IRL: Indy500: Final practice day quotes

AIRTON DARE: "We are trying to find balance, and we aren't sure if we are battling the track or the tires. We were well on our way to finding the perfect setup, and then the gearbox failed. We have consistently been in the top 10 in practice...

AIRTON DARE: "We are trying to find balance, and we aren't sure if we are battling the track or the tires. We were well on our way to finding the perfect setup, and then the gearbox failed. We have consistently been in the top 10 in practice today, so we are OK with that, but we know with more neutrality we could be up there in the top three."

SAM HORNISH JR.: "We just went out and worked on race setup then did some pit-stop practice. We won't go out on Carb Day much. I think we're in good shape." (About running backup car today): "We did that to put some miles on it and not do anymore wear and tear to the primary car. Everything we learned today transfers over to the other car."

BUZZ CALKINS: "We got some things worked out on the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat car today. We'll go out and run about an hour tomorrow. We just want to get an idea of a different day and different weather conditions. There is really no way to tell what Race Day will be like. So, if we can get as many different weather days as possible, which we have this month, that will help us no matter what Race Day is like."

SCOTT SHARP: "It was an up and down day. We were chasing a few different gremlins all day. We didn't get all the track time we wanted, so we'll probably run tomorrow. Overall, I'm really pleased with our No. 8 Delphi car. We had an extremely strong run this afternoon of about 31 laps. The guys have been working hard, and we appreciate that."

MARK DISMORE: "This is the best car I've had all month. If I would have had this last Saturday, I would have qualified a lot stronger. We ran the same setup this afternoon as we did this morning but just under different track conditions. We learned a lot today. I've learned more in the last three days than the whole time I've been here. We actually had to go too far with the car to realize what we really wanted to do with it. I think we've got a fantastic race car."

MEMO GIDLEY: "We've had a problem the last few days with the car jumping out of fourth gear. Because of that problem we have overreved two motors. Last night, we thought we had fixed the problem, but we did it again this morning. We thought the motor was OK, but later we found out it wasn't. Basically, we've had several problems this month that have kept us off the track. It's been crunch time for us since the time we showed up. In two weeks, we've had to assemble a team, assemble cars and get track time. It's been tough on everyone, but everybody is working their butts off. There are so many good teams and drivers here this year, much better than in the past years. You have to be really well prepared." (Can you make the race?): "Ovals are funny. I've had cars that feel terrible then you make a change and all of a sudden you're as good as everyone else. We still have tomorrow. Who knows? We make the right change then we have a shot to get in. Right now anything can happen."

JOHN PAUL JR.: "We started out well this morning, came out conservative. We had a little push, and then we took the crossweight out of it. So we went back out, and for some reason we have no oil pressure. We are hoping that we found out what the problem is. We had good speed this morning and found a good, comfortable balance. We'll have to go out tomorrow and see what the car has in it. Indianapolis is a horsepower game. I went out this morning and got the rust off. Now I feel I can pull whatever the car has out of it. It will be an interesting day that's for sure."

JIMMY KITE: "This is my fourth year of Bump Day. I'm use to it. We've got a good balance. If we didn't have a setup, I'd be worried. We never really got a clean lap or a hot lap. We're going to be OK. The car is going to make it. This is probably the best I will sleep before any qualifying day at Indy. I know what it's like to be the rookie. This is the most relaxed I've ever felt. I'm use to it. Anybody in the mid 221s (mph) is going to be worried. I think that's the cut off."

JIM GUTHRIE: "It didn't turn." (About tomorrow's plans): "Done. Done. The sponsorship potential is gone. We had to be in the show. We're only about $100,000 upside down and a totaled car. This is worse than a broken leg."

ROBBIE BUHL: "We actually had a really good day today. We got a lot done. We went out with our race car this morning on full tanks and worked on race stuff. We are very happy with the Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car. This afternoon we went out in our T car and really just shook that down and did in-and-outs with it to work on our pit stops and the pit lane speed limiter. We wanted to log some miles today for reliability and durability so the we and the Infiniti guys feel comfortable as we get closer to the race. I feel pretty confident that we have done that."

CASEY MEARS: "I can't predict what is going to happen tomorrow, but we have made some gains today, and we are going to go out tomorrow for qualifying and do the best we can."

ROBERTO GUERRERO: "Very nervous. We can't seem to get going in the G Force very fast. We're going to try another setup on it, but I don't believe we'll get out today unfortunately. There is no Plan B. That's it. We did get the Dallara up to speed quickly, but everyone got up to speed quickly also and put us at a disadvantage. The reason Dick (Simon) took the speed (in qualifying) was he said he wanted to get working on this car right away. Of course it's easy to look at hindsight and say maybe we shouldn't have done that. From the first time I got in the G Force it's been a struggle. We've tried a million setups. When Stephan (Gregoire) left for Heritage (Motorsports), I felt this was my team and my responsibility. I'm going to test this car tomorrow and qualify it, so I feel this is it or nothing."

DONNIE BEECHLER: "We're playing the waiting game right now. Eliseo (Salazar) will have to have four good laps and make the race then I will get a shot at it. I tested today and things were good. I just hope I get the opportunity." (About his birthday yesterday): "The best birthday present I could get would be to driver for A.J. Foyt in the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500."

CORY WITHERILL: "I feel pretty good. I feel pretty confident. We've been working hard at it for the last week. It's unfortunate that this crash (Steve Knapp at the end of the day) happened, because we were working on getting back to where we were. We were getting back up to speed, but we have an hour practice tomorrow, so we'll work on speed again tomorrow."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR.: "We worked on race balance all day and feel we have a very good car for Race Day. We may take the T car out tomorrow and work on a few other things. I'm much happier with our race balance than I was with qualifying. We covered more than a race distance with this engine. I'm just glad we don't have to qualify tomorrow."

SCOTT GOODYEAR: "It was a good day. We ran with fuel all day and made changes that were definitely better. We improved a fair amount with full fuel loads. My team is finished until Carb Day. We should be in good shape for the race. We plan to be there at the end."

SARAH FISHER: "Today we wanted to get some good, consistent runs, and I think we accomplished that. We ran during the normal race hours, and the car felt very comfortable."

ELISEO SALAZAR: "It was a productive day. We tried to run in the heat of the day and were able to do 220s (mph) in the Harrah's No. 14 car. With new tires, a better engine and qualifying trim, we should pick up a couple miles an hour. It is not a situation we like to be in. It is very nerve-wracking until we get in the show. I am confident, but we're not out of the woods yet."

RAUL BOESEL: "The car's really solid. I'm still coming up to speed myself, but I'm really comfortable in the car. The Treadway-Hubbard team does a great job, and it's great to be working with them again. I know I have the speed, and I know the team has great cars, especially here at Indy. The weather will play a big part in the speeds tomorrow. So we'll see what tomorrow brings."

JEFF WARD: "I think our partnership with Stephan (Gregoire) will be good for the team in the long run. He's a capable driver, and we're giving him a fast car. So he has what he needs to get in the show. As far as our efforts go, we need more time with the car to get it where we want it. We'll work very hard Thursday to get everything where we want it. I'm very confident in this team and package. We'll be strong on Race Day."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: "For the first time out in the car, things were excellent. I got the car up to 217-218 (mph), so I'm very excited for tomorrow. This team has proved they know what they're doing. So I'm confident we'll produce the results we need to get in the show."

BILLY BOAT: "I think the biggest thing that the CURB Records Beck Motorsports team found is that we had some discrepancies when we were setting up our race car, actually on our setup pad itself. Once we discovered that, we seemed to have made the car more consistent, a much happier race car to drive. Now we can actually put together those laps we need to qualify, which is something we've been lacking over the last week and a half. So that makes me feel real good now it's just a matter of putting the speed together when we need to do it, which is when we roll out to qualify tomorrow. I would anticipate that we are going to be one of the first cars in the qualifying line. Right now our strategy is to go right away to see what the car has. Obviously we are going to run a few laps in practice. Hopefully the car will repeat and go right back to where we were before. Right now we're planning to go right away before the track and temperature starts to heat up. We're more confident than we were at this time last week. I'm more confident I have a race car underneath me that is capable of running quick enough to put it in the show. We're not going to try to be the quickest; we're going to try to be the most consistent. A 222 (mph) average is what we're looking for to put the car solid in the field. Right now there is no need really to go overboard to try to find speed. We just need consistency and put it solidly in. I think there are easily a half a dozen race cars that are fast enough to get in the field. That doesn't count a lot of the last minute crazy things that happen on Bump Day at Indy. Really, it's been the last six days that has been hardest. Those first couple of days were probably hardest because we didn't get to be on the racetrack. You just have to sit there and think about, 'Can I be fast enough?' Until you roll out to do it, you never really know if you can. You never know what the car's going to give you. You never know what the weather's going to do, the wind. There are a lot of variables and a lot of things that can change. But, right now, I feel pretty good. We're just going to wait until tomorrow and see what the weather is going to throw us. I don't think there is any way you are going to avoid the drama, you just don't want to be part of it. Bump Day at the Speedway is always going to involve some drama. We already see guys today that are out there searching for speed and having some problems. I think we are going to see the same thing tomorrow. The key for us and our strategy is to put it in early because once you get to that 4:30, 5:00 hour there are so many things that can happen. If you're in line you may not even get an opportunity. We were lucky last year, and I'd rather not try to press my luck. That's the beauty of the IRL. We have had a number of teams that have offered us assistance, and it's really given us a good opportunity to find some of our weaknesses. This is obviously one of the most competitive fields that we've had for the Indy 500 in many years. Obviously there's more teams, more well-funded teams here, which brings that competition level up even higher. Obviously the CART teams bring a well-funded very technical oriented operation to the Speedway, which is what it takes to run fast here. They've definitely raised the bar for us. It's up to teams like us, like my team and Greg Beck's team -- the smaller teams -- we have to raise our level of intensity, and I think it's better for the whole league. They're going to raise the bar higher. That's what we're trying to do. There is no doubt in my mind that without the IRL I never would have had the opportunity to run here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Guys like A.J. Foyt were able to give me my start, but he had watched me run sprint cars and midgets, and I got that opportunity. I am very fortunate. I feel very lucky that I had that opportunity. I think as the league continues to grow and we get more sponsors involved that there is going to be more and more drivers from that circle of racing, from the short tracks across America. They are going to get that opportunity. Now the only thing stopping that is funding."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Steve Knapp , A.J. Foyt
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing