DAY 1 -- Friday, July 26 2002 Infiniti Pro Series Post-Qualifying Quotes ED CARPENTER (No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We've been focusing on running in traffic for most of the day, figuring we'll be...
DAY 1 -- Friday, July 26 2002
Infiniti Pro Series Post-Qualifying Quotes
ED CARPENTER (No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We've been focusing on running in traffic for most of the day, figuring we'll be racing in a big pack on Sunday. Right now, I think we're as quick as anyone. We just haven't gotten the right tow yet like some of the other guys. Who knows? We might not be the fastest in qualifying, but I'm really happy in traffic. I ran side by side all the way around here today and felt good about the car. It's going to be fun. We've got more cars and some good drivers this weekend. It just keeps getting better."
JASON PRIESTLEY (No. 7 HomeMed Pharmacy Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I think practice has gone well for us. We came here right at the beginning of the season really just to shake down the car. We didn't have all the parts that we wanted for it. It's a great track. It's a big, smooth, wide-open track, especially for these cars. It's really all about setting your car up. There's been a lot of overtaking during these practice sessions, so I think we're in for an exciting race, definitely. There are about four of us that are doing just over 180 mph. That's probably where we'll end up, maybe a little more."
RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 Rev. 1 Racing Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car itself feels good, but it feels like we're down on horsepower. We've got it trimmed out as far as it can go." (On racing near his hometown of Jackson, Mich.): "I'm pretty tickled to be here. We used to have season tickets in the grandstand when I was a kid, so from that standpoint, it's feels pretty special. Once you're in the race car, you kind of forget where you're at."
JEFF TILLMAN (No. 9 Budweiser Racing -- The King of Beers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "In the first session, we were just breaking the car in. This is a brand-new car, right out of the box, so it's taken a little bit to get it shaken out. This is a big difference from what I'm used to. I'm a road racer, but being on a track this big should be kind of fun."
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land Title Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I was flat all the way around after the third lap on the track. This place is really fast and really fun. I'm sixth in a very close field, and I just can't pedal any faster. The crew has a little more time this weekend, so I'm sure they will find some more speed."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 99 Greased Lightning Automotive Cleaning Products Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "All you work on here is speed and trying to minimize drag. I think we're pretty good. The guys on the team have been working their brains out, so hopefully the results will start to show it."
RYAN HAMPTON (No. 34 Ryan Hampton/CGF Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We mostly had a few shakedown laps in the car. It's a solid car. I like the feel of the car, and this is the first time we've ever driven one of these. It will be fun."
DAVE STEELE (No. 43 Bowes Seal Fast/Hoosier Wholesale Automotive Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're just getting the feel for the car. I've never driven one of these before. We lifted a bit in Turn 1, but the car was going through Turn 3 and 4 real well. These cars are well equipped, and I think we'll be able to race good. I haven't been able to drive in traffic yet and be able to measure myself against the other cars and drivers. I think if we get a little more speed out of the car, we'll have a good race."
A.J. FOYT IV (No, 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I really can't tell much difference in the track after the first session. This is my first time on the track. I go out there and learn the track, just kind of get in a little groove. Second session, we worked on the car a little bit and just went out there and ran just a little bit faster than we did this morning. The track's good. I like the track. It's pretty smooth. Just still learning on it, though. This is my first time on a 2-mile oval. It's not really difficult, but then again, I would not really underestimate the track at all. Going at the speeds we're going, you've always got to be careful and be focused on what you're doing. If you just pick out one line and just work on that all day, I think we'll be OK."
AARON FIKE (No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Cory (Witherill) gives me a lot of advice, telling me what to expect out there. I've never run these kinds of cars before, and he's run Indy Lights, so he helps me a lot. Especially running in traffic, he tells me what to expect with the car and what the car's going to do. Superspeedways are always pretty easy to run when you're out there by yourself, but you get into the race, and the draft always plays a big deal. There will probably be about six or seven guys who will be running together the whole race. I don't think anybody will pull away from anybody the whole race."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Qualifying on this track is not really going to be a big deal. It doesn't matter where you start in this race, just where you end up on that last lap during the race. I raced this track in the Indy Lights series twice, and I've been at California Speedway, which is an identical track. I qualified 16th, led the race for a while and ended up fourth. One lap you can be leading, the next lap you can be dead last. It's just one of those things, whatever your cards are at Lap 50. You can enter high, low, in the middle, wherever you want. From my experience with Indy Lights, you go in three across, sometimes four across. The main thing is you've just got to pay attention. But it's fun. This will probably be your funnest race or your worst race, depending on if you crash or not. Overall, I've always loved going to the superspeedways like this. It's always been a fun track." (How does the Infiniti Pro Series car compare to the Indy Lights car?): "These cars are very similar as far as horsepower. I think the Infiniti Pro Series cars handle a lot better. They are a lot more forgiving. The other car, they were always on edge. If the car got loose on you, you were in the fence faster than you could think about it. The overall feel between the two, I'd say this one is a lot better."