FREEDOM 100 POST-RACE QUOTES -- Friday, May 26 NICK BUSSELL (No. 52 Cheever Racing, 10th) "I'm real disappointed. We obviously wanted to be much further up. Chris (Festa) ran good, and we hoped to be up there with him, but we had some issues....
FREEDOM 100 POST-RACE QUOTES -- Friday, May 26
NICK BUSSELL (No. 52 Cheever Racing, 10th) "I'm real disappointed. We obviously wanted to be much further up. Chris (Festa) ran good, and we hoped to be up there with him, but we had some issues. You know, back there I'm kind of at their will with the pace. I wasn't there with the gears and everything, so it was just one of those races that I was glad it was over."
GEOFF DODGE (No. 33 Knoxville Fast Track to Indy, eighth): "Oh man, my first race at Indy and it's like -- I'm holding back tears. This team, we struggled yesterday, we had a motor problem in the second practice session. We missed qualifying altogether so we had to start at the back. These guys worked their butts off all day yesterday, and I'm so proud of them because they got the motor changed out and we got some laps in the warm-up session. I knew that Steve, my engineer, would have the car right and it was. It was a Cadillac to drive, and I about threw it away about Lap 4. I hit the wall really hard coming off (Turn) 2, and I thought: 'Man, you're a sprint car driver and you hit the wall all the time and you keep going. We're not pitting and if you get down into (Turn) 3 and you wipe the right side off the car, that happens.' So we kept going and kept coming forward; it was really good. I feel bad that we didn't get to qualify, but I think it was a good day for my first day at Indy, and I've got to thank the World of Outlaws, and the IRL and Knoxville Raceway and (my sponsors). Firestone tires held up good all the way to the end, and we've got a bullet now. It'll probably only get better from here on out." (You gained 11 positions, which has to be one of the highest gains in series history, how did you do it?): "It was tough. The first couple laps I wanted to get a surge through the field at the start, get three or four guys on the first lap, but I didn't get a good start. Then I thought I'd let it sort out a bit, then I hit the wall and thought I'd threw it all away but I hit race mode after that once I found out the car was OK. I started picking them off and passing around the high side in (Turn) 3 and 4 and on the bottom in 1 and 2, just went wherever I had to go. The car was great, and it gave me a lot to work with." (Do you see yourself running the Indy 500 soon; could next year be within your reach?): "I'd love to run the Indy 500, that's my ultimate dream in life. But right now we'll focus on today and where to go. We've go a test in Milwaukee coming up, and we'll need to learn because that's probably one of the tougher ovals we run. We'll stay focused. I want to enjoy the here and now as much as I can because I never thought that I'd make it here, and I don't want to let a minute go by without enjoying it."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., fifth): "I think we did all right. Nothing more than that, nothing worse than that. We started fifth. We made improvements from the first test we did here, which is encouraging. It's my first oval, so I was learning a lot out there. The atmosphere was fantastic. It was a great place to have come for my first oval here on Carb Day at the Indy 500. We weren't quick enough is the long and the short of it, but we had a good battle I lost with three laps to go, which cost me fourth. We finished fifth, and that's probably about as quick a car as we have at the moment. We've got room for improvement, but a good solid race, and that's just as important. I think that in the next few ovals we can bring the pace back up again."
JAMES CHESSON (No. 76 PSI, 18th): "We were going all right in the beginning, from what they tell me. We were probably the fastest car out there. We got halfway through the race, then had a big wiggle through Turn 1. She stepped out on me a little bit. I radioed in, 'Hey guys, I had a big wiggle, big wiggle.' I had a couple of other incidents where it was pushing really bad. I thought a right rear was going down. I come in, they lower the right rear air pressure. Everything seemed to be fine. Went back out, just as bad and just did one more lap. I didn't want to stuff it into the fence. I was now running in the back anyways. But it just didn't feel right. I brought it in; we white walled the right rear, which means we could have bent something or maybe a shock was going down. It was great in the beginning, but not sure what happened in the middle of the race. This car just went away on me, just so quickly."
CHRIS FESTA (No. 51 Cheever Racing Formtek, fourth): "The race was pretty good. I was actually pretty happy. We got into quite a little bit of a battle there. The front guys checked out. So about 10 minutes into the race, I decided to just tuck in behind them, draft and then just try to catch back up. It didn't really work. At that point just said to myself, 'I might as well just save my car for the last 10 laps.' Which then I went after Alex (Lloyd)." (A number of drivers had trouble from after the halfway point. How did your car feel after the halfway point?): "It wasn't the track, in my opinion, as much as just tire management. It wasn't as what we would have liked it to be. A lot of guys were just driving hard and wearing them out, myself included." (Two laps to go you were passed?): "We caught up to some lapped traffic, and Alex (Lloyd) did better than I did. So I fell back a little bit. In my head, I was saying some nasty words. Just tried to keep with it, slowly I started to catch him. I caught his draft again, and it sucked me right in to where I can slingshot around him at the end of the front straight going into Turn 1."
JON HERB (No. 6 AERCON, 19th): "I hit the wall off (Turn) 1 on the outside. I was moving up a bit, but the middle of the corner we kind of developed a push there. I just couldn't ride it out and got it up in the fence. I didn't hit it completely hard, but got it hard enough to bend the suspension."
BRETT VAN BLANKERS (No. 3 Inner City Recycling, 14th): "The car went away as the race went on. There wasn't anything we could do. We made a few adjustments, but toward the end of the race I had to lift in pretty much every corner." (About how the weather change affected the handling): "At the beginning, it was pushing a little bit. As the race went on, the back end wanted to come around making me lift in every corner. It wasn't very good."
TYCE CARLSON (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., 15th): "The race started off great. We got a couple cars on the start. We had a bad push in Turn 1, and with these cars you have to be able to run flat the whole day. I adjusted the weight throughout the race. It is what it is. We had to run down on the gear and didn't have the mile per hour that we needed with that gear. I had a lot of fun out there. These guys did a great job. I'm happy with the day. Hopefully we can put something together for next race, so I can get some more laps and become a better driver."
JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, sixth): "It was really a long race, actually. My car was great in the first quarter of the race, and then the middle half of the race, we had a really bad oversteer and it was real tough to keep the car under me. I had to lift in every corner and every lap to kind of save it. Toward the end of the race, it kind of came back. I think the wind may have died down. I made some adjustments to fix the problem, and I stayed kind of patient and reeled in Bobby (Wilson) and got him at the finish line by like half a foot to finish sixth. I was getting antsy toward the end. I was sitting on pins and needles. Everybody was getting racy at the end."
PHIL GIEBLER (No. 4 Guthrie Racing Car Crafters Special, 16th): "Obviously, my race was pretty much done after the green flag. I think there was a misinterpretation of the rules with the start. Unfortunately, I had to do the drive-through penalty, which pretty much ended my race. I just tried to keep it off the wall, because when I followed a couple people I just had tons of understeer heading toward the wall. I just wanted to keep it off the wall and bring it home. Wherever we finished after that, then that's where we were."
MATTHEW HAMILTON (No. 2 Kiwi American Racing, 13th): "We made a good start and made up a few places. Then my car developed a push, which we really couldn't dial in out on the track. It made it a bit hard in traffic, I'm learning, as well. I learned a lot and certainly enjoyed it." (What does running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mean to you?) "It's my first time running, but I did come to the United States Grand Prix here last year. It's amazing. From New Zealand's view, we hear about the Indianapolis 500 a lot. It's probably the one race we do hear about from here in America. It's pretty amazing just to be here. You can feel all the energy, names and feel all the history oozing out of this place. It's just such a privilege to be running at this place."
TOM WOOD (No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing, ninth): "It was fun. There was a lot of real close racing. We had a really good car. It just ran out of adjustments at the end. The car was getting real pushy. We were kind of just hanging out at the end. It was fun and a good race." (About why the car pushed): "These cars have been a little pushy around here all week. We didn't get any practice time because we had an engine issue. We missed both of them. If we would have had one more, we may have been able to fix the issues. It was fun, though."
SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 41 Car Crafters, 11th): "It was quite an adventure, I would say. They always say Indy is special, and it was definitely special. The race started off real well. They got a little jump on us at the start, but we were able to move back through. By Lap 10, we were up to sixth place. We got three cars on one lap, so that was really exciting. I was running out by myself and trying to reel in the field, and I just killed the right front tire. About Lap 22, the car was done, and I started going backward."
MISHAEL ABBOTT (No. 8 SME Motorsports, 17th): "We struggled in the race. We had a car that had some severe understeer. I just couldn't go flat out all the way around. I really thought going into this that we had a good race car, but it turns out that we struggled. It is what it is."
BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, seventh): "I definitely pushed today. It makes it even worse in traffic, so you have to try to find clean air and use as much of the track as you can and not burn off your equipment because you need it at the end." (About if the handling changed throughout the race): "Not really, because I had used up my stuff just running in the pack. When you can't get a good run on somebody and get ahead of them even though you know you're faster than them, you tend to just use up your tires. That's the way it rolls."