Sam Hornish Jr. (winner) Scott Dixon (second) Bryan Herta (third) SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was difficult when you are out there running. You really have to have a car that handles well because...
Sam Hornish Jr. (winner)
Scott Dixon (second)
Bryan Herta (third)
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"It was difficult when you are out there running. You really have to have a car that handles well because the track is bumpy. One of the things that I had was that I could run the bottom. It is a faster line. Any day, it is hit or miss. There are a lot of great teams that we race with. I think we are on the same wavelength as far as the engineers and myself. We know we need to have a good-handling race car above all else, and we have to be able to pass. If I hadn't run as well as I had, I'm sure that Scott (Dixon) and the other people weren't too far behind. The car was fairly easy to drive. I was trying to keep as much of a lead as I could. I know that sometimes you can become complacent, and your head isn't where it should be, and some strange things happen. We were just trying to stay focused all day.
We know what it takes to win these races. It takes a lot of teamwork and good-handling race cars. We are focused on what it is going to take to win this championship. I'm sure there will be a lot of people that have a problem with it, but we have worked so hard this year. I feel bad that they feel that way, but I don't feel bad about winning."
About the Chevrolet engine:
"We didn't sit there and whine when I was 60-horsepower down at the beginning of the year. I don't know what their (other drivers') problem is. It is about as equal as it can get right now. We have worked so hard on making sure that our setups are where they need to be. We were running equal to them at 60-horsepower down at six races this year. They have to expect that when we get that 60 horsepower, we are going to be a little quicker than they are. We won five races last year, it is not like this is the first time we've ever won. We are not some no-names who got a new engine and went out there and won."
What are your plans for next year?:
"I could have stayed in go-karts until I was 50 and won a lot of races, but is that what is going to make me the happiest? You start off as an amateur, you move to a professional, then you move to a race winner, you move to a champion ,and someday, you hope to be a legend. You try to associate yourself however you can to be able to put yourself in those shoes."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):
"I think Team Target had a very good car today. I'm not sure if we maybe had a little too much downforce on, but the car was very good in the traffic. There's always going to be a compromise, and we got stuck there in a big group for a while, but I think that's pretty much all we had today. Obviously, we have to find a little more for the upcoming races. I think we'll be fine for Nazareth and the shorter tracks. We just need to find a little more for these bigger circuits.
It was a big day for us today, especially for points. I think we're only 12 out of the lead now, sitting in third place, and I think we halved the lead that Tony (Kanaan) had. So, it was basically pretty good for us, points-wise. Obviously, winning and 10 points extra would've been a lot nicer, but it was a good day. I generally had a pretty easy day. The car was very good. We were flat, like, every lap. I'm not sure if we compromised, if we had a little too much drag in the car with downforce, but we've got to take the positive things out of here. That's obviously the points that we collected, closed in on the championship. We did our best this weekend. Team Target provided me with a great car where we were fast and at the top of the tables every session. Second place, you can't complain. We'll take the points and move on to Nazareth."
Compare your experiences in the IRL and CART:
"I think the competition and the level of the teams are fairly similar. It's just the package they have here allows you to race. The better cars always move to the front, whereas in CART, even if you had the fastest car, if you started 12th, you'd probably finish 10th, with other people having mechanicals. I think the racing's better. It's a lot more fun for the drivers. I didn't really think I'd say that I'd have fun this year, but I've had a lot of fun from the start."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I couldn't run with Scott (Dixon), and I couldn't run with Sam (Hornish Jr.). They had a little more, but I'm real happy with the result we had. We were tuning in on the car all day. After the last stop, my car wasn't quite as good as it had been. I'm not sure why. But that last stop, my guys gave me an awesome stop, and they got me back out ahead of Sam, which put us back on the lead lap and in contention for the win. That was huge. We just want to contend for wins, and we had another great shot.
I saw all kinds of traffic, and most of it was good, but some of it was a little hairy, too. It's fun while you're doing well. We had a great car. It's fun. It's fun when you're doing well. We had a good car underneath us. Scott and Sam were setting the pace. We couldn't seem to match it. I feel great. I think this is one of the best races I have ever driven. I really felt like I maximized every lap. From a personal satisfaction standpoint, I'm on cloud nine. The only way it could have been better was if we'd won. The whole team participated. They did a great job."
About Sam Hornish's performance:
"When Sam came around, and they said he was coming up to lap me, I couldn't believe it. He came around me, and I was wide open in top gear. I thought we had the car pretty trimmed out because we thought we needed some speed. That's a little disheartening. I think next week it won't be such a big deal at Nazareth."