Indianapolis 500-Mile Race IRL IndyCar Series Post-Practice Quotes Thursday, May 15, 2003 ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Today we did two full-stint runs, and we are very happy with our car balance. I got to...
Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
IRL IndyCar Series Post-Practice Quotes
Thursday, May 15, 2003
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Today we did two full-stint runs, and we are very happy with our car balance. I got to learn some runs in traffic, and I got a good feel on how I need to pass people during the race. We were not aiming for fast times today. Instead, we focused on the consistency during the full stint, estimating what the race pace will be. I feel ready for the race. Depending on the weather tomorrow, we may do some running in order to be able to adapt to any conditions by Race Day."
JIMMY KITE (No. 18 PDM Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We didn't do a whole lot today. We got that new Chevy motor in it, and we just wanted to shake it down, see if it pulls me down the straightaway, and it did. From what I could tell, it feels like it got more power than the last one we had in it. We'll find out tomorrow. We shook it down, never ran a flat lap today, and we'll see what we can do tomorrow." (What kind of speed do you think you can reach?): "I'd like to say 226 (mph) or 227, but realistically if we could get a 225, and I can run four of those back to back, then the team's going to be happy because I know that's going to get us in the field. We're going to trim it out some more. We ran with a lot of downforce last week, so there's plenty left to trim out, but we're not going to get ridiculous with it. Pole Day is over. We just want to make sure we get the car safely in the field."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Victory Brand/Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was an OK day. We got some good information for the race. We would have liked to run more and run faster. We needed some information for the race, so we tried all kinds of configurations trying to get the car like I really wanted it for the race. We are close to what I want to see out of it for the race. I just wish we were able to go a little quicker. We're running flat out all the time and wide open in race trim. It is certainly very aggressive in race trim."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "Our race setup is very good. I got a chance to work with the car in traffic, and there were no big problems. I think we will come out and do one more long run tomorrow, and then that will be the end of our preparation at the track this week. The Pioneer team did a fantastic job all month long. I wish we could just keep driving until Race Day because I love this place so much. I will just save all of that enthusiasm and energy for the final practice and for Race Day."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a pretty good day once again. Actually, we are very happy with our last two days. My engineers and my team worked some magic since the weekend and the car is to the point where it is very comfortable. We were able to try a number of things today, and the car responded very well. If the conditions on Race Day are anything like they are today, I think we're going to have a good day. But you never know, so you have to be ready for anything. We're done for the week, so the guys are going to take the Hollywood cars back to the race shop and get us ready for Carb Day. All in all, we're in great shape, I think."
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Special Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "We're still figuring out what makes a good car and what makes a bad car, and we've learned a lot of things. We know we had some problems in qualifying, and we've learned about two or three of those as the week has gone on. Today we're working purely on race setups, getting lots of miles and running of full tanks. We're finding out how many laps we can put on a set of tires and just going through the paces. We're really just using this as a test session for our time. I can't say enough about every individual on the Access Motorsports team. They've done just a wonderful job, and we're really coming together as a team. I think we had a fantastic day working on race setups."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We didn't get too many laps, but it was a long day. But it's preparation for a big race, and we'll keep working at it. We're still working on race setups, and the Pennzoil Panther guys are just working their butts off. It may be a long day for me at the racetrack, but they are working long days and nights working on these cars. I'm glad everything has progressed the way it has, and hopefully we'll keep going forward."
BILLY BOAT (No. 98 Pedigo Chevrolet Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a plan to run 500 miles on our race engine, and we finished it up today. It was really a durability test for Chevrolet, and everything went really well. We ran high downforce and full-fuel configuration, just like the race. We're trying to figure out what the pace will be and how quick we need to run. We'll probably put a qualifying engine in it and start working back toward trimming the car out and getting ready for Sunday."
TONY RENNA (No. 32 Cure Autism Now/HomeMed Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We just went through another program today of working on race setup. We spent a little time in both of our cars working on some issues with our primary car, but we got that sorted out. We went back to the T-car to focus on our plan we've had all month, which is working on a good car for the race. Everything felt really good. The car seems to be getting better with every little change, and we're getting a little time in traffic, as well. It was a good day, and everyone did a great job with the Cure Autism Now/HomeMed Pharmacy car. We had no mechanical issues, and everything was solid, so I'm pretty happy about everything."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We made a little bit of a gain today with the car. I really don't know where we are on our speed, when I run alone I'm only the 222-mph range. The Corteco car has been running really good, and the car is handling great in traffic, so we'll put a fresh engine in tonight and see how we go tomorrow. We'll still keep working away at our race program the rest of the week and just keep doing the same thing and hopefully make some more gains."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a good day. The Delphi guys showed good hustle by getting our T-car back together and back out on the track so we could leave our race car parked for Carburetion Day. We picked up basically where we left off yesterday. We had a good race pace, and we'll just keeping working on making the Delphi car better for the race."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a very good day today. We didn't run that many laps, but the car is very good. We made some final adjustments for the race, and the car has responded very well to the changes. I think that we're about ready for the race. I'm so happy to be with such a great group of guys. We have really jelled as a group."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The car seems pretty good. We keep improving the car each time out, and I'm happy with where we're at. We ran about 90 laps and made several long runs. My hand feels fine, and I think that I'm ready to go. The team has done an awesome job all month, and I'm getting very excited for the race."
ALEX BARRON (No. 20 Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I think overall it went fairly well. We got up to speed really quick. It's all the little things that you get with chemistry within the team, and that is what we're working on right now. There's not a lot of time to do that, but we have a really good package. We have Toyota engines and G Force chassis, which I've driven with Team Penske. So, I think we're in pretty good shape there. But again, it's all the little things. Getting in the show on Sunday is one thing but having a good race car for 500 miles is another thing. We're working on those things to get some angles on how to attack the race. We have a short time to do it, but we're doing everything we can to put it in place at the right time." (Did Roger Penske play a role in you landing this ride?): "They never had permanent plans to run a third car. Did he help me? Yes. He put me in a very good car at Motegi. He helped come here and show speed in his car prior to the month of May. I think that played a big factor in getting the ride at Mo Nunn, and I thank him for that. At the same time, I gained a lot of experience. To get in a car and get a lot of experience here at Indy, I think that helped, for sure." (Did you actually talk to Penske?) "Again, they never had a permanent situation, and we were always up front with each other. That's one of the great things about Roger. He's fairly straightforward and communicating with Tim Cindric. I was up front with them the whole time, and they were the same. They knew I was searching other avenues, and they told me that if I got something put together, I should move forward." (What's your timetable for the rest of the week?): "I think, initially, you have to determine how fast you want to get the car. You only have two or three days prior to qualifications. Really, right now, with only Carb Day after qualifications, you have to work on race setups. That's what we did to get me up to speed. Probably Saturday, we'll start working on qualifying . You never know here with the weather. You change your game plan if you think it's going to come in, and you jump to qualifying. There's definitely a lot to do in a short amount of time. Mo Nunn has put together a quality program, and we're ready to go." (When was your first contact with Mo Nunn?): "I talked to Peter Parrott (team manager) and Mo quite a bit. You can hear a lot of things around the track, but a lot of it is fantasy until they called me directly, which was yesterday. It didn't move any farther forward until that point." (Were you close to any other deals): "I talked to several team owners who were trying to put together a deal, but the thing people don't understand is when you have two primary drivers and you are going after a championship, you don't want to take away the focus on what they are trying to do. This is the biggest race, and everybody is trying to win it, but the last thing you need is a big distraction."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were able to run a good number of laps today. I think Jimmy (Vasser) and I are making headway in the race setups. The track was really different today and made for some difficult conditions, but our staff did a good job concentrating on the direction of the car. We still have some issues to work on with the car, but I think it's a positive step to have Jimmy and I working in the same way. I'll continue to work on the race, and Jimmy will have to look at qualifying setup on Friday a little. It's good to have Jimmy here now. Jimmy has a lot of experience, and he and I can bounce things off each other this week. Of course, he was here with Team Rahal last year, and they were fast in the race, so he will be a good person to work with on the race settings. I was asked last week if I ran the same setups as Jimmy. I don't know because we haven't been teammates before. But I know we like the (same) driving lines on the track because we crashed into each other three times last year."
JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Argent Mortgage Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We ran a little better today. Kenny (Brack) and I are having similar problems with our car, but we are working in a good direction. The track conditions really changed today from Wednesday. We are working on our plan with the race setups. We're chipping away at things, and that is good. We haven't put a qualifying setup on the Argent car yet. I think we'll work on that on Friday. I'm still getting used to the time change from Europe. I woke up really early again today, but I was able to get back to sleep and that helped me. I should be OK by Saturday."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were just working on the race setup today. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car got better and better throughout the day, and I think we're in good shape. We aren't exactly where we want to be, so my crew is going to work hard tomorrow. Right now, I think we're very competitive, but we want to make sure we cover all of our bases for when the race starts."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today's plan was to get the backup car up to speed, and we did that in very quick order since we didn't get out until late in the day. We're pretty pleased with the preparation, and now we just want to log miles with the backup for the rest of the week."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today went really well. We went out there and did full-tank runs. We were able to run completely through two full tanks. We did a quick lap of a 223.8 (mph) by ourselves. The car is very consistent right now on full tanks. We have a good pace for the race. We ran a little bit in traffic. The competition out there is so tight, you are almost stuck doing whatever pace the car in front of you is doing. What we wanted to learn was to make sure the car, in traffic, was good. We found that it was. I am confident that everything is going just as planned."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a long day. We are working on the same thing as yesterday, our race trim. We had some minor problems that we had to work through. We are just doing what we need to do to have a good race car."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2T Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Today was my first day on the track this month. Compared to a month ago, it is really different. The car is different. The track is different. Right now I am building confidence. I am just trying to do everything right. I don't want to make any mistakes or do anything silly. I am building confidence with both the qualifying trim and the race trim. I don't know about the future. We'll see. All I know is I will test tomorrow and do my best for Team Menard."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a very good day for us. We turned close to 130 laps, working a lot on the race setup and not worrying about lap times at all. I was pretty pleased with the balance we came out with, so I'm going to give Michael (Andretti) his car back tomorrow, and he is going to continue to work. It was a great team effort today between Dan (Wheldon) and me. We found a pretty good balance that we think is going to be good for the race, so Michael is going to get in tomorrow, as is Dan, and we'll see."
KIM GREEN (President, Andretti Green Racing): "That was a lot of miles. Again today, we were just working on race setup during long runs and getting the car adjusted for all the different weather conditions we could end up with on Race Day. I thought we had a good, productive day. Michael (Andretti) will jump in his backup car tomorrow, and Dan (Wheldon) will run again tomorrow and continue working toward our goal of getting a setup that we think is good by itself, running in traffic with a load of fuel, low on fuel, on new tires and on tires that are worn. All those issues."