BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's a really nice facility and a good track. Qualifying is pretty easy in these cars, but from watching the races I know that it's a really long day and cars are really tight. I...
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's a really nice facility and a good track. Qualifying is pretty easy in these cars, but from watching the races I know that it's a really long day and cars are really tight. I know that's what I have to look forward to Saturday night. To drive for a good team like this makes all the difference in the world. As a driver, they can make your job easier, and they're obviously a very good team that's very competitive. I'm really pleased to be part of their program. All of our practice has been focused on running close with other cars. I think we're getting pretty comfortable with that, and now we just need a little more speed in the car."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We are going to put in our good motor tomorrow. We didn't want a lot of miles on it today. The race is going to be very competitive. Cars are going to be very evenly matched. The draft is going to be huge. Pit strategy is going to be huge, too. I'm going to be interested to see if the outside line is going to be as fast as in the past."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We knew we were going to struggle here. What we have to do is the best possible job we can do to be there at the end. We have to do everything 110 percent as a team. We have to keep trying hard as we possibly can to keep our sanity. We have to run as good a race as we possibly can, make all the right moves to have a shot."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "You know, I think about Airton (Dare), and it's too bad that something happened to the car that he crashed like that so early in the practice session. He's gonna be fine. We got qualifying over with, and I'll be going to see him tonight. These cars are so much faster, and they take a lot more focus. You're going really high speeds, and you've got to focus all the time. That's really the big difference. The Infiniti Pro Series was really good for me last year. It got me ready for the Indy cars, and I feel good. We had a lot of that (wheel-to-wheel) racing in the Pro Series last year, at Chicago and here, so I've been there before, and I think we'll be fine. We haven't really had a good run yet, and we'd like to get started off here."
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "The car felt good. Conditions changed, and we were slower than we thought we did. We thought we'd for sure do 217 or higher. The balance was great. The first practice was good. I don't know why we slowed down so much. You look at the two Target cars. They did 218 in practice, and they did 219s. I don't claim to be a rocket scientist, but I know we should have run quicker."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was OK. I thought we had a little bit more there than we ended up with. You know, we're in, we're qualified, it's not raining. Now we can start working on our race setup and get a good race car for Corteco and all our sponsors." (What does it take to get the victory?): "To be about a foot in front of the other guy is what it comes down to. You've just got to play and smart race and be there at the end. I enjoy it, and I think the fans do, too. If everybody respects everybody's space out there, then it puts on a heck of a show. Toyota really is a super engine. They've put in a lot of work, and it's really a pleasure to drive."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was about what we expected. We thought we'd get a little more speed out of it. We needed another lap to get it wound up. We were a little off on our gears. We didn't think we had a good shot at the pole, so we focused on our race setup. That is what seems to be our strong point this year, so we'll just continue to work at it. This year is a lot about patience and finishing these races and not taking chances trying to win. The big thing about this year is to move forward, and each time we find a little bit and progress with it."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm happy with the car. It's my first time here. We didn't get much time today. Considering that, we had a good car." (About competing under the lights): "You need to focus on where you want to go, and it doesn't really bother you. As soon as you look somewhere else, it is different than usual. Tomorrow we need to spend time running in traffic. You never know who is going to win here. You need to be up front at the end, and you may have a chance."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It's all right. The car was fast; it is handling good. Just flat all the way around, and that's pretty much all that we could do. I think for the race we will be better. This track doesn't change a lot, so it's going to be another exciting race. It's a wide-open track for us, and you can go up to three abreast. Just like in the past, I think it's going to be a very close finish."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Today was my first time in a night race. It was different because in the day it was more cloudy so there was more downforce. It's easier to run here because of the banking, but it's very nice to run here with this package. This is a long race."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I am really happy to be back. Actually, I left this championship here last year. It was the last race, and it was a really good race. The Johns Manville Team Menard Chevrolet car and the team gave me the opportunity to be back, and I won't screw it up. I'm going to try my best here at Texas and all year long. This track, you don't have a lot to do. You just take all the downforce out and see what happens. It's not like Indianapolis. You don't have to work a lot on the car. With the little time we had, we did a lot of improvement. I'm focusing more on the race than practicing or qualifying."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "We did a good job setting up the car. We really didn't have to do much in testing, and the car was pretty perfect, so I'm happy. I think you just need to get a good line around here, and you need to be smooth with the car. You need to let the car do what it wants to do, and also it helps when you've got a great car. It was very good, and I have to thank Scott (Dixon). He came and did the test, and the car was really perfect from when I went out. I had to make two minor changes, and it was a good lap. I have to thank my engineers. They did a good job on the car." (So who leads into the first turn?) "I think Lap 200 matters, not Lap 1. I don't mind. Whoever gets to Turn 1 first. It's really important who really finishes first." (What about running about side by side at Texas?): "I think it's going to be a great race. I think it will be like it was last year. There will be a lot of side-by-side racing, and if everybody keeps their head, there won't be a lot of yellows, and we can get a lot of racing." (You've been coming along over the last couple of races. Reason for that?): "When you get to a new team, you start jelling together. It's taken a while for me and my engineer, Bill Pappas, to really understand what I want. The combination of both of us understanding has really helped us a lot." (How will you get that plane you won out of here?): "I certainly don't know how to fly, I'm not sure, maybe I can tow it on the back of my Toro." (On winning his second straight pole in the Texas night race) "I like this. You have to drive a certain way, and it seems I kind of got it to get around here pretty quickly, but I can't do it without a great car. Team Target have worked hard on the (Panoz) G Force, and Toyota has great power. So it makes my job a lot easier." (Do you expect to see a different race this year): "With the Toyotas and Hondas, you're going to see unbelievable racing. I think you'll see side by side, but instead of two of us crossing, it will be six of us."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I think with the way everything is right now, we'll have to wait and see. I was flat all the way around no problem. We changed it a little bit but didn't a whole lot. We'll just have to wait and see. We just have to concentrate more on our race setup. That's what we are having to do all year. We need to make sure we have a solid race car, so we can have another solid finish."
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's the same for everybody, but we haven't been here before so we had to throw things at it. We did pretty good, but we'll see where we sort out here in the end when everything is said and done. We're flat out all the way around, and that's all you can do. I'm trying to score points and win races."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "This track has great finishes. The only thing we need to do is keep our nose clean and be patient. This track changes a lot overnight, then we will be there in the end." (About winning and climbing the fence): "We will go as fast as we can (to the fence), and the team will follow, as well. They are unbelievable."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 GMAC/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "It was really actually not even close to what we expected. We had a fuel pump sensor-pressure problem that made the car run twice as rich as normal. They called it over the radio to pull the plug on it when we exited pit road to qualify, but for some reason they didn't pull me off. They just let me run, so I am kind of upset that we had all day. It rained all day, why couldn't they have figured it out before this? I know that we aren't going to run fast here because we don't have an on-track package to put it on the pole, but we at least want to be in contention. GMAC and AOL really put a lot of interest into our team this year, and to go out and have little things fail, that is just stupid. Here, with our package, we need to be able to be in the draft. That is the only way we are going to survive. We have to get to the end, of course, but to even be remotely close, we need to be in the draft. Unlike some other ones we have been in, we need to finish. I am not disappointed in the Chevy motor. I know what they have, and I know they are working on it really hard. That is not what I am disappointed in. We need to focus on short tracks because that is the motor that we have got. We are really looking forward to Richmond and Pikes Peak. My engineer and I really work together and that is our forte."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We were hoping for a bit more, but we're OK. We're in the top 10. We just need to find a little more speed. The car is fine, handling well. Now we'll just see what we can do in the race."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is really nice conditions for qualifying. Engines don't like the humidity, but the cool temperatures do help. Every time in Texas when the sun goes down, conditions change, but this is great for qualifying."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The Andretti Green team has done a good job, but we didn't seem to hit the qualifying setup for whatever reason. My teammates, both Tony (Kanaan) and Bryan (Herta), seem to get more out of the car than what we can. The setup was the same as Tony's, but we can't get the speed out of it. We'll investigate tomorrow and see what we come up with." (What would mean to win at Texas?) "To win anywhere is fantastic. If you can perform well and win, it certainly bodes well. If you can string another good result together, you'll be strong until the end of the season. And that's important to me."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Qualifying here really goes to the team. It's really no effort on our part. I'm looking forward to the race. It'll be different than what I'm used to. It's so easy to run here. We should have a very exciting race. It's been a long time since I've raced under the lights. I think they're kind of cool. The cars look great in the lights. It should be fun."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's a bit different under the lights, but the track is really well lit, so you can see really well. We had a good run. The car feels good." (On his starting position): "It doesn't matter. I think it's going to be a long race and that starting position doesn't mean a lot, so we're happy. We're going to put the car in the show, and we're going to have a good race. I think in qualifying it's just a matter of who gets the best situation and the race is going to be a different deal." (What is your strategy for Saturday): "Have a good car in traffic and be there at the end, and we'll see. I mean, because of my nose, I should win by a nose. So I'm counting on that Saturday night."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm speechless. I came to watch this weekend, and I hate to get a ride like this. My thoughts are with Airton (Dare), and I'm glad he's going to be OK. To be driving for a legend like A.J. (Foyt) is beyond words. I'm just thrilled."