IRL: Indy 500: Post-race quotes

BOBBY RAHAL (Co-owner, No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a good car for Jimmy today. Everything was working in our direction. We made a couple of small adjustments on the first stop, and Jimmy was ...

BOBBY RAHAL (Co-owner, No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a good car for Jimmy today. Everything was working in our direction. We made a couple of small adjustments on the first stop, and Jimmy was pleased with the car after that. Our strategy was where we wanted. Jimmy was sixth and in position for the end of the race. We just didn't expect a mechanical problem like that."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm fine. The Infiniti was great, very powerful. I don't want to say anything broke because I'm not certain. I had no control over the car. It just went straight. It wouldn't turn. The thing is, we could have won that. The thing was on cruise control."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Greg Ray's accident came right after we pitted, and that really hurt our chances of top-five finish, plus my last two sets of tires weren't as good as the previous ones. I couldn't run over 215 (mph). We brought it home in one piece. A.J. told me I did a good job, but I wish it could have turned out better."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Menards/Childress/Cingular Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's disappointing. I honestly thought we'd be a lot stronger today. I couldn't pass hardly anybody. I pulled all the wicker out of it, and then I was too loose. We've got some work to do. I want to thank everybody at Team Menard and everybody that came in to help, Cingular Wireless, everybody involved. It's been a lot of fun. I feel great. I sweated a little bit, not too bad. I think we've got a really good car for tonight." (About pit incident): "I didn't know what the deal was going to be there. These guys, they can overcome. They've been doing this stuff long enough. They kept their heads straight. We didn't lose too much. We just climbed back up as best as we could. Track position was key. When we had that pit fire, we were up in fifth position at that point. It was really, really hard to pass all day long."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We went into the wall. We could have won. Would have, could have, should have. The car was good. I mean, we were passing. We passed Cheever and a lot of the guys right there at the end. The car was fast. We just ruined the day early."

RAUL BOESEL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a frustrating day. I thought initially I would just keep my pace, and everything would out work great. But when the pack behind me caught up during our first run, they could just go right by, and I had a hard time getting back to them. The car was not very good in traffic. When other cars would come up from behind, there was nothing I could do. It was like a slingshot. The tires weren't much of a problem all day except for the puncture in our right rear, which happened under caution, but that was from something on the track. Thank God it happened while we were under yellow, otherwise that could have been a really bad situation. But the tire wear was fine. It wasn't as much of an issue as we thought it might be."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Everybody said that our engine was going to have problems, but the Nissan Infiniti engine ran impeccably. None of the seven engines in the field today had any problems. I believe that we had the best engine out there today. I am very sorry to see what happened to Tomas (Scheckter). He was very quick the whole day. I kept getting stuck in traffic. I don't know what it is with Al (Unser Jr.), but every time I get behind him and he is a lap down, he holds me up, and I lose a few places. I lost a strong third place because of that. It's getting to be tiring after Nazareth and then here at Indy. It's unnecessary. Congratulations to Penske and (Helio) Castroneves. That might be the most confusing '500' I have ever been in. While we are disappointed to not have the win today, I think by tomorrow morning we will be happy to have our best finish of the season so far. The Red Bull Cheever Racing team, along with our technical partners at TWR Group, has worked hard for this day, and our work will pay off for us during the rest of the IRL championship."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We were off on the gearing. The gearing was way too short. I was just getting passed way before the halfway (point) on the straightaway. I couldn't pass anybody. I couldn't get a draft. The gear was shorting out even more with the draft on the straightaway, so I was just a sitting duck all day long for anybody that wanted to get by me. I was quick in the corners getting up on guys. I would come draft by them and hit the rev limiter, and they would pull away because there was a car in front of them that they would suck up to. It was a long day. I don't think I passed anybody that didn't let me by because of the gearing. I could've been right there up front all day long, but it just wasn't to be today."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This was just a great opportunity with the Rayovac car and Blair Racing. What can I say? Without them I wouldn't be here. Our engineer called it just right. The track came to us on the car, and I could go flat out on the track, which was just awesome. We kept moving up, but then pit strategy played with us a little bit. On the last restart we had a sensor problem, like a crank trigger or something, and it just wouldn't accelerate. Once the thing got wound up, it started to pick up speed more and more. Then we were able to start moving forward, but unfortunately it was a little late. I thought we were going to go for the win at the end, but then the sensor started picking up, and we started dropping off. Actually, we dropped about 5 mph, but it's great for us in our rookie season at the Indy 500."

PAUL TRACY (No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a great run for Team Green 7-Eleven. We didn't have a great car today, but I caught Helio (Castroneves) on the last lap and passed him on the backstraight going into Turn 3. I passed him on the outside, and somebody said it was under yellow, but the green was still up. In my eyes, I saw the green, so we're going to protest and see what happens. It was a hard race today, and it was tough to pass. The Team Green 7-Eleven crew did a great job and gave me a chance for the win."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a hard day for us. We went a lap down early when we had a flat tire after the first incident. The Team Green 7-Eleven car was really good, and I was happy, but we went a lap down, and then we had some bad luck with our strategy. I didn't want to influence the result of the race. I would love to help my teammate, but that's not the right way to play things, so I just wanted to get out of the way. I was half a straight behind Paul (Tracy) and Helio (Castroneves), and Paul had passed him on the outside before the yellow came out. I saw the yellow lights as soon as they came on, and Paul was past him, so in my view Paul was past him."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This was a long day for the CURB Records team. Right off the bat, we had a really loose race car on the green. The rain had washed all the rubber off the racetrack, and our car was just horrible for the first 30 laps of the race. We made some changes on the first pit stop and actually got the car pretty competitive, but then we lost fifth gear. Then we lost sixth gear. It was just kind of one thing after another. We definitely didn't have the car today, but the guys did a great job, and we've got 11 more races to go this season. That's what we'll put our focus on, and we'll go and see if we can't move up in the IRL standings."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 39 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We only come here to win. The car was really great until after the second-to-last set of tires. The car just changed, something went wrong with it. I think we could have won the race if it wasn't for that. We kept going backward and backward. We had all kinds of problems. Every time we'd make hay, we'd get pushed back again. It just was one of those races. The last 20 to 30 laps, that is when something went wrong, and I just went backward. I don't know what it was. It is always hard to pass, the competition is so tough, and everyone is so close. We passed a lot of cars today."

MAX PAPIS (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I was very pleased with the Red Bull Cheever team. We were running very strong. From the word go we had a big brake problem, and I went really backward in the first two laps because I had no brakes. It was very tough at the beginning. I had to pump my brakes four or five times every time I wanted to use them. Later on I got used to that, and we went back on the lead lap. Unfortunately, the rear brake problem became really big, and we had to come in. I did three-quarters of the race with only three brakes. It was very tough. Other than that, I was very pleased. We were running very strong. We were on the pace. It's been a great experience for me. I enjoyed Indianapolis a lot. I'm not going home with the results I wanted, but I'm going to be back."

KENNY BRACK (No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Right from the start of the race, I felt like we had the wrong gearing in the car. It kept hitting the rev limiter really early on the straightaways. We made a decision to come into the pits under yellow and make a gear ratio change on the car. The car was a lot better after they made the change, and I was able to get back on the lead lap at the end of the race. I wish it was the Indianapolis 600 today, and we might have had a shot at winning."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I don't know exactly what happened. The car was fine except for the clutch during pit stops. The balance was good. We had no transmission problems, and the car seemed OK. I think I lost my gearbox, and that's what caused the car to fail. The Target car was really good at the start of the race. I was able to put some distance between me and the second-place car. I really feel that if we did not have the problem, we could have won the race today. The guys gave me a great car, but those are the breaks."

ARIE LUYENDYK (No. 55 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The start of the race cost me a lot of positions. One of the Red Bull cars was all over the track. I couldn't get by, and I lost momentum. I lost too much time because of that and could never get my lap back. The car was actually pretty good in traffic. A lot of this race had to do with being able to pull up behind someone in (Turn) 3 and make the pass coming out of (Turn) 4. Too many other cars were able to get away from me out of (Turn) 4. The finishing position is not too good, but I discovered a few things during the race that I think will be helpful to the team. The day actually was pretty good. I did some 222-224 (mph) laps on my own, and that gave me hope. I'm not too old for this. I had Bruno (Junqueira) behind me for a long time, and I could hold him off."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/ Firestone): "Today was not what we wanted, for sure. We just didn't have the balance in the car from the get-go. By myself, it wasn't right, and then in traffic it still wasn't any good. We just never had the race car that we wanted to have, which is frustrating, given the car we had all month. We lost a lap initially on the first yellow, when we got caught already coming into the pits when the yellow flag came out. I just fought the car all day. We made a lot of changes, but just couldn't get the balance where we wanted. Some people had questioned the Infiniti engine coming into this race, but I never once had concerns about the reliability of this engine. We've had power all month, in fact, all season, and we knew we could go the distance today."

GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "There were a lot of things happening on the track that are obviously out of your control, but you just have to try to stay calm, which was hard. They really tell me to relax because I got frustrated a few times, and they had to try to keep me as calm as possible so we could bring it home. But it was exciting to finish my first '500.' I really can't wait to come back next year." (How important was it to you to bring the car home in one piece?): "That was my main emphasis. I really wanted to bring the car home. I started to get a little too aggressive at one point, and they had to remind me to back off. Keep your nose clean and run a smart race. I'm a driver. I'm always looking to improve my position, so if it hadn't been for that, I may not have been in one piece. The team actually did more than I did. The entire 310 Racing crew fought with me the entire race, both in the pits and over the radio. This finish is theirs as much as it is mine."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's quite a couple of weeks. I didn't expect to get much because last year I was here and just didn't end up with anything. To end up with a great ride, I'm real appreciative to Sam Schmidt, Grill 2 Go and Sam Schmidt Racing for giving me this opportunity. My car was really good. We were bad the second stint, but we fixed it, and in the end, I was picking them off. If I had another five to 10 laps, I know I could have gotten by Cheever and Barron and could have caught the next group, but I'll take it. It's more than I thought I would have at the beginning of the month. We had a couple of tire pressure changes in the beginning, and that was all we needed. We never changed the car after the second stint. After the first 10 gallons burned off, the car was very fast. I could see people getting loose and fading, and that was how I was picking them off. I think the only mistake we made was my gearing was a little too short. I was running sixth gear, and I was hitting the rev limiter when I was trying to pass people. I would run out of gear." (Do you think this will help you land a ride for the rest of the season?): "I hope. The last couple of times I've driven the cars, I haven't crashed, and I've done a decent job, and I really want to be fulltime. I'll wait until tomorrow and parlay this deal and hopefully get a ride." (What does it mean to you to give Sam Schmidt a good run): "It means a lot to Sam. It's his first top-10 finish here, but it also means a lot to me. Hopefully it will give him the momentum to really start running up front. He's got a good group of guys. Sometimes this is what it takes."

SAM SCHMIDT (Owner, No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "It feels awesome for this little team and the resources we have. To put two cars back together, it was such a roller-coaster month, this is like a victory for us. There's some heavy juice out there and some heavy dollars, and to get a top-10 finish is like a victory. We could have had fifth on the last lap without that crash. I'm just ecstatic with Richie and ecstatic for the guys. They really worked their tails off this month. I couldn't feel better right now. It's a lot of momentum. We haven't had a lot of consistency the first half of the year. We crashed the first week of the season. It was worth the effort."

SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Allegra/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/ Firestone): "It was a long race, but we made it through to the end with the car in one piece. My radio went out at about lap 20. I could hear Dane (Harte, crew mechanic) and my spotter talking to me at the beginning of the race, but I couldn't answer them back and let them know what was going on with the car so we could make it better. The only way we could communicate was with hand signals during the short 12 or so seconds that we were in the pits during each stop. We chased the car around and finally got it close at the end, which was too late. This month of May has been a wonderful experience for me. To be associated with a team like Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, who put such a first-class car and crew together in such a short time, was such an awesome experience. Everyone who stepped up to sponsor our program, from Allegra, to Raybestos, ATA, Purex, Huntington Banks, Tag Heuer, Infiniti and Firestone, was instrumental in our getting to the finish line today. I hope to have the opportunity to work with this wonderful group of people again in the future, and I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I had in May."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 12 EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I enjoyed this race so much. It is very special to race here, and I can't wait to come back. I want to thank EPSON, Infiniti and my team. We overcame three fires this month, made the race with a strong time, and I lived a dream of mine today. The car was sliding very bad at the beginning of the race. I almost lost it 10 times. We made some tire pressure changes, and it got a lot better, but we were down two laps by then. The Infiniti engine ran perfect all day."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "A real disappointing end to what was shaping up to be a pretty good day. It wasn't the day we were hoping for in that we weren't contending for the victory, but we rallied back from a lap down early in the race. We got tangled up in an accident in Turn 3 that took off part of our wing, but the guys were able to fix it during a series of pit stops. We fought our way to the front on the lead lap and were very much in contention for a top-five finish. With just a few laps to go, I ran up on a lapped car and because we had not taken on fresh rubber during our last pit stop, I was really fighting for grip on the last stint. I was able to run fast laps on my own, but with dirty air from the car in front of me, there was a great deal of difficulty." (About the accident with Laurent Redon): "He had slipped up in Turn 1 and lost momentum, and I drove right in alongside of him in the short chute. I had the pass going into Turn 2. I looked over to my right, and he was coming down on me. I was all the way down below the white line trying to avoid him, but we just came together. We shot up into the outside retaining wall, and we hit a ton. Clearly, the SAFER energy-absorbing walls allowed me to walk away because it was a huge hit. I am very thankful for the new walls. The crash resulted in a very large gash in the top of my helmet, and my knee is bruised and swollen. I hit so hard on the left side of the car that it knocked the wind out of me. It is just really unfortunate that this happened at the end of the race."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Marlboro Team Penske car was good all day. Once we got through the traffic at the beginning of the race, we were able to run up front. The unfortunate thing for us was during our last pit stop there was an issue with the left rear (wheel), which put us back. I've been with the team three years, and that's the first time that's ever happened. The guys did great stops all day. It is just unfortunate for us that we had a problem at the end. But that's the way racing is. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't. The team should be congratulated for the job they did both with me and with Helio (Castroneves) winning again."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is a tough place. There are so many different things that can happen to you. Anyway, it was great, and then all of a sudden, there was a shrill, shrieking sound coming from the back of the car. I backed off of it, and then smoke started to come out, so I pulled in. That was it."

-ms-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Laurent Redon , Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing