Ganassi cars 1-2 on Indy 500 Carb Day
The final practice session before Sunday's 94th Indy 500 went off without a hitch, as 1,254 laps were completed without tire issues. Many teams used the session to run full fuel stints for one of the first times this month. Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti posted the fastest lap of 225.574 mph.
"We ran a full tank on a set of tires today. With these hot temperatures, it puts the tires under a lot of stress but the Firestones held up well. As always, tire management is going to be key, with as hot as it's going to be, but we have a good car and we're looking forward to Sunday."
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FINAL PRACTICE QUOTES:
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing, 14th): "It felt great. I think we're going to be very competitive on Race Day. I saw a lot of cars look pretty solid. I'm not sure if people ran as many laps as we did. We ran a long tire run all the way to the end, and we were still handling well and fast at the end, so we're pleased about that. We're going to tweak on a few things that I think we can improve. We are ready for Race Day. And congratulations to Sam (Schmidt) and his team for winning the Firestone Indy Lights race. I feel like the car is pretty close handling to where it what I had last year, so I think I know what to expect on Race Day. It's a long race, but we're planning to be strong." (About his plans for the next 48 hours): "It's fun, really. All the friends and family are coming in to town. More sponsors are getting here each day, and I enjoy that part of it. That's the backbone of what we do and why we're out there. It's just a lot of fun to watch more and more people get into Indianapolis."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Honda Edmonton Indy, 10th): "I'm very happy. The car seems good. We wanted to be consistent, and I think we are. We wanted to be good in the turbulence, and I think we are. The team has done a really good job all month long. I think were competitive enough to give them a run for their money, but we have to dodge all the bullets in the 500 Mile Race. If we can be there in the last 30 miles, we'll fight as hard as we can. I'm excited about it, but on a 500-mile race you can never take it for granted. We're going to try to execute perfectly. We have to get through the first 470 miles, and then at the end we're going to let it rip."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing, ninth): "This was a very good Carburetion Day. It was important to run behind traffic and decide the downforce level we'll use in the race. The conditions were a little better than what we'll face Sunday. I feel good about the car. We're ready to go."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, second): "It was how big a tow we got. The speeds are pretty good up in the 223s. It's hot, but the car felt good. The heat typically helps us, a little bit more than some of the others. Hopefully that comes true on Sunday. The speeds really don't mean much (on Miller Lite Carb Day). It's all about trying to make sure you can get back in traffic and pass cars. Hopefully we've done enough homework and prepared the cars well. We're only here for one reason, and that's to win."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Panasonic Formula Dream, 26th): "I couldn't run the whole session because I had a gearbox problem, so I am concerned about this. I don't want to have the problem on Race Day, but at least we had today to shake down the car. I just wanted to run behind a lot of traffic, but I was only able to run behind one or two cars at a time before we had the problem. The car feels really good behind one or two cars, but we're not totally sure how it will be behind a big group of cars. The car was very good in cooler conditions. But last Sunday, I think we lost some balance in the hot, hot conditions, but now I think it came back. If we can have a trouble-free race, I think we will run well."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing, 22nd): "Overall, it was a good day for us. We had a chance to work on the race setup a bit. We still have some things to improve on the car before Sunday, but today we were in the midfield, which shows that we can be competitive during the race."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB, 23rd): "Today was an important one for us because it is the last practice session before the race. I was able to run just behind the other cars, and everything felt stable and comfortable. It was a good session, which gives me a lot of confidence, and now I think we are ready for the big race."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Bowers & Wilkins/TorcUp, fourth): "Forty-three laps, I think I'm getting the groove of it now. It was good to be back in the car and be able to practice and do long runs. I think we improved the car a little bit for race setup. I started out today with a little too much understeer, but we made it better and I'm quite happy. I have to thank (race strategist) Derrick Walker for coming in to help and the FAZZT Race Team for their help, as well. I think we're going to have a good race car, and it's just going to be very difficult to pass, especially from where I'm starting. We need to be very patient, but that is OK because we have a fast car."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing, 16th): "Practice went very smoothly. It feels so good to go out there with a plan and execute it. We came back to the garage, made decisions over what we did out there, so it was good. The ABC Supply car was good. Sometimes the car was too solid, so we might have had a little too much downforce to begin with. Then we tried some things and the downforce went away, so we have the two sides of the spectrum. Now it's just the Indy 500. Look at the sky, look at the weather and make the right decision. But we did everything we had to do, and I feel very good about the car."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology, 15th): "The conditions today were the most difficult I have experienced here at Indy. We tried various setups in a limited time frame. We concentrated on our qualifying setup until today, so this was my first opportunity to work on our race sim. I feel we need to improve the car some more, but we have a strong engineering staff, and I am very optimistic that we will have a good car for the race. It will be exciting to race in my first Indianapolis 500."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 GEICO-Curb Records-KV Racing Technology, eighth): "We had a few problems with the GEICO-Curb Records - KVRT car today. It's unfortunate because this was our last practice before the race, but I know the speed is there. I am looking forward to race. We are estimating about nine pit stops, and I just need to be there for the last 30 laps to fight for the good finish."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology, sixth): "I want to thank the PDVSA - KV Racing Technology team. The last few weeks have been really tough. Now we have a fast and comfortable race setup. This is basically because all the hard work of my mechanics and engineers. After having a big crash last week, this is a great way to recover, and hopefully we will have a great race on Sunday."