GREG RAY ( ...
GREG RAY (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I think it's going to be at least two or three degrees hotter tomorrow. The surface temp is really tough on us. Once the track gets over 140 degrees it gets really tough on the equipment, on the guys and the car. Team Menard is a great team, and we have a lot of great guys. Through the years we've continued to grow together and learn the appropriate setups. It's going to be the car that is consistent and has the best pit strategy that wins tomorrow. It's not about who is fastest. I have a good feel for the track. I am just really fortunate. The car was set to the edge, and maybe we edged it the wrong way. I felt a couple of big gusts in (Turns) 1 and 2. Anytime you have high winds it's a compromise. Sometimes it's better to have the wind at your back in low gear. Sometimes you have to concentrate on pushing through (Turns) 3 and 4. You never can tell what's best. Sometimes it's a gamble."
(About the two day format):
"It's nice to have hour long practice sessions. It's tough on the guys and some of the smaller teams because you have to make decisions quicker. I like the three day format."
(Will the race still be as dramatic with the slower speeds?):
"That's the $100,000 question. If something miraculously changes you have to be ready. The car is never going to be perfect. You have to gamble both ways and roll your dice. It's going to be like driving 160 mph rush hour traffic."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"We didn't qualify where we wanted, but we made good changes between the last practice and qualifying. That helped for the race. It just wasn't enough for qualifying. It is a long race, and I think we will have a good car."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"Myself and Pennzoil Panther Racing are just going out there and doing what we think a championship team needs to do. This track is totally different than anywhere else we race. The altitude plays such a big factor in the setups here. It just adds another variable. I had a little bit of a push exiting Turn 4 all morning. We've been working on getting the push out of the car all morning. I think you're going to even have to have a totally different setup from (Sunday morning's) practice to the race."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems
Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Wind was never an issue for me. The rise in track temp was tough on me. Even as warm as Indy was, it never got near to what it is here. The hot track takes its toll on the car. You have to drive this track aggressively. I keep using that word around you (Greg). I'm very pleased where the Delphi team is right now. We didn't test here, but I feel that we are where we need to be. If you can keep with the pack, it gets pretty exciting and gets pretty dicey." (About the two day schedule): "It's a little more action packed. I think it is good. After the Saturday night race in Texas, we had almost a week until we were back on the track today. I like the two day format."
DONNIE BEECHLER (#11 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing
Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're still struggling. I think we got the fuel pick-up problem fixed, but it's just not pulling down the straightaway. I ran the hardest lap of the day on my qualifying lap, and we're still 4 mph off the pace. We'll take it back to the garage, and A.J. will dive into it and get it fixed."
ELISEO SALAZAR (#14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing
Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car was good, but we missed on the gears. I think we underestimate what the car can do in qualifying with the new tires and me trying harder. So we were short on the ratios, and I hit the rev limiter in (Turn) 1, which cost us a lot. But this is one track where qualifying matters less, I think, as long as you have a good race setup. The car with the better setup will prevail. And I think we have a pretty good race setup."
SARAH FISHER (#15 Walker Racing/Kroger Special
Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It's better than not being able to get out at all. The guys at Walker Racing do a great job. A fuel injector decided to take a crap on us. They fixed it, and we were able to get back out. I raced here in a midget in 1999. Not a lot of people know that. I feel real comfortable here. It's awesome to see little girls getting involved in Indy Racing. It's not only girls, but it's entire families."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We came here with a lot of confidence. We knew we had a good car. This morning we wanted to be on the front row, but after this afternoon, when it got away from us, we just wanted a good, solid qualifying run. It's going to be a tough racetrack here with the heat, air, and humidity changes. We've got something to make up for after last year's race here. We had a strong lead for a while. Infiniti was making gains with the motor, but then we had problems with it that took us out of the running. We are on a good track now with our Infiniti powerplant. Eddie (Cheever Jr.) won here last year with an Infiniti so between him and myself we got to repeat that this year. I am hoping this time it will be the Team Purex car in victory circle over the Cheever Indy Racing car. The times I have raced here I have led, first with Menard and then with Team Purex. This time I want a win."
DIDIER ANDRE (#32 Galles Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"Well, I am getting more and more comfortable with the car, and I spent most of today learning the track for the race."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports/Firestone/Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The car was all over the place this afternoon. The wind was gusting, and I couldn't get it to turn. My warm-up lap was decent, but it wouldn't go when I tried to push it. But, I love this track, and I know we'll put a good race together for tomorrow."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone):
"I've got a bit of push in Turns 3 and 4. I'm not very happy with that, but we didn't really qualify that well here last year either, and things turned out alright. We're good. The Infiniti 35A engine is strong, and I think we have a good race setup. It's a long hard race, and a lot of it comes down to tire management. It's going to be very hard on tires. Firestone makes great tires, and we really run them hard up here in Colorado. The weather conditions have changed a lot over the course of the day. This morning we did a 20.6 (seconds) relatively easily, and this afternoon we did a 20.8 in qualifying. It's tough. The air is very thin and any temperature change you have on the asphalt makes a very big difference."
JAQUES LAZIER (#77 Classmates.com/Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I'm really happy with the lap. The first time out the car felt good. I was on the gas through the turn. A gust of wind came up, and the thing just snapped around. I caught it once and lost it again. Come Sunday we'll have something. This is home. It's great to be back in Colorado."
AIRTON DARE (#88 1-800-BAR-NONE G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"The setup on the 1-800-BAR NONE car was working just right in today's practice sessions. The track conditions changed quite a bit, especially with the periodic gusts of wind and the high temperatures on the track. We were in the top five during practice but this afternoon I just had to come in because of a loose condition. It was no big deal. I just wanted to give it our best shot. Tomorrow is what counts."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"I was flat out, and you can't ask for anything more, especially on a 1-mile oval. This is my home track, so I especially want to do good. I would love to start on the front row, but we have a good car. It's awesome to be back home."
RICHIE HEARN (#99 Sam Schmdit Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone):
"This is a pretty cool place. I've never been here before. It has pretty distinctive turns. It wasn't a bad lap for an hour and a half of practice. That was our fastest lap of the weekend. One more hour of practice would have helped us, because I've never been here and this is a new team for me. Only an hour and a half of practice was a lot to ask."