Quotes from Carb Day at Indy
SCOTT DIXON (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We tried a few different things to make sure we were in the right ballpark. They were all worse, so I guess that's a good thing. We were just trying to run in traffic to make sure the car is good in those situations. All of it went pretty well. It is hard to tell what speeds are true speeds, and who had less wing, so we just worked on being comfortable in traffic." (About weather changing the first stint on Sunday): "The problem with changing your setup is that this race is so long. The track rubbers up and keeps getting faster. You don't want to have too much down force, because you need to be able to race the last 20 laps. Last year, our car was strong, but we had too much wing to be able to go for the win. This year, we may go a little more aggressive and run a little less wing for the first four or five stints."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were just triple-checking the car. We know we have a good car. It was just a matter of checking everything. The car seems to be good. I'm really happy about it." (About the possibility of rain changing race setup): "Rain won't affect our setup much. It is such a long race. It might affect the first stint. The tires may run out sooner. We can't change our car for how the racetrack will be during the first stint. After that, the track will get some rubber down, and everything will be fine."
AL UNSER JR. (#50 AJ Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Everything is really good. We're pretty happy with the car. I wish it was a little quicker. That's what we got. So we are going to get it back in the shop and get it ready for Race Day." (Feeling good about the race?): "Not as good as I have in the past. I've had worse days here, too. We'll get out there and try to mix it up as best as we can."
DAVEY HAMILTON (#02 HP Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (Two days away from the '500,' does the excitement ramp up a little bit?): "Yeah, the more that come here, as far as the crowd goes, the more exciting this place gets. I had a little nerves this morning for Carb Day, and it's not even the race. But once you got out there, it was like a race. We actually have a good car. We have to check our gearing a little bit, but I'm really happy right now. So far, so good."
DAN WHELDON (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Not too bad. We didn't have the best Carburetion Day that we've ever had. We're just going to go back and look at the numbers and see if we can just fine-tune it for Race Day. With everything, you just need to do a systems check and make sure everything is OK from that standpoint. You can't really make substantial changes from this point on. It's just a matter of fine-tuning what you've got. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what we would have liked." (About preparation for Race Day): "Just trying to focus and make sure we're as prepared for the race as we possibly can be." (About the new paint scheme for his helmet): "I like to do a special one for the Indy 500, and this is another one my painter has done."
JOHN ANDRETTI (#33 Camping World Panther Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I was able to run in traffic, so that was good. I was able to do my first pit stops. Today was a big day for me, to learn a lot. Most guys go out here to just play around, I think. Because they are just trying to get a final feel, kind of get away from doing other things to get back to what they know, from what they love most. To me, it was an education. I feel good about it. I feel like the Camping World Dallara can be pretty good in the race. I'll go back to my Panther Racing teammate to see what last bits of information they gathered from this final practice." (Do you feel ready and back in the groove from the last time you ran here?) "I'll tell you Sunday night if I was ready. I don't feel ready, but I never do before a race. I always feel that we can do a little bit more. But I feel good about where we are at." (Are you confident with your car, and how does it feel?) "Yes, I do. We've got a pretty good car. The car seems to be pretty fast. I don't have visions of grandeur and trying to run with the guys in the front. But I think we can run their speed if we get there."
BUDDY RICE (#15 A1TeamUSA/DRR Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We didn't want to run many laps. We had a lot of laps in race trim earlier in the month, and we were pleased with the setup. Today was to verify what we already felt about the car. And it was good. It looked to me like a lot of guys were trimming out their car for speed in that session. That's good when you are by yourself. But if you are in traffic or in a pack, not a lot of downforce (on the car) will get you in big trouble. Plus having the proper gear is extremely important. If you can stay in the draft now, you could be in trouble and get a lap down. Overall, I feel good about our A1 TEAM USA Honda for Sunday. We knew coming into the month that we wouldn't have the car for the pole. So we concentrated on race setup all month. I think it would pay off for us in the race."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I feel pretty good about the race setup on the Team Penske car. In final practice today, we were able to run in traffic, and now we just have to see how things play out during the race. There are a lot of fast cars out there, so I think we've definitely got our work cut out for us. But I'm excited for the race, and I think we have a definite shot at earning a second Indy 500 win. It's not always the fastest car in the field that wins the race, it's the driver who plays it smart and brings it home at the end. We just have to go out there, get in a rhythm and settle in. It's a long race, and we want to make sure we're there to fight it out in the final laps."
SARAH FISHER (#5 AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Today was good. We checked the car and checked balance. We did a 10-lap run or so, and it was good. We've got the exact car we left here on Sunday, and for being completely rebuilt and put back together, that's a really good repeatable deal. We're really happy. I mean, it's not going to be the perfect car from start to finish, but it's one that is going to be tolerable in being able to adjust as we move forward."
ROGER YASUKAWA (#24 Wellman Corbier/DRR Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We had a pretty good session. During Carb Day, things get pretty intense with all 33 cars on the track. We just wanted to make sure everything was good. We made some slight changes to the car, which did show some improvement. We're just ready for the race now. Hopefully we just need to get the car ready to go, and we'll be good to go for Sunday morning."
DANICA PATRICK (#7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We ran a lot better in practice today with the Motorola car than we did at the end of the week last week. We were able to catch some cars and pass them. Overall, I think we've got a strong car. There is a little bit more that I'm looking for, but I think we'll find it. It was a good session overall for AGR, and that comes from working together all month and helping each other out."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Things are pretty good for the Motorola/Jim Beam team. We still feel like we've got a good race car and feel like we have a good starting point for how we need to be on Sunday."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Patrón Sharp Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm pretty pleased with the pace of our race car on our own compared to our T-car. We never got a great drafting pack to run in today, and when we did get into something, it wasn't quite where we want to be. We'll check our data and see what we need to do in order to make it a little better for the race."
JEFF SIMMONS (#17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The car is good. We're just a little off here and there, but I am very confident in the car and the team. We have a very competitive car. We have gotten it more consistent, and it's responding to our changes the way we that it should. It's something that I can tune with what's available to me in the car, and that's what you want. I think we can run right with the top-10 cars, and as long as you are running with the lead pack, you make smart decisions, have good stops and get a little racing luck, you can get a top-five or even win this thing."
RYAN BRISCOE (#12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Carb Day is all about shaking down every possible piece of material we'll be working with in the race, from the gearbox, the clutch, new engine, helmet, drink tube, just about everything imaginable in and around the race car. On top of that, we did quite a bit of setup work, which I didn't expect to be doing this late in the game, but it certainly proved positive. I'm really happy with the way everything ended here for us today, and I'm feeling very confident about going into the race on Sunday. On track today, the key thing was to get a bit of practice in the draft. I missed out on quite a bit of the draft practice last week (due to leaving for ALMS race). Everyone was out there, and I got some big tows and a good feel for what it's going to be like in the race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (#3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was good to finally get back in the car today. Thankfully we're pretty much where we left off last week in terms of car set-up, so we didn't have to do anything drastic. The Team Penske car isn't the fastest in the field, but what we need in this race is a solid setup, and I feel we have that. With the draft, you don't have to be the quickest because the faster cars will drag you along. We enter this race each year with the same goal, to be around at the end so we're in contention for the win, and I really believe we will be there. The last week has been entirely too long - I'm ready to go racing."
MARCO ANDRETTI (#26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm really happy with the NYSE car. I feel like we've got a strong race car capable of winning on Sunday. It's a long race, and anything can happen. It's been a long month and we're ready to race."
TONY KANAAN (#11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "When you're the fastest guy on the track, you can't say that your car isn't that good, but I got a good draft. I was trying to run in traffic as much as I could. I'm happy because I think the balance of the Team 7-Eleven car is what I want it to be. It was a good day, but Carb Day doesn't mean anything. No one will remember it on Race Day."