IRL: Nashville qualifying quotes

AL UNSER JR. ( ...

AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We gained a lot between yesterday and today, but it wasn't enough to get in the top of the field. So we are going to have to start at the back. I do feel that we have enough information on this track to have a good car tomorrow, so the entire Galles Team will have to work together in the pits and on the track to try for a good finish tomorrow night."

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're disappointed. We had a real tough weekend chasing the setup. For us, not testing here means we have to learn with every session and develop a baseline. We knew we weren't strong, but thought we'd be in the top 10. We're surprised that we lost 1.5 mph from earlier today. We should have had a stronger lap time. We're making major changes for final practice. It's all about who can make the best car for the long run."

ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The Cahill Racing car was very comfortable, but I thought we'd go a little faster. I don't know what it was. It might have been the shower we had before qualifying combined with the air density. It's more humid now than it was earlier in the day. I had hoped we'd qualify in the top 10, but actually 11th is OK. I think I'd rather start on the inside anyway. When we went over the data from the run it showed that I scrubbed off a little speed in Turn 4. I was in fifth the whole way. I never was in sixth. But the car feels good and so does the leg. I love this track and the concrete surface, so we're in good shape. My leg hurts a little when I put the clutch in, but it'll be OK."

DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "That's the best the car has felt all weekend. We'll take it and get our race setup ready. I had to lift a little in Turns 1 and 2 but was flat through 3 and 4. I hope the track provides two grooves, but I think you'll have to pass on the straightaways, and you'll have to have a good run on the guy to get him."

BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We could use another mile-an-hour, but I feel really good in the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat No. 12. The setup is really comfortable, so I feel good about going into the race tomorrow."

ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Something happened to the engine. It was much too rich. I almost stopped but then I thought I just wasn't hearing it right. We did a 198 (mph) in practice, and we always go quicker in qualifying, so I was thinking at least a 199 lap, but we went slower. It's a shame because it will be really tough to pass here. I think it will be a one-groove track, but I'm hoping it's not."

ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "I am very disappointed with our qualifying run. It was two-tenths (of a second) off what we had earlier today in practice. We could have gone quicker than we did earlier, but because we were the first car out after the rain, we slid around a bit, and I couldn't get the car wound up. It's really disappointing, because I think we had the package to be on the front row."

MARK DISMORE (#28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The weather today changed the track, so we weren't able to get the speed that we did earlier today. But it still looks like we had one of the better cars. The Firestone tires have been great. After some of the teams tested here a couple of weeks ago they changed the tire and came up with one that works good on this track. We should be good for tomorrow."

DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It is a shame, because I really like the changes we were making in the last practice session, and my qualifying run is the first time I have been flat all weekend, and the car felt really good in all of the turns. But for some reason we just did not have the power that we needed to get more speed out of the car. We are going to take a look at everything before final practice to see why we lost so much speed."

JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "For not having tested at this track, I am happy with the way things are

going. The car was good right out of the truck, and we've hit our setups. The car stuck all the way around the track, and my run felt really good. Of course it always helps to start up front, especially at this track because it will be hard to pass. Tomorrow, I'll be keeping my eyes on the leaders and to be upfront at the end. I feel comfortable with the track, and I'm confident for race day."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "We've been chasing the car the whole weekend, and we made some changes before qualifying. We've had too much push all the time. The car was capable of doing more than I did with it today. We should have been faster by about half-a-mile-per-hour. I left a little bit of time in Turns 1 and 2. It was unfortunate that we missed the last five minutes in practice earlier today when it started to rain. Passing is a state of mind. If you don't believe that you can, you probably won't. If you kind of think you can, you're probably going to have an accident. If you really believe you can, you will. I need to pass cars tomorrow, so I think I'll find a way around." On the concrete track: "I keep looking outside to see if the moon is in the sky, because I'm not sure if I'm on Mars or not. This is a different kettle of fish. There's no feeling in the track at all. You have to go on memory and trust the changes that the team makes to the car, because I can't tell if

the car is getting better or worse for me. I keep picking up more speed and using more and more track, but I have never once felt the car slide. It's very bizarre. I'm very uncomfortable."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We kept the car the same from this afternoon's practice session, but something was different, and it kept us from going faster. The track either had more grip than before, or we had too much downforce. Our gearing was off,

too. Luckily, we spent quality time working on race-day setup yesterday, so we'll be ready to fight a hard battle tomorrow."

AIRTON DARE (#88 1-800-BAR-NONE/TeamXtreme G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car had some push going in to Turn 1, but it was pretty stable through most of the other turns. I think a lot of the rubber got washed off the track, too you know. The car was handling good. I just think the gearing might have been a little off. The 1-800-BAR NONE car is solid for the race though. We have lots of power. Now we just have to fine-tune the setup for race day."

BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Not a bad qualifying effort for the CURB Records/Beck Motorsports team. You always want more, but I think we got pretty much everything out of the car that it had. Right now, it's just nice to be toward the front of the field, and we'll just focus on our race setup. We've run a lot of laps here, and we think we have a pretty good handle on the racetrack, so if we can start toward the front we'll do our best to stay there. There weren't any surprises from the track following the rain. It had pretty good grip, so everything should be good for race time."

GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Everybody at Team Menard has been working really hard. We haven't had the speeds that we wanted. We certainly haven't capitalized on the pole positions we have had, so I think we're digging deep and working on some of the details." (Expectations of pole speed and possibility of breaking 200 mph): "Well, I mean, all you can do is drive to the conditions. Whether it's 199 (mph) or 299 (mph), it doesn't really matter. It's all relative to your competition. We thought for sure that the pole was going to be anywhere from mid-200 (mph) to high 202 (mph). We certainly set up for that. The track lost a little bit of grip, not a lot, but it just seemed to be a little dustier and lost a little grip on the entries and the exits -- not so much mid-corner, but on the entries and the exits. The air was just really, really thick. The downforce that we have to carry here, we're mandated to run 12-degree rear wing and 1-inch rear wicker, and that's a big penalty to pay when the air density changes just a little bit. You're carrying a lot of extra drag. Really it's just a relative thing. I didn't know if that time would hold up or not. We were slow getting up to speed. It just slowed down -- the overall conditions just slowed down." (About of effects of Richmond crash): "Well, there's no doubt that the crash I had in Richmond practicing for qualifying was the perfect crash. I've had crashes that have measured bigger g-forces than that, but the angle of incident was what hurt me. It really hurt my lower back. I think that's part of the benefit of being in great shape, you can bounce back from things like that. I was fully prepared to go out qualify and race that weekend, but between the medical staff and my team owner, they had other plans. They wanted me to sit out. Really I was sore, but I was 100 percent, as far as being able to drive. At Kansas City it wasn't a factor at all. That's just one of the things you go through. You really don't want to experience those things, but the better in shape you are and the more precautions you make to your race cars, you can walk away from things like that."

SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The Pennzoil Panther guys have done a great job for me this year, in the pits, out of the pits. The greatest thing that we've tried to do so far this year is when we had a car that was capable of winning, we won, and when we didn't, we tried to bring it home. The Pennzoil Panther guys have done a great job in the pits. The only time we've had any problems in the pits so far this year is when I've screwed up." (About track slowing down): "We weren't quite up to peak horsepower, not quite up to the best rpm range that we could get to, so we're happy to start second." (About concrete): "After running some long runs around here, it's a little bit tougher on the forearms to keep steering the car for 50, 60 laps, but, you know, that will work out good for me. A little bit of youth might help us."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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