87th Indianapolis 500 Private Testing Quotes Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Indianapolis Motor Speedway MARIO ANDRETTI (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About late accident): "No, it's just a freaky situation. It will not...
87th Indianapolis 500 Private Testing Quotes
Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
MARIO ANDRETTI (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About late accident): "No, it's just a freaky situation. It will not happen again, I'm sure." (How were things going?): "Awesome. It was going well. We were just working. We were learning things. We were back in the groove making small changes. I mean small changes. The car was responding beautifully. That's when it's fun. We were picking up some speed. Everything was just fine. We just needed another three minutes, and we would have walked away feeling very happy." (How are you going to tell your wife about this?): "I won't tell her (laughter). I'm OK, a little bump on my heel and my chin. I didn't hit anything hard; I just lifted up in the air. I haven't been upside down too many times, and I didn't want to do it here, but here we go. Every run that we made the car we ran good, and we progressed. The team is very poised. They have so much information, and we dared to try a lot of things, things that could be very useful when we come here in May. You have the luxury of a test. We didn't think we could get any of that work done -- it would just be an orientation for me. But all of a sudden, I felt right back where I needed to be, back to the old tricks, just fixing the car. We were doing well. (Will you be back in May?): "Oh, yeah." (Compare the cars to that of those when you last drove): "I think the corner speeds are higher now. The track is so smooth, and I don't think we have the power that we used to have back then, so the straight-line speed is a little slower. But the lap time will be in the 230 (mph) range for pole, I would say."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (Did you see Mario Andretti's accident?): "I couldn't really see it because I was facing the right way, so to speak, at the entrance to Turn 2, so I saw him when he came by me, but I couldn't see the action part. You can never really say what happens when you're crashing. It depends how you crash, how you hit and so forth. I didn't really see it, but from what I hear, it was quite spectacular." (About the day of testing): "I think we learned a lot of stuff today. Obviously, this is not the way you want to end it, but it was still a productive day for us."
ARIE LUYENDYK (No. 20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a good day, all in all. The Meijer car performed really well. The guys did a really good job putting it together. I was really impressed with the smoothness of the engine and the gearbox. We obviously didn't go as fast as we wanted to, compared to everybody else out there. But, April is no time to panic around here. We were able to go flat out around the track. I'm not sure where we were on downforce compared to my teammate (Tora Takagi). If we had the same amount of downforce, then it's a little bit of a stinker. The weather wasn't perfect. It was a little windy. The track temperature was a little cold. But, hey, it's only one day of testing. I haven't been in a car since July. It's not like you get in and do like everybody else does right away. Everybody else has been hard at it for the last three months. We've got some things we want to perfect with the car before we come back here for the month of May. I'm happy with this group, and I'm really looking forward to coming back."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): (Tested on April 22): "I'm pretty happy with my first day ever at the Speedway. It's a very clean and interesting circuit. It's not so wide on the straights as I thought, but it's definitely an exciting track. It's a combination of four fast corners, like Suzuka's '130R' fast corner, which I think is the most exciting corner in all of Formula 1. You can enjoy four of those, here, every lap. It makes it quite exciting to drive here. Normally, it's not so easy to try and get a good setup over '130R,' but here the car was fine from the start. The team tried to give me some confidence, so I started with maybe a little too much downforce. But once I got used to the track and started trimming out the car, the times started getting better. I couldn't go any longer than 3 o'clock because I ran out of mileage allotted to my engine."
PETER PARROTT (Team Manager, Mo Nunn Racing): "We got a lot of work done. Answered a lot of questions we had as we were preparing our three-car effort for the month of May. Tora, first off, did a tremendous job. He took a liking to this track right away and he gradually built up speed. The only down side to his day was that we only had a limited number of miles on the motor we could use in his car. But he definitely made the most of it. He was right there with the top three drivers on the day. We're looking forward to seeing good things from him during the month of May. As for Arie (Luyendyk), he had a lot of groundwork to get out of the way, like getting comfortable in the car, to begin with. We have some fine-tuning to do on things like his seat, his steering wheel position, throttle position, and all that. It was a good day to think about that stuff before we really start in on things the first weekend in May. We needed to get him acclimated with the crew we hired to work with him during the month. He knows his engineer (Tim Wardrop) well since he worked with him over the last few years, so that's a good start. I'm sure he's not terribly happy with where he ended up on the timesheet for the day. But, you've got to remember that he hasn't been in a car in almost a year. I'm sure he's not worried, though, as we have a lot of time to get things done. And he knows the routine here probably better than any other driver in the field. Felipe (Giaffone) will get his first chance to run here on Opening Day. I think we have a solid three-car lineup. Tora showed at Motegi that he's capable of winning races, and he really likes this track. Felipe was right in the thick of things here last year and finished third. And Arie has won the '500' twice. We're definitely looking forward to it."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, IRL IndyCarÔ Series points leader): "We're real pleased with the Kelley/Delphi group. We unloaded well yesterday -- really that's the whole strategy, come here and confirm that some of our setup plans work on the new car here at the Speedway, set yourself up to start off on the right foot on May 4. I think we've done that. We made some great changes to improve the car. There's a few guys out there chasing speed. We really haven't gotten into that. I think we're ready. As a team we've been very organized. They guys are doing a great job. I think we're prepared. It seems like our setups are right where they need to be to start the month, and we're the best off as Kelley Racing has ever been."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're pretty happy. We're pleased with the way everything is going. We got a lot accomplished today, actually." (About May): "It's going to be busy and hectic. There's a lot to do. We'll just work on the car, and hopefully we'll have a good solid month."
ALEX BARRON (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "You don't get many days like this here at the track. Everything's gone pretty flawless for us here. The times are increasing more and more, and I think you'll see the same thing in the month of May. As for the team -- incredible. They did a great job and improved the car all day."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a real good day today. The (Panoz) G Force car felt good right off the bat, and I was able to run consistent lap times, which was the goal. We never really trimmed the car out because we were just looking for consistency. My grandfather made a couple little changes at the end, and it made a big difference, which was when we ran the 228. I'm looking forward to coming back with the Conseco car in May."
A.J. FOYT (Owner, A.J. Foyt Racing): "Today went well after the little mishap we had yesterday, which was no big deal. Today A.J. IV was in a completely different car, and I'm very happy with the progress he made. Both cars ran in the top five, so I'm pretty happy. I feel good about coming back in May."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We were fast both days at the test, and that's a good sign. The Target guys worked their tails off to get the cars ready for this test. Unfortunately, the test didn't quite end the way that we wanted (due to accident). But it is encouraging that we have the speed to be competitive. Toyota has done a great job with this engine. The month of May should be fun."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I liked the handling of the car better today than yesterday. We made some additional changes with the setup, and were making progress this afternoon before we were sidelined a little early. We still have some issues to resolve, but we're looking forward to the month of May."
DENNIS REINBOLD (Team Co-Owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) "We know we've still got some room for improvement, but all our guys are continuing to look for ways to get better. It's great to have Owen Snyder III (new lead engineer on No. 24 car) out here with us so that we have a little time to get acclimated before the month starts. Our goal is to stay focused on the things we can control and to continue to learn what we can to improve both our cars."
MIKE HULL (Team Managing Director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "As far as lap times go, we were pretty competitive with the other teams that were here, and that's encouraging. We made a lot of progress through our test list over the last two days. We have a good baseline setup on the car, and we're looking forward to the month of May."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 5 EPSON Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm pretty happy with the way we ran in the EPSON car, it was very comfortable. I think we're off to a good start for next month."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Yesterday was pretty tough on the weather conditions. Today it was beautiful sunshine, but it still unfortunately with the colder conditions, it's still kind of unrealistic on what it's going to be like on May 4 or the month of May. So, we have a basic start and a basic setup, and we did what we came to do. And hopefully, it's going to be competitive." (Any preference between the Dallara or Panoz G Force chassis?): "Right now, no predictions because both are pretty much the same time. Right now we just have to make sure we keep our focus on the work and pedal to the metal."
TIM CINDRIC (President, Penske Racing): (Was the test successful?): "Yeah, absolutely. Our guys put in a lot of laps. I know they'll sleep well tonight. The conditions today were really good -- I think we had a good day, and we learned a lot of things and now we just have to go back and digest what we learned." (Any preference between the Dallara or Panoz G Force chassis?): "To be honest, I don't think we're prepared to make an announcement. We've got another week and a half. I've said all along we're going to be prepared to run either one, and we're still in that mode. We'll really think it through. We've got more data to gather yet; we'll see where we end up."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It went good. First time we've been here with the new cars, obviously. Just really enjoying it. Everything we did seemed to help out the car today -- we didn't go backward, which is always a plus. Yeah, we're not the fastest, but we're pretty comfortable with where we're at, and the guys keep working hard." (Thoughts on the month of May): "Today felt like four days long. I can't wait to come back. The only bad thing is it seems like everything takes forever. You wait all year for it to come, then you can't wait for it to get over with. There's so much riding on this race, and this is worth more to a lot of people then the championship is. I'd definitely trade one of my championships for a win here, but that's what makes it tough coming here because there's so much excitement and anticipation for the race. Two minutes after qualifying, you wish the race would start so you could see how you do in the race."