IRL: Texas II: Post-qualifying quotes

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Nowhere close. I don't know what happened. It was slower than we did in the last session. I don't know. I can basically chalk this season up to learning." AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 ...

GEORGE MACK (No. 31 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Nowhere close. I don't know what happened. It was slower than we did in the last session. I don't know. I can basically chalk this season up to learning."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It really was a great run. We should be putting it together. It's a little bit late in the season, of course. The Corteco/Bryant Special is running really good. The crew's working really, really well. My engineer, Mike Colliver, is putting a real good piece underneath me, and we're getting the most out of it."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think we have a really good car for the race. We basically spent all of yesterday and the first part of this morning's practice session working on that, knowing maybe we gave up a bit. If there's a track on the Indy Racing League's schedule where qualifying doesn't matter or matters the least, it's here. We started 24th, I think, about two years ago, and I was fourth in 20 laps. If you've got a car that can work well in traffic, you can go a lot of places here."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had a few problems in the first session, but we've worked on them. We don't have the fastest car, but we should be OK for the race."

BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I think we have a really solid race car here, like we did at Chicago. We just made some errors at Chicago that kind of cost us, but I think we showed we had a strong car. Hopefully, we have the same car here at Texas."

CORY KRUSEMAN (No. 18 Agromin/Village Marine/Ventura Raceway Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Absolutely a dream come true, this first IRL event. A lot of people got behind me at home, and even our local racetrack sponsored us. It's real nice to finally fulfill one of my dreams and come out and run an Indy car. Really our expectations are not real high. We want to go out, and we want to run as many laps as we can. We want to stay out of everybody's way, and we want to get 200 laps and 300 miles of experience."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're happy with it. I've had some issues in qualifying the past few times on these 1.5-mile tracks. We've seemed to find some solutions to it. I have had a very difficult year with lots of personal issues that are now over. I can now go back to what I love: driving race cars. I'm very happy to be here, and I'm sad the season is coming to an end. I plan to leave the season on a high note."

RAUL BOESEL (No. 12 Bradley Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're slow. We cannot get speed out of the car. The car's setup is reasonable. I'm flat out, but it doesn't get speed. Whatever we do to the car, we just can't get speed."

TONY RENNA (No. 78 Kruse Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm fairly pleased with the results. We were struggling on a few specifications, but the Kruse/HomeMed crew pulled through for me. I feel this was the best we could get out of the car today, and I'm pleased with that. In these kinds of races, it doesn't matter where the starting position is as much. It's all about the race."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "A little bit of a disappointment, but we still ran faster than we thought we were going to. We were trying to make a decision between fifth and sixth gear. They pretty much leave it up to me. I didn't think I had enough to pull it, but the Chevrolet engine surprised me, and we had a little bit more speed than what I needed. I needed to shift to sixth, so that hurt us a little bit, but the Pennzoil Panther team has worked real hard this year. They've really positioned us here at the last race. It's going to be a long race tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see what happens. It should be very exciting. Hopefully the (No.) 3 car, I won't have to see him too much, but I imagine I will be seeing him." (About yesterday): "We had a close call out there on the track. I was drafting off the back of another guy, and he slammed on the brakes real quick, and I just barely caught his rear tire with my front wing. That could've been a lot worse. All in all, when things go smoothly on practice day, they usually don't go too well on race day. Hopefully, it'll be a repeat performance of Chicago, just not that close." (About American flag on car): "At Panther Racing, we're all very proud to live in the country that we live in. We're trying to get a sponsor for that engine cover, but we usually run the Panther on there. It just seems fitting that we run the American flag. Until I ran for Panther, I ran an American flag on my helmet, but it kind of clashed a little bit. Maybe next year we'll start running it all of the time."

ELISEO SALAZAR (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It's about what we expected. Sometimes we don't have a good qualifying. Traditionally, the car is better in the race. We finished in the top five the last two times here at Texas, so we'll see tomorrow."

GREG RAY (No. 20 Young Chevrolet/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We're still way down on speed. This is the fastest we've run all by ourselves, but we're still way behind the others. There are guys out there running their warm-up laps faster than we run our timed laps."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think we've got everything out of the car. I think we've got a really good race car. Our qualifying setup isn't much different than our race setup. It's a big difference between last weekend and this weekend. We've kind of regrouped and tried a totally different setup, and I think it's paid off. I think we're going to be real strong all day tomorrow. We've got a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. It's hard to break the draft here. I think tire wear is going to be an issue. I see a lot of Chevy cars being up front in the end because this track is going to be hard on the engines."

ROBBY McGEHEE (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I've heard Eddie (Cheever) say several times, and it's my feeling too, to go out and win the race for Red Bull Cheever Racing. I'm certainly not in championship contention, but I feel like I'm focused on winning the race now. I'm very honored and thrilled to start the race in one of these cars. This is a great team. I would obviously love to be involved with them in the future, but I don't know if that's going to happen or not. Certainly, it's going to give me a chance to get out here with a good package and show what I can do."

ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/ Infiniti/Firestone): "Sure, we'd like to be higher, but we have a good race car. This means nothing compared to where we can run. If you look at any track in the IRL, Texas has provided the most exciting wheel-to-wheel action as the norm, not the exception."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We thought we could be better. We had the wrong gear, we think, and that's very important for the race. Qualifying is not so important for the race, so we'll see. We've got a good car in traffic, so hopefully it will be the same for tomorrow, and we'll have a good finish. I think we have the car to do it for the race, but I don't think we have the right engine. We'll see tomorrow, but I think we can be good."

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a bad thing that happened last week. It got us just a little bit away from top 10 in the points. There's nothing you can do, but we're starting better now. You race against better people. I think we'll be fine this weekend. I think there are a lot of teams that have developed a lot since the last race here. We did, too, but we'll see tomorrow who did the better job. My car is running perfectly. We're just missing a little bit. It's a little slow coming out of the corners. We've got to fix that. Either the steering wheel is making the car slow down on the exit or the torque on the motor is not where we want. The car is running good, and the top speed is good, too."

MAX PAPIS (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Overall, I'm pretty happy with our qualifying run, especially since it is my first time running on this track in an IRL car. I've had a lot to learn in a short time, and the team has done a great job helping me get up to speed. I think the Marlboro Team Penske car had a little more in it, but we're solidly in the field, and tomorrow is the day that counts. We've been focusing primarily on the race setup and should be in good shape for Sunday."

SARAH FISHER (No. 23 Team Smart Blade/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/ Infiniti/Firestone): (About getting off in the grass during qualifying attempt.): "This track has two apexes on the front stretch, and coming down, I was ducking. I tagged the grass just a little bit, but it didn't hurt our time, so we were fine. We were just trying to give every effort. We were flat. The car was a little bit loose. Perfect car, perfect line, that's all she had. I think the race tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun."

HIDEKI NODA (No. 28 Eikoh/Tomoe/Indy Regency Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The car went faster than this morning. The handling felt very good. We made progress again. Every time we go out now, the car is getting faster and faster. It's good. My focus is to make it up the field tomorrow. I'd like to try to have a single-digit finish. It would be good for me and the team. I feel confident about pit stops. This is our third race, and each time we're getting better. Pit stops tomorrow should be OK."

RICK TREADWAY (No. 67 Samsung/Radio Shack Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The Samsung/Zip Zag fueled by Radio Shack car is handling good, but for some reason, we can't quite find the speed. The handling is good, so I'm not sure exactly if it's in the electronics or if it's in the motor. If we get her sorted out, I know we'll have a good handling car for the race. We'll be all right in the draft. We're just a little confused why we're not going as fast as we should."

WILL LANGHORNE (No. 55 Grill 2 Go/Sam Schmidt Motorsports G Force/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "For the challenges that we have this weekend and for what we're shooting to do, I think we have a good race car. We squeaked out what we could for qualifying. I think we've got a good car for tomorrow. We're looking for a top-10 finish. We just missed it last weekend, and I definitely think we've got the car to do it this weekend."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "For whatever reason, 218 (mph) is about as fast as we could get the CURB Records car up to in qualifying trim. We ran that fast in a race setup configuration, so we feel that we've got a good race setup. We should have a good race car. The car was good in traffic, good with a full (fuel) load. We were just missing something a little bit in qualifying, but that's behind us now. We'll just focus on our race car. We really want to be there at the end of this one and get a good finish, something we can feel good about during the winter."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm a little disappointed with our qualifying run this afternoon. Unfortunately, fifth gear was a little too tall, but at least we were able to put the Marlboro Team Penske car in the top 10. I think we should be OK for tomorrow. It's not quite where I wanted to start, but at this track it shouldn't be a problem. Now we have to focus and work hard for the race. We just need to make sure we're there, especially on the last lap."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (Do you have momentum after your third-place finish at Chicagoland?): "We added some momentum, but when you're racing in these racetracks, you've got to be so patient. If you get the momentum and you use it, you've got to have room on the racetrack to be able to pass. I did try to stick my nose in there (at Chicagoland). There wasn't room to get by, but it was a great race for us coming from where we did, coming from 22nd on the grid. We just ran. We were just running again, but we don't have the speed. We're going to have to start from the back again. There's a lot of room to race, but it gets tricky when you get three-abreast. There's room for it, and the track will take it, but really this is a great track for two-abreast racing. You just have to be real patient and pick your moves. That's why it's a long race, so you have a lot of time to move up." (About Hemelgarn Racing): "It's a great race team. Nobody questions themselves. The bottom line is you've got to have a lot of things going your way. You need to have the funding. You need to have a lot of things in place. The bottom line is the talent is in that team. They're certainly capable of winning. I certainly haven't forgotten how to win, so hopefully before this season's out, we can prove that."

AL UNSER JR. (No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was a little more than I expected. The crew has just done a fantastic job. They've given me a great car to come and do what we've done in the last three or four races. We're knocking on the door real hard. Qualifying is showing it, the races are showing it. It will be a long race tomorrow, and we just need to make sure we're with the lead group at the end of the race. No one's going to run away with this thing, so it'll be another very, very close finish, and hopefully we'll be a part of that finish. I think my second lap was the quickest lap. We just got momentum. Everything was good. The car was good. The draft is a big thing. Starting second like that or really anywhere on the front row, the front row is kind of a sitting duck going down the back straightaway because the draft is such a big part of it. We'll just see. It's a long race, and what we need to do is just be a part of it at the end. If we can, I expect great things tomorrow. I've never had a pole in the IRL, so that's what it was really all about. If we would've won today, then that would mean I would've gotten a pole in the IRL. That would've been great for myself personally, but the results of today, all I can say is second place tries harder. So we'll go out there and try harder tomorrow." (About multiple second-place finishes): "It's pretty well frustrating. If I said they weren't, then I wouldn't be telling the truth. It's frustrating to come so close so many times, but the positive thing is we're a part of it. We're a part of these great finishes. We're sitting on the front row tomorrow. We've got clean air in front of us for at least half a lap, anyway. It's just so competitive. You've got to catch the yellows just right. You've got to make good stops every time. Your car has to be spot on from the very beginning to the very end."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville/Pittsburgh Paints Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "We were going for two laps, but then after the warm-up lap was very quick, quicker than the pole, I did the first green flag lap. It was quick enough for the pole, and we didn't want to waste tires or anything. It was good enough, so I stopped it. In the beginning of the year, I was in F3000 in Italy. I didn't have a good year, so that's why I came here, never actually dreamed about it. Even being on pole, it's quite a lot for me, even this year. I don't want to stop. I want to win tomorrow, but I still have a lot to learn. That's only my fourth race on ovals. I have Al (Unser Jr.) here beside me. I think I don't know even a tiny bit what he knows. I still have to learn. I'll do my race, my clean race, without doing anything wrong. I'll try to win anyway." (Do you think you've made a pretty good case to John Menard to run a two-car team next year?): "Unfortunately, that's not my decision. I would like it. I would like it very much, but there are still three or four months until the next championship. I don't know what's going to happen. I would like to join this team. I really only have to wait and see." (About taking advice from people like Al Unser Jr.): "As much advice as possible, that's what I need right now. Actually, the best advice those guys gave me was at Chicago at the race. It's good advice on the race in those last 20 laps. I'll try to learn as much as possible. Any tip is good. Running by myself is OK. You just get used to it, but then running with two or three cars in traffic and everything, it gets scary a little bit because I'm not used to going on the outside. You just have to get used to it. It's strange. It's quite strange, but as I said before, I still have to learn. I won't stop learning."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing