IRL: Indy 500: Pole Day qualifying quotes, part 1


Sunday, May 15, 2005

ALEX BARRON (#51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

(About qualifying time and conditions): "We were a little slow, but we backed up what we thought we were going to do, within half of a mile an hour. We hit the gearing right. Conditions changed some from what they were this morning."

(About his setup): "We have focused mainly on qualifying during practice, so we knew kind of what we had coming into today."

DARREN MANNING (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone):

(About conditions): "(With) these cold conditions, there's a lot of downforce and a lot of horsepower. These are pretty good conditions and pretty stable."

(About starting position): "This race is so long. Anything can happen from anywhere on the grid."

(About his run): "This was the best I could do at the moment with the downforce level that we have on the car. This was the first time I've been in the car since the accident on Thursday, so I just wanted to make sure I had a good, confident car underneath me -- something that wasn't going to put me in the wall again. I know we've got a bit of downforce we can take out of the car to go a little bit faster. So, we'll just see if we need it. We've got two more attempts also if we need it. We were quite lucky to go out pretty early on. We can definitely get one or two more runs in that. This morning in the practice session, it took me a while to get up to speed, just getting back up to speed in qualifying trim. So we know we've got a lot of downforce to take out of the car. Maybe not as much as what Ryan (Briscoe) did. I think 2 mile an hour later on this afternoon might be something to go for."

(About going out after the accident): "Going through Turn 2 this morning, it took me a while to put my foot to the floor through there, I'll tell you. That SAFER wall is definitely not soft. Whatever anybody tells you, it's not soft, but it's safe, so that's good."

(About going out to qualify again): "I know there's more time in the car. I know there's a couple more miles per hour. We've got to sit down with Chip and the engineers. The only way to go faster for me now is to take downforce out of the car, and that's obviously risky, given what Ryan's just done. I'm in the show now, I think, pretty much guaranteed, I would say, in the top 22. So, is it going to be worth while taking another 2 mph to get two places further up the grid? We'll have to wait 'til the line's gone through once."

SAM HORNISH JR. (#6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We were not really happy with our run, but we're glad to be back out there. It wasn't very good. It wasn't what we'd thought it could be. The weather has changed a little bit, and the wind's picked up. It's turned just a little bit. We were obviously much quicker on our fast lap. We ran around 226.6. I don't know why we slowed down quite as much as we did. It's a pretty big deal to pull a car out of the field. You never know. You could pull the car out and it could rain or hit the wall. We're going to see where we're at. We know we don't have to be on the pole or in the first two rows to win this race. You just have to be patient and have a good-handling race car. We'll just go out there and do the best we can. We'll just have to make sure our race car is good. That's about all we can do."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#36 Newman Haas Racing Team Centrix Panoz/Honda/Firestone):

"I'm happy. I knew that was the speeds that the car could do. We worked on the car a little. We ran really consistent laps. Maybe not the fastest position that we wanted, but we're going to be ready for the race. I think the cooler track makes it really fast. It's windy, but my car is good handling-wise, so we were flat all the way around for four laps. We tested race setup most of the week. We were going to go for the qualifying setup Friday, but we didn't get much because of the rain. We didn't have that great of qualifying knowledge, and that's why we're not that fast."

(About the new qualifying format): "I think it's going to be a lot more exciting for the fans. With the rain yesterday and qualifying for three days, it's going to be very exciting. Especially next weekend."

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone):

"The cold air makes more downforce, but more drag on the car, so it's pretty impressive. Really, unless the conditions change, I don't see why we'd come back out. Historically, later in the day, sometimes the winds do die down, the sun peeks out and warms the track up a little bit. If we have a little window of being faster, unless that happens, I wouldn't see us coming back out. We've all seen what other guys have done, we all saw the speeds this morning, a lot of those guys got those times by drafting. Everyone knows, pretty much, what they can do, and I think only if someone is a surprising amount off, maybe then they'll come back out. The run that we're running, the speeds that we're running, the car's pretty edgy. It's a bit of a handful, so I don't think people are dying to do that again."

TONY KANAAN (#11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"We had a chance to try the car this morning, and I liked it. We made a couple adjustments to pick up more downforce so we'd have more grip around the track. I'm pleased with my run. I think I pushed too hard too soon, but I'm pleased with the run. I don't know if it's going to be good enough to sit on the pole. I'm going for the pole, but you have to be realistic. I think the first two rows would be good."

(About new qualifying format): "I like it. It makes it exciting. I have two more chances right now. The car is running good, and I could go out two more times and go quicker."

TOMAS ENGE (#2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"We found some small things to improve on the car this morning. Overall, I'm happy with the run, and happy for the guys. Now we can just focus preparing for the race."

(On the Chevy engine): "They have made a great improvement from last year. The engine is very strong and we are very happy to be with Chevy."

(On having veteran teammates): "They are great to work with. It helps us to improve our car even more. Buddy and Tomas are very knowledgeable. I try to gain as much information from them as possible."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (#55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone):

"I was pretty happy. This time, this is what we were expecting. We expected the same time. Low 226 (mph), which is not bad. I think we can be second or third row. My teammate Scott (Sharp), Tony (Kanaan), and Danica (Patrick)--those guys a little bit faster than me. I think we did our best. I don't think will go back to the track in a little while. We are done today."

(Is there more speed in car?): "I don't think we can have any speed."

(About his second year): "Of course, every race is getting comfortable and comfortable. The second time at the Indy 500 race is a lot comfortable. Very comfortable to get up speed. This year, the track surface is different. It is just a different drive, but the racetrack is good."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#37 Newman Haas Racing Team Centrix Panoz/Honda/Firestone):

"This morning, we were faster than that, and we were a bit faster than Bruno (Junqueira) pretty much the whole time. I definitely said that the Centrix car #37 was going to put 25.8 or 25.7 as Bruno (Junqueira) did. We are going to be in the show. It is the most important thing for the Centrix car, but it is always disappointing when you don't know why you are not fast enough."

(About qualifying effort): "It was flat all away around. Not much I can do. The Centrix car was good. It was just lacking some speed. Bruno Junqueira had a better package. Now we are in the show I think, hopefully."

(About weather): "It was very cold, so it gives you a bit more downforce. I don't know quite what to say about all of that. I thought we were going to be a lot faster than that, but we are in the show."

(Are you satisfied?): "I am not satisfied with the speed. The Centrix car is in the field. I did five laps in a row. We took even more downforce out of the car than Bruno did, so I don't really feel that we had anything left on the racetrack. We worked very hard on the race setup, and the Centrix car is pretty good. We were really able to follow nose to tail, and we will see if it is good enough. We spent three days on race setup and nothing on the qualifying setup, so we were not expecting to be on the pole."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"It's good enough as long as we're in the field, but I'm not satisfied. Sometimes you go out on a hot and windy day, and you post some unbelievable times. Sometimes you go out on another day, and it just doesn't come. Before we were a lot stronger. I expected a little bit more, but we'll take what we can get. We don't know why we didn't go as quick. We'll have a look at it. I'd like to maybe have another go at it, but I'm not sure. The Chevy's done a great job. I'm a little disappointed with my time, but that's the way it goes. I have to thank everybody at Panther, Pennzoil, and Chevrolet. They've worked very hard. Hopefully, we can be sort of stuck in the field and not have to worry about it and just concentrate on the race car."

(Regarding new qualifying procedure): "It is great pressure. You're taking time off, so you've got the potential to go worse. And that's the risk you've got to take. It's the gamble you take."

(About Danica Patrick): "My sense is she's very comfortable. She's got her head screwed on straight. I think she can do well. She's got a great package and good people around her. I think she's going to be on top of it."

ROGER YASUKAWA (#24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"I thought it was going to take about 223 mph to be in the field, and we ran 224 mph so I am happy about that. Now we can focus on getting a setup for the race."

(About the track): "Indy is definitely my favorite track. I finished 10th both in 2003 and 2004, so I am hunting for a better finish than 10th this year."

(About the month): "Our week didn't start off as well as we had hoped because we didn't get to run much before qualifying. We just worked to get into the top 22, and hopefully we have accomplished that today. I have to thank Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for giving me this opportunity to run again at the Indianapolis 500."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We still have all week. It was such a tough week for us, tough year so far. We've got no speed, but it was a joy to drive. I love this place and the track. The car was pretty much perfect. No push, no loose, just need a little bit more power. We need to bring the thing a little bit more forward. I was flat out the four laps, and that is all we can do."

(About confidence of staying in top 22): "No, I am not confident that it is good enough to keep me there. I know this is what we got. It is the fastest we've done this week by ourselves. It's not very much, but we will leave it there. We are going to start preparing for the race. In the race, everything evens out. If we have a good car, we can keep it flat out around the track. We stand a chance, and that's all we're going to do."

(If he can get anymore speed): "Man, we've done everything, and even at one point, I didn't even have to turn the steering wheel in the corner to go around, so you cannot do much more than that. The car was as free it could be, and that's it. Power is key. It is a long track, two and a half miles and to push this thing in the wind you need some ground."

(On if he will qualify again today): "For us, we are not going to go back out there. The speed was pretty much it. We tried everything on the car. We even raced it really hard, and it is still going flat out around the track and gained .4 miles per hour. The wheels are straight. There is nothing else we can do. There's nothing left on the car. We'll go racing, and hopefully in the race everything will even out and we'll be able to race with these guys."

(On not being able to get more speed): "It is unusual. It is the first time in my career. It is very difficult, but that is the way it is. I knew it coming here. I was hoping we could make it a little bit better, and I am still hoping we can make it a little bit better. We are going to keep working very hard, and maybe one of these days maybe we'll go back up to th e front. If you stop working, then there's no point doing it. Every time I go back, I'm hoping that we find a solution and find something and get a little bit here and there. I think we are going to get back to the front. If we get back on those tighter tracks, maybe we'll start going out and the team will start getting a bit excited and try to get the wheel going. It is very difficult to do at this time, especially for the 500."

DANICA PATRICK (#16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/ Firestone):

(About making another attempt): "We're going to have to decide whether or not anyone goes any faster. Wheter or not it's worth sacrificing a front row start or not. But I don't know. I want to be on pole, so it is tough; it's tough to decide."

(About the first lap of qualifying): "Just oversteer, the balance is a little bit off. Just got loose and almost spun. I was not expecting to turn right on my qualifying attempt. It's a good car, but the balance is just one lap off. We'll have to adjust that and work on it. But it was frustrating from me as I really wanted the pole."

(Did you know how fast you were going during those laps?): "Actually, no, I didn't know how fast I was going. I had lap times set on my (steering) wheel rather than the speed for the first time on my dash. So I was just doing my best to keep my foot as far to the floor as I could and be smooth."

(What has been the Indy experience so far?): "I'm trying to stay focused, keep my head down and stay on the job. It means a lot that so many people are being supportive."

RICHIE HEARN (#70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Racing Special Panoz/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"We're pretty low on the speed chart, so we'll have to see whether or not I survive the day. I'm pretty disappointed in how I ran. I ran faster earlier in the week with full tanks, and I just don't know why. No one on our team knows why we lost so much speed. We're going to wait and see if we need to go back out. I'll only go back out if I get bumped. I don't even really know what I'd do. It wasn't like I had a problem to fix. I mean the thing is trimmed out, and I just don't think I can go any faster than what we did, so we'll see."

(About Chevy's improvement): "They've run well this year. I know they haven't had the finishes that they've wanted, but they've had some good runs. They qualified on the pole at Motegi, and a lot of guys are running really good here, just not us, so we're going to have to figure out why we're not and put together a good race car."

BRYAN HERTA (#7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

(Will you go out again?) "I don't know. If it's up to me, we will."

(About the run): "It's obviously a little disappointing, or a lot disappointing, but for some reason this month, we really haven't ever really been able to get the speed out of the XM Satellite Radio car that we were hoping for. So we're still searching for it. I didn't have any particular problems during my run. Obviously, it just wasn't quite as fast as Tony's. So, at this point, we'll probably have to evaluate what we're going to do. I wouldn't mind taking another shot at it. The team has to evaluate it and see where we're going to go. We need to get the track open for practice a bit. We need to make a couple runs, make some adjustments and try to find some speed. We didn't have a big imbalance in the car or anything that I know we could just put a turn of front wing in and go back out and go faster. So, we'd really have to probably put a whole new set up on and go out and try and see if we can find any more speed that way and that would require some practice time."

(Why are so many drivers disappointed with their runs?): "I don't think we've had so many cars on the track at one time all month as we had this morning because obviously there was a short session, and we had a day off and the track conditions were a lot different. So, everybody was trying to maximize their track time, and the more cars you put on this track, the more draft there is even if there's five cars on the backstraight. It seems like the wind just swirls and creates more speed."

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Chip Ganassi , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing