IPS: IMS open test notes, quotes

FUTABA FREEDOM 100 OPEN TEST NOTES AND QUOTES INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 3, 2005 -- Notes and quotes from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 Open Test on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: NOTES Fifteen Menards...

FUTABA FREEDOM 100 OPEN TEST NOTES AND QUOTES

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 3, 2005 -- Notes and quotes from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 Open Test on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

NOTES

Fifteen Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars will participate in today's test. Sixteen drivers are present. Ten of those drivers have never driven on the 2.5-mile oval at IMS (Mishael Abbott, Marco Andretti, Nick Bussell, Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Chris Festa, Travis Gregg, Imran Husain, German Quiroga and Al Unser). Husain and Quiroga have never competed in a race in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

9 a.m. -- The start of practice is delayed due to cool temperatures.

9:30 a.m. -- GREEN. The ambient temperature is 56 degrees, and the track temperature is 68 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

9:38 a.m. -- No. 26 Marco Andretti is the first driver on track.

11:30 a.m. - No. 33 Wade Cunningham and No. 26 Andretti post speeds in excess of the pole speed for the 2004 Futaba Freedom 100 (189.274 mph by Thiago Medeiros).

Noon - CHECKERED. Lunch Break.

1 p.m. -GREEN.

4:30 p.m. -CHECKERED.

***

Observers in the Andretti pit included grandfather, Mario, and father, Michael, who have combined to make 43 starts in the Indianapolis 500.

MARIO ANDRETTI: "This is always a very special feeling here. We've got the sequence now. I watched Michael grow right through his career, and now, here I am at the beginning of another one. It's just a special feeling. I'm really happy that I was able to be here. It was very important to me. Marco's reaction today was what I pretty much expected. He was cautiously confident earlier, and then he just started taking charge. That's a good thing."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "Marco did really well today. It was fun to watch. It was a little nerve-wracking the first few laps, but then I saw he was really comfortable. Then, it was OK. He seemed a little bit nervous at first this morning because he didn't know what to expect. But after the first run, he was a lot more comfortable."

***

Jay Drake returns to his Menards Infiniti Pro Series race car after winning the U.S. Auto Club National Sprint Car Series race April 30 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Drake won the series' national championship in 2004 and leads the 2005 point standings. His next USAC race is May 7 at Beaver Dam, Wis.

***

Imran Husain is the first native of India to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Husain was born in Lucknow, India. He moved to Africa when he was 2 years old and came to the United States as a teen-ager to attend Florida International University. He resides in Los Angeles.

IMRAN HUSAIN (No. 36 Genoa Racing Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Out of a billion people, I'll be the first Indian driver to race at Indianapolis, which is a very historic track. For me personally, it has a lot of significance. I've always wanted to run the Indianapolis 500, and this is the first step toward it."

***

Tom Wood turned his first laps at IMS since the 2003 Futaba Freedom 100. Wood was injured in an accident at Kentucky Speedway in August 2003. He participated in two private tests with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last year. Wood completed 79 laps with a top speed of 185.569 mph (48.4996 sec.).

TOM WOOD (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was great, lots of fun. I hadn't been in the car for a while. It's all I expected it to be. This is Indianapolis, too. The car wasn't quite as quick as we wanted yet, but we'll get there. It was nice getting back in the car again."

***

QUOTES

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's always exciting being at Indy. Just being at this track is awesome. I love the track. I love the city. I love everything about it. It only took a few laps this morning and then we were flat (full throttle). We're just working on trying to free the thing up. We just need to get the car working good. As a driver here, you're just flat and doing as much as you can to let the thing roll. We've got a lot more to get out of it before the race, so we're just trying to free it up and get it going. It's definitely all new to me. I've never done anything like it, like I've never come down the long straightaways and not lifted, just thrown it in the corner. I had to learn a lot, but it came quick. I was flat the third lap out, no problem." (Any anxiety about running here or did your dad and grandfather help you before you went out?): "To be honest, the anxiety was pretty bad before I got out there, but as soon as I did it I thought it was no problem. Basically it was the unknown, that's what I was afraid of, but it came no problem." (Did you feel some of the intricacies of this place, such as how the IndyCar Series guys say every corner is different?): "They're going a lot quicker, so for us I think it's pretty much, 'just plant it.' I did feel the wind this morning, and definitely through (Turns) 1 and 2, so you definitely feel the same things, just not as drastic."

JAIME CAMARA (No. 1 CELG-Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "We are very happy with our job today. The track is very difficult to drive. You have to find the right line. It is not easy to do that. When I was out there, it was not that simple. We did a good job today, and the car is very good. I think we are going to be very competitive during the race. We will take what line to take from the experience. The line I took today was different from what everybody else is doing, and I think it is the best for the race."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Visit New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We just do the thing we do at every racetrack, work toward a plan and just work our way through it. It's a good team, the whole package is good, so there's no reason why we wouldn't be quick. I had spoken to Scott (Dixon), and he had said the track was quite good -- they were just here a couple of weeks ago. I had confidence in the car, so I was flat pretty much straight away."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 19 SpacePak/CareCentric/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It went pretty well. It took a little longer than we wanted to get up to speed. But once we did and we started running, we started ticking off a little faster, a little faster each time out. We made some real progress on the car, so when we come back at the end of the month, it will be a lot better for us, and we'll have a good starting package. I figured the line out around this track at the end of the day. I won't have to do that when we come back. All we will have to do is adjust the car for the condition of the track at that time."

TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Mspt Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): (About how it felt to do his first laps at IMS): "It was great. The track, they repaved it so it's smooth, it has a lot of grip since they did the diamond (grinding) on it. It's real racy." (How has this test helped the whole field; will it take away from anxiety from Race Day?): "Yeah, there will be more rubber laid down, so the track will be different from now to then, anyway. You're not sure how it's going to be when you come back, anyway." (What did you learn about this track, given its reputation for the conditions changing constantly?): "It changed a lot because of the wind. And later today it changed on me through (Turns) 1 and 2. It's a big track and things can change with the wind, so that's what makes it so difficult."

MARTY ROTH (No. 4 Roth Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We didn't have a good chance to go play in traffic, but we've got a really good car when it's by itself. It will be a strong car for the race. It's great to be in the Infiniti Pro car before we start up in the big cars. It's a good little acclimator to the speed."

***

Indy 500, Futaba Freedom 100 tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 89th Indianapolis 500 and Futaba Freedom 100, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Al Unser Sr. , Mishael Abbott , Marco Andretti , Tom Wood , Jay Drake , Nick Bussell , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Imran Husain , Thiago Medeiros