Day 2 -- Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003 IRL Indycar Series post-test quotes JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I'm actually very happy with our test today. The main goal today was for Team Menard to learn as much...
Day 2 -- Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003
IRL Indycar Series post-test quotes
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I'm actually very happy with our test today. The main goal today was for Team Menard to learn as much as we can about the Dallara chassis. I think we have a real stable platform and a good building block for the rest of the season. We worked a lot with the dampers and different springs today. What we learned today will translate over to just about all the mile-and-a-half and 2-mile tracks that we go to. Today was a real learning experience. Obviously, this being my home track, it is pretty special to be out here running. I was able to sleep in my own bed last night. California Speedway is such an incredible facility. I love coming out here. We'll be ready for them when we come back to race."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a few different problems that kept us off the track. We got a good feel for the baseline of the car for the next time we come out here, so that was good. Unfortunately, we just had two or three different things that kept us in the garage too much today."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We were basically working on getting up to speed with the new Dallara chassis and Chevrolet engine. We have a lot of work to do and will carry over what we have done today to our two days of testing at Phoenix later this week. Being here at California Speedway is like being at a big dyno or wind tunnel. The information the MCT engineers gather today will be used in our continuing development all year long. What we learned here today aerodynamically will be important for the season opener in Miami. I think for a Tuesday, daytime event there was a lot of fan support here. It was nice to see. I was also happy to see all of our friends from the Red Bull L.A. office out here today. If I were to have a second home, I would say it is here in the L.A. area. Driving from my house in Phoenix, I spend a lot of time with friends in Huntington Beach (Calif.). I am looking forward to returning here to California to race."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We are still learning, especially for me because this is the first time I have been here and my first time on a 2-mile oval. This is only our second test with this car. Our Chevrolet engine is going to be there, for sure. It is just a matter of work. Again, it is a long way to go with a new motor and new chassis. Even the driver is new. Fortunately we have some time before the first race."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is my first day in the car since the last race in Texas. It is definitely a different car than we were running last year. It's going to take a while to get used to the torque curves in this Chevy engine. We have a lot of room for improvement on how the engine adapts itself to a 2-mile oval. It was a decent day. We know what our objectives are; now we need to go out and achieve them."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're still working on things, still learning. We haven't had too much track time in the new car and the new engine together. We still have a lot to learn yet. We were kind of in the same spot last year. We were looking for some speed because of our lack of time on the track. I think when it comes down to race time, we'll get what we need. This Panther team works real hard trying to get a little bit more speed all day long and make sure the car handles well in traffic, which we ran there toward the end. The car did run real well in traffic, but we're going to need to find a little bit of speed to be able to go out there and have a chance to win." (About running three abreast today): "That's how close the cars are and how well they run in traffic. I have a lot of trust with the guys I run side by side with. The new cars feel a lot like the older cars. The changes that you make on them are what's different and what's hard to figure out."
BRIAN BARNHART (Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, Indy Racing League): "Overall, I was very pleased. We have a lot of fast race cars out there and a lot of close competition, which is going to make for an exciting year. The gearboxes performed well, the engines performed well, and the two chassis that are here also performed very well."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I didn't think it went that well, to be honest. Considering all the problems we had today, I think we were just a little too rushed in getting here. The guys did a great job. The basic package is pretty decent. Obviously, it's fast today with Tomas (Scheckter) and Felipe (Giaffone). If we were starting again tomorrow, I think it'd be a different story, but I'm just happy with the way the guys dealt with the day."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer/Denso Mo Nunn G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Today was a good day. The car was very good. The Panoz G Force/Toyota combination is very good. Today, my teammate Felipe (Giaffone), was fastest of the day, so it was a good testing day."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was nice to run with a lot of cars on the track today. I got to run very closely with Tony (Kanaan), and we were able to see how the car reacted in traffic. It was nice to be able to test with all of my teammates and get information from everyone. This gave us a chance to see how we worked together as a team, and so far it has been very good."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We had a limited amount of track time today, but I still think we learned some things. This is the first time I drove the 2003 Dallara/Honda/Firestone, and there are some similarities to last year's car, but I can definitely feel some improvements. We had a mechanical problem that kept us from getting up to speed today, but that is one of the benefits of having teammates. We'll be able to compare all of the data and hopefully learn some things."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It went pretty well. We ran pretty quick. I think we have a good combination with Panoz G Force and Toyota. We didn't run as fast as we did this morning, but I think some others slowed down, too. I expected the track to be different from the other superspeedways I've run because there isn't as much banking, but I got used to it pretty quick. We got the Conseco car where it was comfortable for me. I'm pretty happy about the way things went."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We learned some things today, and overall we're happy with the car. It rolls in well to the corners and has really good drivability. It's better than the car we had here last year. I could drive high or low through the corners, pretty much anywhere I wanted to be. The full tank slowed us down a little at the end, but it didn't drive the car crazy with the changes. Obviously, we've got some speed to pick up, but it has a good feeling. We're looking forward to more progress this week at Phoenix."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a slow start. The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team is very committed to my program, and they are trying very hard to make things work. This morning was basically a driver fit scenario. There were things I wasn't really happy with as far as the way I was sitting in the car. You sit a lot lower in these cars this year, and with the windscreen on a Dallara it was hard for me to see. They got me propped back up to where I was comfortable and, as a result, I was a lot smoother. We only had about an hour-and-a-half time in the race car, and we made quite a bit of progress. That goes back to working with this team in the past. We can start right up after five months out of the car and get right down to business. The day didn't end the best way that we would have wanted it to. Chevy has done a great job thus far, and they've helped us out a lot through the winter to get ready. Chevy races to win. Chevy does not race to do what happened today. We're going to look at what happened, fix it, go on and not let it happen again."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We had a reasonable day, overall. We wanted to get a little more done but had to finish early because of a mechanical problem. Having said that, we worked on our car setup, and we know which direction we need to take. Now we go to Phoenix, and I'm looking forward to that because I have a good baseline there. We have completed four test days total, two in Phoenix and two here (California). I would have liked to have been able to run late in the session to work on my drafting skill. Today was just one of those days, and hopefully it won't continue."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 7 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "All I did was go out and turn a few laps for the photographers. It felt pretty good, though. Since I won't be racing here, we concentrated on the other (three) team cars today, but I will be at Phoenix and plan to run a lot of laps there."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firesotne): "This is really the first test the whole team did together with all the drivers. Obviously, it's great to be in the top three. I got a tow, as well, but right now we're concentrating on getting more experience in the car. I was trying to run in traffic to see how the car felt, and it feels pretty good to be in the top three."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "This is the first time I've run the 2003 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota on a superspeedway. We did both qualifying runs to work on speed and long runs to see how the car handled in traffic. We improved the car from the morning to the afternoon session. The test was also important in that we got to run with the other teams. We've still got work to do, but we made strides in getting ready for the upcoming season."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a good day today. Marlboro Team Penske focused on getting more speed out of the new car. We made gains throughout the test and improved our time from the morning to afternoon session. The car was handling well, and we learned a number of things we will be able to apply come race weekend. It was a good opportunity to run with everyone else and see how we compare with the competition. I really enjoy open tests and look forward to running at Phoenix at the end of the week."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Everything is going well. Felipe (Giaffone) was consistently quick today, and we're just working different setups to make sure the car is good for the race later on this year."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "As you could see, my Hollywood car was very good right out of the box. I am very, very happy with the Toyota engine. It was consistent all day long. I took advantage of two very big drafts to set my fast times this morning and this afternoon. I caught them at the right time, with new tires. I was lucky to have those guys in front of me. But, overall, the team has done a great job preparing our cars for this week. I think we had a great car from the time it went green this morning. It was definitely a good, one-line car in the morning. But then we had success improving the car as the day went along, and we were able to run just about anywhere on the track that we wanted. So the uncertainty that we had this morning about how competitive we were going to be here at Fontana is much more clear, and we feel good about the results. Now we go to Phoenix to see how the car will do on a completely different kind of track."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think we tried a lot of things. We were pretty quick this morning and just started making changes. We never really got back to the speed we wanted. We have only had two tests before today, and things have gone pretty well. It feels good to back with Team Rahal and a lot of the crew guys we had in 2000 and 2001. It's definitely a learning process again for us with the new Honda engine and the Dallara chassis."