Second-Day Qualifying Quotes Sunday, May 16, 2004 BRYAN HERTA (No.7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I knew that it would take a couple of laps this morning to get the feelings back and put yesterday out of my mind. I just asked my...
Second-Day Qualifying Quotes
Sunday, May 16, 2004
BRYAN HERTA (No.7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I knew that it would take a couple of laps this morning to get the feelings back and put yesterday out of my mind. I just asked my engineer, Martin, to just give me a comfortable car to start with tomorrow, and he did that. Within four or five laps, I was flat and started on consistent laps. We trimmed it a little bit -- but not too much -- and just put it in line and wanted to get it in the show because the heat kept coming up. We knew that would cost us a little speed. We just wanted to get in comfortable and move on to the next phase of the week, which was working on race setup with my teammates." (About yesterday's qualifying crash): "I was scared. But I guess that's the difference. When I first came here in '94 and '95, I was a rookie. Now coming back to this race and this track, I guess unfortunately or fortunately I've been through a few crashes before, and I knew what it would be like coming back from yesterday. I knew I just needed a good, comfortable car to get my confidence back up, and that's what the team gave me. I feel like that's 100 percent behind me now and really looking forward to getting my race setup on and Wednesday. We'll be running some more race setups, which really is what I've been doing all last week. Our plan was to do qualifying on Thursday and Friday, and unfortunately the rain prevented us from working our qualifying setup too much. So when I went in yesterday, I think we knew we had fast cars. We knew Honda was giving us great engines, and we wanted to try to take advantage of that. I think we probably got a little aggressive with our setup, and that's what caught me out there in Turn 1. Lesson learned again -- you've just always got to respect this place. I felt as bad about yesterday. We're all so close -- Tony, Dario, Dan and I -- that I knew that being the first guy out and having that happen, I knew it affected them, too. I knew that they were worried about me and luckily Tony was a late enough ride that he actually came over to the hospital and checked in on me, and Brian Barnhart came and checked on me while I was actually getting put in the ambulance. He was going to go back to Dan because he was coming up next to tell Dan, 'Hey, Bryan's fine and says go get 'em.' The camaraderie is part of it, and I was part of the celebration cause I felt happy for my other three teammates that they got that past them, and they all qualified well. They made me feel good. They were very encouraging about, 'Hey, you can do it tomorrow,' that kind of stuff. That's the way we were this team through this stuff. We all pull for each other." (About working on race setup during week rather than qualifying setup. Did that give you enough feel?): "I did a couple qualifying runs in the morning. We had a little understeer in the car and felt like we could get rid of a little more understeer. That's what we really needed to maximize the package. Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot of practice in the morning, and we made a change going into qualifying. I mean, yeah, you can say if we'd worked on qualifying setup all week we probably would have had a little more fine-tuned package, but you know that wasn't our role this week. Our role was to work on race setup. I'm glad we did that because the weather forecast isn't that great next week. If we do get a situation where we don't get a lot of running, I think as a team we'll still feel we're pretty prepared for the race right now."
ALEX BARRON (No.51T Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a long night, last night. For myself and team mates. But all in all, I was pretty confident coming back in here this morning. We have great engineers working on the car. I went out this morning a little bit conservative on the setup. But we had a lot of grip with the car and a little bit of an unbalance. But we fixed that, re-geared it and put it in line for qualifying. The car was flawless throughout the (qualifying) run." (About accident Saturday): "I went out (on track) and was a little worried about the tire temps. As it was obviously very cold, and I thought we got up to speed quickly. Think I did a 217.8 mph on my third warm-up lap. I came down the front straight and tried to go flat into (Turn) 1. The car stepped out quite a bit. Obviously, it was too much to save and hit the wall fairly hard." (Do you have more (team) input on a regular basis due to your full-time status?): "I would say I do. Eddie (Cheever) has talked to me and think I've had some experience driving for a number of teams. Eddie has given me the privilege to make some of the decisions toward the team. Max Jones runs the team; he's got a lot of experience, too. With everybody together with the engineering staff, the team as a whole has come a long way since the last year. The last three races that I did with them last year compared to now is the difference between night and day. We're doing our best to get the best results that we can, and that's what you need to do to be a top team. We're always looking at every aspect of the team in order for improvement." (Is it important to have a full field?): "As a driver, everything that goes on in the month of May, I don't really evaluate that. The field is extremely competitive, probably more competitive than I've ever seen here. If you win any race here in 2004, obviously the Indianapolis 500 is really doing something. So that's how I guess I would evaluate it. The competition is pretty thick this year as far as fr om team to team to the drivers is just extremely competitive." (Does your qualifying position reflect your possible race pace?): "The race is an entirely different animal. Everyone out there is facing some new challenges this year. The 30-gallon fuel tank, keeping the car balanced for the full 500 miles, new aero package, varying track conditions and the ever-changing weather. That's the way you always have to look at this race. Just sitting back for 250 miles doesn't happen anymore. Everyone just pushes for 500 solid miles."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was very, very slippery. We tried to change settings The balance is bad, too much push in the car."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No.24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was hard. Yesterday I wasn't very happy with the car, and so after a really tough day yesterday we said, 'OK, we'll go back today and just put a lap in and everything's going to be all right.' But then things happened really quickly. We had a couple of issues, gearbox leaking. And then when we're ready to go at two minutes, three minutes before six o'clock. It made the day go really fast. All the guys were a little concerned, and we wanted to get qualifying done today so at least we did it." (How tough was it to rebuild your confidence after a day like that?): "We knew what went wrong yesterday. We had really light downforce in the car, so right now have plenty of downforce. We pretty much had the race downforce in the car; it was just a matter of having a bit more time to adjust. We just went to qualify, and the car was all right but not perfect." (Talk about the effort by the team to get the car back together): "They did an awesome job. It is tough because it (accident) wasn't really bad, but they closed the track kind of early (Saturday night). And then they had to work really hard during the day. We thought we'd be done at 3 p.m., but then things start happening, and all the sudden it's 6 o'clock, and that's hard on everybody. Not only the driver but the team owners, everybody on the team. It's really hard."