Day 4 - Wednesday, May 8, 2002 Post-practice quotes ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The humidity played a part in the chassis and motor configuration. We achieved many things for our qualifying setup.
Day 4 - Wednesday, May 8, 2002
ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The humidity played a part in the chassis and motor configuration. We achieved many things for our qualifying setup. We have to be very happy with our runs today, but at the same time the weather could change the car balance dramatically."
AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Everything went good - we're always improving. There are still some things A.J. wants to try to go faster. But it was a good day - everything we tried worked and everything we did made sense."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Allegra/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/ Infiniti/Firestone): "It's wonderful to be back on track at the Indianapolis 500. It felt really good to get in the car and just get comfortable again. As I kept getting more confident in how the car would perform, it kept getting better and better. No matter where I go on the track, this car does what I want it to. It never strays. We just tried to get used to going 220 (mph) plus again because 220 (mph) is something you have to get used to all over again."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We just worked with the same car we had here in ROP (Rookie Orientation Program). Again the Red Bull Cheever Racing guys have given me a great car. I am flat out the whole way. The car is really good. We used two sets of tires today. The only thing that was stopping me was that we didn't have long enough gears, and it was hitting the rev limiter. Otherwise, the car was flying. I am very happy with today. We still have loads of tires to use, and the car is stuck to the ground." (What were you doing during your suspension?) "I have been a spectator with Mr. (Al) Unser (Sr.) and Mr. (Johnny) Rutherford. I have learned a lot from them, watching from the outside of the track. I just need to put that to good use on Saturday."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is great. We've been finding speed every day, and that is the way you want it to be once you get here. We prepared my back-up car all day yesterday, and all the hard work by the guys really paid off. We went faster than we have all week. It's a real credit to everyone at Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing because this is the first time they've been here as a team and with very little time to run these cars before this month. All of our days of practice have been shortened by rain so far, but we're getting the most out of it. I've used just four sets of tires, total, since we started practice on Sunday. The cars have been very good, very consistent. Again, that goes back to the crew and the engineers and to Morris (Nunn). We're making improvements little by little. We found that everything was good on my back-up car, and since (teammate) Tony (Kanaan) has been struggling a little bit with his primary car, we decided to give him some laps in my back-up car. He got up to 226 (mph) right away, so that proves we have to make all of our cars like my back-up car. It was very important for Tony to get the feeling for how his car should handle around here. We are a team, and we will keep working as a team. That's the only way we're going to keep getting better and have a shot at qualifying well."
TONY KANAAN (No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Thanks to (teammate) Felipe (Giaffone) for making my day. Actually, for making my week. I'm definitely buying him dinner tonight. Actually, we've been struggling a little bit with my car, so I just wanted to give Felipe's back-up car a try to see what we could do. Within six laps, I got up to within a tenth of a mile an hour of his speed, so that proves we have some work to do on my car. That's great to finally find the setup we were looking for all week. Now we have a lot of momentum for tomorrow, and we can really work toward getting my Hollywood car where we want it for qualifying."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/ Infiniti/Firestone): "The car's really good right now. We just need to keep adjusting it. Little by little, and step by step, we'll get to where we want to be. We know we've got the speed, and we know we've got the history to put it all together."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was another good day for us. What is encouraging is that we are fast all by ourselves. That's what we've been trying to do to simulate a qualifying run. I'm happy with the progress that we have made over the week. It looks like it might rain again tomorrow, so I'm glad that we were able to get some good laps in today. It's also great to have these practice days that I missed out on last year. It allows you to keep working on the car to make it comfortable for my driving style."
KENNY BRACK (No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We still have a lot of work to do on the Target car, but it's starting to come around. We were sixth fastest today, and that is close to where I think that we need to be. I'm getting more and more comfortable each day in the car. Hopefully, this rain will get out of here by the time the weekend comes."
JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We made some changes to the car overnight that really didn't work. It wasn't in the right direction, so we went back to where we were yesterday. Now at least we know what not to do. Unfortunately, we basically lost a day doing that, but at least we have a few more days to work on it. We ended up having a good run this afternoon, and I think that we're back on track now."
BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This was a little bit of a frustrating day for the CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team. We tried some things with the primary car that I didn't like, so we brought out the back-up car with the same setup. For whatever reason, we just had trouble getting speed out of the car, so we'll go back, regroup and try again tomorrow. It's going to be really important that we start getting some consistently higher speeds out of the race car tomorrow."
MAX PAPIS (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Today was actually a very positive day for us. For the first time, we had a good amount of time on track. We made some positive improvements. We definitely picked up on the speed with the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti. We know exactly where we need to work on the car. We had a little too much downforce on the car, but we are at a good starting point. We have to find a little more speed for Saturday, but the confidence in the car is there."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "Everyday, whether it goes real good, you get the speed or you don't, if you pay attention, you learn something. We didn't get the net results we were hoping for today, but we did try a lot of things that gave us feedback, so I'd put that under the learning category. Obviously, every minute that ticks by, qualifying gets closer and closer and gets more and more stressful, but we are progressing. There are places where I'm slipping on both ends of the race car, and there's just one area in particular where I'm a little uncomfortable. We've just been working all week trying to iron that out, but we're learning on it."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We concentrated on the primary Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti today. We tried some different things, some of which will carry through to tomorrow. We are starting to hone in on what we need to do for Saturday. I have no idea what the pole time is going to be. You can't tell if the times turned have been done with tows and who has done what. The only one I saw today was (Bruno) Junqueira, who did a very fast lap all by himself today. As far as everyone else, I have no idea."
JOHNNY HERBERT (No. 32 WESTERN UNION/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'd love to have had a little bit more track time. We've only really had a couple of decent runs so far, but unfortunately that's just the way it's been with the weather. We made some changes to the chassis that took a bit of time. It would have been nice to finish our last run just before the track closed as we had new tires on the car, but we noticed some overheating we wanted to check out. Overall, though, the car felt a lot better even than yesterday, especially in Turn 3. I'm really quite confident that we're going to be in very good shape for qualifying. Ideally, I'd like to be able to run 50 or 60 real strong laps on each of the next couple days to put us in good shape for pole day."
MARK DISMORE (No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today we've been trying some bits and pieces and some different cambers and made a couple of spring changes out there on pit road. We kind of evaluated what all that did, and then we came back here and made some educated guesses, you could say, on everything and rolled it out there at the last minute. We could see if we learned what we thought we learned. I think we did because we missed the gear on that run. That was a 227 something (mph) car right then, and fortunately it was on the limiter halfway down the straightaway. I was happy about that. We've got some left in our pockets. We missed the gearing. We got the car better, and we got it better than we thought we got it, to be honest with you. Then when we went out and did a qualifying simulation right then, it was better than I thought it was going to be. We just missed the gear." (About going out with just a few minutes left instead of waiting until tomorrow): "It was the simple fact that we made all of those changes today, and then to go find out what that is in real life, we needed to do it on the same day we made the changes. Tomorrow could be a whole different day than today, weather-wise and barometric pressure and track temperature and the wind and everything. To know if you really learned anything, you have to do everything on the same day, and that is why we rushed out there at the end."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 39 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car is much better again today. We struggled a little bit in the beginning of the session, but we were able to get back on track and make progress. The last run I did was the most comfortable run that we have done all month. I was able to go flat all the way around the track, and I was by myself when we posted our best time today. Even though we aren't the fastest on the charts, we have a realistic understanding of where we are for qualifying, and we know we need to find more speed to be comfortably in the race."
PAUL TRACY (No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today was very frustrating for everyone on the Team Green 7-Eleven car. We want to go quicker, but we just can't seem to find what it's going to take to make that happen. We have to keep working at it to try and get faster, but also to get a comfortable car. My car was pretty tough to drive today, and I don't want to get into a bad rhythm since the car is so nervous right now. I think the best thing for me is to clear my head and go out tomorrow with a clean slate and pretend like it's our first day at the Speedway."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're getting closer and closer. We did long runs today learning more about the race setup as well as some practice for qualifying. We need to get the car better in both regards, but we are getting there. We still don't have a lot of experience at the Speedway, and every time we go out we're learning something new. We are learning what the wind does, how the temperature affects the track and other things, but Team Green 7-Eleven still has to learn more to get comfortable for qualifying and the race."
LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car was very good. We only put on one new set of tires, and I was running in a lot of traffic. We could have managed some better laps, but it is only practice. We are running on a qualifying setup, so we're pretty low on downforce. Today we were not trying to see how the car was in traffic, but our Infiniti engine ran very well."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today was a much better day, and I'm happy with the progress we made. We were able to get through quite a few things, and the Marlboro Team Penske car improved tremendously. I feel the things we learned today are very important. We've been slowly making gains, and as long as we keep improving, we'll be ready for qualifying."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It feels great. Obviously, you don't want to peak too early. You want to be up here Saturday, and you want to be up here a couple of Sundays after that. You never remember who won practice. Things are going great for both cars in the Kelley team. I was first, Al was fourth, that easily could've been reversed. We're all real close, and there are a lot of other guys that are extremely tight there. It's gratifying for the team. They are working really hard. We worked on the car, tried to find a little bit of miles per hour here, a little bit of miles per hour there, and decided that with the weather Thursday, tomorrow, it's supposed to be possibly rained out. We said, `We better make a run for it now.' To see what our four-lap, qualifying-type run would look like in case we can't really get it in until sometime on Friday. One forecast said it was supposed to rain even early Friday. You wouldn't want to be up against the fence on Friday afternoon and have some kind of a problem and feel like you never got your qualifying run in." (About varying weather conditions): "That's Indianapolis. I think what one of the secrets is, is just trying to tune your car, as we all are. It's not really a secret, trying to tune your car in all the conditions because if you do it enough times and you're faced with enough different conditions come race day, you've probably practiced in a very similar condition, and you know how to set the car. From the sound of things, it's going to be a little bit cooler on Pole Day, which is probably going to be faster, and if the wind stays down, it could be just a potentially perfect qualifying day." (Do you have a prediction for pole speed?): "Not really. That's everything we've got at the moment, which is a low 228 (mph), high 227 (mph), but I'm thinking with the Nissans you're going to have to be higher than that to beat them." (Was the pole last year a surprise to you, and do you have a different feeling this week leading into Saturday?): "A little bit of unknown I guess really, kind of the same thing I had last year. You never really know. The car is running great, but there's probably six, seven, eight, nine other cars that are running great. Probably more than that, probably 12 cars that are running great. So you never know who's going to have a really great qualifying engine, and who's going to just get their car perfectly trimmed out, and who's going to get the right draw. Where you pick can have huge implications, everyone is that close. For now, that's why I'm trying not to get too excited about this. It's great, and we're all sort of pumped, but it's only Wednesday. I'm a tremendously competitive individual, and I want to be No. 1 at everything I do, so if there's a go-kart race this afternoon, I want to go win that. So if there's qualifying, especially for the Indy 500, the most important race in the world, I want to be on the pole for it. It really doesn't have anything to do with last year."
JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We tried some stuff with the chassis today. We have been experimenting with a lot of components this week. We had our baseline setup on the first day, and the car was really solid in all of the corners. Now it's been a variety of things to get more comfortable. And to be honest, some have worked and some definitely haven't. But when you have a week to learn about things, you have to try every angle. But now it's time to settle in and improve on what you like as a driver and what will work best. I haven't been hunting for any tows out there, and a lot of guys have been using them. When the track goes green, everyone seems to go out in big clumps. That produces the higher speeds. We'll see how things shake out when they run by themselves like in qualifying. And you have to put four laps together, too."
MIKE COLLIVER (Chief engineer, No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara /Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're just trying to make small tweaks and just keep working at it and working at it and getting ready for Saturday. It's been kind of a good experience all around. I'm new with the team. I just started right after the Nazareth race. Little Al and I have been feeling each other out, figuring out what he likes in the car and just tuning it toward that. For as limited time we've got on the track already, we've actually seen a variety of conditions. At times, temperatures have been different, cloud cover has been different. So we've got a pretty good idea of whatever Saturday brings, we're going to be in pretty good shape."(When you came out and ran fast Sunday right off the bat, was that reassuring?): "That was real reassuring because of course there was a little apprehension with me being new to the team. Actually, I spent the last two years working with G Force chassis. This is my first experience with the Dallara chassis, and the first experience working with Little Al, so you know, we were talking beforehand and came up with what we thought would be a good baseline setup to start with. We were pleasantly surprised when we were able to roll right out and run as well as we did on Sunday. I think that confidence factor just kind of established the mood for the weekend."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Things are going very well so far. We're making steady progress day by day and picking up speed each time we're on the track. That has been our plan from the beginning: take our time, work through our program step by step and continue to improve the Marlboro Team Penske car. Consistency is very important at this track, and so far the car has been very consistent. I'm happy with the setup, which seems to be working well in various track conditions, so hopefully we'll be prepared for Pole Day."