IRL: Pikes Peak: Qualifying quotes

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (About his qualifying run): "We're actually pretty happy with it, considering the wind conditions we had. It was a little faster than we'd run all day, so we're pretty happy...

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (About his qualifying run): "We're actually pretty happy with it, considering the wind conditions we had. It was a little faster than we'd run all day, so we're pretty happy with it."(About the weather conditions): "We like it when things change like that. It keeps everybody guessing. That's the whole deal. Adaptability is one of the biggest things in racing."

GREG RAY (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was disappointing. We ran a conservative setup because we didn't get the time we needed to dial the car in for qualifying. I was conservative in the first practice session because we were following the Silver Crown warm-up. Then in the second session it was real windy, and it was cut short by the rain. I'm fairly new to the Foyt Racing team, and this is our first 1-mile oval together, so we just did not have enough time to get it sorted out."

JON HERB (No. 16 Star Registry WeberGrills.com Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It went real well for us. We missed a session earlier today, and we were just running behind. It worked out OK for us. We would have liked to have been a little bit better, but it's all about the race rather than qualifying."

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was pretty happy about last week, but that's behind us. We're all on an equal playing field here. This is a difficult track. Our car was good in qualifying. We were flat out. We didn't get to test here. We picked up a little more speed. We knew we weren't going to be on the pole with the times some of those guys were running. We did all full tanks this morning. We've got a good race car. That's all we're worried about. It's an extremely tricky track because of the wind and the temperatures. Our car has been good with downforce and without, so that's a good sign that we have a well-balanced car. The wind didn't hurt my car at all in qualifying, so that's a real good sign."

SHIGEAKI HATTORI (No. 12 EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had problems this morning. We tried new things, but they didn't work. In the practice, the car was a bit loose. We made a change for the qualifying, but it went the opposite way. Big understeer."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The Delphi guys have done a great job all weekend. We really made some big gains last practice session, and the car was right where we need to be." (About the weather conditions): "It hasn't affected the car really as much as you'd expect. That's a sign of a good car, one that can run in all kinds of conditions. I think we'll be good tomorrow."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Because of the short amount of practice time, we didn't have a lot of time to really work on a lot of different things we wanted to try, but the CURB Records team did a great job with the qualifying setup. We kind of guessed on a few things that we didn't get to try when the rain shortened our practice time, and we got it pretty close. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty close, so we feel good about that. This is a track that I really like and where (engineer) Darrell Soppe has had a lot of success, so we're looking forward to getting more good results tomorrow."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We made some changes that helped the horsepower, but we were a little too conservative on the gearing. We were hitting the rev limiter on the straightaway, but I think we have a good setup for the race."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was a good run. The problem is that it was my first time to drive this track. I needed a little more time to learn the circuit, the setups, and tune the car to where it is comfortable for me. Texas was a little easier to learn. The teams that had a chance to test here have a little bit of an advantage. Considering that we came here and practiced and qualified on the same day, the Red Bull Cheever Racing team did a good job. We'll just start a little further back, and instead of leading all those laps and falling out, we'll lead the last 25 laps for the win. This circuit is like a bigger oval, only smaller. Phoenix and Nazareth seem to have one corner that is very tight, and the other is not so tight. This one is much more even. The altitude makes it a little bit harder to breathe, but when the car is good, you don't breathe very much anyway."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Our qualifying run with the Red Bull Infiniti was a little bit better than this morning. The wind really slows you down coming off Turn 2. I am happy with the car for the race. I think it will be good." (About the altitude): "At the end of an hour and a half, it gets to be pretty long. You are really breathing hard because there is not much oxygen, and your body is not used to the air. I always come to Colorado early to get acclimated. With the car you get less horsepower and less downforce. The horsepower and the downforce somewhat even themselves out, so you can't tell the difference."

MARK DISMORE (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville/Pittsburgh Paints Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "It's not bad for our first time out of the box. The only way to improve our car for qualifying was really to have another session. I got through Turns 3 and 4 flat, which was the first time today I've done that, but I probably left a little bit on the table in Turn 1. I had to lift just a little bit -- not much, just a tad. The guys did a fantastic job. I have nothing but great things to say about them. By the time the race comes around, I think we'll be good. Driving for John (Menard) is so great. He gives you all the tools. There are no excuses, and if you're not doing well, you need to look in the mirror before you look anywhere else. I honestly believe we will win races before the season ends here. It might be a little too much to ask this weekend right out of the box, but I am confident that with this group we can get the job done."

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 54 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think that was the fastest we've gone here so far. I was flat out. There was a huge wind in my face as I went down the backstretch though, which didn't help. With the way the wind is dying down and then speeding up at different times, it really is playing a role in qualifying. Unfortunately, it didn't help us. We may have been too heavy on downforce, but with the wind we had to be conservative and not put it in the wall. With only two sessions of practice, our focus is on the race. We know we have a good race car, and our goal is to be there at the end tomorrow. It's great to be working with Greg Beck and Ray Parsons. Greg's engineering skills are well known, and Ray is working hard on raising sponsorship so we can finish the season. I am really glad to be here and to be working with them."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is the first time I've been to Pikes Peak. The wind really changed for qualifying. I think the race will come down to strategy for the 225 laps and doing good pit stops. We're seventh in points. We would like to continue to finish at the front with the Rayovac Blair entry and move up in the points."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/ Firestone): "The car was tracking just beautifully. Sure, we'd like to be higher, but we have a strong, predictable car and made a lot of progress throughout the day. You've got to stay with the weather here because it plays such a huge role in the balance of the car. We saw a nearly 40-degree differential in track temperatures just in the 45 minutes of afternoon practice today, both with and without the wind. Overall, I'm happy. We're ready to go."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We ran out of time to get the car completely trimmed out for qualifying. Scott (Sharp), our teammate, got farther along in that last practice than we did. We were headed the right direction, but were a little short. We ran wide open all the way around. The car has great balance, but we had too much drag. We have a great race car. As long as we stay on the lead lap, it really doesn't matter where we start. The No. 7 Corteco/Bryant team can move to the front here at PPIR."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We only had one lap left, and it's a shame. We could have been on the pole. The team works well. We were on the limiter here. It's a shame that we didn't have the extra lap."

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Not good. I crashed earlier, so they put it all back together, and I only had one lap. We'll look at the data and try to dial it in. Other than that, I'll cross my fingers."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I was hoping we'd be a little quicker. It's a shame. That's the way it is, but the car is pretty good. We were flat out everywhere, so we have a pretty good setup. We'll work on it tomorrow for the race. The wind affected my gears. On one straightaway, we touched the limiter, and on the other one, we couldn't get to the gear." (About the track): "This track is pretty nice. I like it. You never know what it will be like during the race, but it looks tough. It's quite difficult. You have to have the right line. I prefer shorter tracks to longer ones because there's more competition, and you fight a little bit more to do well." (About the altitude): "I can feel that the engine is a little bit down because of the altitude, but it's the same for everybody. For me, it doesn't change anything because I grew up in the mountains." (About Infiniti leaving the IRL after this season): "I am very disappointed that Infiniti is leaving. They have such a good engine, and they are so competitive. I've been so happy working with them this year. Working with Bernard (Dudot, Infiniti Motorsports Director) and Bruce (Bermingham, Infiniti Motorsports Engineer) has been nice. We work really well together. It's a shame, but there's nothing I can do about it. I hope they have made the right decision, and we'll have to find a good engine for next year."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "There are a lot of changes in the track condition from our first two practice sessions, but we remained pretty consistent. We've been working, and we made a gear change. We'd like to be faster, but we're in the field solid. My Coors Light team has done a wonderful job. The car was really trimmed out. We just need to find some more speed, but I was flat out. Hopefully history will repeat itself and my Coors Light team and I will be on the podium. It would be so nice to win again in my home state. We've got to get our season going. We're lucky that we still have two-thirds of our season left."

RICHIE HEARN (No. 20 BG Products/Western Union/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's not very good. I ran 20.6 (seconds) in practice with the same exact car, and I ran 20.9 (seconds) in qualifying. I'm not very happy right now. I thought we were going to run better than that."

ANTHONY LAZZARO (No. 55 BG Products Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Unfortunately, we were kind of thrown into this deal at the last minute. We had a pretty good first session today. Then the second session, we had some problems. The weather was one of them. Unfortunately, we only got one timed lap for qualifying and really just made a little bit of a mistake on choosing the right gear to run. We got such little track time. I think we have a good race car, but I won't know until the warmup."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was pushing really hard. I guess we were just trying to go too fast up in the gears. Speed is not that hard to find. We were working really hard with the whole team working together. It's easy to do four or five laps, but it's not too easy to do 225 laps. Hopefully, we'll keep a good performance." (About front-row qualifying helping Marlboro Team Penske pull away in the championship chase): "Well, certainly it is. Definitely we're in a good position right now. You never can expect (anything) over here because we're going to tracks we've never been to. We have to keep thinking not about what we can do, but thinking about the work that we're doing right now. So far it's working, not only for me, but also for Gil (de Ferran). Sometimes being smart is better than going fast. We'll keep working together, and hopefully we'll be there at the end. It's a very competitive series. I'm glad Gil and I are working together to have a good performance." (About traffic): "It's going to be difficult to get away."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "What you see here today with Helio and I sitting here on the front row is not really about me and him, it's about this team. There are some tracks where we have hardly any experience. Certainly, this being a two-day event puts more pressure on the team. The team did a great job in preparing for this race weekend. We came testing here a while ago, and my car was 90 percent ready. All I had to do today was just massage the setup a little. Our engineers did really a superb job in analyzing the racetrack and understanding the requirements for the racetrack. I guess all I have to do is step on the gas. My car has been great since I arrived this morning. It was great in the first session. It was great in the second session. The conditions have been changing a lot, but my car is handling so well it doesn't seem to be badly affected by the conditions. Like Helio was saying, it's a very long race. You've just got to be patient and run at a very hard pace. Layout-wise, it is very much like Fontana and Michigan. I think there is more room to pass than Nazareth and maybe even more than Phoenix. There's going to be constantly traffic. It's a 1-mile oval race, what do you expect?"

irl-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing