Thursday quotes from Indy
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 17 The Rahal Letterman DAFCA Special): "It's been a crazy last three months. Everyone has been asking me today if there's any pressure being a last-week and reduced program. I haven't felt this relieved in a long time. Finally I am in a car, and I know I'm going to be in the race. I'm in a great team, and there are great people around me. I felt great right away from the first lap. We want to take one step at a time, but right now, I'm really excited and happy." (About showing speed so early): "When you are driving for Rahal Letterman, you better step on it. They won this race in 2004, and honestly, the car felt great the moment I stepped into it. That makes the job of the driver a lot easier. It's only our first day. Hopefully, we have another dry day tomorrow, so we can prepare for qualifying and just keep the focus on the last lap of a 500-mile race. It's probably the most important race of my life, so I'm very happy with the way things have started."
E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing): "Today we had a productive testing day. We started working on the race setups and longer runs and with traffic and more fuel, and so far things are going pretty well. Our car feels pretty comfortable in traffic, and that's important for this race."
ROBERT DOORNBOS (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing): "It was good to get back in the car, get back to work. It was horrible watching other drivers play and have fun while I was in my bus. Unfortunately, we had a bad day today. We seemed to be going the wrong direction with the setup a little bit, and I haven't been enjoying driving the car. The wind condition was a bit tricky today, as well. The speed is definitely in the car. This is the same car that we did good things with during Rookie Orientation, and over the next days we proved to be in the top 11. Now we just need to show it again, it's somewhere in the car. We're trying to find the sweet spot for Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We have another day tomorrow. We're going to work hard overnight and should have a good day tomorrow."
NELSON PHILIPPE (No. 00 i drive green HVM Racing): "I'm just really uncomfortable with the car. I've never been so scared in my life. I think when the guys put the car back together - I think something is wrong. They already checked it out, but it feels like something is wrong. And if there is nothing wrong, then I guess I need to get my (act) together. It's just really frustrating. It's very hard. It's the first time in my life and in my racing career that I asked can I please get out of the car. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. The steering wheel is very light. It feels like I have power steering, which is really bad, because I don't know what the car is doing. And when I actually do feel the car, it's pointing too much, so the rear is getting loose. My fastest lap was 205, and I'm just scared to go faster than that."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson): "Today was an interesting day. Our first day was one of the slowest days I believe of the month just in terms of a slippery racetrack. I guess that is good and bad. It is good, because it helps us work on our race setup, but it is bad because we can't really see what we have got for speed. Hopefully the qualifying days will be fast."
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "We continue to work on the car and make it better. We hoped to go a bit faster today, so I'm a little disappointed. We keep making a lot of changes, and we will try again for tomorrow, and hopefully we will be a little bit faster."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "It was good to be back at the circuit to see the guys and catch up. It was also good to have Davey (Hamilton) get a run in my car and make sure it's good to go for tomorrow if we are allowed out. I feel fine and back to normal now. For the last couple of days, I felt a bit sore and achy, but that's to be expected at that speed and impact. I'm raring to go now, so let me at it. I have to get the all clear tomorrow, and then I'll be ready to go."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 8 Herbalife-KV Racing Technology): "It was a good day. The team's very strong, and we're happy to have the Herbalife car running pretty respectably on the first day. I'm really thrilled with the general balance that we have. People on this team are great, and that makes it really easy for me to do my job in the car. I think we're going to continue to improve. Things weren't all there, but mostly there, so we just have to continue to tweak it. I hope we can be the 23rd qualifier in terms of being the fastest of the guys left to get in. I think we've got the car to do it. I'm just keeping my head down right now, really just focused on the race setup, and we'll worry about qualifying as we get closer to that day."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21 Vision Racing): "It was another really frustrating day for the 21 team. We rolled out with the same settings on the 20 car in our backup car, the 21T. Ed (Carpenter) drove the car and confirmed some of the things that I had been reporting to the team. Then I drove the car, and I wasn't satisfied with how it was feeling given some technical issues. We threw a lot of big changes at it today, and those take time to implement, so that's why we only had 22 laps on the day when others were getting in 100 laps or more. The good news is at the end of the day we were able to do a full-throttle, 10-lap run, and the car handled it. We topped out at 218 mph, so we've got a speed gap there that we've got to close, but we'll back at it tomorrow to keep working on it."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Rexall Edmonton Indy): "We were struggling all day. I don't know if we weren't chasing the track right. There was a lot of wind today. You feel like you're underestimating yourself or second-guessing yourself. Maybe it's a question of confidence. But we didn't have the stability in the back of the car to go around. Then at the end, we made a huge change on the setup, and bang. I had one lap where I did a 219, and that put us in 22nd place. The guys made a really nice change, and then all of the sudden the car went back to where it felt good for me."
STANTON BARRETT (No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Racing): (On practice): "Not too bad. We're just trying a bunch of different stuff with the car. We changed some things over the last three days - geometry, which took a whole different setup than what we running before. We're getting a lot more top speed out of it down the straightaways. The wind was affecting people, and the hot temperature today at the track, and the speeds were down for everybody, and we've seemed to maintain the speeds that we've been running. I think we've picked up a little bit. This morning was really bad from a steering standpoint. We made some good headway and are just trying to piece it together and get it back comfortable with this new geometry and pick some speed up. It's not too bad considering where people were running time-wise today. Just got to try and get a little bit better and try and make some longer runs and get the feeling better, and we'll see where we end up." (On where he stands in the next three days): "Just keep working on it. Work on setup and get stability and grip and speed. That's all we've been working on in different combinations. We spent the first week in one direction, and we switched that direction over. We had three days off, so we had to learn kind of what it takes. We made a lot of progress today. Just the same things. Try to stay patient and not try and do anything too quick or fast. Go in our steps. Do we have to speed it up a little bit and be a little more aggressive in our changes? We're taking the necessary steps. The guys see some real promise. They work really hard in the off days doing some aero stuff and reducing drag. It made a big difference. I've just got to get the handling back and better, and we'll look to setting a lap on Saturday."
INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES (Drivers who have already qualified):
ALEX LLOYD (No. 99 HER CGR/SSM Racing): "Today was a pretty good day for us. I think we made some improvements in our HER Energy car and definitely got it better toward the end of the day. We got to run in a little bit of traffic, but we'd probably like to run in a bit more tomorrow. When we were running toward the end, when the car was good, there was nobody else on the track. In terms of the actual balance of the car, we're kind of getting there in that window. So that's good news. We just need to get a little bit more traffic under our belt in the next day or two and see where we stand."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 KV Racing Technology/Votorantim): "It was a really good day. The car is really good in qualifying setup, and now it's very good in race setup. The team has just been doing a really good job. As a team, everyone is working on one thing together. Townsend (Bell) is doing a great job. He was in the top 10. At the end of the week, we're going to put everything together and get one solid race car for everyone."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing): "Overall, today was a good day. We made a few changes with the car, which allowed us to understand the car much better. I think we are moving in the right direction. Performance-wise we were not worried about speed but moving the car through and around traffic. The team worked well together today, especially on our pit stops where we found speed. I am looking forward to tomorrow's practice and continuing to improve the car."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Team Verizon Wireless): "It was a pretty good day, and we got in plenty of miles. We got in some good runs in the Verizon Wireless car. I think we have a good amount of things to think about tonight. We'll probably make a few changes tomorrow and try to get a little bit more speed for the practice runs."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "Overall, I think we made a lot of improvements to the McDonald's car for the race, but the wind was a big factor today. Right now the wind is not being very nice to us, but we certainly got better toward the end of the day. We still have a long way to go to get ready for the race, but I am confident we will get there. We're getting closer and getting a better pace. With a little more work, we will be right on. I think we are close to the Ganassi boys, and they are usually strong in the race. I am confident we will continue to improve and have a good balance in the car for the race."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "We worked on the balance of the Team Penske car today. We tried a few long stints to see how the car runs on full tanks. We also looked at how the balance shifts when the tires wear down through the run and how close we can stay to each other in dirty air. That's what today was all about, and I think the car is really strong, and it's very fast. We'll take the next couple days to keep working on it, and we should definitely be ready for Race Day."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "We ran a lot of laps and took advantage of the great weather today. It was a good day for Team Penske. We turned in the second- and third-fastest laps of the day. I certainly feel like we are heading in the right direction. We still have to work hard like everyone else, but I am very pleased with the overall performance of today's practice."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): "On our last run, we did a full-stint distance, and I think both the car and I need to do more to find the right setup. It was quite a tough day to work on the setup, and we're still missing some speed. Maybe (Friday) will be better."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The car seemed pretty good. We had a few issues in the middle of the day where we just made some changes, and it didn't go as planned. All-in-all, we seemed pretty consistent. We were on old tires yet. Hopefully, we can see what the new tires are like in the next couple of days. Usually that's a pretty good gain for us. We were running tires to 30-35 laps in a stint, and they seemed to be holding up pretty good. We still have to prepare the car a little better so it's good in traffic. Late in the day was much better, because a lot more cars were out there, and it was more like race running. That's what we have to do - is run in traffic."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "At this point in the month, it's not so much about the speed on one lap. It's about balance and how the car handles in traffic and how it runs through a full tank of fuel. We're getting there. We're making some progress. Any track time we can get is beneficial. If it rains, we will lose a big percentage of our track time. We're trying to get everything we can get now and keep working on the car."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "Today was a character-building day for Team Venom Energy. I think we found the underlying problem that will help lead us in the right direction tomorrow. We're still working on testing and checking items off our list, but I think we're much closer to finding the right race day setup for the No. 26 car."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "Good day for the Team 7-Eleven guys. We are still working on a race setup that we will be happy with. The track was definitely green from all the rain we have had the past few days, but overall we are headed in the right direction."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola): "I have to say the No. 7 car got better as the practice session went on. When we first went out on track, my steering was too loose and made the whole car nervous. But we made some changes, and it got much better. We are working hard to find a car that is going to be strong for the race, and we are getting closer to it each day."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing): "We got in a lot of laps today, which was good. We wanted to get on the track as much as possible, and we did that. I started out the day by jumping in Ryan's (Hunter-Reay) car to confirm some things for the team, and then I just spent the rest of the afternoon in my car getting ready for the race. We did a lot of race runs, full-tank running, and it was pretty productive. Toward the end of the day, the track heated up and it got pretty windy, and it wasn't bad conditions, but not great conditions, either. So it was kind of good to go out and run when the track is not at its best. I think my car is OK right now, and we're fairly close to where I was last year when I ran here and finished fifth. But obviously we want to finish a little higher than fifth this year, so we're going to keep working at it."