IRL: Indy 500: Pole Day post-qualifying quotes

MBNA Pole Post-Qualifying Quotes SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The tough thing is we knew it could have been better. We had a pretty good car this morning. I think we should have been 220½. Then the car...

MBNA Pole Post-Qualifying Quotes

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The tough thing is we knew it could have been better. We had a pretty good car this morning. I think we should have been 220½. Then the car started pushing a little bit. We'll try to make up for it during the race. We had a choice today of going down two roads, and I wanted to go for it, I wanted to try to win the pole, but I didn't think it was my place to say which road we'd go down. Roger (Penske) said, 'We can be consistent or we can go out there and see if we can be a little bit faster.' We ended up deciding to do the faster one and a little bit less consistent one. He left it in my hands a little bit and said, 'If we don't qualify for the pole, it's not a big deal, but sometimes it's better to go for it than just take the easy way out.' That's what we did -- we went for it. I don't know why I'm so disappointed. I think we'll be OK. You can win this race from anywhere. It's a lot easier to win it from first position than it is last position. But we're not going to be in that position. I think we'll be hopefully in the first three rows and if so, that will be good enough for me. I'll go out and do the best I can on Race Day. He (Penske) didn't put any pressure on me. I just knew that this was the first real opportunity I had for the pole so I was glad we went for it. I just wish it had turned out a little differently, but I'll forget about it if we win the race." (About being compared to Rick Mears): "I don't know if there's anybody else in the world I'd like to be compared to. It's a pretty good feeling to even have him say it. It got to the point where enough people had said it, that I hoped it would not upset him, because maybe he doesn't like the way I drive. That's one of the coolest things anybody could ever say about me. It never gets old."

ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 16 Rahal-Letterman Racing Sammy Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I guess being out first you don't know what to expect, what others will do. I was looking at 221s, which didn't come. Maybe because you're not getting a big tow when you're out there. A couple cars going around lets the air circulate so probably the air, in general, is just sitting right now, and it just feels heavier down the straight. Maybe that's the thing. We lost speed. Generally speaking, the run was OK. I think we did a 220.0 or something like that. Hopefully that will put me into the first two rows, but I think we'll just have to see what the others will do. We were really confident going into qualifying. I thought I was going out fourth or fifth. I got to the line and realized I'm the first one out there. But at the end of the run, I thought I'd just go out and do your best and see how it goes. I think I'm really happy with everything. The car was very solid. It's been very solid all week. Buddy and I have been working on the qualifying setup, and Vitor has done a really good job with the race setup. I'm very confident with the Sammy car."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 70T Meijer/Coca-Cola Robby Gordon Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm very disappointed. I thought we'd run better than that. We didn't. The car got really tight. I just couldn't hold it (throttle) open in Turn 1. This will probably be our worst Indianapolis 500 starting spot, and that's disappointing. The track (conditions) obviously isn't as fast as we thought. If we didn't have to leave (for Richmond), we would have waved it (qualifying attempt) off, for sure. We couldn't do that because of the circumstances. I don't think we lost anything to our competitors by me not being here the last two days (in Richmond), because of the rain here (Indy), the other teams didn't get that much track time. I'm already thinking about what we need to do for race setup. I think we'll have a good car for the race, and that's what's important."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8T Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We're surprised. We were wide open all the way around this morning, decided to take some wing out of the car, most of that run was wide open, and we were slower. So that doesn't make much sense at this stage. Everyone is kind of scratching their heads. But we came to the month, and we knew we probably wouldn't have the speed for the first three rows, based on the first three races, where we've been qualifying. That's not going to change overnight. So we have chosen to work really hard on the race car setup. We've been saying all month, other than the pole, and maybe the front row, by the first pit stop of the race, you don't remember who qualified where. And if that allows us to have a better race car, I'm all for that." (About effects of Thursday crash on qualifying run): "We crashed Thursday night, but the two cars were very equal, so that really wasn't much of a setback for us. We just went one step too far with that car, and it snapped on us. Unfortunately, it rained all yesterday. It would have been nice to have a few hours to leisurely maximize the speed of this car, but instead we had 40 minutes this morning. But the Delphi guys I thought did a great job." (About lack of speed this month): "The important thing is, we've come here, and I don't want to say we've won this part of the race, but to be on the pole, qualify well a number of times and then not done as well as you want in the race. It really leaves you wanting to come back here and have a great race car. And that's what we've chosen to do, and I think it was the right choice all the way around."

LARRY FOYT (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): For me, it wasn't too nerve-wracking because my dad has been pretty conservative on my car setup since we've been here. Our speeds haven't been nearly what I wanted or what I expected when I was coming here, so on that end, it's been a little frustrating. There are so many things that can go wrong in those four laps, and only a couple things that can really go right. So as far as that goes, I'm glad it's over. Unfortunately, the speed wasn't that great, but we went ahead and took it because it's just all the car seems to have right now, and we'll take the next two weeks to figure out a good race setup. The car drove really well -- just tried to be really smooth and use up all the racetrack that I could and not scrub off any speed. We went ahead and took it rather than taking some chances. My dad's thinking was that it's plenty fast to be in the race. He's been here a long time, and he knows the big pay day comes on Race Day." (About his future racing direction): "Hopefully this will be an annual event for me. I still feel like I have some good opportunities for me in NASCAR that could come about. I definitely am having a blast. Most of my roots in racing were geared toward coming to this place. I'd love to be here on a full time if the right deal came up, but I also love stock car racing if the right opportunity came up there. It probably would just depend on sponsorships and opportunities. I wish I had done this many, many years ago because this race is why I wanted to be a race car driver. So to be here and be going through everything that I've watched for so many years is amazing. I wish I was smiling bigger, but the only reason I'm not is that I'm a competitive person, and the speed I ran today I'm not content with. At the same time, it's the greatest day in my life."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): You have no idea what Kanaan's got coming, have you? I'd be very surprised if he doesn't beat us because he's performed very strongly all month. You know what Kanaan's like. He's always a challenge. If anybody's going to beat me, I hope it's him or Dario and hopefully Bryan if he gets another shot at it. And Dario is just about to go out, so hopefully he'll do well. In all fairness, the conditions are difficult out there. It seems it takes a little while for the tires to get up to temperature, and I think with how competitive the field is, certainly this year it seems more difficult than last year that suddenly people that could contend for the pole. The cars are just moving around a lot. But my boys on the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car gave me a good balance, and the old Honda was real strong into (Turn) 1, which was good. But I was a little bit apprehensive. I got loose on my last lap in practice before qualifying, and I was apprehensive after what happened to Bryan (Herta). It is more difficult when you're so close to somebody and they crash. That's a new experience for me, and one I don't particularly like. It's OK, but I'm going to kick his butt for scaring us like that." (About last year's race): "I learned a great deal from that from the next race and the way I drive as far as etiquette on the racetrack. I have three teammates that are experienced in situations like that. They give you a good idea for what's right and wrong on and off the track. They know my kind of personality. They know I'm a little bit of a hyperactive fool from time to time. They'll make me toe the line." (About what friends in England say about him racing on high-speed ovals): "They think I'm crazy. They think I'm absolutely crazy. But you know, they may think I'm crazy, but everybody in England wants to be racing in the IRL right now. For them to say that, they're coming over thick and fast. You think there's a British invasion right now with four. You guys come to the tr ansporters next weekend, and I guarantee you there's more Brits trying to get rides later on in the season. I would say if you're looking at any championship in the world to race in right now where's there's good teams, good engine manufacturers and competitive racing that's not boring, come right here."

ED CARPENTER (No. 52T Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm happy to be in the race. We weren't really going to be a contender for the pole anyway, so I'm just happy to be in solid in the race. Now we can continue working on the race setup and preparing for May 30 because that's really what I want to do, is win the race." (About nerves on MBNA Pole Day): "There's not as many cars, and there's not going to be bumping, so there's not as much to be nervous about. We had a really good practice session this morning, the car was great, and I felt like we peaked right before qualifying, so there was nothing to really be nervous about. I have confidence in my team and the car I have, so it was just a matter of going out and doing what I do, and that's driving a race car. We put out four consistent laps, and now we can start thinking about the race." (About his relationship with team owner Eddie Cheever Jr.): "I've known Eddie for a long time, ever since I was a kid, but this year I'm getting to know him in a whole different light. It's really fun, though, he's been great to work with. You've got to remember I worked for A.J. (Foyt) last year, so this year is definitely going to be easier than that was. We're here to win the 500, and Eddie has done that, and I learn something from him every day."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): I'm very happy with four consistent laps. That was the main thing, just to make sure we got in the show. We missed out on Friday, and being a rookie, you can't be too careful with a car and a track with changing conditions out there. We erred on the safe side, definitely. I felt that the car was really stable. I think we've got a great race car. We'll wait for two weeks and see how it feels then." (About plan for the week): "That was the aim for the whole year. That's the benefit of a two-car team so that we can work on the month of May and make sure we make the best out of it. Although you do get a number of days here, there's never enough time and there's never enough tries to be able to work through everything you've got. We worked through the whole week just making sure I got comfortable with the track being here for the first time. Your hopes are always slightly different to what you can achieve just taking it gradually and slowly and taking out the downforce. With the time we had, we didn't really take out enough of it. We're really happy to be where we are and where we qualified, and we're very confident in going into two weeks time."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No.36 PacifiCare/Secure Horizons Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I have thank a lot (of people), first off. Mr. Paul Newman and Carl Haas. To come back to run the race again, after being on pole and racing twice, it's great to be here. Just think, over a month ago we had nothing. Then they hired Jim McGee, and he did such a great job to put the team together. It's a great opportunity to race again at Indianapolis. I had one of the best moments of my career here. I love the track, (and) I used to live in Indianapolis for two and a half years." (About plan for opening week): "We just ran race trim the first days of practice. We first expected to go on Friday to testing the qualifying setup. Everybody else spent the whole week on qualifying setup. You have to prioritize the race setup since it's the most important one. So we didn't do any qualifying runs yesterday because of rain. Not to make any excuse, but then we had to try everything this morning. My fastest speed all week was 218.99. I was not even in the top 20. The team did a great job to calculate the setup, all the gears we had to have, and the car was good, and then in practice the gearbox blew. So they had to fix the car to come back to the track. The first lap I got sideways in Turn 1, thought I would crash. The second lap it didn't push as much. I was quite happy with the speed I got."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'll be honest with you guys: I had a mediocre run. Chevy has given me a great engine this weekend. I think we could have gone a little bit more. I just have to thank everyone at Panther and Pennzoil. I thought we had a chance for the pole, and we didn't get the maximum out of it. All in all, we have to be happy. This week has been pretty tough, and a lot of people have been on the edge and you've seen a lot of crashes. So, you know, we've got the car in one piece, and we're in the top 10, and I think so far we're the top Chevy, so we have to happy with that. You must listen to a lot of excuses in this room today. But this race is 500 miles, and I think that the way Panther runs races and the experience I've had in the past two years and I suppose my maturity now, I think maybe I'm in a position possibly to step into Victory Lane."

SARAH FISHER (No.39 Bryant Heating & Cooling/Cure Autism Now Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I thought it was all right. You always want to be a little bit faster, no matter how fast you are. And I'm sure Buddy Rice wants to be faster than what he did. I'm very thankful at this stage to be with Kelley Racing. To have one job a year is pretty stressful and to be out of the car but to be invited back is really an honor. We've been working a lot on race setup. I want a comfortable car; I want to be able to go out there and put the hammer down on Race Day and hopefully be in the top 10 at the end of 500 (miles). That's my goal, and we've got 'em in the field, and we've got step one accomplished." (About the challenge of the colder weather and the new track today): "I drew number 60 so I qualified toward the back. It really wasn't a challenge. There's so much math in these cars that you can figure out how to have the same race car from a sunny day to a cold, dark, damp day. With a little bit of that math and a little bit of confidence and knowing where you're car is at and that it's stable enough to take those changes, it really didn't affect us much. If anything, it made it a little better."

AL UNSER JR. (No.20 Patrick Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think it's a great position to be in with where we started. You know, this is our first race for the '04 season. The cars have changed from last year to this year with the 3(00) or 400 pounds less downforce and so all the setups that I had from a year ago didn't apply for anything this year. We've been learning every day. We had those couple days of rainouts that put us a little bit behind because we didn't have the track time. So to come up with a high 17 and low 18 was very good. The car ran consistent and solid, and now we can go to work on the race setup." (Difficult to deal with this after you've spent years at the top of the grid?): "There's always hope. We hoped that we would be starting a little bit further up front than where we are but reality hits you. You've got to spend some time with these cars and with your engineers and your crew to get to know each other. As late as a start as we've gotten, I think we've done a fantastic job. We've outqualified so far several of the teams that have been at the first three races of the season. If we keep going the way we're going, being smart about it and using our heads and so on, we can work our way to the front." (Do you envision yourself as a car owner for your son?): "No, no, no, no. I don't write the checks. I take 'em. No, no car owner." (Which is stronger -- wanting to win your first 500 or now that it has been awhile since you've won?): "I have the same desire that I had when I was dreaming about coming to this place. I can't say that I want it now more than I wanted it when I was a rookie. I want to win this race every single year as bad as the year before and as much in the years to come. We're going to do everything we can to put us in that elite three-time winner group. I have a great opportunity to do that."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal-Letterman Argent/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "For what's happened and how the month's gone for the Rahal-Letterman group has been unbelievable and to have Pioneer and Argent on board is what we came here to do, to put there car up front. That's obviously what I was brought here to do when I came to sub for Kenny Brack. It won't be too much longer, and he'll be back in the car. We'll have a two-car effort coming. We're very pleased with everything. You can't say any more for Honda; they've had the engine to have all year. The finally won in Japan. Hopefully, we'll have a solid top-five or so with all Hondas. That would be ideal. I'm not sure we were going to run 222 (mph), but we knew we had enough to go for the pole, for sure. People say we're under the radar all month or something; I just think that we don't cheat ourselves. We make sure we know where we're running at and where we need to be. We make sure we try to do as many of our laps as we can. Obviously, it's very difficult without a draft. That's been very crucial to all of our qualifying sessions throughout the year both at Motegi and at Homestead, were very, very important that we made sure we knew where we were at. The team, Scott Roembke and Todd Bowland, have done an excellent job on that." (Were you on top of conditions to adapt to them, or did you not see that much of a change?): "I think it's hard to say. It's been raining off and on. We knew we had a pretty solid car yesterday when we first went out. All three cars were very quick, so we knew in these conditions we were close. The biggest thing that even I've noticed is that it's too easy to outsmart yourself and go down the wrong path. Todd (Bowland), my engineer, has kept everything pretty much right in line, and we've gone down the path that we think we need to go. Obviously, it's worked out so far. It's completely different, the weather, than it has been all week. The wind has completely changed the other direction. It worked out. We knew all of qualifying would be weather-dependent. If you probably go back and look my weather for when I ran vs. when Dan (Wheldon) ran, was obviously probably a little bit different, as well. That might have played a role." (Did you get anything out of Roger's qualifying run?): "All month what's been a big help has been a three-car effort. Vitor (Meira) has been working on full tanks most of the month so Roger and I didn't have to focus on that, necessarily. Vitor and I have similar driving styles, so it was going to play a good role that when he started working on full tanks, from full tanks to go to qualifying trim was going to be a help. I think without having the multiple-car effort we'd be, even if we were still sitting in the same position as a one-car effort, we'd still have to struggle next week to make sure that we had a solid full tank car." (About being 2 mph faster than practice): "There's a lot of work that goes into that. Some guys in the heat of the day were faster than us out and out by themselves. We saw (Tony) Kanaan and (Adrian) Fernandez run solid 221s. Obviously in this weather, some of them have dropped off, and our car maybe picked up. It goes into just doing your homework. The whole engineering staff at Rahal-Letterman group has been working hard and put the last of our stuff on. We don't always stick everything on there we know and go out and force your hand. Then you're going to make the other teams go out there and work that much harder." (Rice MBNA Pole transcript will be available after press conference).

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I am disappointed because I expected better. I think these conditions are quite bad for us because the temperature was too cold, and hotter conditions are much better for our car. I hope we get warmer conditions for the race. But the car is working very good, and the team has done a very good job, and I am looking forward to the race." (About the Japanese reaction to his success at Indy thus far, especially driving for Japanese manufacturer Honda): "I do my best everywhere. When I was in Europe using a different engine manufacturer, I do my best. It is hard to compare to Japanese drivers, because to compare to them, I have to be in Japan." (About what was missing this afternoon in terms of speed): "The conditions were quite different than the couple of practice days before, and the cold conditions were not good for us. I don't know why, but hot conditions are much better for most drivers. I think we had a little too much downforce because the temperature was cold. I don't know why we were slow. If I knew, I would have a quicker time."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal-Letterman Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was good. Team Rahal made a huge effort putting the third car to Japan and also expanding here. Centrix came along with us. They've been a great sponsor. Almost 221 is good. To be honest, I expected a little bit more just because of Buddy's time and speed. It's a big difference from what I started last year. All we do now is positioning ourselves to the race. That's the big picture, and we have to keep that in mind. I spent most of the week doing race setup. I did at least five or six full-tank runs. Qualifying simulations, I think I did four at the most while other people did 10, I guess. But Buddy and Roger have been working on it, and that's the beauty of a three-car team. I've been working on racing setup, and we're going to have a good race setup, for sure. They've been working on qualifying setup, and here's a good qualifying setup. It's going to pay off in the end having the big picture in mind, which is the race. After the first lap, you know what it's going to be and what it's not going to be. After my first lap, which was 220.8 or something, I knew 222 would be undeliverable. The car was good. I didn't feel any scrubbing or the car being loose or pushing, so I kept on going. If I don't see any problems, it is a team call. Bobby Rahal, they were watching it. I think they were pleased with it, so that's why I kept on going. Third row, it's a good position. Gil started, I think, 13th last year, and won. So again, it's positioning ourselves."

ADRIÁN FERNÁNDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was good. In the morning I was very hard on the (rev) limiter, so we changed the gears. We put a sixth, longer. I did my first attempt, and we were a little were a little slower, so we went back to the gears that we had this morning. The car felt really good. I was flat out through the four laps. For some reason, we just didn't have the speed that we thought we were going to have. I thought we were going to be closer to 222s (mph). The car is very sensitive sometimes. The important thing to me is that every time we go to the track we're always on top, and I think that is important. The car has been running good in traffic and getting up to speed and all that. I think we have a very strong car for Race Day, and at the end of the day that's what really matters."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No.3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): (Was 220 the range where you were looking to qualify?): "Yeah, I think 220 or 221. Unfortunately, we had a little trouble this morning. We had a range where we were going from being brave to being stupid, and I got in that range and just said OK. Unfortunately, the rain delayed a little bit what we were expecting (in terms of speed), and the car was pushing like crazy and just going straight. So I got on the radio to TC (Tim Cindric), and he said 'Come on, fix it,' and I said: 'What do you want me to do? Get out of here and do like A.J. Foyt?' But that is why we waved off the first run, which was a smart decision. So we went back, realized what happened and fixed it. It was still pushing a little, but I said, 'You know what, that's it, I don't have the stomach for this anymore.' But it was a good run for team Penske, and you can't ask for a better team, they always have great results here." (About how temperature affected your run today): "Normally, when it's cooler out, we have more downforce, which means we can go faster through the corners. During the whole week, we had temperatures in the 80 to 85 range. Today we lost that dimension where we can go, and when you test like that all week, it's simply very hard to achieve (a good setup). That's why we went in that direction today (with less downforce) because we thought that we could do it. But unfortunately, this place is amazing, you know, that's why it's so difficult, because it's constantly changing. So to answer your question, what was loose, it just took too much downforce, and the car didn't have enough support to stay stable in a corner. In fact, I almost crashed on the last lap of the session, so I said 'You know what, let me breathe a little bit.'"

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It was pretty disappointing, but what can you do? From this morning, it pretty much went sour from the get-go. Darren's (Manning) car had another engine problem, and we just didn't have any speed. I think some of it's got to be from sitting out the last two days. Friday it rained, but then Darren drove my car on Thursday. I don't know where we lost. I think we had a good car on Wednesday. It was running the high 220s, so I was quite happy with the car on the track. We need to look at what we did or what happened to the car." (About weather delay): "The weather doesn't really bother me. It's the same for everybody. Typically you just have to get out there, and hopefully you're well prepared. I think that's the biggest thing for today -- we just weren't prepared. You know we lost a bunch of speed. I think we were a little maybe too confident in what we were trying to do and made changes we didn't need to make. The run was pretty decent. The car was pretty neutral. We were flat out, and you can't do much more than that." (About overconfidence): "A team like this, we shouldn't miss, but as you've seen in previous years where Penske didn't do as well as they wanted to do. We need to regroup. It's moments like this that make you stronger."

A.J. FOYT IV (#14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing): "It was a frustrating day. We had a fire in the injector this morning and didn't get any practice. My guys did a great job changing the engine in about 45 minutes. We hoped to get some practice in before I went to qualify, but the track never opened for practice. As time wore down, my grandfather asked me if I wanted to try to qualify, and I said yes. So my first laps on the track today were in qualifying. I glanced off the wall setting up for Turn 2 (white-walled the right-front tire on lap on Lap 3), but it didn't hurt anything. I'm disappointed for my sponsor, Conseco, because I know we could have run better if we didn't have the problem early. It was a long frustrating day. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad we're in the show."

TONY KANAAN (No.11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Dario brought up a good point. We worked toward qualifying all week, and I think it proved that we have a very good organization -- three cars in the top five. Having said that, what's more amazing is having seven Honda engines in the top seven. Obviously, I was a bit disappointed because I thought we had a shot for the pole. I kept all the hopes up. All my teammates -- I remember pulling out of the pits, and I saw all of them, and it was like, 'OK, it's your turn,' and I didn't do it. We worked hard. The conditions were different. I think we produced too much downforce at the end. I went for a try first, and it wasn't right. I thought that I had a better shot, so we tried it again. Dario went one way and I went the other way. We could be looking like the kings now. He could be looking bad, but it worked the other way around. I'm extremely happy for the team. This is going to be my third 500, and this is my worst start. I think you can win from the second row. I'm happy for Dario -- great comeback. Our team relies a lot on him and Bryan doing a lot of race setup. I guess I should feel proud of myself -- it looks like I did a good job for qualifying. Hopefully we can work together. We'll get Bryan back in the car. It was a tough day for the team. We're so attached, and to see your first teammate go out there and crash wasn't nice. He's OK. He'll be back. We'll give him the fast car. He'll kick our butt, maybe." (What is the anxiety like on a day like today?): "Actually, it makes you more comfortable because you did a run already, you know the track conditions, and you know what you can do. You try to keep yourself concentrated to make the right changes, and I think we did make the right changes. We just didn't go fast enough. But I went faster than my first run. We knew the risks. We knew it could be worse. We tried. We came here to win the pole and win the race. I was not going to give up, especially having two of my teammates doing really well. So we sai d, 'Hey, we have all the same cars, let's try something different.' They obviously tried everything they could, and they went fast enough. So we went the other way, and it didn't work as well. It's good to say, 'It didn't work,' and you still start fifth. Usually people who say, 'It didn't work,' crashed. I guess it was a great choice. It just wasn't as good as it should be."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No.27 Arca/Ex Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm surprised with it, actually. Bryan and I had decided that in our side of the AGR team that we were going to work on qualifying. But unfortunately, Thursday and Friday it rained pretty much the whole time. TK (Tony Kanaan) and Dan were going to work on qualifying all the time. So we were really behind this morning, coming in. We made some good progress. The first run, I felt the car was pretty good. The second one was better. So honestly, thanks to the guys because they did a wonderful job. The last time I was here, I qualified second week, in the back, so I'm definitely happier than I was then. I'm excited to start in the front row of the Indy 500, obviously. I'll be focused on the race and the next 500 miles and trying to do the best job I can to make sure we win the race."

DARREN MANNING (No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Big, big crazy day for me, yeah, big time. Started off yesterday, we were planning on getting several simulated qualifying attempts in on a new motor. Obviously, that didn't happen, so we went out this morning on that new motor. Tried to get some runs in, but obviously with just 30 minutes it was going to be a bit truncated session, just to do qualifying run after qualifying run for me because I've been in qualifying trim all week. Unfortunately, we had an engine problem from the get-go (this morning), and we couldn't fix it in pit lane. Electrical things that we thought we might have been able to sort out. Took it back to the garage and sacrificed our starting position in qualifying line and hoped maybe we'd get a bit of testing if the qualifying line broke, and of course that didn't happen. We had to take two qualifying attempts because on the first one I had a moment in Turn 1. Came back, and we adjusted the car beautifully. It was great after that. We're just going to have to work really hard over the next week to get the race setup perfect. We will." (Scott Dixon mentioned that tough days like these work to make the team stronger): "Absolutely. Being my first year and not knowing what to expect on a day like this, the pressure just builds and builds. We had like one minute left, and they were going to close the qualifying line. There's not much more pressure than that when you're not even in the race. It was vitally important that I laid a lap down, and I was just a bit cautious. We did a good job of adjusting to the conditions after our first run. We just didn't have enough."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Eddie Cheever , Bobby Rahal , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Rick Mears , Paul Newman , Buddy Rice , Carl Haas , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing