THIRD DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES Saturday, May 21, 2005 RYAN BRISCOE ( ...
THIRD DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES
Saturday, May 21, 2005
RYAN BRISCOE (#33T Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "It's a special feeling. Maybe not the position I'd like to be in, but it's better than on Pole Day when I lost the car during qualifying. The speed we had that day was pretty good, maybe a top 10. It's great to have qualified today, and we were a little concerned about it all, but we did what we had to do to get into the event. It's a great feeling; the whole crew has been really supportive, and we're just going to have to keep pushing hard in the race right now." (About his qualifying run): "It wasn't bad. It could've been better. The track seems to have changed a bit since this morning's practice. I had a lot of push out there. We could've been a bit quicker, but we did some 24's out there and some 23's so that's what we needed to do, and we're pretty happy about it."
MARTY ROTH (#25 Roth Racing/PDM Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It feels great to be back. We're not very happy with our qualifying run, and we'll probably take another crack at it later in the afternoon. We just had a massive push that came in when we switched to these tires. We put our qualifying set of tires on, and they didn't come up the way we thought. We were running 222s this morning. There's a lot more in that car. We're going to pull that run and take another shot later on. We just have to shuffle it up a bit as far as tires go, and we'll stick it back in there and see what we can get."
LARRY FOYT (#41 A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): (About his qualifying run) "It's a little frustrating. I thought we had a 220 mph in it, but for some reason, we just didn't have it today. We trimmed the car out this morning, and it should have gone faster. But it just didn't pick up. Our run was pretty consistent, though. We started to pick up a little bit of a push the last couple of laps in Turn 2 probably because of the wind. (Turn) 2 seems to be the toughest corner out there. Now we're done with qualifying, we can focus on getting prepared for the race." (About what his dad [four-time Indinapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt] had to say): "He just told me to get everything out of the car that I could, but also to be consistent during my four laps." (About his future): "I love racing these cars. The competition is great. Dad was able to get sponsorship in ABC Supply Company for A.J. (Foyt) IV. Hopefully some doors (sponsorship) open up for me, and we can continue to race these cars."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It's been so tough for us this month. We couldn't get above 220 (mph). Finally this week, we worked on race setup and different things. This morning, we were very close to 223 (mph), so we got a bit greedy on the first run this morning. We took everything off that we were allowed to take off the car, and the car was just sliding around too much. I tried to keep it full throttle to maintain the speed, but the track was not wide enough. We brushed the wall. We had to come back in to change the tooling because we bent the tooling. Then this afternoon, we went back with a little bit more downforce and just ran with the car." (About brushing the wall): "I was hoping I was going to make it the next lap around, but it got worse. Then I went down lower on the track. I was hoping it was going to give me enough road to go, but it actually went up faster, and I didn't quite make it. That was it once you hit it that hard. This afternoon was nice. The car was neutral. It was pretty free. We're very happy. We think we'll have a decent race car. It might not be the fastest, but we'll take it."
KENNY BRACK: (#15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I am just relieved that we are in the field. I am also glad for the team obviously. They have had a real tough month. I am happy that they gave me the chance to shine a little bit. Because really, they could have kept it nailed to the ground, and we could have probably been in the field that way, too. I am really happy with that scenario, too." (Did you think you would be here?): "Not really. I was at home. I was surprised, although I have worked my way to be back for an opportunity like this since I had my accident. I have done a lot of rehab and a lot of hard work to be able to get into one of these cars. I didn't have any opportunities (earlier) in the month." (About his comfort in the car): "I am confident in the car. Although I have to say, the car has changed a lot since I've been gone. You see less out of them at the sides. And that is something that I have to get more used to in traffic situation. On my own, I guess I am pretty confident." (About his chances in the race): "We have to get a good race setup. Obviously, it is a bit different from qualifying to (the) race (setup). We worked all day (Friday) on the race setup and all the day on Wednesday. We are going to continue working on that today, and hopefully we can get a good race car, then we'll see what happens. I am still a little un-used to the race situation, but it will be fine, I think." (Were there any problems?): "Not really any problems. (It was) the usual stuff in qualifying trim. You are a little on the edge and a little sideways a few times. As long as you can manage to keep your feet flat to the floor and adjust the car with your inside adjusters, then you're OK." (About getting back in car): "I was back last year at Richmond. I just did not feel strong enough to do the race distance. Obviously, it is a year later, I am strong enough now I think. It is a great feeling to be back. Especially to be back with Rahal Letterman Racing. They are a great team and gr eat friends." (About getting used to the track again): "No, it has been going very well so far. But like I said, a lot of the steep learning curve is not as steep because I know everybody. There is still a lot of stuff that I need to learn. Right now, we are trying to do a nice race setup and get the car ready for to race." (About starting 23rd): "I don't think the starting position will make a difference. I think having a good race car is what matters. And we'll just see if we have that yet. I don't know that yet, but we'll see if we can get there." (About his endurance): "I am on the same workout planning before the accident, so I have no reason to believe that I should be any worse than I was before (the accident)." (About running fast): "When I saw the speed this morning, I thought there was a possibility. You know the weather here. It was hotter here when we qualified, so we kept everything the same, and we ran a little slower. I think we could have pressed on a little more speed. The first thing this morning was the first time we started running in qualifying trim. So we tried to stand on our time in race situation, and that is what we need to be good at now." (About qualifying run): "Thanks very much. I have to say thank you to Team Rahal Letterman, obviously, for giving me a chance to come here in the first place. They called me and asked me if I wanted to fill in for their difficult situation with Buddy (Rice). It is great to be in the field. I don't know what to say. It all happened quite quickly the past few days." (About his goals for qualifying): "No, I never did think about that (being the fastest qualifier) because to be the fastest qualifier you have to put the right engine in there, and Honda did a great job, obviously, with that. You have to trim the car out to a very uncomfortable level which is something I didn't think the team was prepared to do cause then we could run for the pole. All of these things need to happen to be at that kind of speed. Like I said, I guess they had faith in that I could do the job. And I am just thanking them for doing all of these things because it was a lot of fun to put the car in the eighth row." (About why he got back into the car after his accident): "I want to write my own chapter in my own book." (About his chances of winning from 23rd): "In previous years, I don't think that the starting position had been critical. What is critical in this race is to have a good car. If we can get a good race car, then you can win this race from (the) 33rd (starting position) if you are just methodical and have a little bit of patience. It is 500 miles, and it's going to be 10 pit stops or more. And there's a lot of stuff that is going to happen next Sunday, and you just don't want to be one of the stories before the 200th lap." (How would you feel if you were able to win this race, given what you've gone through): "I don't know if I could put words to that, really. I think that I'm here to do the best I can for Team Rahal Letterman, Honda, Pioneer and Argent. That's my duty, and that's what I intend to do. I don't know whether the preparation that I have will be enough for me to say that I'm going to win this race. I think that we will do a good job, but we'll see how far it takes us. I feel, to be back here, to have achieved what we have achieved already, it's a big victory for me and I'm grateful toward the team and everybody that helped pull that together." (Did you have plans to run here this month?): "I had plans at the beginning of the year. I tried to put a deal together, and I had a couple other maybes, but in the end, nothing happened with anything. And once the Indy 500 started, I didn't really have any plans. I'm a believer in being prepared and, obviously, missing the first week does not rhyme with that philosophy. I felt that this situation is different because I already know the team, I know Vitor (Meira), Danica (Patrick) and Buddy (Rice). I still have lunch with the guys on the team and talk with Bobby a lot and all that stuff. I felt that it was different. It wa s a situation that -- although you didn't do the first week -- you could do this decently good. I wouldn't have done this unless I felt that I could do it." (About the mental anguish of coming back): "I've been through a whole lot of stuff, but I think I've kept very positive through this thing. I've had a lot of faith and belief that I would be able to make myself back to normal and maybe in a race car if the right opportunity presented itself. I think that even though things look impossible, if you believe they are not, then there might be a chance they are not impossible. I think that Ford said it the best. He said, 'If you think you can't do it, you probably can't, and if you think you can, you can.' Mentally for me here, I've been here before. I don't really feel any pressure. I'm here to do the best I can. Hopefully, that's good. If it's not, well, it's not. That's what it is. Last year, I was here to help the team and Buddy to do the best result they could. I don't know how much I could help, but I did what I could -- the same as Buddy does for me this year. If nothing else, you get strengthened by the fact that you have people who have driven the cars on your side, helping you out. I guess that's a good feeling for me. I think that was probably a good feeling for Buddy last year, as well. It's working out pretty good." (About the changes in the car since he last drove here): "I think the Panoz is a good car around this place. The 3-liter engine is definitely different. It's all about momentum now. Before, if you got out of the throttle, you could get back in it and pick it up again. Now, if you get out of the throttle, it takes you two laps to get back up to speed again. So there's a lot different driving styles in these cars. In a qualifying run, you won't notice that difference because you're flat, balancing on the edge, trying to be. In a race situation, I guess that's going to be a little different. That's one of the challenges for me, to get used to that situation and hopefully I can. We'll see." (Has Danica been able to provide input to you?): "I think she can provide some things. She's obviously a rookie, so she's having her hands full learning a lot of other stuff at the moment. She can certainly provide information about changes, but I think the team wants her to concentrate more on learning how to drive things in different situation. They don't want to load her up with a lot of technical stuff yet because she's got more important things to think of. I think Vitor is a great driver. He's got more experience, so he's doing a lot of the set-up work and Buddy, of course, and Danica, as well. Naturally, I think the team wants her to concentrate a lot on learning everything about this thing. You can't do everything at once." (About getting ride for the rest of the season): "Right now, this is a two-week project. I'm going to do the best I can for the team and for all the sponsors and associates. Then, after that, I guess we'll have to re-evaluate everything, but nothing has been talked about after Indy. I'm hoping that Buddy is going to be well and come back to the next race."
JAQUES LAZIER (#21 Playa Del Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm very confident. I'm very happy with a 221 (mph average). I think, realistically, if we wouldn't have had the car step out on us, we would have had a pretty big moment there. Four weeks ago, we had a tub that wasn't painted and a bunch of parts, and basically, we've been thrashing ever since to try to get the package ready. The team's put a lot of late hours in, and we're here, and we're living the dream right now, and we're qualified for 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' and in my opinion, the greatest spectacle anywhere." (About the car stepping out): "Obviously, any time your car steps out that big, with new tires, you are always better off at the beginning of the run than at the end of the run, and you try to hang on. But when it steps out on the first lap, it's time to bring it in before you're in the wall."
ED CARPENTER (#20 Vision Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "If you had asked me last week, I wouldn't have even thought 221 mph was a possibility for us. All of the guys have worked so hard on the car, and last night, we found something that has proven to have given us some more speed. I'm relieved. I wanted to get the car in the field last weekend, but this is just as good since we were able to find some more speed. We have already been working on race setups, so I'm happy with where we're at right now." (About driving for a new team): "We definitely got off to a late start. We hired our last employee Feb. 8, and our first race of the season was shortly after that, but we continue to improve every week, and as long as we're improving, I am happy." (Did the car become easier to drive as you went faster?) : "The thing about that is when you have a car that is just right, you are able to run faster, like a 221 mph. When you have a car is running 218 or 219 mph, that's when it becomes much harder to drive because it is not handling just right." (About his car owner and stepfather [Tony George] as a racer): "I know the opportunity to jump in one of these cars has crossed his mind if it were during a test session or if we get the opportunity to test. I've raced against Tony in a midget, and he is a great racer. If he wasn't 6-2 or 6-3, I think he would make a great driver."
JEFF WARD (#22 Vision Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "That was kind of our race setup. I thought we would run just another mile and a half quicker in the top 219 (mph) or low 220 (mph). We didn't get out of it quite what I thought the car would do. For a race setup, it's a good speed. On a full tank (of fuel), we could be a 217 or 218 (mph). That's not bad. I haven't always had the fastest car here anyway, but I seem to get to the front. It's a lot of timing and stuff out here to get to the front and stay on the lead lap. So hopefully, that is what we'll do come race weekend, and hopefully we are in the race. We're at the bottom right now. As of right now, there are only 33 cars, so I am feeling pretty good. But if 34 or 35 show up, then there's trouble." (Will you run again?): "Not unless I have to. I don't think I am going to bump up much more to move up a row or even if it's a place or two, maybe. But that's not worth going out and wrecking a car trying to get a mile an hour or so." (About his struggles): "It's a long race. I have never had the fastest car when I have been here. I have finished on the lead lap four out of six times running. Starting this far back isn't always good. You can usually go down a lap. The year I got second (place in 1999), I went down two laps and came back. Anything can happen in this race. There's a lot of guys going extremely fast. To win this race, they are going to have to have some bad luck and we're going to have to have some good luck. It is just an honor to be at the Indy 500, no matter what kind of car you have. And I have had some good runs here. So it's my seventh time, so I am excited to be apart of the program and be selected to be one of the drivers to run around this place." (About Vision Racing): "You would probably have to ask Ed (Carpenter) or Tony (George) on how it came together. I had nothing to do with that. For me, I was sitting at home testing and getting ready for my motorcycle racing, which starts the weekend after this race. I had no vision of coming to the Indy 500 looking for a ride. I didn't want to get a ride halfway through the week. I didn't come the year before, either. So I wasn't expecting a call, but then I got a call from Tony asking what I was doing for the Month of May. I didn't have any racing plans, so I said, 'Not too much.' I went over to Phoenix and met with them. Then that Monday or Tuesday, we called and pretty much went from there. I knew that it was going to be with a new team and package, and I have never driven with a Dallara. It is the first year that I have been in a Dallara. Every year I was in the IRL I had a (Panoz)."
JIMMY KITE (#91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): (About his qualifying run): "We probably could have trimmed the car out a little bit more, but the car is real racey right now. When you start to trim it out, you have to make more changes, and obviously we're running out of time to do that. This team worked really hard on the car, and I just wanted to put four laps together and get it in the show." (About missing out on double duty): "Unfortunately or fortunately, we missed the Craftsman Truck Series race by one spot, so that allowed us to come back up here Thursday night. Because of the thunderstorms in the area, we had to make a stop in Paducah, Ky., and then fly here Friday morning. So, we didn't get to run in Charlotte last night, but we made up for it by getting a ton of laps here." (About his success of advancing many positions in past Indianapolis 500 races): "I don't think we're going to lead the most laps or anything, but we have a good race car that should move up through the field. This is my seventh May and my fifth Indianapolis 500, so I've learned what you need to do to move up throughout the race."
A.J. FOYT IV (#14 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We ran just as good and really consistent, so that's the main thing. I am glad to get it over with and look toward the race now. I know what we have, and I know what we have to do. The crew worked their butts off to get the motor changed and get everything right for me. They did a great job and got the car into the field, and that's all that matters." (About his grandfather's reaction): "He's happy with me. It was a good, consistent run. We wish we could get a little bit more out of it, but it's not possible right now. Get a good race car and race hard all day and hopefully end up (near the) front." (About his qualifying run): "That is pretty much the best. We ran a little bit faster earlier, but those are the four most consistent laps we've had all month. (I am) just glad to get the ABC (Supply Co. Inc) car in there. We tried to qualify earlier and had an engine go. That was disappointing because it was our qualifying engine. We had to get another engine from another team, so it may not have been up to where our other one was. But just as long as we got the car into the field and look forward to the race, that is what matters." (About his engine failure earlier in the day): "No, not really. Our qualifying engine, they say, is 500 miles long. I don't think that was the case. I'm sure something just went wrong, and I'm sure Toyota will figure it out and make improvements on it so it's not a big deal." (About his month): "Well, I have had a lot worse months, that's for sure. This was probably the best month I've had so far, and it's not that good. It's been a lot worse. It has been frustrating looking for speed. We have tried to get speed out of it and have done all we can do. We can't really find (speed). We found a little bit, but not as much as we hoped to. It has been a little bit frustrating, but now we have the qualifying over with and we're in the race. We still got the primary car that we came here with. It's on all four wheels and still rollin g. We can go to the race and start working on the race setup. Hopefully we'll get a good car and run hard all day on Race Day." (About waiting for engine change): "(There is) a lot of waiting around. (On) qualifying days, you can sit there and get nervous and just worry about what's all going on. I was really looking forward to going out there and getting the run over rather than just watching everybody else and then hopefully get out there this afternoon and working on the race setup. That kind of set us back on that. My guys worked hard, and they got it done quickly and got out there and got the job done, and that is all that matters."