleased with the speed of the cars so far this week, especially with Tora (Takagi) and Gil (de Ferran) today. The teams are starting to trim the cars out for a shot at the pole, and certainly Tora showed today he will be one of the favorites for the front row. Greg Ray also ran strongly yesterday in the Honda-powered Panoz G Force, so I think we are looking in good shape. Once the teams do their final engine change before qualifying, we will really know where we are. Everybody will be looking to get some running in clean air tomorrow. Putting up a time with a draft is not going to help on Pole Day. Some of our guys are already looking at race setups as well, so we remain very confident at this stage."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "I got lucky again, I guess. I was running behind Scott Sharp when that lap actually came about. Again, it's really nothing to get excited about when you get one of these laps. I said last time, my mum would kill me if she knew I was going 232 (mph) again. It was a tow, for sure. I have to give credit to the team. They're doing a very good job, Andretti Green Racing. We've been strong, particularly my crew. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car has been fast, but it's definitely not that fast. Probably not even close to that." (Your results here seem to be raising your profile): "It's good. I started in the IRL last year with Panther (Racing), and the results really weren't what I wanted them to be. But the championship stuff, it's not easy to break into. It's a different style of racing. It's so competitive. You look at the times out there right now, and it's unbelievable. I don't think there's any championship in the world that's even close to that. It makes it tough, but you've got to get yourself in the right situation, as well. Fortunately, with Andretti Green Racing and Honda, we're able to get that. Again, it's nothing really to get excited about until Saturday. If I can pull this off on Saturday, then I'll be really popular, especially within the team. But obviously, I'm going to have (teammates) Tony (Kanaan) and Michael (Andretti) pushing me hard, which will be interesting."