Indy Pole Day Quotes
POLE DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES - Saturday, May 10
DAN WHELDON (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was just a lot of hard work and effort by everybody at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and that is a relatively good run." ( You have never started on the pole here. How important would that be for you?): "The Indianapolis 500 is the biggest race in the world, and I would certainly take the race win over the pole, but, at the end of the day, it is something to be proud of. I have been fortune enough to win a championship and a Indianapolis 500, I won Honda's first race in Japan, so the pole would be nice, but I am not taking the pole if it takes away from the race stuff. I would much rather win the race." ( Do you think you got everything out of the car?): "I don't think we got everything, but the car was definitely fast. The guys have worked really hard to give Scott (Dixon) and I really fast cars. We have been close to pole in the past at Indianapolis, leading into Pole Day, but when it has become Pole Day we have not been so competitive. It is good to show we are competitive." ( Is it any sweeter that you bumped Danica Patrick from the pole? ): "For my boss it is absolutely sweeter. He likes it when we do that; he likes the story lines. It is really competitive this month. Forget the No. 7, just group everybody together. It's really, really tight. So it is good the guys have worked hard and given us good cars, but at the end of the day, the pole would be nice, but it is the race win to have to aim for." (Would you pull out that run and try it again?): "I absolutely would, but it doesn't say Target Dan Wheldon Racing on the side, it says Target Chip Ganassi Racing, so that is the boss' call."
HIDEKI MUTOH (#27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About first experience qualifying at Indianapolis): "It was awesome." (What kind of advise did you get from your teammates about qualifying?): "Just flat out for four laps." (Do you enjoy this qualifying format?): "Just try to finish in the top 11; that is my goal for today." (How much have learned from your teammates this month?): "We have been different with setup on the car, so it is hard to say. They tell me how to go, where to turn into the corner, that kind of thing. That was very helpful."
MARIO MORAES (#19 The SONNY Car Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's my first time here. This event is different than any other event that I have ever competed in. Looking forward to qualifying in the top 22 this weekend." (Any thoughts on running at an oval?): "The first time you look at it, I thought it might be a bit boring. But I was wrong. You are inside the oval, it is very hard to do, very hard to do right, yet at the same time very fun." (What did you get out of your first qualifying experience?): "We had some problems in corners one and two. We plan to fix that by removing some downforce to catch some speed." (How would you describe what qualifying is like here?): "We didn't work so much on the track because we had two days raining. It is my first time here in Indianapolis. I think we did pretty well." (How is the team's morale after your mechanic was injured yesterday?): "I have not seen him yet. I plan on heading to the hospital later today to see how he is doing. It's not good to see your crew member hurt. Everybody on our team needs to be focused. Focus on the race and qualify the best we can. We do not think he will be back for this race, but we will find out today. We work so well as a team. All of us on the team wish Chuck a quick recovery."
GRAHAM RAHAL (#06 Hole in the Wall Camps Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think that's the quickest we've run so far. Overall we're pretty happy. I think that ultimately if we could get a little more pace out of it, it would be good." (What's it like for a 19-year-old to come and put a car in at Indy?): "Well, it's pretty cool, but don't jinx me. We're not in it completely, yet. There's still a little ways to go, but it's cool to be out here." (You've been coming here a long time. Were you nervous today going into qualifying?): "You know, I don't think so. I thought I'd be more nervous. I was pretty happy with the car. We weren't quite as quick as we thought we would be." (On qualifying at Indy): "You've got a bigger crowd here on qualifying day than you do on a race day anywhere else. Overall, it's a different feeling. Certainly there's more pressure but at the end of the day I try to be cool, go out there and just get it done."
VITOR MEIRA (#4 Delphi National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think the Delphi/National Guard car as a little more in it, but our goal is to stay top 11. We are right were we thought we would be. We are happy mainly because we struggled so much last year. It was a very tough month for us. I mentioned several times that I got five years older last May, so it's the beginning of the turnaround for us. Now we have very good partners in Delphi and National Guard, so we can see the light." (On what has changed since last year): "Our new partners allow us to go search for personnel or test days. For the first time in two years that I have been here at Panther, we went to the wind tunnel. Compared to a Penske or a Ganassi that has their programs 24/7, that makes a big difference. We only had four days this year, but we are catching up. It's those small things that don't really look like much, but at a place like here it makes a difference." (On team resources focused on one car, instead of two): "That just helps me, but it's good to have two cars on a team. You learn more. But last year we just didn't see things that came, coming. John (Barnes, Panther co-owner) was the first guy who went after National Guard. He was the first one to believe and the one who has believed the most. If the team is doing good, the biggest reason why is him." (On if racing is more engineering now than driving): "No, it's always been this way. When qualifying at Michigan, it doesn't have much to do with the driver. When it comes to qualifying here, and the race, and then at the road courses, and street courses and short ovals, it's much more. It's still very much a human sport." (On chance of rain Sunday): "That's why we are so much happier being in fifth or 11th if we qualify today. We'll have a week more than everybody else. We'll have a lot of time to work on what really matters, while in the meantime people are going to have to keep working on qualifying. It helps knowing what to do at what time, whether that is pulling out of line or just knowing what you are going to get when you go out there."
DANICA PATRICK (#7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I was a little bit worried going in (to the qualifying run) just wondering what was going to come of it because I hadn't done a full qualifying simulation. So that was a little bit intimidating. We obviously have a pretty quick car. It was nice to start off qualifying like this. My run wasn't perfect and the last two laps fell off for a reason, and we need to fix that. There's more speed in this car, unfortunately and fortunately. I'd love to say that this is the end of the road for qualifying for today but I don't think it is. It's called happy hour because everybody goes quicker. It's going to be about keeping an eye on the weather, keeping your car balanced and getting in line at the right time. It's good so far, though." (Do you go into qualifying any differently now that you've had a win?): "No, I still need to go out there and be a great driver and keep everyone happy, which mostly is myself. I still do all the same things, it's just nice to say I have a win." (About qualifying in the new format): "These are not super easy ... This track is very difficult when the car is not balanced right. It's intimidating, it's scary, it's difficult. We run on such an edge here. When you tip over that edge, it's very difficult. I'm telling you, I was on the edge. So hopefully we can tune that in a little bit and make the car a little more comfortable, and I think it will go quicker. You have to put it in your head that you're going to go out and you're going to do you two, maybe three attempts, and you need to work really hard on your first attempt, but you're probably going to have to go out again. You have to go in with that gameplan. It's a guessing game, and all we can do is give ourselves a good race car as early as possible so we're confident to get in line whenever we need to. The person who goes out at 5:45 is probably going to have one of the best times." (When Wheldon bumped her from the pole): "Oh, my God. That's ridiculous. Oh, Dan." (About what it would mean to win the pole here): "Getting a pole here is like winning a race somewhere else. It's really something you work hard for as a driver and a team. It would be like a second victory to get a pole here, which is what we're going for, and Dan is making that difficult right now. So we're going to have to do some work."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We feel that we have a little more speed. For some reason or another, I just seem to be 10th or 11th every single year I've been here, no matter how quick we are in practice. I think we have to just go back and work on it and get prepared for some more a little bit later. I like to go fast. In the end, I can't really go slow in that car. To be honest, this is the most stressful day, but I've got to be positive. This Symantec crew has just done an incredible job. Just coming out with a car from fresh, and now we're fighting to keep in the top 11 spots. We seem to find a setup fairly quickly, but we still would've liked to test some stuff that we didn't get to, but it's the same for everyone. I think we're a little smudged because we're not with the same team, so it's a little bit starting from scratch, but we'll be good. I would really like to get qualifying over with today because it is the most stressful day, but we'll see what we can do. Race Day is less stressful than today because the car is so on the edge. It's a big day for everybody. Great for the fans, great for the drivers, and that's what we get paid today. I'm going to turn into a fan a little later just to see who's in the front row. We just want to get locked in. It going to be full warfare this afternoon."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I had chills going down my back before I went out, and then when I found out how the car was handling, it went to frustration pretty quick. These cars, with the aerodynamics on them, it's hard to predict where they'll go. Someone like Danica (Patrick) nailed it and probably went quicker than she did this morning, and we went the other way. That's unfortunate, but that's racing. The good thing here is that we can throw that lap out and go for another one. We certainly have a better car than that. I don't know what happened from this morning to now. The car just wouldn't turn. I was trying to knock down the fence in every corner because of front grip. That was a horrible lap. It's just one of those things. Vitor (Meira) just went out and went pretty quick and usually we're right there with him, so it's just one of those things. That's how racing goes, but we'll figure it out. It's the month of May; it's a lot of hype, and it's worth it. It's Indy. It's history. It's awesome. I love it. I'm just taking it all in, but at the same time, I'm not just happy to be here. I need to go fast and have a good car and be competitive. Other than that, I'm not happy. Right now, we're not competitive. It's American history, an American tradition, the Indy 500, and I'm an American kid. There's a couple of us out there this weekend, and we definitely have the support of the fans."
WILL POWER (#8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Yeah, it wasn't quick enough. We've got to find a good half-mile-an-hour to contend for that 11th spot. I'm not sure we can get that today. We'll go back, have a look at the data and see. But, it was an easy run for me, so maybe we could trim out a bit. I think you need to be a little bit on edge around here to be fast. We had a little bit of push. We'll go back to the drawing board, have a look at the setup and see where we are." (Regarding the pressure of qualifying at Indianapolis): "It was too easy for me. We're not trimmed out enough. I think we're a fair way off, to be honest. If we're too far off, we'll come back and try it tomorrow." (On Indy overall): "It's great. I can't believe this crowd. I can't way to see Race Day."
TOWNSEND BELL (#99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was way less than what we thought we'd be. The car was sliding around a bit too much. When it's sliding, it just gets slower each lap. It is what it is. We're definitely trying to make a stab at that 11th spot. We just have to find more speed." (How does it feel to be back?): "It's great to be back. I last ran here in 2006. What a track and such a great atmosphere. It's the place to be in May."
ED CARPENTER (#20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's not bad. I kind of felt like coming into today that we were going to have to be over 224 to feel good about staying in the top 11. I think it is slowing down for the most part. We might be OK. You just don't know what other guys are going to do. You don't know who is going to get bumped out. I think I can go faster if I have to. I really don't want to (laughter). If I have to go back to work today, then I'll be ready to do it." (About pulling out of the qualifying line): "Yeah, we did. I wasn't very happy. I think I could have probably gone a little faster in my original spot because the wind picked up. One of the mechanics saw something on the rear bar. It was more of a safety thing. I probably could have ran. At that point in the day, we decided to err on the side of caution and go to the back of the line and get it fixed right. When I looked upset, that was why. We practiced at 9 this morning, so as so on as practice is over, you're sitting on pins and needles waiting to go out. I'm the next car out, and they come on the radio saying we had to pull out of line. I'm like, 'What?' It is not what you wanted to hear. You're charged up ready to go, so it is a pretty big letdown. It wasn't that I was angry. I just needed to go back, sit in the office and start the whole mental process over." (About the changes to the team): "I think there are things we would have been dealing with either way. The thing we do have at Vision Racing is a bunch of good people and professionals. I don't think any of them will let it distract them from what we are here to do in the month of May. Keven (Kukulewicz) has been doing a good job. It looks like Larry (Curry) has been doing a good job at Roth Racing. I think Larry will do a great job for Marty (Roth), and I think Keven will do a great job for us. I don't think it has been a distraction. I think it has been positive for everybody." (About coming back to IMS as a new dad): "I think Makenna made us a bit faster. I don't know the science behind it. You get asked that question a lot. Everybody assumes (having a baby) slows you down. She's been to every race besides Japan. I've been racing well everywhere. She's been on pit lane for all my qualifying attempts in the U.S., and she has fallen asleep every time. That could be why I'm going faster because I'm boring her, not going fast enough. She might be telling me to pick up the pace. If she is anything like her mom, then she will be telling me how to drive, I'm sure."
MARCO ANDRETTI (#26 Team Indiana Jones presented by Blockbuster Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a pretty easy four laps. That's why we're a bit disappointed with the speed. I think we need to get back and analyze things to see how we can improve." (About the difference between last year and this year): "Nothing. Maybe a little bit of luck. There were a couple driver errors, which is a bummer for points. There is no confidence lost. Indianapolis is a championship of its own, so we'll give it a go." (About car handling): "Downforce was pretty much there as far as trimming. We really need to figure it out, because as far as the team I'm pretty much the lowest." (About the pressure from his family's history): "I don't even think about that. I'm not going to win the race to be popular. I'm going to win the race to win the race. I don't want to do it because my grandfather did it. Obviously, it is the biggest race in the world. It is very special to me. My family has had a lot of bad luck at this place. They dominated to some points. Even my rookie year, (the win) was just taken away from me. I want to win because of that and not because I have to." (About answering questions regarding his family): "That's something I have dealt with since day one. For example, I'm disappointed now because I'm slow and not because my family would have done better. I want to win this race for myself. From here on out, if the pole is out of sight, then we need to begin working on race setup because this is what we came here to do." (About the rivalry with Graham Rahal): "If they want to make it look good, then they can do that. There is definitely not any animosity between us or anything like that. I'm not going out here to beat Graham Rahal. I want to win the race. He's a very talented individual. He's definitely going to be giving us a run for the money soon. He already did at St. Pete."
TONY KANAAN (#11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About the qualifying run): "So far, so good. We're not in the position that we wanted to be, but we're inside the top 11, which is the right place to be right now. It was a decent run, very consistent. We had a problem this morning, and I ended up copying Marco's and Danica's setup, and I need to thank both of them for that. People think that I keep teaching them all the time, but this is what happens sometimes, so I need to thank them for that." (How important is the pole to you?): "Five years ago, I came here and just wanted to be the fastest guy. Then you race, and you realize that that really doesn't matter if you are not the fastest guy on the last lap on Sunday, May 25. I kind of learned. It is a big deal for me today because I want to be inside the top 11, but if you ask me, 'Do I want the pole?' yes, I do. Is it going to be a big deal if we don't get it? Not really. I try to look at the big picture. Honestly, if you give me a sniff, I will go for it, but it's not my main priority." (Why is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so special to you?) "It's just a mystery. And it's a mystery that only a few people get the experience to race and only a few people get the experience to win. I don't know what it is, but this place is special." (How does experience help you on Pole Day?): "I think I'm getting old. I get more calm. You know what to expect. If you have a problem - like I did have a problem this morning - you don't panic. You know that the lap times now, they mean nothing. Until 6, a lot of things are going to change. That helps keep me calm and just enjoy the day." (Do you ever feel bad for just coming up short here?): "I'm not angry. Somebody told me the other day, 'This place owes you something.' This place doesn't owe me anything. It's up to me to my job. It's not only up to me . for me to win, everything has to fall in place. I'll keep trying. That's all I can do." (Did you talk to Helio Castroneves after "Dancing with the Stars?"): "I told him that I thought he did a great job, that he represented the drivers the best. I don't think anybody else could have done it better. But I did tell him, some of those clothes he wore, I wouldn't do that." (Would you do the show?): "You won't see that. The wife would not like me to see dance with such a cute girl like that. No, no, no." (About this qualifying format, knowing he probably will need to qualify more than once if he wants to be in the top 11): "(Because of the weather this week,) this was the first time anybody went out alone. It was good warm-up qualifying. We're going to go qualify at 5:30." (Did you talk to Danica last night after the accident in the pits?): "I came back, I watched the video. When I came in, she had tears in her eyes, so I hugged her and she cried a lot more, so maybe that was a bad move on my behalf. I said, 'Let it go.' She was like, 'He has a family.' I said, 'It wasn't your fault.' I said he's going to get better. I mean, there's not a lot you can say. I said, 'You've got to keep your head straight.' I said, 'Go talk to his team, call his family.'"
ORIOL SERVIA (#5 KV Racing Technology Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Yes I am a rookie. No, I like it. You know there is prize at the end of the race for the best rookie." (Do you feel like a rookie?): "Yes. I think even if Emerson Fittipaldi would be out there now on Pole Day. He always had that thing here, like a rookie. I'm sure he would say that." (Thoughts on your first qualifying attempt?): "It was good. We actually had the exact speed that we thought we were going to have, which is good and means we guessed right. The only problem is that everyone else seems to be faster than we thought they were going to be. So we need to pick it up, for sure, if we want to be up in the top 11. How? I don't know. My engineers are looking into this. But it is only our first attempt. Everything felt good and comfortable in the car, so there still is some room there to improve." (What does running here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mean to you?): "It couldn't be more. It's great. I've been racing in the U.S. now for 10 years, and I definitely wanted to do Indy for a long time now. I've dreamed about it for such a long time. But in my dreams I was also on pole and winning the race. So it's great now that we are here. Now that we are here, we want to win it. We just don't want to be here. Still need that speed to catch the guys up front. But definitely getting there. Every time we head out, we get closer. We can only be hopeful."
DAVEY HAMILTON (#22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm happy with that number. This morning was the first time I trimmed the car out in the half-hour session. Going out to qualify, I was a bit nervous. We haven't had the laps I need. It has been a year since I've been in the car. This rain didn't help me at all. To get a 223, I'm happy with that. I wish it wasn't just the top 11. I wish they'd put us all in right now because it would be a lot easier." (About his speed): "Actually, I'm happy with that number. Not to be greedy -- you always want to be faster -- but I was just hoping to be in the 223s all month long, or the few days we've run, I should say. We've been running race sims with the wing at 0 degrees. This morning we went out and laid it down a bit, got faster and laid it down some more. We had a good car. I was flat out the whole time. There was no more in it." (About his focus this year after coming back last year): "I came in here last year and this year to have fun. I'll be straight up. There is nobody in this pit area having more fun. I'm having a blast. It is good to be at the biggest race in the world. I'm here because I want to do well. I want to win this race. I'm a realist, as well. When you're up against these guys who are qualifying faster than me and in these cars week in and week out, it is hard to compete. It can be done. If we play the race smart and right, we can get another great finish in the top 10, and I'll leave here with a big smile again." (About only driving the Indy 500): "The most difficult part is making sure you get used to the car and that you don't overdrive it and get yourself in trouble. I'm a veteran, and that helps. You're trying as hard as you can and try to find that edge again, because when you're going 220 plus miles per hour, it is definitely a challenge. I'm just trying to get used to the car and get comfortable again.
JUSTIN WILSON (#02 McDonald's Racing Team Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's pretty cool. The car was working well. I was very pleased with the balance of the McDonald's car. I was able to run flat-out on all four laps, was able to carry the speed. I was enjoying it. The fun was just slipping, sliding through some of the turns and the back end would step out every now and again, so we're right on the edge. I believe we've got a little more speed to come yet, so we'll see what we can do." (Any nerves in attempting to qualify for the first time?): "A little bit, but I calmed myself down a little bit saying, 'Today's not realistic to qualify in the top 11; we're too far behind some of these guys that have been doing it for years.' So we have to keep ourselves in check and keep making positive progress. Doing that, I was able to run flat-out and not worry about the consequences. Tomorrow will be our day when we're going for 12 to 22. I think it's more realistic to get in that 12-15 space."
RYAN BRISCOE (#6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (On qualifying on the pole, only to fall to second to Scott Dixon minutes after): "I turned around, and Dixon was taking (the pole) away from me. Aside from that, I thought I had a really good run. The car was balanced really well for the down force level we trimmed out to, and it was a solid gain, for sure. Dixon put out a pretty quick time there, so we have a little bit of work to do. From what I did this morning, I'm happy with the gains we made in that second run, and I guess now we'll just look at everything closely and see if we can get any more speed out of the car. We need to see what we can do to get those extra tenths of a mile an hour out of it to get the pole." (On Pole Day atmosphere): "It's awesome. We are on edge, and it's exciting. I hope the fans are enjoying it. I'm really happy to be in the thick of it; I thought it was a pretty good run out there. I had it on the edge and was pulling in some pretty good speeds." (On driving for Penske): "It's exciting. It's just a fantastic team. With Roger (Penske) calling the shots and Tom German my engineer, I couldn't have better people around me. Situations like this, going for the pole at Indy with Penske is very exciting times for me. For the moment, there are high expectations driving for Roger, but I have never hit the track without putting pressure on myself to do the best and get the most out of the equipment. It's an unbelievable feeling being here and being able to shoot for the pole and winning the Indy 500. I can't express how happy I am to be in this position."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (#3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We don't know why we slowed down. I don't know. This is what it's all about: Racing to be on the top, and we didn't get it. Obviously, we're not going to be stupid and do something crazy, but now we know what we can do and we're going to go to the limit. We know we can do it and we are just a little off, but we'll see." (About what it means to win the pole at Indianapolis): "So many things, really. First of all, you're number one. You beat everybody. Second, it's Indianapolis, you know. I mean, for it to be like a race to get on the pole, you're like, you're the man. It's cool to be up there and, again, this is a magic place. This adrenaline is like new every time you do this, and it's great to see the fans, everybody over here watching an exciting qualifying. That's why they make qualifying until 6 o'clock, because you're going to see people going out until the last minute. We're probably going to be one of them again, so obviously we're going to try everything we can to be on the top. To win the race, it's consistency and being at the right place at the right time so to be on the pole position, you have to be consistent for four full laps. Trust me, four laps seems like nothing, but trust me, you're running on the limit. It's great to be here with the fans and the media and this is a great place. If you got to win one race, this is the one. It feels great. It's the first time after, what, the first day that we actually have a clean day. No rain, no wet, so right now, it's just a matter of composure. Look at my face, this is amazing, man. I always want to try again unless the number three is on the number one, I always want to try again. I'm having a great time. It's a lot of fun, not only for myself, but for the fans, for the mechanics for the drivers. It's pure adrenaline." (After qualifying ended): "Well, unfortunately, we tried everything we could, and there's days that you realized that it's better to be brave than to be stupid. We got to a point where there's not much we could do and we realized the Ganassi guys were better, and the good news is that this is just the pole position and the race is a big thing. And we're going to work next week for that. My second (win) was from 13th, so my team worked extremely hard and I'm glad that we were, at least, up there. Now we'll focus on the race. Pole position is, for a driver, for me, it's everything in that day to be the number one and beating everybody. Sometimes people don't realize, 'Come on, second, third, you can win from there.' Yes, but that day you want to be the fastest guy, especially being there once, or twice. But this situation can not drop you or make you sad or down. Unfortunately, we didn't have the car. We tried everything we could, and it is what it is. The race, you have a lot of factors. In the race, there are a lot of variables, but here you basically are going four laps to the limit. It's hard. It's very difficult. That's why it's so mentally consuming, and the adrenaline is rushed. If you do a good time, you're like right there. You don't think you can do any more, and you try a little bit more in the car. So there is a lot of factors in qualifying when you're running the limit. Now, in the race, it's more traffic and pit stops and things like that. Put yourself in the position and it depends on a yellow, so it's different, but it's fun. Both are very fun." (About deciding not to take a second attempt): "When you start turning laps a little worse than you've done and you realize, 'OK.' When you're trying to push to the limit the car, and it does not feel well. You got to face it. You've got to make a choice. Obviously, our situation over there, we're in the second row and even if we were to go out there, if we didn't have enough speed to be on the front row and if we lose the fifth spot, we're still in the second row. So the decision to go out was more to lose than to gain. Something could happen and that's where you put all the puzzles together and realize that you don't see !
DAN WHELDON (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (After second qualification run, about Target Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying first and second): "It was a great team effort. Everybody at Target Chip Ganassi Racing has worked really, really hard. To be one and two right now is a pretty impressive feat. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed. Like I say, the biggest thing is to be happy for the team. They did a terrific job."
HIDEKI MUTOH (#27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (After second qualification run): "It improved a lot. During long run, I got to feeling more comfortable in the car, so I was very happy." (Was qualifying today a little more exciting than you would like today?): "Yes; yes it was. But there were many people at the track who got to see it, so I'm happy."
JUSTIN WILSON (#02 McDonald's Racing Team Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (After second qualification run): "I am pleased with our progress. We didn't expect to be in the top 11. It was a bit optimistic. Just for a minute I thought me might have a chance, but we'll come back and give it another go tomorrow providing the weather is good. If the weather is OK, I am sure we will have a good day with the McDonald's car."
GRAHAM RAHAL (#06 Hole in the Wall Camps Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (After second qualification run): "We were pretty happy to be where we were for such a long period of time. But I don't know; it's a shame. I really would have liked to be in today." (On the last run): "We'd been doing runs in practice, and the car was a lot quicker than that. We went out and had no speed, so I told them to wave it off because it wasn't very good. When the track gets cooler, sometimes you get more down force, and the car goes slower." (On disappointment team pulled car out of line for last qualifying attempt): "I was ready to go because I thought we had new tires on the thing. I was excited to go out, and (Tomas) Scheckter lowered the bump speed so much that I think we could have made it. I think we were at about that speed anyway in our last run. It's pretty sad. When I pulled up, I said, 'Guys, we need to have tires ready just in case.' Didn't happen. They said there would be no way to get do win (to the front of the line), and then everyone was like, 'We're pulling', we're pulling'," so I started to get ready and go. Seriously, we made a mistake with the gearing in the last run. If we would have run the gear lower, I am pretty positive that we could have done that speed. I know it's getting a little cooler so a little more down force, but in practice we did 223.99 by ourselves with the same setup." (On what his team's reasoning for pulling the car): "They should have told me before I got my helmet on. They waited until I got ready and they were like, 'Oh well by the way, we don't have tires.' They said they didn't think we were going to make it, so we didn't bring tires, and that is my point. You need to be prepared. I see everyone pulling and I'm thinking, 'Oh, man, I'm next!' I'm jumping in the car, and they tell me they don't have tires so we're not going to run. Come on." (On his mindset): "It makes me mad because I really feel like we could have made it. I'm frustrated because we had a good car and definitely had the speed to do that. It's like shooting yourself in the foot. You need to be prepared for any situation even if it doesn't look realistic that it can happen. You need to be there. You need to have your stuff there and you need to be ready to go, and we weren't." (On qualifying Sunday): "Hopefully we can get in tomorrow. I think we can. We were so close today - that's what's disappointing about it." (On Scheckter qualifying slower than his original speed): "He pretty much did the same speed as me, so right at that point I'm thinking we can make this, and then all the sudden, it didn't happen." (On what he will say to the team in the garage): "I'm going to talk about it with them because even if you don't think you're going to make it, you need to be prepared. That's just something I don't understand. These guys are always prepared for any situation, and I just do not understand why in this type of situation, you wouldn't just be prepared just in case."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm just so happy. To be honest, it feels like I've got the pole just to survive that top 11. We just struggle and struggled. Every time that car went out, it went a bit slower and slower. Then we saw people behind us coming. That lap I was completely sideways in (Turn) 3. I thought I was going the same way as Ryan (Hunter-Ready). Thankfully he looks like he'll be OK. I had a big save in (Turn) 3 on the second lap. On the third lap going into (Turn) 3 was, to say, a little bit exciting. Just very thankful that we made it into the top 11." (A lot of people talked about the fast laps would be at the end of the day. But the lap times fell throughout the day. Speeds went down instead of going up. Why was that?): "The temperature cooled down and was good. But the problem was the wind. The wind increased. When we are running such low down force on the car. Even going down the straight in the car, it would shove left and rig ht, moving all about. Really, you are sometimes dictated by where the wind goes. I think that is what you were really seeing is that with that first lap being good. Is that with that first lap, the tires are good. They can avoid some of the wind. Then the wind starts throwing the car around. Then the times just drop off and drop off." (We have heard guys say in qualifying that the times get slower because the tires go away on you. Are these the same tires that you normally race with? And why would they go away in 10 miles?): "You are running the car with virtually no down force. Just look at the back wing. They are pointing backwards (high in the front and low in the rear). A rear wing is really developed to go straight then up in the back. We just take all the drag off the back. So the tire gets worked much, much harder the more down force you take off. I think that is why you see the tires go away so quickly, because that is all we are using." (You hung onto 11th. How much m ore important is 11th than 12th or 13th in the same row?): "To be honest with you, it's a world of difference. Because now tonight I can actually go have a nice dinner and sleep in my bed at home. Not having to worry about getting back up and qualifying it and wasting more sets of tires. So it's really great, because my mind is now straight on what we need to do for the race instead of how we will carry on qualifying."
WILL POWER (#8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (After second qualification run): "Well, it was actually good to go in a direction, so we have more of an idea of where we're going wrong. We thought we'd try something fairly different, but that wasn't the way to go. But it's good that we got to come out again." (On going into tomorrow): "Yeah, it's good that we found something going into tomorrow unless it rains."
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