IRL: Nazareth open test driver quotes 2002-04-04

Indy Racing League Open Test, Nazareth Speedway Driver Quotes, April 4, 2002 LAURENT REDON: "We didn't run this morning because of an engine problem. We started the afternoon, and everything was fine. We had a pretty good setup. And then we put...

Indy Racing League Open Test, Nazareth Speedway
Driver Quotes, April 4, 2002

LAURENT REDON: "We didn't run this morning because of an engine problem. We started the afternoon, and everything was fine. We had a pretty good setup. And then we put new tires, and I had a little push, and then I touched the wall." (About track): "It's very nice to test. I think for the race it will be really, really difficult and tough." (About cool track temperatures): "We don't know until we come here for the race and it's warmer. Hopefully, not too much. This afternoon it's OK. It's OK for testing. It's not too warm, but it should be OK."

ALEX BARRON: "We learned a lot about the setup. It's pretty cold here. If the weather does what it normally does here in April, it will change a lot. I think the cars are going around here a little bit quicker than people thought. Other than that, it's going to be a good race. A lot of the people are going to realize that the race is going to be a lot different than practicing here, especially with the ambient (temperature) being so cold. We're working on our car to get a setup so when we come back here we've got a good base." (What are you working on?): "Right now, we're having a hesitation problem with the car, so we're trying to fix that. But the setup and everything is going really well." (Will your race-winning experience here in Toyota Atlantic help you ?): I definitely think it will, especially on race day because you know a lot of the characteristics of the track. I've been here twice in CART. It will definitely be a benefit over some of the other guys."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI: "We had a problem this morning with electronics. After that we did a couple of laps and changed the car setup. Then we started again this afternoon and maybe only 15 laps and the engine blew up. So I was only able to run about 20, 30 laps today. I like this track, it's challenging. I've raced with Indy Lights here. We need more seat time here. Hopefully the weather tomorrow stays OK."

BUDDY LAZIER: "The weather is definitely cold, but that's probably the way it's going to be when we race. So all in all, a pretty positive day in terms of gathering information. We're a lot better off this afternoon then we were this morning before we came and tested. So, yeah, positive test so far. I think we've adjusted on everything, from springs to wings. We're working on the compromise. We have one corner, Turns 1 and 2, that we're totally flat out and the other corners where we actually have to brake a little bit. There's such a compromise at this racetrack that we've worked on just about everything. We've worked on everything from how long it takes for the tires to get up to temperature, which is something we need to know to know for the race, to fuel mapping, to downforce levels, to gearing. We've worked on just about everything you can work on today. So hopefully all that information will help us not only race weekend, but also tomorrow." It's a great place to race. It's a tight oval, and it's bumpy, and there are a lot of pavement variations. So it's going to be a tricky, challenging racetrack. But in the past, that's been pretty good for us. So we'd like to do whatever we need to do to get up in the top five in points going into the Speedway."

SAM HORNISH JR: "It went pretty well. I was just out there trying to get a car that's going to be able to qualify up toward the front. We're not really working on qualifying too much. We're just trying to get a fast race car. We're pretty happy with how things are going. For never being here before, we're pretty excited about race weekend." (About previous experience at Nazareth Speedway): "The cars are so much different from the Toyota Atlantics I ran here. You're pretty much flat out all away around the track. With these cars, you have to let off a little bit and brake a little bit going into Turn 3 and really set the car. It's quite a bit different but having a little bit of time on the track doesn't hurt either." (What's your interpretation of this track with these cars?): "It's almost like a roller-coaster ride when you get behind somebody, when you get two guys in front of you. It's hard to pass, and everything seems like it speeds up quite a bit, so it should be pretty exciting."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR.: "We are building up our database on this track for the race, which is just over two weeks away. We worked on full-tank running this afternoon. Today I worked on my race car, and tomorrow Tomas (Scheckter) will pick up where I left off, making further improvements on our setup. The balance is not where we want it to be. The first full-tank run was very interesting. I was glad to get the first one out of the way. I would hope we could pick up a few more tenths. Driving here is almost like going back in time. The last time I was here I was driving for A.J. Foyt. We were leading the race when we ran out of fuel with a lap and a half to go. After 10 laps in the car today, I was almost expecting Foyt to come on the radio and tell me to get with the program. Nazareth is a great track. In many ways it reminds me of Richmond. In a flash, you are right back to where you started."

JAQUES LAZIER: "The weather, it's kind of a Catch 22. With the cold weather, obviously, you have a hard time getting tire temperatures, which makes the car skate around a little bit. But also because it's colder, the air's denser, which means you'll produce a little more downforce. What you make up here, you lose there. So it's kind of a washout. The biggest problem is that it takes a couple of extra laps to get the tires up to temperature, and there are a couple of moments where the car doesn't want to adhere to the track. Other than that, it turned out to be a beautiful day. The sun was able to warm up the track. It was a good day for us." (What did you work on today?): "We were trying to get a nice, stable car, a consistent car. And we went out there right at the very end and ran 25 laps within a tenth of a second of each other. I think we have a real consistent car, and it's also pretty quick." (About the race): "I think things will change, and everybody will be able to take a look at their notes. There are some good engineers in this series, so everybody's going to try to catch up with where we are now. We're going to try to step it up a little further from where we are today. I think we have a little more left in the car. For qualifying, we can hang it out for a lap or two. We'll see what we can do. I really look forward to it. This is going to be an incredible racetrack. It's got so many characteristics. It's got the elevation changes, it's got the tight dogleg. It's just a tremendously fun track. It's very narrow, so passing is going to be difficult. It seems like every single track that the IRL cars go to are just a natural fit for the cars."

SCOTT SHARP (About weather): "It's tough, no doubt. The saving grace today was the sun because even though the temperatures were cool, it certainly heated up the track a lot. It got up over 80 degrees, which is pretty good, but by the end of the day we were down to 60. You have to spend so many laps out there trying to get the tires built up before you can really lean on the car hard. You never know - it could be like that in a few weeks." (What are you working on?): "Tomorrow's weather could be a bit iffier than today's, so everyone is trying to make the most use of it. For us, we were working on race setup."

JEFF WARD: "The track probably is perfect today. The grip was great because there was no rubber down except for ours. I don't expect it to be this nice when we come back because there are other cars here. We accomplished everything we needed to today. We're not going to run tomorrow. We're real happy with where the car is. I'm excited. It was nice to come here, and we're leaving here with a great race car. So it's always nice. If you come away from here lost, it's not fun coming up to the race. Everything went well for the Ganassi team today."

HELIO CASTRONEVES: "We learned a lot over here with the new equipment. In terms of the first time here with this car, I was very happy. It was pretty much the way I was expecting. The track temperature, it's very low. On the race weekend, it may be totally different, but so far with the conditions that we had, the car seems very solid. Obviously, the weather helps, but hey, everybody's in the same boat. It is tighter than Phoenix. I guess it's going to be fun."

GIL DE FERRAN: "It was a good day for us today. We did a lot of laps. We're trying to prepare ourselves for the race, so we were running the car kind of heavyish and a lot of downforce. We're pretty happy with the car. It's very similar actually, very, very similar to Phoenix. I think most of what we learned in Phoenix will apply over here. This is always a difficult to pass. We're going to be in traffic all day. Nazareth is renowned for being a tight racetrack with few overtaking opportunities." (Were you able to trim out the car today?): "No, no. We didn't do any of that today."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers A.J. Foyt