IRL: Pikes Peak pre-race quotes

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 8, 2001 - Quotes from selected Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers about the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway (drivers listed in alphabetical order): BILLY BOAT...

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 8, 2001 - Quotes from selected Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers about the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway (drivers listed in alphabetical order):

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Going to Pikes Peak one week after Texas makes this the time of the season that's really going to show the durability of these teams. The teams that are really well prepared are going to do better with these back-to-back races, so preparation is the key over these next two months. There's going to be a variety of tracks that we're going to be faced with, and being well prepared is the key to being successful. Competition-wise, Texas and Pikes Peak are both tracks we have some experience at. I think most of our challenges are going to come when we start getting in to some of these new racetracks like Richmond and Nashville. That's really when having some testing is going to be key, and we're going to face a lot of new challenges because of not being as familiar with the tracks."

BUZZ CALKINS (No. 12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, 1996 Indy Racing co-champion, Denver resident): "Along with Indianapolis, this is my favorite track to come to each year." (About what it would mean to win at PPIR): "A win at PPIR would be huge. We have been snake-bit every time we have come through PPIR, so I think we are due for a strong finish." (About driving in five races from late April to the end of June): "This is going to be the toughest part of the season, without a doubt. You are going to see the difference between the strong and weak teams and who is best able to deal with the hectic schedule. People are going to burn out, and equipment is going to be used up, and the teams that can deal with both of these issues will end up on top." (About the unique challenges of racing at PPIR): "From a purely technical level, PPIR is my most favorite track to go each year. I love the racing because the track is wide enough to have plenty of racing room. This makes for great racing, not only from a spectator's perspective but also the competitors. Trying to trim out the car as much as possible while still going flat out also makes the track challenging from a technical point of view." (About race strategy): "Race strategy doesn't differ from any of the mile tracks. If you can do the race in two stops, you are going to be much better off."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Excite@Home Indy Racing Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner, former Aspen resident): "Pikes Peak is the nicest short oval that we race on, and we've run pretty well there. It's a very flat, smooth, tough 1-mile bullring. The rarified air in the mountains is also tough on both the drivers and the equipment. Tires will be critical to success at Pikes Peak. The long corners really take a toll on the tires. If you can get the right setup, though, it's possible be flat all the way around." (About his ties to Colorado): "I always love coming to Pikes Peak. I lived for many years in Aspen, and my children and I still enjoy vacationing in Colorado every year."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Colorado will be completely different from Texas. The fast, flat 1-mile oval will make it really important to have your car working well in traffic, and you'll need to take advantage of the opportunities to pass. We had a really good test in Colorado in March, but I imagine the track will have changed a lot since our test. The Treadway-Hubbard team has done a great job for me and Hollywood so far this year. We are third in the points and have finished in the top 10 in every race. We just need a little luck to go our way, and we really haven't had that happen yet, but it will. Since the Hubbards (team co-owners) live in Colorado, maybe we can get some luck there."

DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I can't wait for Pikes Peak. I'll be racing in the supermodified race, as well, so there will be lots of seat time and lots of great racing. I love the short-track environment. It gets racy and is definitely in my comfort zone. I have a second-place finish at Pikes, and it's time to get that win."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner, 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion, Vail resident): "I am looking forward to returning to my home track. Losing our engine on Lap 1 last year left me feeling hungry. It is important to me to finish well in front of friends and family." (About racing at altitude): "If anything, I think that I have a slight advantage over many in the field. I believe that training at a higher altitude helps immensely, not just at Pikes Peak but at many of the events."

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We will be busy, there is no doubt about that. Cahill Racing was strong there last year, so I think we will have a good setup. It is a nice, fast 1-mile oval that seems a bit easier to drive than Phoenix, so I look forward to going there. After several crew and engineer changes, I think we have settled in very well as a team. While we have just been driving around mid-pack in the first few races, I think better things will start to happen. We need to get some top-fives."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We will go from a very fast 1.5-mile oval at Texas to the 1-mile oval at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, where we run different wings, different suspensions and the engines lose some of their power because of the high altitude and thin air. All of the parameters change which takes some time to adjust to. It will be a challenge, but no one is better prepared than the Harrah's/Foyt team to meet those challenges."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt