IRL: Indy500: Friday practice quotes

JEFF WARD: "We had a good day. Everything is moving according to Mitch's (Davis, Heritage Motorsports team manager) plan. We were in the top five, which is where we wanted to be. This afternoon we ran out of gear, so we'll take care of that...

JEFF WARD: "We had a good day. Everything is moving according to Mitch's (Davis, Heritage Motorsports team manager) plan. We were in the top five, which is where we wanted to be. This afternoon we ran out of gear, so we'll take care of that tonight and come out running hard tomorrow. The car feels really good. I felt too much push going through Turn 1, but this team knows how to work out the kinks. Mitch can make this motor do whatever he wants it to do, so I'm confident in my ride tomorrow. I think that people just think we're a small team going for the pole, but everyone is small compared to Penske and Ganassi. What's important is what everyone is taking away each day of practice, and we're learning a lot everyday out. The people on this team have been successful in Indy before, and we know what it takes to be the leader. We're going for it tomorrow."

BUDDY LAZIER: "You never feel 100 percent comfortable. We didn't want to go chase the weather conditions today. The (No.) 91 car, the one we plan on qualifying tomorrow, it's been over 223 (mph). I'd love to go out during Happy Hour and put down a super fast speed, but that doesn't always help you to accomplish what we are here today. Maybe it's a good thing the driver doesn't have the final say on that because we'd be out there trying to put the top time of the day. Emotionally for the driver it's the month of May, and you always want to post the top time of the day. The thought is to wait until tomorrow to do the fine-tuning."

SAM HORNISH: "We've got an excellent race car but it's not so good for qualifying. We have a real good race setup, but it's not as good for a qualifying setup. But if we can run like we did late today, we will be pretty good."

TONY STEWART: "I think that we are ready for tomorrow. We have a very good car that should be a threat for the pole. I'm hoping for at least a top-10 starting position for the race. The race is the most important thing right now. We are here to win the race."

JIMMY VASSER: "We had a good day today. The car was pretty consistent all day long. We made a few changes to make the car more comfortable on long runs. Like Tony (Stewart) says, the race is what we are here for, and that is what we worked on today. It's great to be back here at the Speedway."

GIL DE FERRAN: "I'm happy with what we were able to accomplish today, and I think we're ready for qualifying. Overall, the Marlboro car is handling well. We'll see what the conditions are like tomorrow and do any fine-tuning during morning warm-up."

HELIO CASTRONEVES: "Unfortunately I kissed the wall a little harder today, so we had to switch to our backup car (68T), which we'll qualify tomorrow. The whole Marlboro crew worked hard to get the T car ready, but I wasn't happy with the setup so we spent the afternoon session improving the balance, and now we're ready to go for practice tomorrow morning. Hopefully we'll get an uninterrupted practice session in the morning, and we'll be ready to go for qualifying. I'll be happy if I can get a top-10 starting spot."

ARIE LUYENDYK: "I am pleased with how our day went. I don't see the need to run a lot of laps. My engineer, Tim Wardrop, and I know what we plan to do with the car in practice Saturday morning. And then we'll just see how it works out in qualifying."

CASEY MEARS: "Right now we're so far behind, I'm not evening thinking about tomorrow. The last couple of days the team has been busy getting the car back in order. We went back out this afternoon, and they put a lot of wing in the car just to let me get comfortable, but it's almost harder to drive it than it was before."

SARAH FISHER: "This week has been longer than I expected. We're not exactly where we want to be, but then again I doubt anyone is. I'm really confident with the car I'm going to qualify though. Every time we tried to go out for a short run or simulated qualifying run, we ran into a yellow, so it's been really frustrating and not very productive."

STEVE KNAPP: "I'm not going a whole lot faster than Memo (Gidley) was going. I've got the car good and balanced and trimmed out and safe, but this throttle pedal situation is definitely costing us some speed. I have a lot of respect for Gidley. I raced with him a little bit in Atlantics in 1997. The race that sticks out in my mind was the Vancouver street race, when he won and I finished second. He's a hard charger. I really, really enjoyed that race, because I was giving it everything I had to stay with him. We're both going to get in this event solid and have a great race."

MEMO GIDLEY: "We helped each other today. Steve's (Knapp) car is not quite ready yet, so it seemed like a good idea to give him an opportunity to run some laps. He's been around Indy quite a bit, so it killed two birds with one stone to get him out there and see if he could make the car a little bit better. Steve is a very smart driver, and the team made some steady progress today. We're still quite a ways off. We're not really in the ballpark right now."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR.: "We got lost two days ago with some wrong settings, but we made some progress on the #51 Excite@Home car today. I'm not so sure we can get the pole. I think that is between Menards and the Kelley drivers, but I think that the front row is definitely possible. With some new Firestones and a couple of other changes, we'lll be OK. All I'm looking for is a car that can do four laps relatively easily. I don't want to be holding my breath. I don't know what the pole speed is going to be, but I think you'll have to be above 220 mph to avoid being on the bubble."

BILLY BOAT: "The CURB Records/Beck Motorsports (team) worked hard today, but we didn't really seem to get where we wanted to be. We were trying to find a good balance on the race car and then later on we had an engine problem that frustrated us for pretty much the whole afternoon. It's going to be a little bit of a guessing game going into qualifying, even though I feel I have a fairly good idea of where I'm at with the race car as far as our balance. But I'm not as confident as I'd like to be, so we'll try to get a little practice in the morning and look for the car to come to us. With the cooler temperatures it's going to be a guessing game for everybody. We haven't had any cold temperatures this week, but we'll see what kind of qualifying number we draw, and we'll go from there."

GREG RAY: (Did you learn more today?): "I wish I had a yes answer for you. We had a good car this morning. I guess it was after lunch when we ran our best lap, around 1 p.m. We thought we could go a little quicker. We threw everything but the kitchen sink at that (backup) car, but it didn't help." (How do you determine primary car?): I'm the wrong person to ask. I think it's the rotation of the cars." (About cooler weather for qualifing): "Really the cooler weather is an equalizer. Normally the grip is better. The downforce is better. It really is an equalizer. It makes it tighter and tighter. It really hasn't been cool since we've been here, but yes, cool conditions will make it quicker." (About increased track activity today): "It was a little frustrating with all the yellows." (About tire temperature and setup): "The balance is the same on the car cold or hot, but you have to be extremely easy on the throttle." (About Ray leading speed charts last four days and his prediction of pole winner): "I think it's totally wide open. We've had an opportunity to go out there and get some really good laps in excellent conditions. I said that speeds could get up to 226 (mph) depending on the conditions, and I think Scott Sharp rolled his eyes. Then he was the one that went out there and posted that speed." (About comfort in car and ability to post those top speeds): "If you have a good feeling about the people working on your car and have a close personal relationship (with your team) it calms you. You have to be focused and committed, and very smoothly and cautiously keeping it right on the edge." (About motivation to win the pole at Indianapolis): "Well, it pays 100 grand first of all. This is the most prestigious race in the world. This is the most photographed, most covered, most well documented. It's a reward for the guys working so hard, a reward for the driver, and the trophy looks pretty good sitting on your desk. I have a lot of respect for the teams and the drivers here. It's going to be competitive."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "I don't know what I'm going to run. I hope we can put in a decent time. That way we don't have to worry in Japan. I don't think there's more pressure than qualifying. If you mess up one lap, you mess up the whole run. I don't think there's more pressure than qualifying here at Indianapolis."

JIMMY VASSER: "I think we're gonna be OK tomorrow. We'll adjust to the conditions tomorrow morning. We know where we're at. We didn't run too much today, and we didn't want to mess with Happy Hour. It's just too much commotion. There's a lot more to be lost than gained."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: "It was an interesting day for me. Roberto Guerrero is a very good driver. He has a lot of experience. There's proof the car can go fast. Roberto showed that. I got in the car and did a 218 (mph), and I almost lost it in Turn 2. There's something making me uncomfortable, and I'm not sure what it is. One thing is for sure. Roberto Guerrero is capable of qualifying this car."

ROBERTO GUERRERO: "It's a great opportunity. I think it will be good for me and the whole team. I get a chance to qualify and help the team." (About tomorrow's MBNA Pole qualifying): "Same thing as always. We need to get a good draw and string four good laps together. The earlier the better." (Asked if he has been selected to qualify the No. 7 Dick Simon Racing entry): "It looks like it, but nothing has been decided. But it looks like it, from what we were talking about on the way back. Really, it's just what is best for the team."

SCOTT SHARP: "It was a rougher day than expected for everyone. It was real hard to get momentum with all the yellows and accidents. Every time something happened, more fluid and oil dry was added to the track. Combine that with winds from the east and west, it was hard to put two fast laps together. Overall, I feel pretty good. The track conditions will be different tomorrow, but we expect those changes to be better for us."

MARK DISMORE: "I'm disappointed about how the day went. I'm just puzzled at how we lost the handle on our car. We got through Turns 3 and 4 fine but struggled in (Turns) 1 and 2. We've got to figure it out. The team will make some adjustments tonight, and we'll go back out in the morning and see if we've solved the problem. I have all the faith in my Delphi Bryant crew, and I know they'll figure it out by tomorrow, whatever it takes."

SCOTT GOODYEAR: "We are not as quick today as I would like to be, which is disturbing because at the beginning of the week I had anticipated that we had a shot at the front row. I am not counting out a front-row result for tomorrow, but we are not going quick enough today to do that. We are going to sit down and look at some things tonight to see if we could pick up some speed for tomorrow."

ROBBIE BUHL: "Today was a pretty stressful day for all of us here at Dreyer & Reinbold. The crew has worked 24 hours, around the clock, last night to get our new car ready, which is the same spec as the car we destroyed in Atlanta. We thought it would be better. We got out at about 1:30 and had some electrical problems. We actually thought we might have to change the engine. We got back here and all the Infiniti engineers swarmed around the car, and as it turned out it was only an injector. We made a few changes on the car and got back out. The car did what we thought it would do, which doesn't often happen in this game. There is still more in it, but right now we want to get solidly in the show. I think it will be a good race car. Power-wise, the way the Infiniti motor comes up when you breath it will make for a good race motor. It was a lot of work to get to this point, but it paid off, the new car is really good."


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Roberto Guerrero , Dick Simon