NICOLAS MINASSIAN ( ...
NICOLAS MINASSIAN (#49 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I was just cruising around. I did a few laps. We just scuffed a few tires. It was very relaxed." (About the start of the "500" on Sunday): "It's going to be hard. It's going to be very hard. It's going to be spectacular, however. I'm looking forward to it."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's a shame I cannot do more laps. I only did five or six laps at speed." (About any advise from Jimmy Vasser or Tony Stewart): "Nothing yet, we'll talk about that later."
DONNIE BEECHLER (#84 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The first hot lap, we had a little loose condition going through Turn 4. I didn't think I was supposed to see the right-rear tire first. I told the crew I'm coming in, but I like it because when you come in, A.J. (Foyt) fixes it and makes it right."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We just did system checks. We didn't go for speed. The car is ready to go. There were others who were quicker, but I'll be surprised if they can run those speeds in race conditions."
ROBBY GORDON (#41 Team Conseco/Foyt Racing/RCR Childress Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I had a slight scare coming into the pits because Buddy Lazier, who was also coming in, slowed more than I anticipated. It was close. But I'm very happy with the car on full tanks and on empty tanks with used tires."
BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We wanted to make sure that we put everything back together right, brakes, ring and pinions. Everything seems fine. We also wanted to run some in traffic. We found some groups to run with, and that was good. Overall, we wanted to keep our laps to a minimum. I think we'll be fine for Race Day."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're happy with everything. We're ready." (About the race setup): "We're pretty good. We finished where we were the other day."
CORY WITHERILL (#16 WSA/MOTORS/Indy Regency Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): (About Lap 1 of the Indianapolis 500): "Pretty crazy. Thirty-three cars going into Turn 1, all I can think of is pretty crazy. I have been running Mickey Thompson off-road stuff and sprint cars for years. So I'm pretty sure Lap 1 will be something like that. Hopefully nobody will make a mistake on the first lap, and we'll all have a chance to get to the finish." (About engine): "We are running a RPM engine in the race. The RPM has shown to be very reliable. We feel comfortable with it." (About emotions preparing for Carb Day): "I was a little nervous this morning. As soon as I went out, I felt better." (About expectations for the race): "We expect to do good, be smart, then get out there and finish as high as possible."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Fifteen or 20 cars have the capabilities to win. There is no reason for us to pound to get to the front. We just need to be there the last 50 laps. I like working with our guys. I know what I'm racing with. We just have to line it up on Sunday and race. We are in the best position of any of the first four races this season. We're happy to pick up two new sponsors, Cure Autism Now and Simple Green."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I really just wanted to check the balance, check for leaks and drips to make sure everything was OK. I haven't had a chance to run full tanks as much as we'd like. The weather can really change things. So we'll just be ready for the race. A pack of cars are going to go to the front. A key is for us to be a part of that pack. There is no time frame to get to the front. The key is to stay on the lead lap and go at 50 laps."
JAQUES LAZIER (#77 Classmates.com/Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're very happy with where we stand. Last time out we made a couple of changes, which made it more stable and consistent. At the same time we found more speed. The last full tank we ran with was in hot weather. Now we did a full tank in cool weather. We feel comfortable in both spectrums. There's no reason to go back out, save the motor for Race Day."
STEPHAN GREGOIRE (#36 Heritage Motorsports/Firestone/Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car is fast. We didn't even try. I know it can go fast, because it's still full of fuel. I thought we should wait a little bit to go out today to save the equipment. I knew there would be a rush at the beginning. I wanted to run in traffic, though, so when everyone stopped we came in. I know that we will have a very fast car for Sunday."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "That's a brand-new car for me. The car's good. It ran well with full tanks. I know lots of guys didn't have full tank because they were running 222s today, which I think will be 3 or 4 mph faster than race speed. We're going to start conservative with a little push in it. As the race goes on we'll dial it in and hopefully get a little more racy."
GIL DE FERRAN (#66 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Overall, I'm very happy with the car. It's handling very well. I'm very comfortable with where we are at. Now we just have to wait three days until the race. We know what we have, and we know what we have to do." (About weather conditions): "You really just almost have to forget about it. It's something that's out of my control."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (#68 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We learned a lot in this morning's practice. We practiced in and out laps doing hot stops and working on full-tank setups. I'm comfortable with the balance of the car for Sunday's race. Don't touch my car, no changes. It's going to be an endurance race on Sunday. That's for sure."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Obviously, it's the last chance to run hard. We wanted to confirm the race-starting setup was strong right out of the box. The car was real strong, and we just didn't need to stay out and run any longer. That was probably the real advantage of running today. No one has had an opportunity to run in cool conditions. It gave you some data to be able to guess off of for Sunday."
MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're pretty satisfied with where we're going to start. Everyone is going to start with different race paces in mind. We're set with what we're going to do. The fastest race lap could be 224 (mph) or 220 (mph). You just have to get the car set up to have adjustability in the speed. We'll come out here Sunday morning, and see what it's going to be like and see what we have to do."
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I think we're OK. We ran on full tanks and worn tires. We were just trying to confirm the gear ratios. If it's like this on Race Day, I think we're OK. If it's a little cooler than this, we'll have to come back and make some adjustments."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We wanted to shake it down to see how it was running, make sure there were no leaks and the gears were right, and get ready for pit stop practice."
SCOTT GOODYEAR (#52 Thermos® Grill2Go(tm) Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "I think we're ready. We ran a lot of fuel. There are pretty big times out there. If they keep running like that on Race Day, I think we'll be in chase mode. I have a good race car right now and think we'll be good on Race Day."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We ran on full tanks, and the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car is OK. We made a decision on what we think the race pace is going to be, and we'll either be right or we'll be wrong."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports/Firestone/Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm really excited about this car. It looks good, and it runs even better. We didn't get into any traffic today, but the car was really balanced, so traffic won't affect our performance. Today was a great practice. Our speed was good and consistent, which will be most important on Race Day. The car was easy to drive, which will make for great racing for the team on Sunday. The team's energy is really up, and everyone is excited about Aerosmith being our new sponsor. So we're going to be a team to watch. We'll be easy to spot out there with that pink car."
AIRTON DARÉ (#88 1-800-BAR NONE TeamXtreme G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Obviously, we didn't go as fast as we expected, but we made our way through the hard spots. We had some fast turn-in and a little understeer, but the crew corrected that early on. We learned a lot today in practice, and we are prepared for the race. Today's practice was great in all respects except for not getting up to top speeds. I'll save that for the race."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Life Fitness/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I felt the practice went quite well. We ran a speed that we were able to get a good feel for, gear wise. It's a pretty fast day out there, faster than I thought it would be. We have a pretty good idea. At this stage we're not going to make too many changes. This is our race engine. We did a leak test to make sure there were no leaks and setup verification. We did a fair amount of practice last week with our backup car and just wanted to make sure, verifying that all the work we did transferred over to this car."
JERET SCHROEDER (#9 Purity Products Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Once the gearbox was apart, we found the problem actually did more damage to the rest of the gearbox. So we are taking our time putting it together properly. The car is handling good and in heavy traffic. I have a good motor, and hopefully we will be running in top gear and better than we were today. It will be total chaos out there for the first half (of the race). There is going to be a lot of aggressive moves. We need to stay on the lead lap, avoid problems and go for the end of the race. I hope it is a tight field back to where I am and close racing for the fans to enjoy. Everyone wants to get to the front, but there is enough talent here that no one will outshine any one else. I really think it is going to be close. (About potential winners): "All 33 cars, maybe 30. I know I am as good a driver as the rest of the guys out there, and there is always a lot of luck involved. You just have to use your head and keep yourself up front at the end of the race."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We drove this morning for experience for me, and it is good for the team. We are looking for next year. Unfortunately, we didn't qualify this time. Everyone did a good job. We tried our best."
DAVEY HAMILTON (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Feels like Indy, this is perfect. That's why we want to be here as race car drivers. We are not quite as good with this car on full tanks as the other car. The other car has 2 mph faster. So we have some balance things to workout. I like today's weather. It's pretty good. It makes the motor run good. It gives you a little more downforce, and the sun gave a good track temperature. What that does is improve downforce and grip, which results in a better race."
JON HERB (#6 Tri Star Motorsports Inc. Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): I feel great. The car ran well. Tri Star is doing a great job. I couldn't be happier going into Sunday. It would just be nice to have more laps going into Sunday. I will concentrate on running all 500 miles at a reasonable pace. We don't need to sprint to the front. Larry Curry will form a plan of attack to see where we will end up." (About today's run): "A little conservative and still ran 216. We are shooting to run that all day long. The fastest lap in last year's race was a 218 (mph), so we feel 216 is reasonable."
JIMMY VASSER (#44 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I've been real relaxed. I haven't been here the whole time. I got back last night, so I'm real relaxed and have a good feeling for the race. On Race Day if we encounter each other (teammates) on the track, we probably will give each other a little more room, but for the most part everyone wants to win this thing. I think this year is better than last year. Maybe as more teams come, the energy will continue to grow. As the top CART teams come back, with the strong IRL teams, things are going to keep getting better."
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Today wasn't as easy flowing. We have a good, stable car, which will be great for the start of the race. We got everything accomplished that we needed to. So I'm excited for Sunday."