SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We all have the same thing in mind. We know what we need to do to make the car go fast on the handling tracks. It's definitely a track that we like to come to. The feel of...
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"We all have the same thing in mind. We know what we need to do to make the car go fast on the handling tracks. It's definitely a track that we like to come to. The feel of this track is different than a lot of other ones we go to. Both ends are different. Today's just a big setup for tomorrow night. We really have to make sure we have a good setup that will keep the tires on the car all night long and be able to make passes toward the end of the race."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone):
"It wasn't the best to be out there so early, but we had a decent run for the conditions we were in. I got a little sideways coming out of Turn 4, and that hurt our time a little bit. The track was pretty hot, but that's the luck of the draw. The Target car is always good in the race, so we'll focus on that now. I think that we have a solid race car. We'll see tonight in the final practice. Oval racing is not about how you qualify; it's about how you race."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"We made some changes to the car after our second practice that might have hurt us a little in qualifying, but overall, the car is pretty solid. We have a little mid-corner push coming off Turn 2, which makes it skate a little. We'll work on getting the car stable in both corners in the final practice. I like racing here because you have to fight for 250 laps. You have to be patient and very calculating, but it's also a lot of fun."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"This afternoon, we ran right after the Silver Crown cars. We basically cross their line. It isn't as slippery as I thought it would be. It is just when you cross the line that you get a little bit of push. At that point, you lose a little bit of speed. I think I got too greedy carrying my speed on the second lap. My car was working pretty well. Tomorrow I think it is going to be key to have a good car on long runs and in traffic. The track is a lot of fun."
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone):
"The car was good. I think I definitely left something out there on the table. I tried too hard and drove it in too deep into Turn 1 and couldn't get back on line. I think we were another tenth quicker. The driver made a mistake. I'm real proud of the TrimSpa team. We had a problem there in the first practice session, and for us to come back like that, at a track like this, that's really good for us."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"We put Tony's (Kanaan) qualifying setup on the car after practice because I was working on a race setup. The car for qualifying was really good. I'm kind of upset with myself because I think there was a bit more in it. I just didn't know what to expect. I think that we have a pretty good race car. It is pretty brutal at this track. For me, it is especially tough because I just haven't been racing this year. I've kind of just been doing things here and there, training at the gym and running and that kind of stuff. I kind of feel like a rookie in a lot of ways this weekend. Andretti Green Racing has great chemistry. Everybody works together, and everyone is pulling together, and I think that is showing on the racetrack."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"It was a tough run for us. The car was really tight, tighter then we were in practice. We actually tried to loosen it up a bit, so I'm not sure really what happened. It pushed all the way to the corner. I tried to carry it through the last lap and even pick up some speed, but I almost lost it at the exit. I missed it a little bit tonight, but hopefully we will get it right tomorrow. The speeds are going up for most people, but it didn't go up for us."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone):
"We didn't really run a lot. We only ran one set of tires this morning, and I was pretty happy. We just put on this second set of tires for my qualifying. Track conditions are going to be a lot better tomorrow. The track is always changing. The temperature is going to go down, but this is really one of the hardest tracks to work with, with changing tire strategies and game plans. It is hard, not only for the driver but also for the team."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"We've had a horrible day. We've always had a pretty good handle on this racetrack, but we're one of the few teams who did not test here, and it's really, really hurt us. With these two-day events, we get very little time. We weren't able to get our cars where we needed to get it. We have struggled really, really badly all day, but we feel like we're starting to get a good direction. Certainly, we'll be much better tomorrow."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"I cut myself short in practice with the accident, and it hurt us getting the car right. The car didn't feel good in qualifying, so I didn't want to push it."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"The run wasn't exactly what we wanted, but we've got a good race car. We tested pretty well here a couple of weeks ago, and we're ready for a strong, competitive race."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):
"I'm very happy with my qualifying position. The car was very good all day. We had to change very little on the car for qualifying after the rain. Tire pressure is all we really had to change. The track had more grip after the rain, and the temperature was cooler, so I knew right away we were going to have a very good time. The race will be very interesting. This is a very short track, so it will be very challenging. I think it is good that we will be racing at night because the temperatures will be cooler, and there will be better grip. We will need better grip. I want to say the entire Pioneer team did a great job today. I am really looking forward to having fun tomorrow night."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"Unfortunately, things didn't go our way this afternoon during qualifying. After the second practice, I thought we had a shot to put the Marlboro Team Penske car on the pole. The track conditions changed dramatically after our practice sessions because the Silver Crown cars laid down a lot of rubber on the track. I had to qualify first, and the car was sliding all over the track. We didn't want to wave off our attempt because the rain was coming, and we couldn't risk it. I did the best I could. It just wasn't our day. We have to move on and focus on the race tomorrow night."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"The track is small enough that there isn't a big difference between qualifying and race setups. Therefore, we spent most of the day working on improving the overall handling of the Marlboro Team Penske car. During practice, the car was pushing a bit, but the track changed for qualifying. Suddenly, the car was loose, so it took me a couple of laps to feel confident. We'll be starting in the top 10, which isn't bad. While it is always good to be at the front of the grid, it isn't everything. I think we have a good car for tomorrow night. The keys for the race will be to stay out of trouble and have a consistent car."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I thought the car was better than the time told. I think we were building up momentum all the time, so I think it could have been quicker, but it's so competitive. When you do these two-day events, you've just got to make sure you roll up right, and you're comfortable with it. Being a rookie, there are new things that you're learning. I'm learning all the time, but certainly Michael (Andretti) and the team have helped that learning curve to no end."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"Our run was pretty good. I got sideways at the end, but I don't think I had any more than what we showed. That's the way it is. We've been pretty strong everywhere we've been this year, so we'll just worry about the race car now."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"It was good, but not good enough. Because of the rain, the track cooled down a little bit, and the tires took a long time to warm up. The car wasn't working well anywhere. I had a little bit of understeer everywhere, mostly in Turns 3 and 4, but that's the way it is. The track was really green. Now comes the race."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"All I can say is that we are just slow. The car seemed pretty good in the first practice, but the heat must have affected the setup in the afternoon. The car just wouldn't turn in the corners. We have to work on it in the warm-up and think about how we can make the car better in the race. This should be a wild place in the race."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"I think the track was faster (after the rain.) For myself, I pretty much ran what I did in practice. Now, I wish I would have built up a little bit quicker because the conditions were perfect. The track was fast."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 GMAC/AOL/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"It was a great run for us. The folks at GMAC and AOL have been looking for a good run since Indy. This is our chance to shine. Chevy shines on the short tracks. I come from a short-track background, and (engineer Mark) Weida and I have a good rapport together. This is our one-year anniversary (of working together), and it seems to have all come together tonight. Tomorrow's a totally different story. We didn't get to really run at night here today, so we'll see. I think we've got a good race car, and we'll start from there. I love Richmond. It brings me back to short-track days of running sprint cars and midgets. There is something about hustling an IndyCar (Series car). This is really the only place that you can do that and get away with it time after time. I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow. Running today was really starting from square one. We didn't test here all year. We have been kind of limited. It is my one-year anniversary with my engineer (Mark Weida). It is the first time I have had the same engineer for a whole solid year, and I'm so happy. We have really worked well together, and we can really pick up speed at a new track. I have been frustrated, but it is something that you have to evaluate from the outside and say, 'Look, we are all committed to this.' We are all working really hard. It is a team effort. You can't point fingers. We all have to work our hardest and get through it. I think it shows that the No. 23 GMAC/AOL team does a wonderful job. They have a charismatic ability. They are really happy, always laughing, always joking. That is what has gotten us through it to this point. I found the speed everywhere today. Chevy here at Richmond, they have it geared in the right torque bend. They have really done a lot of studying to give us the greatest opportunity we can have. It is a setup track. It's about being able to work with your engineer and get the perfect car. It is all of the categories working togeth er. Everything has to be perfect here in Richmond."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):
"I have had a great overall day from Team Target. From the engineering side, the guys have done a great job. We really didn't have to do too much. On the run, the car was fast. I didn't actually push it too hard on the first lap, and I think that we may have gained some grip with the track cooling off after the rain. I thought we may have broken that 16-second mark, but it was an overall good day. I think now we just have to worry about collecting points, not going out and winning every race. These tracks are really fun, and I think, at the moment, this is what suits us better."