IRL: Richmond: Kentucky test quotes 2003-6-20

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone) About Kentucky Speedway: "It's bumpier, but I think we're going to be very strong. It's just like Texas, where we were very strong. It's a one-and-a-half (mile),...

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone)

About Kentucky Speedway:

"It's bumpier, but I think we're going to be very strong. It's just like Texas, where we were very strong. It's a one-and-a-half (mile), and we've done very well on those tracks. Even though I'm coming from three bad races, then you come back here and almost everybody remembers that you won the race, and it feels really good. This track reminds me of very, very good things from last year. I feel really good because the car was running very good today, as well. We're going to be strong again this year in the race. I knew last year that it would be very close with Sam (Hornish Jr.). He was coming strong from the outside. It was great. It still feels really good. It was my day. Last year we had a perfect day here. I know my way around. I really like driving here, and I really enjoy driving the 1.5-mile ovals, but I think you have to be lucky, and the car has to be working good. The team, pit stops and everything have to be good to be there just like we were last year. (Turns) 1 and 2 are a little bit bumpier than last year, so we're just working with the car a little bit to go over those bumps a little better. (Turns) 3 and 4 look great. It's smooth, and there's a lot of grip there for us. It's not an issue. When we come back here, it's going to be a lot warmer, so those bumps are going to hurt us a little bit, but we're all in the same boat. We have to just work with the cars and try to win again. What we do is with shocks and springs, but at the same time you don't want to go too soft. Really, if I knew the right answer, I wouldn't tell you."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone)

"We started with a lot of downforce and ended up trimming it out quite a lot. I'm working on the bumps in Turns 1 and 2. There are quite a few bumps there, more than last year. This will be a good test for Richmond. We can improve a bit on the suspension, the front more than the rear."

KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"It's our first time here. We're trying to learn gears and all that stuff that we need. We had a pretty detailed test program, but we changed that a little to concentrate the majority on the shock program right now, because it's obviously something we need to be good at here. The shape of the track is pretty similar to Kansas City, where we tested two or three days ago. The only difference is it's a lot rougher. We have to learn a lot about shocks and stuff, but that's good for us because we need to learn about that stuff anyway. It's good that you have the fans come out to see what it's all about and hopefully get some new fans. Maybe we have time to meet a few, even. Race weekends tend to get pretty busy."

GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone):

"We had a little bit of a gearbox issue this morning. We got about three laps and figured out we were out of gear. I love the track. Obviously, there are a lot of tracks that we go to that are fan-friendly, like Texas Motor Speedway where Eddie Gossage does a great job. This is probably the next place that I know that is completely fan friendly and takes care of the teams and drivers. They very much become part of the race weekend. The same people who built the racetrack and started managing it from year one are still here, so we have made a lot of good relationships. It is like coming home to a second family here, and we really enjoy it."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We've got some beautiful weather here. I understand it was a little bit rainy yesterday, but it feels awful good today. The cars are running awfully quick speeds. It gives us an opportunity to get out here and feel the differences from a year ago, especially with all the new cars. Everything's going good. It is a little bit rougher, especially down in (Turns) 1 and 2, than it was a year ago. But everybody's in the same ballpark, so what we have to do is take our cars, adjust them and go from there. It's great that the fans come out and enjoy the day, enjoy watching the cars go around. Even though we're not racing wheel-to-wheel, we're still out there running close to 220 miles per hour, and it's exciting to see."

BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"I don't mind testing. My boss never really liked it. He always looked forward to getting out of it. No, really I don't mind the testing. I like it. It pays big dividends when it comes time to race. Maybe later in my career it will be a nuisance. It is coming good. Stuff is happening. I'm not sure what Chevy is going to do and how they are going to fix the problems, but I think they have a solid fix in the works. I think something will come out soon. I know for all of the Chevy teams, it will be a big boost for us and will put us where we can be competitive with the other teams."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone):

"We had a very good day today. We were fast right away and maintained that speed throughout the day. I'm really happy with how well the test went today. It seemed like we could run wherever we wanted to. The track was a little bumpy, but it's the same for everybody. Hopefully, when we come back here in August, we'll have similar success and be at the front. We've had a terrible string of bad luck over the last few races. That's just the way it is. Things will turn around soon, and we'll win some races that we maybe shouldn't win. We just need to keep scoring points, and I really think that we'll be in the hunt at the end of the season."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"We've had a busy week of testing, and it ended on a good note today. We ran a lot of miles and didn't have any problems. The car has been fast at all of the tracks that we've gone to this year, and that gives me a lot of confidence. We're second in the points race so far this year, but we have a lot of work left to catch Tony (Kanaan). We're on a good roll right now after the win last weekend. The Target guys are hungry for a championship, and I think we've got a good shot at it. I'm looking forward to Richmond next week. We had a great test down there last month, and it's going to be a fun race, that's for sure."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We're working really hard to make sure that we find a good balance. We're still not quite there yet. I guess that's going to depend on when we come back and the weather, but so far, everything is looking good. It's been a little tough, especially the front straightaway and Turns 1 and 2. It's very bumpy, totally different than last year. It was very smooth last year."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"This is a new track for us. We definitely are learning a lot. It is bumpier than we expected, but I think it is good so far. We are coming back here to test before the race. We are just taking this time to understand the track and see what we can do."

DAN WHELDON (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"The test was good. We were working through our program to make sure we are good in race trim and qualifying trim. We are looking forward to coming here for the race. It is one of my favorite tracks. It is fast. It is bumpy, and you can run side-by-side. It is just exciting. The racing here is normally good. I haven't been in one, but looking from the outside, it is good. Obviously, I'm in Dario's (Franchitti) car because of Dario's unfortunate circumstances. We wish him well. It's unfortunate to not have Dario in the car because he's really good with dampers and stuff like that. He's been around a long time, and he's won, so it's a shame not to have him. I basically just stepped in because he wasn't able to do this test, and he's going to focus on rehab. So I was just driving his car, and then from Richmond, I will carry on in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car, and we'll do every race for the rest of the season in that car. You know, sometimes we do jumble it around. The team's very big, and that's the good thing about this place. If Dario's car's available, and it will be more in the interest of the team for me to run that and not be in mine, then that's what we'll do."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"We had a good day today. I guess it's no secret that we haven't been particularly competitive on this type of racetrack, and we've been working hard to try to make the car quicker and more competitive, and I think we're getting there. We're making good steps in the right direction. Our car is getting quicker, and I'm happier. It was very productive. We particularly needed, really needed this test. It was very, very important for us."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"Today was my first time on this track. I hoped for more laps, but our engine program finished the day. Felipe (Giaffone), my teammate, helped with the setup. It is a very nice track, but it's a little bit bumpy. I like high-speed tracks. I like it."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"We came out here and kind of struggled a little bit at first. We couldn't really get the push out of the car the first half of the test. We came back here for lunch, made quite a few changes and went out there, and the car was pretty good right off the bat. We just started making small changes after that. This test actually turned out to be really good. We ran 100 or so laps. We got a lot of laps around here, and that's what we came here to do. We ran some pretty competitive speeds, so I'm looking forward to coming back here for the race. Last year, when I raced here in the Infiniti Pro Series car and won, I kind of took it as a home track because I had a lot of friends and family that came out that I hadn't seen in a while. It was good. I look forward to coming back here for the race and seeing some old friends. I look at this kind of like a hometown race also."

ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"It went fairly well. We got a late start, and we ran throughout the afternoon. The track was a lot different than what I expected, so we had to do quite a bit of work to the car. We got the balance of the car to where we want, and we just need to fine-tune it when we get back here. It's a nice track. It's a nice facility, and the racing should be good here. If we didn't test here, I think we would have been in big trouble when we came back here, so in terms of that, it was good."

-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