IRL: Michigan: Friday notes, quotes

Hornish gets new Chevy up to speed. BROOKLYN, Mich., Friday, July 25, 2003 -- Two-time IRL IndyCarTM Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. turned the fastest lap July 25 during the first day of practice for the Firestone Indy 400. Hornish turned a...

Hornish gets new Chevy up to speed.

BROOKLYN, Mich., Friday, July 25, 2003 -- Two-time IRL IndyCarTM Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. turned the fastest lap July 25 during the first day of practice for the Firestone Indy 400.

Hornish turned a lap of 32.1677 seconds, 223.616 mph in his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone equipped with the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engine. The engine will be raced for the first time this weekend after being approved by the Indy Racing League last week.

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"This will be my second race at Michigan. I always wanted to race here. I'd watched 25 or so races from the other side. I really want to win a race here. We put a new set of tires on, just getting everything scuffed for the race. A couple of guys probably had older tires on, and that probably had a little bit to do with it. We're pretty happy. We know that as long as you're able to make the car handle on the outside here, you'll be able to get some passes done, because you're not always going to have the opportunity to have the inside line. I'm not even worried about the pole. I'm just worried about the race. I'd rather win the race than win the pole, so we're focusing all of our efforts on the race car instead of the qualifying car. That's pretty much what we usually do. The big money and the points are paid by the race, not the pole." (About the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engine): "We knew after testing that we were really excited about it, and that it would give us what we needed to be up front. I'm glad that we get to run it this week, and I wish we got to run it next weekend, but that's part of the deal. The good part about all this is that we were never disappointed in how we ran. We knew that help was on the way, and that we just had to be patient, go out there and keep working on our race cars. We knew we couldn't just slack. That wasn't fair to ourselves or fair to Chevrolet."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone):

"The car is reacting well to what we are trying to do. We were working in clean air through most of the second session. Tomorrow, we'll see where we are in dirty air and go from there. Overall, I'm pretty happy with where we are at right now."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"We're working on race setups, so it's hard to evaluate where we are right now. We're making some changes to see what we need for the race. I can't say that I'm happy or unhappy. We're just working on it right now. We just need to get it right for what we need on Sunday because qualifying doesn't really matter here. You can start out last here and be leading in three laps, so we're working full time on race setup."

KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"This is practice. To be fastest in practice, you have to pick up the right tow at the right moment, and that is going to give you a good lap time. Certainly it is an indication of your power and all of that. We were concentrating on race setup. We are trying to get a good race car. From now on, they (Chevy) are obviously going to be very competitive, and it is going to be even harder now. It is something that we have to deal with right now. I guess if Honda comes out with a newer spec engine, they can introduce that, too, in the weeks to come. We are just hoping that we can improve ourselves. I think the level of competition is pretty fierce. I don't know if it is going to go up from here, but it is certainly going to make a difference because there are quite a few Chevy cars that are going to be fast from now on. If you look at the competition from any of the manufacturers it has always been fierce."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

(About the Gen IV): "It is good, for sure. I don't think it is going to be a whole chase thing. It is just another competitor who is going to be at the top. There are a lot of guys who are fighting it out, not just one person. Points. That is all we want, to stay consistent. We are trying to basically find more speed and just make sure we stay at the front. We are looking at the championship. Penske is really the one we have to focus on to try and beat. I think everybody is trying to find speed. It depends on the circumstance they got the time. Qualifying is totally different. A racetrack like this is basically just draft. Obviously, we would like to be on the pole, but I think it doesn't matter as much as at a track like Nashville or Richmond or something like that."


JOE NEGRI (GM Racing IRL program manager):

"The Firestone Indy 400 will be the first test of the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 under actual race conditions. This program has come together very quickly, and the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 is still in the early stages of development. While we have great confidence in the engine and we look forward to a performance improvement in the future, we will be in a testing mode at MIS. We have realistic expectations about the first race with a brand-new design. Our primary goals are to accumulate racing miles and to gain experience with the new engine package. If the Panther Racing entry performs well and produces a good result, that would be a bonus. The Gen IV engine has less than 1,000 miles of track testing to date, so we are still learning about its performance and durability. The IRL's decision to allow us to test the engine at two tracks will give us an opportunity to work through any reliability issues before converting all of the Chevrolet teams to Gen IV engines for the race at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 17. The 2-mile Michigan oval is one of the most punishing tracks on the IRL circuit in terms of the engine's duty cycle. While we can simulate the loads in a dyno cell, there is no substitute for running an engine flat-out on a high-banked oval. The test at MIS that will give us the real-world experience that we need to continue the engine's development."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing