IRL: Texas II: Pre-race notes, quotes

WHAT: Chevy 500k, 16th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season WHERE: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas 1.5-mile asphalt oval WHEN: Broadcast: 12:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Oct. 17, ABC Green flag: 1 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Oct.

WHAT:
Chevy 500k, 16th race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season

WHERE:
Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas 1.5-mile asphalt oval

WHEN:
Broadcast: 12:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Oct. 17, ABC
Green flag: 1 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Oct. 17

DISTANCE:
200 laps/300 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), 12:30 p.m. (EDT), Oct. 17

RADIO:
Race: IMS Radio Network, Noon (EDT), Oct. 17
Area affiliate: KLLI-FM 105.3, Dallas
Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (5:15 p.m. EDT, Oct. 15) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com/indycar.

SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)

FRIDAY, OCT. 15
12:20 p.m. -- IndyCar Series practice (two groups/60 minutes each)
4:30 p.m. -- Chevy 500k MBNA Pole Qualifying (75 minutes)

SATURDAY, OCT. 16
11 a.m. -- IndyCar Series practice (two groups/30 minutes each)
5:45 p.m. -- IndyCar Series final practice (all cars/30 minutes)

SUNDAY, OCT. 17
Noon -- Chevy 500k (200 laps/300 miles; ABC/IMS Radio Network)

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

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm trying to be really optimistic about the Texas race since we ran really well there earlier in the season with our third-place finish. It's been a long year, but we're still hanging in there and hoping to turn in good results. We seem to do well on the one-and-a-half mile tracks, so Texas is a great place for us to end the year."

ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The last time we came to Texas, we had a really good car during the race, but, unfortunately, the suspension failed and we didn't get a chance to fight to the finish. We had a good engine test here with Chevy a few weeks ago, so that could be a big advantage for us. I really just want to finish my rookie year with a good result at Texas. I need to do well there for myself and end the year on a positive note."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The high banking at Texas Motor Speedway always makes for exciting wheel-to-wheel action for the fans, as well as the drivers. The race should be a great show. I'd love to get my first win of the season and end the year on a high note for Marlboro Team Penske. The championship is already wrapped up, so everyone is going out there to have fun and try to win the last event of the year."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I expect the No. 1 Target car to be a lot more competitive this weekend in Texas since Toyota came up with an update engine in Fontana. It'll be flat-out racing, and the key will be staying with the lead pack. It would be nice to end this season on a high note and a win would help take away the sting of a difficult year. The Texas race has always been exciting, but with the championship wrapped up, it could be even more so as there will likely be no-holds-barred racing for the win, and that should be fun for drivers and fans alike."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It is just an incredible feeling to head to Texas for the season finale on the strength of three wins knowing that we can challenge for a fourth this weekend and that Kosuke (Matsuura) can come away with Rookie of the Year. To be able to have this success as not only a driver but with your own team, just makes it all the more special. As I said after the last race, I have never had a season like this in my career. Regardless of what happens this weekend, I am thrilled with our first season in the IRL and I am already looking forward to 2005. I believe we will be challenging for the championship next year."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to running at Texas. We're qualifying better because Toyota's made a lot of progress with their engines. We know this race is going to be close all day long and we'll be in a pack of cars the whole race. We just have to be patient for the first three-quarters of the race so we can go for it at the end. This will be my last race wearing the Conseco colors because they're not renewing their deal, but I appreciate the support they've given me in the first two years of my IndyCar career. I hope we can finish on a high note."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The ArcaEx team had a very strong outing earlier this season at Texas, so we're looking to pick up from where we left off. Also, we have the opportunity to finish among the top five in the point standings and that would be a nice way to finish this season."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Texas is a great place to finish the championship because it's always going to be a close race. That's good for the fans and always excing for the drivers. We've had good races in the past couple weeks with the bigger tracks, and we want to use that momentum in our favor with another strong finish. "

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Texas has been pretty good to me. I finished in the top 5 in my first two starts there, and at the race back in June we were running fourth when the gearbox broke. I've still got a chance to catch Sam (Hornish Jr.) for seventh place in the points championship, so that's important to the XM Satellite Radio team, and we've still got one more chance to try and win a race this season."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm really looking forward to going back to Texas for the season finale. It's the last time we'll end the year at Texas Motor Speedway, so everyone will be gunning for the win. Texas had always been a good place for me until last year when I finished 17th. Hopefully, we'll be able to turn our luck around this year and be competitive enough to bring the Marlboro Team Penske car home in the top three. It would be good to finish the season strong and end on a high note and ideally move ourselves up in the final point standings. The fans are definitely in for a great show as they'll be able to see some close wheel-to-wheel racing to close the year out."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm going to Texas to celebrate my championship with everyone from Team 7-Eleven and Andretti Green Racing. I want to help my teammate, Dan Wheldon, secure second place in the championship. I'm relaxed, focused and looking forward to doing my best."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "The racing at Texas Motor Speedway is incredible, and it is unlike anything that I had experienced before. My first race here was very special because I qualified fourth for the race and led my first laps (in the IRL). Unfortunately, I could not finish the race because we had an electrical problem. I am confident that we will have a good result this time, and I am going to do my best to stay ahead and win the Rookie of the Year. This would be very special."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I came to the team late, but I couldn't have asked for a better situation. This is a top team and all any driver can ask for is to drive for a team like this one. I just would like win the final race at Texas for them and Centrix. My first race at Texas two years ago, we were able to win the pole and race for the lead. I definitely think that is possible this week in Texas. We had a good car last time there, so I expect the Centrix Honda to race with the leaders and see what happens. It would be great to finish the year with a victory."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "It has been a fantastic season for me and our team at Rahal Letterman Racing, but I feel like we have some unfinished business right now. First, we still have a shot at second in the points. I trail Dan (Wheldon) by 25 points for second, and second is still in reach. Plus, I would like to have the most wins and the most poles. That would be a great season with Indy, the most wins and the most poles if we couldn't win the championship. I feel we'll have a good car for Texas. We were second in June when we got hit late in the race, and we have had some misfortunes recently. A win would be a great way to finish the 2004 season."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It is always exciting to go back to Texas Motor Speedway. The side-by-side races there always have our fans talking about how great our on-track product is. All drivers will want to end the season on a positive and go into the off-season feeling good about their last race, so I expect the racing to be even more thrilling and wilder than usual. This has been the most difficult season I have had in racing. Everyone on the team is very competitive, and we all want to do well. When you go through a season where you just plain don't have the speed week in and week out, it gets really tough. But, I want to thank everyone on the Delphi team who have never given up and work to finish as high as we possibly can each week. Historically, Texas has been a great track for Scott Sharp and Kelley Racing, so we intend to end the season on our highest note."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to another trip to Texas Motor Speedway. While we obviously still need to find some additional speed on 1.5-mile circuits, our performance during the first Texas event was not that bad. Since that first race, we have made a number of improvements to the Pioneer car, including utilizing the updated Toyota engine. As a result, we'll hopefully have a better finish. I truly enjoy the higher banked ovals, and I'm optimistic that we can put all of the right ingredients together for our best performance yet during the season finale."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "With the Honda power, we think we can get a good result. It's dependent on getting a good race car, and that's the most important thing. We're looking to get another top 10, and hopefully even a top 5 to close out the season."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Texas has always been a difficult place for me as far as luck goes. I think, definitely, we're going to be very fast. We'd like to find a little more speed so we can lead and put a stop to (Adrian) Fernandez's domination of late. I'm sure we're going to be very competitive. I hope everybody stays within themselves and doesn't get too crazy just because it's the last race. But, it's always a good market to be in. Texas has great fans and it's always a unique atmosphere and I'm looking forward to being there."

-irl-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing