88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Post-Race Quotes SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Guys on the team did a great job. Didn't have all the pieces this Indy." ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 18 PDM Racing ...
88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Guys on the team did a great job. Didn't have all the pieces this Indy."
ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 18 PDM Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The rain delayed things. Every time this track was fresh, it was deadly loose in every corner. We came in and fixed it and it was good. Then it rained. We went back out, and it was loose again in traffic. They finally got that out of it, and by mid-race and we had a pretty decent car to run decent lap times. Nothing that would light the track on fire, but certainly better than earlier on. A lot of times, we were just out there surviving and finishing the race. The car was comfortable, though. The PDM crew did a great job with the pit stops. It is a fun race. I forgot how darn long this race was. It is a long one, though."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 20 Patrick Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (Finished 17th): "I guess it's where we started. I didn't lose any ground, and I didn't gain ground, unfortunately. The racing crew did a great job. The car didn't stutter one bit all month long. I like the Chevrolet power, but I wish my handling would have showed up a little bit better. Every time I got in traffic, I just couldn't do anything with anybody, so I ended up losing ground." (About strategy late in the race): "We were on a set schedule at that time. We were doing the best job we could do as far as getting in and out of the pits. They gave me a good horse today, and I want to congratulate Bobby Rahal and Buddy Rice. Those two guys are good friends, especially Turkey Bird (Rahal). It's good to see him win the 500 again. And Buddy Rice, fantastic job. They deserved it, and they earned it."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 21 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It felt like it was a lot better than a 16th-place run, really. The Pioneer Mo Nunn guys did a great on the pit stops. I made it a little tough on them. I went a foot or foot-and-a half by them. I had a little trouble getting out on that last one. I could not get it in gear. I think it cost us a position, but it is probably it. We really ran strong. We were closing in on the other rookie there, Matsuura, and he had a strong car all month long. I am happy that we finished. I think it was a little bit of sweet. I really think we could have rolled better than a 16th-place run. We finished, and I hope I get a full-time ride."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We ran all day long, and the Delphi guys gave me some great stops. The car was real good; it just didn't seem like we had enough speed to be better, but we duked it out real hard at the end there, and picked up a bunch of spots. We hoped we would have been better than 13th, but, you know, that's the way it falls sometimes, and we'll take it and roll."
RICHIE HEARN (No. 33 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The race was OK. Unfortunately, I was down on power. I could only run about 207 by myself. I thought I was a sitting duck all day. I probably had the best-handling car I have ever had, which is kind of disappointing because we just had no horsepower to keep me going. I really had to work and make the pass. I was catching people right when I went into the corner, and then I would have to lift and it would just get worse from there. It is just the way it is. I am happy to be apart of it and hopefully put something a little bit better together for next year."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was a good day for everybody; I am very proud of the guys. Obviously, we would like to have had a better result. We just seemed to not have the breaks that we needed to have. We started with a not-so-good pit stop at the beginning, and then I was having a little bit of a problem on some of the restarts. I sort of took it back on the track and passed some people and got into a good position, but I think the biggest bad break was at the end when Helio (Castroneves) overshot his pit, and I really had no space to come into my pit so that really put us in a bad position for the guys to change the tires. We lost like three or four positions that we couldn't recover at the end. We suffered from understeer through the race, and that really didn't help me to push a little bit harder like I would have liked to do. In general, it was a good race; good for Kosuke (Matsuura). For our second year here as a team, I think it was a very good result, and I very proud of them."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 LifeFitness DRR / Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "After the restart, we had no radio communication, which complicated our situation. Robbie (Buhl) did a great job of calling the changes and tuning the car even though we weren't able to talk about it. I'm not sure if we ran out of gas or if we had an electronics issue to end our day. The car was making intermittent noises down the backstretch for the last 15-20 laps, and the dash kept blinking. We lost a lap with a flat tire earlier and got it back, and just had one more stop to make. It was starting to go flat the lap before, and then when I got into (Turn) 3, the whole car took off. We had a strong top-10 car here. I didn't have any trouble passing anywhere."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a better pace in traffic, and the car was OK toward the end. I missed our pit box on the next-to-last stop and had to go around another lap, which probably cost us three to four spots. Owen (Snyder III, engineer) and the team did a great job, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "My car had something wrong. It was loose, very loose."
ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're pretty pleased. It was kind of up and down. I think we had a really good race car all day. The restarts -- I only had one good restart, and all the other restarts, as soon as I got a run I had to lift because the guy in front of me checked up in front of me, and I just didn't have the timing down. Once I got it running, I was able to overtake cars. Overall, I think we had a solid car, but I think we should have been able to take more advantage of our overtakes on the straights. It didn't seem like we had the speed. I'm really happy with the team, solid pit stops, good balance of the race car." (A day like this, with delays and rain, does that throw off the flow for you?): "Not really, because we actually made a change after it started to rain, (and) it actually helped us go quicker. But it didn't seem like we had the straight-line speed we needed to overtake. We made it better, but we've still got a ways to go. Overall, I think everything went real solid with the team, and you couldn't ask for a more balanced race car. It was good all race."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "In the beginning, it was OK, and we were gaining some positions. We just struggled a lot on restarts, and we trimmed the car a little bit, then we came in for one stop and we didn't get any fuel in. So I had to come in and start at the back. We made some aerodynamic changes, but the car just got really bad halfway through the run so we came in for almost an emergency pit stop because I was going to crash it sometime. We came out, and the car was much better. So a tough day overall, but we'll carry on working for the rest of the races."
KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I think I could have finished in the top five, you know. Many times, pit mistake, and I am very disappointed about this." (More Matsuura to follow in transcript).
SARAH FISHER (No. 39 Bryant Heating & Cooling/Cure Autism Now Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm glad that we finished. Everybody here at Kelley Racing prepared first-class equipment, and they have first-class people. I mean to bring guys in who have never worked together, and to just jell like that, and to produce pit stops that they produced, that was awesome. They did a wonderful job. I just wish we were faster. We trimmed it out there the last half of the race; we dropped the wing down. We were running flat, you know, and that's all she had. So we just started to trim it out, and tried to stay in the draft. I just wish we could have been faster, but there's a lot of things out of your control as a driver. Kelley Racing has done an excellent job of putting first-class equipment together, so we'll just have to go back and be happy with what we've got."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal-Letterman Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I think we got penalized in the middle of the race. We made 27 positions from Lap 100 to the end of the race, and we had the quickest lap of the race for Rahal-Letterman. We couldn't ask for more. Pole, then pit stop contest, quickest lap of the race, won the race. There's nothing else you do. We got it all. Team Centrix/Team Rahal-Letterman, we couldn't ask for much better job."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a great result for our team. I guess it could have been better -- first, second and third, but let's not get greedy. The right guy won today. Buddy Rice had the fastest car, and he won the race. That's the way the Indy 500 is supposed to be. You know, we've got to work a little bit harder for next year. Hopefully we'll make it a one, two, three, four. With the month I had, this feels like a win. I've been in the wall hard twice. Today's little problems, but here in the race it all came right, and we got a nice result. I would have liked to win, but like I said, this is Indy. Compared to where we started, it's a great day, a great effort for Andretti/Green Racing."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 16 Rahal-Letterman Sammy Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was a long race for me. I had a good start, and unfortunately I lost some spots early on before the rain. Then you know, we had two flat tires, unfortunately. I kept going backward, but then I kept working myself back up. Team Rahal/Letterman Racing is a fantastic team. I want to congratulate Buddy. A great team effort. I want to thank my sponsors, Sammy and Honda, for their help and support. It was a good race."
GREG RAY (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was disappointing we went six laps down immediately (at the start). We had electrical issues, and we got that sorted out at the rain delay. We weren't thinking when, just have a good competitive race and get some attention for our new partner with Uefora credit cards, Rent-a-Center, and University Law. I wasn't being aggressive in traffic and had a run on (Darren) Manning. He was on the outside of me, and he was there the whole time. I could see him, my spotter told me he was there. I gave him room at the wall. But I'm really not quite sure what happened. But he got into my left rear. That took us, spinning both of us around. I never touched the outside wall, and Hornish was right up behind us. It was one of those racing deals, disappointing for us. I'm totally disappointed. Those guys, too. I'm sure they were higher up in the mix than we were. But the impact is much bigger for us as we're a much smaller team. They've got plenty of ponies in the stable, and we don't. I'm just disappointed for all of us. Just wrong place, wrong time for all of us."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Arca/Ex Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was an interesting day. Before the first rain shower, we had a problem with the gear. We had only first, second, third, fourth gear. And we thought the car was pretty good. We made a small adjustment. I think we got a bit greedy on that one. We thought we didn't quite have the car to win the race, so we thought we should make an adjustment to try to get us up there. I think we went too far in that. The car wasn't good in traffic. I don't know; we were pretty slow in the straight. We just kept going backward all day. It was pretty frustrating. Traffic was tough today. One guy would go by you, and it seems two or three would line up and get you afterward, and that's what we were fighting all day."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 36 PacifiCare/Secure Horizons Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was a good day. We didn't have the best car in traffic. We had a good car to run by ourself. We were on a different strategy from the leaders. We led some laps. Unfortunately, the rain came a little bit too late, but I think I'm quite happy with the finish, finishing fifth. I'm happy with the result."
DAVID LETTERMAN (Co-owner, Rahal-Letterman Racing, #15 Rice): "You're 16th, and your heart sinks a little bit, but Buddy's heart didn't sink. He just kept gnawing at it and gnawing at it and running everybody down. The car was the strongest one in the field all the day. He opened up the early lead. Then we sit out an hour and a half for rain. Nothing phased him. Nothing phased the car. It was bound to happen, you know. Two-hundred laps, 400 laps -- I think it's still Buddy -- I don't think the rain was the factor. I'm disappointed it didn't go 200. For Buddy, I know he would like a full race, but I don't think it would have been a factor. The guy who was supposed to win this race won regardless of the weather." (About being the owner of the winning car): "I don't belong here, for heaven's sake. What am I doing here? It's unbelievable. It's very nice. You know, you're a kid, and you dream about this. And the race is so much a part of your life. To get to go to the race is a big deal. To be in the race -- but to win it, that's just nuts. I've had dreams where I'm driving and always something happens, and Bobby asks me to get out of the car."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Co-owner, Andretti Green Racing): "Buddy had too much car at the end for us. It's a little disappointing, but yeah, we'll take second, third and fourth. It's not too bad, and we're still in the lead for the championship. I think we might have opened it up a little bit with Tony and Dan. We were competitive; we just weren't quite quick enough."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a solid car today. I think we could have finished in the top three. Unfortunately, we had a little miscommunication in the pits and lost some valuable positions on the track when we were hoping to make a pass in the pits. Indy is the kind of place where you try to give it your all. And unfortunately, it was not our day. Marlboro Team Penske had been working hard all month; it's disappointing we couldn't finish better."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota Firestone): "First, I hit the wall coming out of Turn 4. I thought everything was OK, but when I got into (Turn) 1, I found out it wasn't. It was pretty stupid on my part. We could not really get anything going out there. I was in the way every lap. I couldn't really feel it, so there's no sense in staying out there in everybody's way. So we decided to quit. It wasn't my safety. It didn't have anything to do with that. It was a matter of being in everybody's way and also trying to put a car together. My crew did a great job, but you need more time to prepare a car than that."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Robby Gordon Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I have to thank Robby Gordon. He went out on a limb, for sure. I had not been in this car before. I feel bad for the team. They worked their tail off. Hopefully, Robby can end well where he is going because unfortunately we did not end well. But at the same time, it was one heck of a roller-coaster ride."
DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): (About accident): "I was way around the outside, and I was nearly alongside (Al) Unser Jr., as well. I was going by them both (Ray and Unser Jr.). I didn't have it in gear in the pit stop so we dropped way back to the back. I was actually trying to pass Unser Jr. at the time. I don't know what was going on with Greg (Ray) if his spotter told him that I was there. He kept coming and clipped my left rear. He should have maybe even seen me because I was well alongside him. Just for shame. I guess it was my fault really because to be in that position anyway. I didn't have it in gear in the pit stop, and that dropped us right to the back of the field when we were running in third. It's just a great shame for Team Target and Toyota, because we were right up in the front of the field by the second stop with 120 laps to go. I had a quick car. We were turning fast laps. I was able to overtake a run with everybody out there. It's just a shame for these guys."
ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I got a good run off (Turn) 2 on Alex (Barron) and Mark (Taylor). I was halfway by Alex, and he about ran me in the grass. I gave way to him, and then Mark and I went in two-wide, and you just can't have two-wide at Indy. The guy on the outside has to give the guy on the inside some room, eventually. That's what happens, though."
LARRY FOYT (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I just got up in the marbles. My car was bad all day and got under me in (Turn) 2, and that took me into the fence."
MARTY ROTH (No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I got caught in McGehee's wash and pushed into the wall. This was a great experience. We had something go bad with our tires early on, but once we changed them, we took off and had a great race car. This was an awesome first IRL race for us, and I look forward to our next."
PJ JONES (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was a little loose, and then all of a sudden, the right front (tire) went, 'Boom,' and I just went right in the fence. I don't know if I got in the gray or what happened. I was riding along, and I wasn't running that fast. We were struggling with the car a little bit."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Greg Ray and Darren Manning got together, and I really didn't have anywhere to go. It was not the greatest thing that could have happened at that point in time. We were up at the front doing everything we could to stay out of trouble, and we had a problem that was nobody's fault. We came in, fixed it, went back out and were moving back up through the field. For two guys to get together in front of me, with one of them that's seven laps down, it's not very fun. But we'll move on, wait for the next time, and see if we can win one of these days."