Day 1 IndyCar quotes from Loudon
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Nikon): "The Nikon car was good today. My first order of business today was to learn the track and the first run felt good. It is definitely a lot easier to learn a place when the car is doing what you want it to. We worked on the car all day just trying to change some bits and pieces and improve. It was very difficult to find those small gains, but we did reach our goal by the end of the day. I think we are in good shape now and we will be chasing the track a little bit this weekend. The engineers have done a great job preparing this weekend. Scott (Dixon) came up and tested here for us and did a good job getting information for us. "
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The car felt good today. We struggled at the beginning of the day with a few set-up changes we had to go through. Traffic is chaotic here because it seems like some cars are very slow and you catch them fast. So must of the challenge is dealing with that. We spent a lot of time on working on the race car and I feel pretty comfortable now. The Target cars were quick today and so was Graham (Rahal) so we are in good shape for now but we will see what happens Saturday and Sunday."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple): "I think the track is going to be fun, we just have to get a handle on it. The Snapple car was fast this morning but we went the wrong way with some changes this afternoon and lost some speed. Overall I think we'll be competitive come Sunday."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 @FollowAndretti): "It is not an easy track to drive. The seams in the track are difficult to negotiate. You really have to get your line right on entry into the corners. But I like it. It is fun. You have to lift in the corners a little. However, I think you will have to be close to flat on the throttle in qualifying. We struggled a little with understeer, but, overall, I think we can get the car to where we like it."
DANICA PATRICK (No . 7 Team GoDaddy): "In the stock car, you run down on the bottom. But here in the Indy cars, you move up into the second lane where the banking is a little more significant. But, yeah, it is fast. There is going to be that lane down low, but it will be a challenge to make it stick. The exit of the corner on the bank falls off a bit and that makes the car get loose off the corner. On the road courses, you can walk and drive around a course before practice to get a feel for the circuit. However, on an oval, you drive an Indy car so much differently than you would a passenger car. It usually doesn't help you. I was able to look at Tony Kanaan's testing information from last year when he tested here. You see his throttle traces and that was helpful. It is so different when you jump from a permanent road circuit to an oval track to a street course. You just have to adapt to each form of the track and, of course, I am adapting to the cars too with stock cars and Indy cars. But that is my job, to be able to adapt to all tracks and cars. I don't think that it is that big of a deal."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "This is a great market to race. We need to be in this market. I hope we get a good attendance on Sunday and establish this track as a solid place to come race year after year. It looks tough to pass on in practice, but, in the race, there always seems to be a lane that opens up. Guys start to fall off and the lanes getting wider. I hope can put on a good race and we can make it an annual event. I came here as a kid in 1995. I was 12 years old and it was so much fun to see how fast the Indy cars ran here. It was very exciting. I actually started race go-karts after that event. Maybe it was the thrill of the racing that I wanted to try it. I never thought I would get to the top level of the sport. You always dream of it but it isn't realistic. So coming here now and racing Indy cars on this track is great. It is beautiful around here and it is a great place to have a race. I really enjoy going to the tracks that are new. And we have been to a few this year. We'll have a few more coming up in the series too this year. It is fun to have to adapt to the new ones. I enjoy this short ovals and they are tricky. They can be good for you or they can bite you quickly."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske): "Our Guidepoint Systems Team Penske car still needs a little something. We me made a lot of changes today and we learned a few things. Now we just have to sort through the data and take the next step. We will be ready to go on Saturday."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental): "Overall, it was a good day for the Penske Truck Rental car. It's good to learn a new track. The track feels really nice; it's really fast. We can definitely improve the car a bit. We just need to find a bit more speed. I feel like I know what we need, now we just need to do some work to get there."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "It's a really challenging track. Very flat. There aren't many grooves at the moment. I think we finished on a good note. We were struggling all day long with a very difficult car to drive and some weird balance going on. We picked up a huge understeer in the center of the corner. After lunch we made a change and it was worse, but it kind of gave us a direction like "Hey, that's the wrong way." Very quickly we went the other way and we picked up a chunk of time and the car was a lot easier to drive. Much more solid. We made up a bunch of time - obviously it's not enough yet, but I think we finished on a positive note. I think we have a much better direction to go to."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "We ran a lot laps and went through a long work list. The Verizon car is alright, but we have some work to do to be on pace with the fast guys. We'll look at the data over the next day and have another shot at it on Saturday."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "Right away I said this was a ballsy track. For sure! It's quite interesting; I don't think I have ever been in a similar place. It's like Iowa without the banking. You get to the turns after a long straight and you ask the car to turn a lot in a very short period of time. The G's (G-forces) we go through with there are quite interesting and what we ask from the car and the Firestone's is quite a lot. But it's a lot of fun, honestly. On our side of things, it was actually a very difficult day. For some reason we had a car that was very difficult to drive until the last 40 minutes. We found something that completely changed the Telemundo car and put a smile on my face. It's a lot better and I am very happy how we finished. I think it will be a very difficult race to overtake. Although it's quite wide, its really only one little, narrow line which is where we run all the time so its gets a lot more rubber. As soon as you go a little lower or higher from there it very, very slippery so it will be very difficult to pass people."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "It's a quirky little place; one that you definitely need to take some time to wrap your heard around. Its probably one of the most challenging short ovals we go to. Obviously the team came with pretty good cars and Oriol and I made some good headway today. Its always interesting coming to a new place because you drive around in practice but you never quite know how its going to race until the race itself. We'll see how qualifying goes. I think qualifying is going to be important here; track position is going to be key in the race on Sunday. But we've had a good start and are happy to be where we are. We'll just keep chipping away at it."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus):"It was a good first day. We ran a lot of miles and I learned a lot. This track is quite unique, but we were up to speed very quickly and worked on various things. It was a very productive day."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We had a pretty solid day today. We took our time to go out in the morning practice, but we were fast right away and kept improving the car during the afternoon run. I think that there are some minor tweaks that we can try on Saturday before qualifying to see if we can get the car a little bit faster, but overall I'm happy with how the day went."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus); "Here we are back on the short ovals. We believe that the momentum we built on the previous short ovals, Milwaukee and Iowa, are paying off here. Today we did some good simulations of qualifying and all three cars ran roughly the same lap times. Now we concentrate on working on our race pace, which I consider is going to be very important at this race probably more than at other ones. The track has some bumps and it's difficult to overtake so it's going to be long and physical."