IRL: Pikes Peak: Round 12 preview, quotes

WHAT: Honda Indy 225, 12th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season WHERE: Pike Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo., 1-mile asphalt tri-oval WHEN: Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 22, ABC. Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT),...

WHAT:
Honda Indy 225, 12th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season

WHERE:
Pike Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo., 1-mile asphalt tri-oval

WHEN:
Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 22, ABC.
Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 22

DISTANCE:
225 laps/225 miles

POSTED AWARDS:
More than $1 million

CARS:
Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevy Indy V8, Honda H14R Indy V-8 and Toyota Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires

TV:
Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 22

RADIO:
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 22
Area affiliate: KWYD-AM 1580, Colorado Springs, KKFN-AM 950, Denver
Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (5:15 p.m. EDT, Aug. 21) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com/indycar.

SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)

SATURDAY, AUG. 21
10:30 a.m. -- Honda Indy 225 practice (two groups/30 minutes each)
12:30 p.m. -- Honda Indy 225 practice (two groups/45 minutes each)
3:30 p.m. -- Honda Indy 225 MBNA Pole Qualifying

SUNDAY, AUG. 22
9:30 a.m. -- Honda Indy 225 practice (all cars/30 minutes)
1:45 p.m. -- Honda Indy 225 (225 laps/225 miles)

PRE-RACE QUOTES: (Drivers listed in alphabetical order)

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Having not raced there for a while, my only memories of Pikes Peak are of the big hail storm there in 2002. Due to the high altitude, there is a lack of downforce, but Pikes Peak is one of the better tracks that we race on because of there is a lot of passing."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm excited about getting to Colorado Springs and racing at Pikes Peak. We're still frustrated that things didn't turn out right in Kentucky, but everybody has moved on and turned their focus to getting it right this weekend. I think we've taken some huge steps in our five races together. Johns Manville is headquartered in Denver, so I'm excited about meeting some people from there and putting on a show for them at the race on Sunday."

ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I've raced at Pikes Peak quite a bit when I raced in USAC. It's always a unique track to run with the high altitude, due to the lack of downforce and the way the engine runs. I'm looking forward to getting back on the track and keeping my momentum going."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Pikes Peak is a tough track. When the wind hits the car it can make things very interesting, plus there is a bump in Turn 1. It is also physically demanding, as we run flat out almost the entire time. Last year, my car was loose, so it was a tough day. We need to make sure the Marlboro Team Penske car works well in traffic, and we put ourselves in a position to win. We finished 12th last weekend in Kentucky so we need to get the job done next weekend. I've raced at Pikes Peak twice with a best finish of second, so I hope to improve that by one position this Sunday."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Pikes Peak is a fun track, and I would certainly love to defend last year's win. It's the kind of track where anyone can win from any position on the starting grid and where you have to drive it just a bit more and have to play with the handling of your race car. It's getting late in the game, and the Target team would really love to put a string of successful races together starting with this weekend."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "To be honest, I can't wait to get back in the car. I am really excited and looking forward to Pikes Peak. I can't tell you what a fantastic feeling it was to win last weekend in Kentucky. That race was such a big boost of confidence for the entire team, with our first (IndyCar Series) win and Kosuke's (Matsuura) excellent drive and fourth-place finish. I have had a great week since Kentucky, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of fans that we have in the Denver area this weekend. It will be a good show, for sure."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Last year at Pikes Peak, we didn't run well at all, but we've learned a lot since then. It's tough with the two day shows because you have to practice and qualify your first day on the track. Hopefully, we hit the combination with the Conseco car right off the truck. We've had some good runs lately, but the results don't reflect how well the car's been running. I'd like to change that this weekend with a good finish."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Pikes Peak was my last race last season before my surgery, and we didn't do too badly, considering the physical condition I was in. I'm looking forward to going back there, and hopefully, we can have another strong run on a 1-mile track. I won the last time we were on a short track, so we'll see what happens."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I'm looking forward to getting back to a 1-mile oval. I love going back there because it's a fairly smooth track, plus it's a great city, with so many things to do. I've had good qualification runs there, but it's very tricky to find the setup to last the entire race. I remember in the past I've been fast for a few laps, but then the track changed a lot during the race. It should be interesting as a two-day event because everyone is going to have to sort things out very fast."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I've never raced at Pikes Peak, but I did test there last year, and I really like the track. To me, it's a 1-mile version of Michigan. I just really like short-oval racing, so I'm really looking forward to these next two (races). Short ovals are just a little more challenging for the driver, and they're really intense racing, which I enjoy a lot."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to racing at Pikes Peak this weekend. It's the fastest 1-mile track we go to, and it's always a fun race. The elevation of the track makes it tough to get a good setup, plus the weather is always a factor, because you never know what you're going to get. It could be rain, hail or sun. It's always a challenge because you can qualify in overcast conditions and then come back for the race the next day and the weather could be hot and sunny. I haven't found Victory Lane in Colorado yet, so hopefully Marlboro Team Penske will get me there this weekend."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm very happy with the way the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone has been performing, and I believe we will have a good car for the 1-mile track at Pikes Peak, just as we had in Phoenix. I'm still taking everything race by race, and I am trying to think about the championship. I'm just trying to focus on winning races."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I'm looking forward to the Pikes Peak race, as the Target team seems to perform better on the shorter ovals. Handling will be a bit more important, and that tends to be the strength of our Panoz G-Force chassis. I'm looking for nothing less than a top-five finish."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "The team did a very good job at the last race in Kentucky. With Adrian (Fernandez) and I working together, I think we will have very good cars for Pikes Peak, and hopefully, my No. 55 Panasonic car will be out front this time. I will do my best."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "(Teammate) Buddy (Rice) had a good test at Nazareth, and I won the pole at Milwaukee, so I'm very pleased with our chances coming to Pikes Peak. I love that area, too. I was hiking and biking near there a couple of weeks ago with people from my sponsor, Centrix Financial. Now we get to come back to Colorado to race. That is great for me. I get to race in front of all of the people from Centrix. I have liked the Pikes Peak track in the past, and I think Buddy and I should be very competitive. We are getting close to the top five in the points, and we need a strong run at Pikes Peak and Nazareth to get in position for that finish. The Pikes Peak track is not like most short ovals because it has a pretty good banking. You can't set up the car the same as Phoenix or Milwaukee, but we have a good idea going in there."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "I'm pretty excited about Pikes Peak and Nazareth since our recent small-oval test last week. We were second at Milwaukee, and the setup now seems very good for the short ovals since earlier in the year when we struggled a bit. We have been scoring some very good points recently, and we need to continue that string if we are going to catch Tony (Kanaan) for the point lead. The Pikes Peak track is a banked short oval and that is different than Phoenix, Milwaukee and Nazareth. You need a different setup for that track. But I'm confident we have a good chassis and engine for that track. I'm pumped up about coming to Colorado Springs early for the race. I'm going to get the chance to drive a military tank at Fort Carson. That should be an awesome experience. It's something that you never get the opportunity to do. Since winning Indy, I've been able to do a lot of things that I would never have been able to before. Now I want to continue this great year by going for the IRL (IndyCar Series) championship, and a good run at Pikes Peak is important."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I was able to run very well at Pikes Peak last year. We had a good car and a good race, and I remember that the Pennzoil Panther car was very good there, as well. The Panther team has given me great race cars all year long, and I'm sure they will again this weekend. I'm really looking forward to racing in Colorado. It's always an exciting race."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I really love the whole setting of Pikes Peak. It's a stop we all enjoy going to, especially this time of year, because Colorado is just beautiful. The track really provides a lot of excitement. For a 1-mile oval, it's a fast mile. It's plenty wide. We all end up dealing with the altitude and its effects on downforce. It becomes a very challenging race for us all. There's usually a lot of side-by-side running, so I'm excited to get back there."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "As a team, we've experienced several disappointing results lately. While we continue to improve the car throughout each race, we lack the speed that we need to be competitive and run with the leaders. We're focusing all of our energy on improving the No. 12 car for Pikes Peak, and we're going to continue to fight our way through the remainder of the season. That's all we can do at this time."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to Pikes Peak a great deal. We've got some good momentum going right now. We just need to capitalize on it and get everything we can get in these last five races. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew needs to get another win, and it would be great to accomplish that this weekend at an event that carries the Honda name."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing