IRL: Indy 500: Rookie of the Year contenders quotes



SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#37 Newman Haas Racing Team Centrix Panoz/Honda/Firestone, starting 15th):

"We prepared as much as we could. We've had limited testing, and the Centrix team was pretty good in traffic. We could definitely have used a bit more time. But that was part of the challenge. We did the best we could, and we'll see if it's good enough tomorrow. It's a long race. For me, it's my first 500-mile race and my first super-speedway race. A lot to learn and just really looking forward to start the race and see the checkered flag, and if we have a good day, then I think we can target a good result. That would be really awesome for me."

RYAN BRISCOE (#33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, starting 24th):

"It's great to be here, especially fantastic to be working with a team like Target Ganassi and teammates like Darren Manning and Scott Dixon. I couldn't be in better hands. With all the experience from all the engineers, Chip himself and my teammates, it's definitely a big help to me from the first day I came here for Rookie Orientation. We've had fantastic preparation all month long. We've gone through all the processes of qualifying preparation and race preparation. I think I'm definitely ready to race now. I can't wait. Just looking forward to a good, long race. I'm starting 24th, so I definitely want to move forward. We'll just have to play with strategy a bit. We may not have the pure speed of some of the front guys up there, or gals. I will definitely be working hard. The car was working well yesterday. We'll just try to move forward and see what we can get."

JEFF BUCKNUM (#44 Investment Properties Of America Dallara/Honda/Firestone, starting 21st):

"I'm ready to go racing. It's great you get a long month here because it gives you a lot of time to prepare things. No other time have you had this much anticipation coming up to a race as this last week. It's been really dragging on since I haven't been on the track. For our team, and my situation leading into the race, it's slightly different than the other rookies here. I had a little problem in Japan, which most of you probably know about, which put our team a little back a little bit in terms of getting cars ready. They put in, and I think it happens in every team, they put in all-nighters getting cars ready. It put us a little behind, Roger (Yasukawa) and I, in getting our cars on the track. I didn't get as much track time as I'd like to have, so we focused on having a good race car instead of a qualifying car. Starting a little bit further back than Tomas (Enge) is here, I'll experience a little more turbulence. I'm just happy we got the car in the field where we did. It was very solid, and the guys just gave me a car that was going to put me in the field safely. It was actually the four easiest laps I did, which was great for me. As far as what we've done for the car, and getting ready for the race. I really feel comfortable with the way it drives. It's very comfortable in traffic and out of traffic. As Tomas said, I don't think starting position is important as your car is on Race Day. I think we have a really good race car for as little laps as I've been doing myself."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (#83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, starting 25th):

(About driving for team owner who is former winner of this race and having a veteran teammate): "We didn't have quite the speed that some of these guys have, and we've basically been working race setup the whole month. We basically did full tanks the whole time. We covered over 3,000 miles between me and Alex. We did a lot of running. Hopefully it pays off, and we'll have a good car for the race. I heard there's a lot of turbulence back there. It's like a washing machine. So we'll see how it goes. If we can stay on the leader's lap and be with these guys at the end, that would be fantastic. That's what the objective is, and we think we have decent race cars."

TOMAS ENGE (#2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, starting 10th):

"It's a really nice month. It's really nice that it takes so long with the preparations. It's a lot of running, which is good for a rookie because you need a lot of preparation. The organizers are doing a great job because they let us run the entire month. My running was pretty good so far. Starting position isn't very important here. To be a rookie in the front is good because you don't want to be in the traffic, especially the first couple of laps. The fourth row isn't too much in the front as I'd like to be, but I'm satisfied. I'm really looking forward to the race. We've done a lot of good work since the last running last week. I think we found a really good setup in traffic. I think I'm finally comfortable to stay behind some cars. I'm looking forward to it."

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

(Ready to race and escape the attention you've earned this week?): "What attention? (Laughter) I'm ready. I've never been so ready to get in the car and do my job. It's been a long and a short month. There's been so much to do, so much going on, so much exciting stuff for me, for the team, for the sponsors, for the series. I have mostly enjoyed all of it. There have been some taxing times, but yeah, I can't say that another day off would be nice. I'm ready to dump the interviews and get on with the job. (Laughter). No offense, everybody. But that's where I'm coming from."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing